Friday, January 31, 2014

Samadhi Book Three in the Love and Light Series is available NOW!


The last installment of the Love and Light Series is here and I am excited to share it with you.  This has been a wonderful, excruciating, and thrilling adventure.  The writer's life is not for wimps, but I'm grateful to be on this journey.  Through all the ups and downs, the constant has been you--my faithful readers and supporters.  While this is not the end, my friend, it is a huge milestone:  finishing my first series.  And I promise you there is more in store.  Namaste.


 BUY IT AT:

Wolf and Loti are learning the hard way that karma will not be denied.  In their quest for the truth, they've been forced into a blood bond with a powerful witch who isn't so sure she wants to be tied down.  But there's one thing they can agree on:  it’s time to eliminate the ancient vampire who set off this deadly chain of events--Modore.

Using any means necessary--torture, murder, and even death magic--Modore lures the triumvirate into the show down of their lives.  And the consequences will far exceed even Modore's imagination.

In this final installment of the Love and Light Series, the boundaries of love, lust, and even life itself will be tested and the universe as they know it will never be the same.

And join the Facebook Release Day Party Friday, January 31, 2014 from 8:00 PM EST until 10:00 PM.




The Love and Light Series
If you haven't discovered the series before, you really should check out the first two books.  Just a note, the covers received a make-over last fall, so I've posted both the new cover on the left and the original cover on the right.

Original Cover
Enlightened ~ Book One is currently FREE at

Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo






Original Cover
Samskaras ~ Book Two is available at

Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo





About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker.  She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer.   And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance.  The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers and soon to come is the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

Melissa lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures.  The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane.  Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum.
Namaste, dear friends.

Melissa’s Social Links:
Check out www.melissalummis.com for more about her and her books.
Follow @melissalummis on Twitter.
Tumble with Melissa on tumblr.
And watch her and co-host Buddy Gott on the Sunday Night Fiction Club on YouTube.

Get unique content, early access to publications, and exclusive giveaways by subscribing to her newsletter.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Writing Life or Why do I Feel this Compulsion to Share?

My bestie Olivia Hardin and Me
A friend is reading Kristen Lamb's book Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World and she quoted a section to me about mavens and accused me of being one.  I was perplexed. My first reaction was, "What the heck?  Me?  I'm no expert."  But as I thought through the context of the quote, which was about mavens being "collectors of data", "brokers of information", and being "pathologically helpful" it dawned on me she was right.

I am exactly that, to a fault.  I have to think twice before I chime in on a conversation or add my two cents to a thread, because I don't want to be that annoying person who always has something to say about everything. And you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you?  Yeah, ah ha ha ha, that's so me. Um...yeah.  *clears throat* Sorry.

But I also have to acknowledge that I do have some expertise: in teaching, reading, writing, self-publishing, wellness, and well, adventure.  There are other, more formal topics I could add to that list, but those aren't as interesting.  While I recognize this about myself, I am not comfortable with it. It makes me squirm when someone calls me "accomplished" or an "expert". I'm just excited about what I'm...well, excited about.

And when I get excited, I can go on and on.  Then, I get that sinking feeling whenever I realize I've over done it and said too much.  I really don't want to annoy you; I want to share.  I always have, even when I was a little kid.  My parents can attest to how I used to describe a movie or TV show or book I read in minute detail.  Ugh. *slaps forehead*

Some people accuse us Share-ers of wanting to be the center of attention.  Maybe, but I don't think that's why I do it.  I do it because I get so worked up and want to share what I've experienced or the data I've collected.  I read a ton about a myriad of topics and spend a lot of time contemplating all these ideas that swirl around my head.  And I like to talk about it. On top of all that, I so love to help people and will pull from my experiences to hand out what I hope are helpful nuggets without even thinking about it.

But, I am, unfortunately, a grown-up and need to rein in my annoying tendencies.  It's one thing for a child to blather on; we can smile indulgently and appreciate the enthusiasm of youth.  But, when a grown-ass woman does it, its eye-rolling.  I get that.  I really do.  So, in an effort not to bother my friends and neighbors...and the busy mom in the check out line behind me....and the cashier...and the nice police officer directing traffic at my kids' school, I've made an effort to seek out acceptable avenues for my compulsion.

Blogging and writing stories provides a socially acceptable platform from which to ramble.  And I've recently discovered that I thoroughly enjoy yammering on with my co-host, Buddy Gott on the Sunday Night Fiction Club.  At least I know when you surf on over here, you really want my input. When you open one of my books, you're volunteering to go off on one of my adventures with me. When you tune in to our YouTube show, you are a willing victim witness to my pathology.

How about you? What is your pathology? Compulsion? Have you found a productive way to channel it?  Maybe even made a career out of it?

I love hearing from you so please post a comment.

Namaste, y'all.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday Night Fiction Club Premiere or Why am I Hungover Today?

Buddy Gott and I had so much fun last night live-streaming our first Sunday Night Fiction Club episode:  Good and Bad Movie Adaptations.

Every Sunday night at 10 PM EST we will be bringing you more fiction fun and we would love to have you join the club.


Last night's topic was so huge, it was impossible to go into depth on any of the movies, so we would love to hear from you on your favorite book to movie adaptations, or even the ones you love to hate.  Make comments on the YouTube video or here on my blog or you can tweet me @melissalummis.

You can also like my fanpage on Facebook or tumble with me on my tumblr blog.

I know Buddy would love to hear from you, as well, so tweet him @BuddyGott, friend him on FaceBook, and check out his blog, too.

And I'll let you decide why I have a smidgen of a hangover this morning. ;-)

OH! And I remembered the name of the song I was talking about, in the Twilight movie?

 Supermassive Black Hole by Muse.


If you enjoyed the show, would you share it?  Maybe even subscribe?  We'd love to have you come along for the ride.

Next week we will be talking Sick Day Reads and Movies.  Which books do YOU like to read when you're sick in bed? Which movies do you watch over and over when you need a little comfort?  Why? Comment below and we will do our best to work your idea into the show.

As soon as we have the link for next Sunday's show, I will share it here and tweet it about.

Much love and light, y'all.  And good reading.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or What does Independent Publishing have to do with Blazes?

Back in 1998, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT)—six and a half months of grueling, sometimes pleasant, and sometimes even euphoric backpacking from the northern end of Georgia to the middle of Maine, Baxter State Park.  The two thousand mile journey was life-changing and lately I've been comparing my thru-hike to my journey as an independent author.

The trail taught me everything I need to know about life, but I’m still sorting those lessons out.  I find myself returning to the experience every time I have a quandary or when I’m trying to understand myself and my life journey.  And lately I've been pondering why the independent author is still reviled, even after they have proved that an indie can write a great book and be financially successful. Independent musicians aren't told they are ruining the music industry, are they?  Even well-known actors like to get involved in independent films, right?
 
So what is it about independent authors that sticks in the traditional book world’s craw?  I know it’s not everyone, but enough is written and spouted on a daily basis that it’s hard to throw a virtual stone without hitting an online diatribe against the independent author movement.  And then I remembered what the thru-hiking community refers to as the “purist”.  This is a person who has very specific rules about how to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and he doesn't consider another hiker a “real” thru-hiker if she doesn't follow the exact same rules.

For example, the basic rule among purists is that you have to hike every single white blaze along the AT.  The AT is marked with 2 x 6 inch white rectangles called blazes.  Side trails are marked, usually, with blue blazes and non-AT trails are dubbed “blue-blazes".   Most mornings a thru-hiker will look at his or her map and plot out their hike for the day, sometimes choosing a side trail for various reasons.  I’ll be the first one to admit that its usually because the blue-blaze is shorter, but sometimes it’s because there’s a feature, like a nice, cool water fall or swimming hole that would be damn satisfying on a hot, sticky day.

When that hiker takes the blue-blaze and does not hike past every single white blaze, the purist no longer considers her a thru-hiker and will often refer to her as a “blue-blazer”.  Okay, are you seeing the similarities here?  Traditionally published are the purists, because that is the “right” way to publish a book, and the independent author is a “blue-blazer” because she will on occasion wander off the official trail. 

I say on occasion because honestly, you can’t get from Georgia to Maine and really hike the Appalachians if you don’t take the Appalachian Trail.  And think of the publishing process as a trail.  There are certain milestones you just have to meet:  write the damn book, for one.  Not a single independent author has made any money without writing the book, just as it is for the traditionally published. 

Next, edit.  Then edit again.  And just for good measure, edit again.  Whether you’re an indie or a trad, this step is not to be forgone.  Grant it, I've read a few books that were in desperate need of a good editing job, but most of the successful indies hire professional editors and proofreaders, spending money out of their own pocket to do so.  Now, I know aspiring authors also hire professional editors to help them produce a sale-able product, so the only real difference is the way the two writers go about trying to get published.  They take slightly different paths, don’t they?

Another milestone on the journey:  marketing. We all are working our butts off on building platforms, creating buzz for our books, getting press release kits out, submitting ARCs for reviews, and delving into the fray on social media.  I’m exhausted just writing about it and I do it every single day.  And we still have to write the books.  And edit them.  And proofread.  And format.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  I won’t get into what publishing houses do for the author because it goes without saying; I just want to make it clear that an indie that has any chance of being successful is not likely writing a book a week and throwing them up without any professional process.  There are millions of books on Amazon, but only a fraction of those are actually selling at any significant rate.

And you know, on the trail, there were thousands of people who started out in the spring on Springer Mountain in Georgia who had high hopes of reaching Katahdin in Maine that fall.  Guess what? Only ten percent of the people who attempt a thru-hike each year actually complete the journey.  And I would venture to guess that it is something similar among writers.  How many wanna be writers are there in the world? And how many of those actually submit anything they've written to anyone, traditional publisher OR online self-publishing venue?  And of those who do, how many give up after the first rejection, the tenth, the two hundredth?  Indies get rejected all the time. It’s called no sales, poor reviews, and no reviews.

The difference between the hiker who completes a thru-hike and the one who quits is mental fortitude.  Ask any thru-hiker how she did it and she’ll say, “I just did it. I got up every morning and put my boots on and packed up my pack and hiked.”  She hiked through the rain and the cold, sometimes snow and rime ice falling on her head.  She hiked through the heat and over mountains so steep she had to grab onto the vegetation to keep from falling over backwards. She hiked no matter what and that’s how you finish a thru-hike.

And just like the trail, becoming a writer and getting published is 5% heel and 95% head. In fact, it’s one of the secrets to life that a lot of people gloss over.  It sounds nice as a slogan, but it doesn't sink in.  Any writer can tell you there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in the writing game, but you do it any way.  You don't whine...well maybe you wine...but do the work no matter how hard it is. You get up and you face the blank page and you write. You get your rejections out of the mailbox, and you try to glean some nugget of what went wrong with this manuscript. Does anyone think the indie author doesn't do this?  Maybe the mistaken belief that we skip the hard work is what keeps the rants coming our way.

But we don’t.  We work hard, so hard that our families complain we’re always on the laptop, that our backs hurt and our heads throb.  But we do it anyway.  We get stronger with each project, learning more about our craft and writing, writing, writing.  If we’re not doing that, we won’t succeed.  Just like the hiker who doesn't strap on his boots and put in the miles will never get to Katahdin, no matter which color trail he chooses to follow.

Whether you’re going the traditional route or choosing to hike your own hike, you will work as hard, my friend.  I guarantee it.  This journey is yours and you need to decide for yourself how to hike it, so don't let me or anyone else tell you how to do it.  I know I will never convince those who hold to the conviction that the only right way to publish is through the publishing houses and I’m okay with that.  I just wanted to paint the picture the way I see it…with my own colors and in my own words.

Namaste.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Post-Traumatic Holiday Stress Disorder or Where the Heck Have I been since Christmas?

Yes, I know I have been gone since before Christmas.  I have been a bad blogger.  Bad blogger! *smacks wrist*  I hang my head in shame and hope y'all will forgive me for being missing in action for weeks and as I get back into the groove of the writing life.

First, let me say that I had a wonderful holiday season.  My family and I spent Christmas week at Folly Beach, South Carolina.  It is a great place to kick back and relax, if you're looking for some place low key to hang.  We bought a miniature tinsel tree at--you guessed it--Squally Mart, and decorated it Dr. Seuss style, complete with Wazzly Woos and Tutely Toos.

My husband got a wild hair on the drive down, after we stopped for a break at a rest stop and got vending machine lattes.  Jacked up on cheap caffeine, he decided we were going to drive straight through the night instead of stopping at a hotel.  His only caveat was that I be the DJ and keep him entertained.  So on the fly, and thanks to Spotify, I threw together a Road Tripping playlist as he tossed song and band names at me.  We had a ball talking music and singing along all through the night.  We took a chance that we'd be able to get into our rental and lo and behold, it all worked out.

I bounded up the steps, bags in hand and got the kids in bed at 3:15 AM.  Then I popped the cork on the first of several bottles of champagne that would be imbibed over the week.  My husband and I sat on the front deck, listened to the waves crash as we watched the sun rise over the Atlantic, and toasted our holiday.  I think we actually went to bed around 7 AM.  That was the start to our vacation, folks, and it definitely set the tone for a laid back week.  We lazed about, went for walks on the beach, and the hubby and kids even joined the Polar Bear Club and jumped in the ocean--complete with soaking their heads.

Christmas Eve we went for a drive through James County Island Park to see their Holiday Festival of Lights display.  If you ever get the chance, please go! We played Christmas music and drank hot chocolate as we drove through.  I got inspired, too, and created a family video with the footage and pictures I took while we were there.  Unfortunately, I can't share it here for privacy sake, but its a great family memory, for sure.

Christmas day the kids were treated to new 3DSXLs (if you don't know what that is, ask any gamer), and I made Italian Wedding Soup.  Our friends hosted an oyster and crab shucking party complete with a camp fire and much merriment was had by all.  It was my first Christmas on the beach and I have to say I had a great time.

When we got back from South Carolina, we had a fairly quiet New Year's week and I think the kids were glad to be getting back to school, although they'll deny it if you ask.  Unfortunately, the Polar Vortex interrupted our plans to get back to a normal routine and school was closed due to the cold.  Then we had freezing rain, yada yada yada.  You get the picture.

And now, here I am, sitting at my laptop and getting caught up on all the business things I mostly ignored over the holidays.  I've been writing and editing and getting geared up for all the planned releases in 2014.  I'm finishing up the Love and Light series with the release of Book 3, Samadhi on January 31, 2014.  Folks, I actually cried (yeah, I know, I'm a derp) when I typed "The End".  *sigh*  It's been a long journey and getting to the end is bittersweet.

BUT the good news is I can't let go of Loti's world just yet, so I've been working on a spin-off called the Little Flame series.  Check out the Little Flame page for news about releases and sneak peeks at the books and covers.  Also, don't forget to join my newsletter mailing list for unique content and exclusive giveaways and offers just for my newsletter subscribers.  I plan on filling in the gaps between releases with short stories, letters, and more added-content through out this year in my newsletter.

I'm looking forward to hearing from y'all and getting back into the groove.  Don't forget to leave a comment below and let me know how you spent your holidays.  Hope you're all getting over the Post-Traumatic Holiday Stress and settling into this fabulous new year.

Much love and light to you !