A new book, some reviews, and a bit in which I lay it on thick about Chris Keeslar

ImageIn terms of blatant self promotion (hey, it is my blog), I’ll highlight that reviews are coming in for Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man, and I’m stoked about them. The newest is from Library Journal, which says: ” Cullen builds here upon the world in her previous title (The Shopgirl and the Vampire), and one hopes she’ll continue to add tales to this saga. With Lillian, Cullen has created an imperfect character to root for in both life and love and surrounded her with a ragtag band of associates. A paranormal romance packed with drama, drugs, and danger.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati, Blue Ash”

So here’s the thing. I’ve never been that encouraged (or really had the confidence) to pursue a series until now. Words like Ms. Tilton’s help a great deal. Someone wants MOAR.

But the person who wants MOAR more than anyone seems to be Chris Keeslar, Editor in Chief at Boroughs Publishing. Some of you no doubt know Chris far better than I do, have met him at conferences or wrote for him at Dorchester, etc. All I have are a series of emails, but those emails mirror my book.

Lillian Holmes is a confused, wounded soul who looks to her hero, Sherlock Holmes, to bury herself in a fantasy world. She writes to Arthur Conan Doyle hoping for some insight into her heritage. What she gets back is advice. And later, a bit of interest on his part in learning more about her world (I’m writing the second book now in which that happens). Lillian treasures these communiques. I treasure mine.

Or, rather, now that I think about it, I could easily liken Chris’s “guidance” as editor of this series to Holmes himself. “Give me more! This is superficial; where is the conflict? Why does she do that? Wouldn’t it make more sense if…” You get the idea.

I offer advice to authors rarely, but I’ll offer this. You’ve heard it before. Write what feels true, what interests you, and find the best editor you can. If your editor says “wow, great, just need a few commas,” you probably need to keep looking. If your editor pokes holes in the soul of your work, makes you afraid you can never, ever do what he wants you to, makes you feel as though you’re simply not smart enough to even understand what the hell he’s talking about…well then your editor is probably Chris. Or you’re lucky to have found someone close.

Yes, I rather think I’ll fantasize that my editor IS Sherlock. He even looks a bit like him, if you squint in rather bad lighting.

“His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most
casual observer.  In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively
lean that he seemed to be considerably taller.  His eyes were sharp and piercing,
save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision.  His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination.  His hands were invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had occasion to observe when I watched him
manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments.”

A keen eye and gentle touch. Go forth, write the book of your dreams, and find a great editor!Chris-Keeslar
The book is available in a few spots, notably at Amazon


Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man and Why I’ve Not Been Here in a Long Time!

LillianHolmesHR It’s been so long…what are my excuses? Nothing to say, disillusioned with writing? Sure, yes. But mostly, I was grieving a few very awful losses. And who wants to hear about those? So I dragged my arse into work, did my best, and…once in a while, I wrote a little. And a little more. And then poured myself into this book, which has become the book of my heart (fellow authors will understand that phrase, for sure). This book is autobiographical, despite the fact that I’ve never met a vampire, wasn’t born in the 1800s, and well, a whole bunch of other things. But my family, my history, is there, on every page, in every character. I hope this is the start of regular writing. With an incredible editor–Chris Keeslar–I feel inspired again. So inspired. So tell me, what have you been doing this last year? I’ve missed you!

The Shopgirl and the Vampire and a Contest!

I’m really thrilled to have won Boroughs Short Story contest “@First Sight” (okay, a bit dumbfounded, actually). The story comes out this Friday, and I adore the cover. I adored even more working with the extraordinary Chris Keeslar. Writers will know him as a fantastic editor from now-defunct Dorchester. But that description doesn’t do him justice. It’s like me saying I’m the former Editor-in-Chief at KIII communications (they used to own Seventeen and other periodicals). I am. Or the former candy counter girl at Westview Cinemas. Yup, *cough* years ago. Okay, back to Mr. Keeslar, who is the lynchpin of the exciting new Boroughs Publishing Group. He’s why I entered the contest–part of the prize was getting a full manuscript in front of him and to get a crit of it. Wow, what a great editor, honestly. He pointed out the fundamental weakness and gave awesome counsel for fixing it… just so much fun!

But this story has a very personal backstory of its own. It’s my story. And my mom’s and my whole family’s as far back as I can remember. I started this story shortly after my dear brother, Tom Schneider, passed away in March. My grief, so intense, made me think I couldn’t possibly write. But I did, and I wrote my sadness onto the page. I wrote about my mother, Kitty, who was an incredible painter, but had a somewhat depressed life. I wrote about both my brothers (who became “good” and “bad” vampires–no, I don’t dislike either of them–one is redeemed in the full length novel I’m now writing). Mostly, I wrote about myself. About feeling that the urge to write didn’t die with my brother. That there was some light at the end of the tunnel. That I could still have a “happy ever after.” That’s a lot of stuff to put in 10,000 words. I’ve never written anything so quickly. But oh, those edits! :o)

So thanks for listening, and as a real thank you, I want to offer you a chance to win your choice of the first three Lunchbox Romances coming this Friday! Three people will win their choice.

All you need to do is leave your name and a way to contact you. And don’t forget to stop by Friday to see if you’re a winner!



New Release! Private Dancer…Mayan Epilogues One


At the end of time and deep in the Mayan jungle, a Sergeant’s cold heart is melted by an enchanting recruit.After “The End,” Sergeant Cliff Roman’s rag-tag unit trudges in the sweltering heat on a pointless mission. One in three people worldwide has already died of the virus, but troops are sent to likely hotspots to collect biological samples.
In the shadows of Mayan ruins, Private Dustin Huang is a fish out of water, drafted into hell. A skilled, artful ballet dancer, Dustin finds a little solace in the enticing form of his Sergeant. Death itself seems to stalk the unit as they near the purported entrance of Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld. But a royal presence from antiquity intervenes to help save the mortals and usher in the next cycle for humanity. What mysterious force pushes Cliff and Dustin together?


I never thought I’d being participating in something called The Hot Jocks Hop, but lo and behold, my Samhain release Fish Out of Water has a hero who is a jock! A handsome, rich, baseball star. (See the baseball there next to the mermaid?!)

Join Guilty Pleasures and Under The Covers for locker room talk about some of our favorite JOCK romances.

You can win a boatload of prizes and books from these authors. I’m offering four electronic books from my backlist, or a signed copy of Love’s Alchemy to one USor Canadian winner! Leave your name below and check back for the winner!

Lots of authors are participating, so do visit them as well!