12 Days of Halloween
From about mid-October until Christmas was always a magical and much anticipated time when I was young.
Probably not an uncommon statement from a kid. My mom should have been a party planner, because our house was always decked out for the season. We were the house that people do that double-take with, because looking only once wasn’t enough to take it all in.
Mom’s favorite holiday was Halloween. Since I’m a fantasy/paranormal writer, it’s safe to say that rubbed off on me, and with kids of my own, I enjoy Halloween in a completely new way, with my kids excitement about dressing up and their enjoyment in the *fun* scares.
While her favorite might have been Halloween, Mom excelled in overall holiday planning. My mom was a generous lady. She never liked cooking, but she loved to bake the holiday pies and cookies and other goodies that come with the season, and everyone who knew us came away during the holiday season with loads of culinary delights. If you ask me to name my favorite food ever, it would have to be Mom’s pumpkin pie.
It’s probably because this time was usually so joyous that one memory sits there, lumpy and misshapen and not a fit with the rest.
Don’t ask me how old I was, but I came down the stairs one night – going to get some water I think – and Mom was on the couch, staring at the Christmas tree. The packages weren’t under the tree yet, which was odd since Mom tended to put them under as soon as the tree went up (Mom is not a last minute shopper – in fact, I’m pretty sure her shopping is done in July.) Now I haven’t believed in Santa ever, so it was no question in my mind about who presents come from.
What set this memory in my mind so sharply was my mother’s face the few moments before she realized I was in the room. At the time I didn’t have the words or the emotional knowledge to name what emotions were in play. All I knew was it wasn’t good.
Several years later we were talking, and in the way of conversations everywhere, somehow that night came up, and I asked Mom what was going on.
She confided that when I saw her, the reality of our situation was none of us kids were going to get Christmas presents. It had been a bad year with lots of doctor bills and not as much work as they hoped to get. Maybe they would be able to get a practical clothing item, but certainly nothing beyond that. Then she told me that a couple days after I saw her that night, her uncle heard about our situation. Without her or my dad asking, he went out and got presents for us kids and told her that it was his early Christmas gift to her and he would not accept any money or repayment.
Mom told me she cried while she wrapped them. She told me it was the best gift she’d ever gotten.
While my childhood would never fit in a Dickinson narrative, there were a few years there where we did with minimal, so hearing after-the-fact that no presents was a possibility didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the lurch in my chest at the thought of it as a near reality. That didn’t make sense – after all, we were several years past by then, and I was a grown person who understood economic realities.
That lurch, though, was real. And as time has marched on, I think I understand the reason for it, just like now that I’m a mother I understand the look on my mother’s face that night. The holidays were a safe and sacred time. The rest of the year – okay, it’s life, and life happened. But in my memory, the holidays were apart from that, not touched with the ickiness that could happen at other times.
If I didn’t get presents that year, I think that safety and warmth that the holidays (or the thought of) always caused would have disappeared. I wouldn’t have had that protective bubble anymore that helped get me through bad times, and the loss of that would have been a greater tragedy than not getting a doll under the tree.
So while Toys for Tots was not responsible for me getting presents that year, I recognize in a deep and personal way the very good work they are doing.
Toys for Tots is my favorite holiday charity. There are many excellent charities I celebrate and give to, but this time of year my thoughts and my wishes are for the kids who are not in the best circumstances and are in danger of not having a gift under their own tree. It’s not the material item that matters (though it’s always nice to get a great gift, right?) What I never want them to lose is that safe warmth that should categorize the holidays, a warmth that sometimes might be the only thing that gets them through the rest of the year.
Which leads me to the 12 Days of Halloween!
12 Days of Halloween is my (and many other excellent authors) way of having a great time and celebrating the beginning of this wondrous time of year – with giveaways and gifts and raising money for Toys for Tots!
What is involved?
First! My novel, Stone Guardian , is on a very special sale. From now until Halloween, it is half-off with part of the proceeds going to Toys for Tots! So you get a book for cheaper than usual, and a chunk of the money will be going to an amazing cause! Huzzah!
And on the other side, I’ll be sharing lots of giveaways! Ebooks (donated by many generous authors) gift cards, swag sets, a Coach (!) bag, and finally…
An iPad Mini!
Yes, you read that right – an iPad mini with a special Entwined Realms designed cover set is the grand prize.
So if you are interested, please keep up with me at twitter, facebook or my blog with all the ways to win.
Let’s celebrate the beginning to this great time of year, have a great party, maybe win some stuff, and most important of all – support Toys for Tots and make sure they can help a lot of kids this year!
Free Halloween ebook to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness!
As I write this, Death Is Becoming has had 116 downloads on Smashwords! This is so very exciting, because I know how difficult it is when you want to read a book that is only available in one unfamiliar way. Now there are two additional options, with more coming soon.
I want this book to raise awareness of the questions, fears and struggles a family goes through while facing childhood cancer. At the same time, I want to show hope and comfort to those who have faced loss. Telling a story was my way to handle grief. Showing Erin’s story as she faces the darker forces of the afterlife, was simply a pleasure and a privilege.
As I learn more and more about the self-publishing process, I see I need to allow more time for free books to be made available on different platforms. So while Smashwords went up immediately, it took a bit longer for Barnes and Noble and Kobo. I am now pleased to announce Death Is Becoming is available as a free download on Nook and Kobo in addition to Smashwords.
Download your copy today!
Nook Kobo Smashwords
DEATH IS BECOMING
by Jamie Leigh Hansen
Free Book to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness
This Halloween, college girl, Erin Kowalkski, battles cancer once again. But this time, she has questions and she’s dying to know the answers. What will her dreams and aspirations, all she’s learned, felt and experienced, amount to when she’s gone? What will she become?
Guided by a hot new patient and chased by a menacing wraith, Erin learns more about life and death than she’d ever imagined.
Free book to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness!
The day after Thanksgiving 2003, my 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was 28 and had no idea what was in store for her or for our family. It was a terrifying situation and yet, no matter what we didn’t know, we had to make crucial decisions about our daughter’s life. Knowing now the kinds of decisions we made then, without knowing any better, is enough to stop my heart.
What neurosurgeon was going to do the initial de-bulking surgery? Why, the one on call whom we met the first day, of course.
Really? Not knowing the enormous difference between pediatric and adult medicine, let alone a neurosurgeon and a pediatric neurosurgeon, my husband and I agreed to let this doctor inside our daughter’s head.
I tell you what, we lucked out. Big time. We were introduced to the best pediatric neurosurgeon in Spokane. In fact, he was the only one in Spokane ten years ago. Who knew a surgeon so specialized was that rare?
If you know, then I’m scaring you now.
That weekend, we met two wonderful ladies who welcomed us to a group called Candlelighters. The organization is now renamed American Childhood Cancer Organization, ours is of the Inland Northwest. ACCOIN. These ladies and this organization helped us through the most frightening experiences of our lives.
9 months into chemo, a 7 year old boy we’d befriended lost his war.
Three years later, one of those ladies lost her 18 year old daughter to her second bought of cancer. A second cancer believed to be caused by a chemo med from her first battle, when she was 12. During those three years, this sweet girl came to mean so much to us.
One month later, my 18 year old cousin died in a car accident. He’d been adopted out and we hadn’t seen him for a dozen years. I fed him. I changed him. I babysat him for the few years we had him. Then I never saw him again. Our grandmother saw notice of his death on the news. Lucky us.
In my grief for all those I’ve lost, I created a world where they still lived. Where they still had chances to grow and become everything we believe they could have become if only.
Me being me, it isn’t a perfect world. It’s dark, filled with frightening monsters that threaten ones sense of self. But it’s also light, with opportunities for love, happiness and redemption.
I have now written a story in this world to share with everyone. The characters are fictional, but the rest…
DEATH IS BECOMING is free. The purpose of it is to raise awareness of childhood cancer. One day, I would like to see clothes with a gold ribbon. Yogurt tops with a gold ribbon. Anything with a gold ribbon. I believe in the pink ribbon, I know any research benefits all research, but like with neurosurgery, there are differences between children and adults. Death Is Becoming is what I can do to pay it forward.
I want to give back to the organizations that aided us over our hurdles so they can help others. At the end of Death is Becoming, there is a letter from me that includes a list of things people with money and without can do to support the families suffering through the darkness.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and ACCOIN’s slogan is simple. We’ve put a yellow lightbulb in our porch light and are encouraging others to do so as well. Let’s “Paint the town gold…because kids can’t fight cancer alone.”
Download your copy of DEATH IS BECOMING. Share it. Tweet it. Talk about it. And most of all, encourage readers to support these organizations in any way they can. Anything to raise awareness for this sinister disease.
Death Is Becoming on Smashwords.
*This book is uploading at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and iTunes. Until their technical stuff has worked through its process, they may try to charge $ for the book. Be patient and it will work out. Until then, Smashwords has it for a free download in any format.
**For updates delivered straight to you, join my newsletter!
As I near writing the end of The Murder King’s Valentine, I’m getting all excited. I love writing about Mary, so I figured now would be a great time to show you just how cool she is…
So here’s Mary, pretending to be Sasha, a lusty nurse on the prowl during her rescue of the Murder King.
“99 veins of blood to tap,
99 veins of bloood…
Pick the best flavor and drain it dry.
There’ll be 98 veins of blood to try.”
Sasha sashayed her curvy human body across the busy foyer of the San Francisco Vamp Palace, her booted steps in sync with the rousing chorus of vamps in the next room and her jaunty nurse’s cap bobbing with the tune. Grasping hold of the song, she continued the refrain silently as she pushed the empty black wheelchair through the crowd of costumed, but deadly, vampires.
Her nurse’s top was white and cut low to the thick, black belt on her waist. A bright red wonder bra pushed everything she had out and up in a bountiful display. The skirt stretched high on her thighs, leaving a few inches of skin bare to the tops of her thigh-high black boots.
She appeared the epitome of a nurse/whore, her make-up vivid and glossy as she pushed the wheelchair with latex-gloved hands to the elevator behind the grand staircase. A Bela Lugosi look-alike cast lascivious glances all down her body as a Queen Elizabeth smiled at her with condescending indulgence. Contrary to modern myth, vampires loved Halloween. It was the one night a year they could let their fangs hang out. Though, tonight their fangs were a bit sharper than usual.
Smiling vacuously, her mind only shielded with the most basic of barriers expected from an average mortal like her, Sasha continued to sing silently. 98 veins of blood to tap…
Sasha entered the elevator, pushed the button for the fourth floor, and gripped the wheelchair handles tight. She smiled, wide and excited for any who glanced her way. 95 veins of blood to tap…
The elevator doors slid open to a long, dark wood hallway with doors on either side. Some were open, some weren’t. At one, a beautiful ice blonde in a dress Cinderella would envy smiled teasingly at a dashing, kilted Scotsman. Her voice was a smooth purr. “You can look under mine if you let me look under yours.”
He chuckled, his voice low as he leaned forward and twisted the doorknob behind her. “Only look?”
Sasha’s smile came easier as she passed them, the chair rolling quietly along the deep red carpet. 89 veins of blood to tap, 89 veins of bloood…
Toward the end, between two closed doors where the wall should be a smooth mural, she deftly swiped a card through the nearly hidden slot. The hallway was silent for the moment, but the pounding of a human heart carried easily through the walls into the many bedrooms. She only had seconds before someone would come to see why hers pounded.
Adding more joy to the refrain in her head, she slipped into the secret hallway with its walls thick enough to hide almost anything thought or spoken and pushed the chair down the narrow tunnel. Halting outside the guard room, she parked the chair and stepped into the opening, leaning against the door frame in a seductive pose.
There was only one guard, sitting with his feet propped up and staring at the monitors morosely. He glanced back at her then did a swift double take, nearly falling from his chair. Sasha grinned wickedly. “I heard you were hungry.”
As he stood, the light hit his name tag. Stan. Stan took his time, gazing from the pulse in her neck, down her exposed cleavage and lower to the inches of thigh exposed between her skirt and boots. In less than a blink, he stood before her, taller, faster, stronger.
Stan wrapped his large hands around her sides and grinned with anticipation.
Pick the best flavor and drain it dry.
Stan groaned, “Oh, yeah.”
There was a reason the little ditty was popular among vampires. Stan leaned forward and licked a trail from the curve of one breast to her neck, meaning to tease her.
Instead, Sasha held him as he slid silently to the floor. Any of her personal taste he’d managed to pick up would be disguised by the knock-out gel she’d smeared all over her skin. It left a brutal aftertaste.
From one of the large front pockets on her smock, Sasha pulled a flash drive and plugged it into the tower. Three key strokes and enter executed the desired file. The monitors and hard drive were recording an old episode of Buffy before she left the room.
85 veins of blood to tap…
Naturally Beautiful by Jamie Leigh Hansen
Short Story, Romance, Futuristic, Suspense, Sweet, Stand-Alone
Two worlds clash when sexy daredevil, Lt. Reid Kincad pulls intriguing scientist, Dr. Jessica Cross, into his arms and jumps from a helijet set to explode, but they can’t rest until they also save her father – and his miracle cure – from dangerously unethical hands.
*Previously published in The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance
I can finally post a blog again after all the confusion with my missing post editor. Thank you Croco!
Very soon, I will also have a new look and be better integrated with the rest of my social media. I cannot wait! Stay tuned for all the changes.
In the meantime, let me fill you in on the last year of JLH publishing news.
* I have self-published The Murder King’s Woman and The Murder King’s Summons, yay! These are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance ebooks and Smashwords.
Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble
* I have released an unrelated short story in The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance titled Naturally Beautiful. I will be self-publishing that as a single very soon.
* I have another unrelated, complete and raring-to-go short story that should have more news soon.
* I am nearing completion on The Murder King’s Valentine, Murder Tales #3. This story is much longer than the first two combined.
Another big help is to Like the page on Facebook and encourage your family and friends to do so as well. That way you’ll have the best access to updates.
And for anyone who would like to join me at this year’s Get Lit! Festival in Spokane, WA on April 13, I am part of a 6 author team providing an interactive, hands-on workshop on Worldbuilding. http://outreach.ewu.edu/getlit/3294.xml More info TBA.
Please stay tuned for more updates – which will be much easier to make now.
Murder Tales: An exciting new series of short stories by
Jamie Leigh Hansen
When The Murder King’s Woman was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2, I was so excited. I sat right there in Barnes and Noble, taking pictures of the pretty cover.
The Murder King’s Woman is about Mary, a human girl whose family was killed during a family camping trip when she was a child. The rogue vampire responsible for destroying her life was hunted and killed by no less than Sebastian, the Murder King himself. Leading his warrior Crows, a mix of vampires and werewolves, Sebastian and the Murders purpose is to hunt and eradicate the rogues of paranormal kind, keeping their existence secret and bringing safety to their races – it is not to raise the children of human victims. But Mary was too old, her trauma too ingrained, for her to forget. Even with help. And she was too young to be left to her own devices. Mary was brought home and raised among them, the only human to live among them. But now Sebastian has been taken and the only chance he has is the human pet no one believes in.
As I looked at the pretty pages, this nagging feeling that had been pulling at me all year returned. Mary wasn’t finished telling me her story. She’s a strong woman with definite plans for her future and just enough of a past for it to haunt her. So I started writing that day. When I finished the sequel, The Murder King’s Summons, I learned another important fact. I still wasn’t done.
Damn mouthy character hasn’t given me peace since. LOL Therefore, we have reached a compromise. I will write Mary’s journey piece by piece and release it in digital form. The sequel has now become Murder Tales 2: The Murder King’s Summons, and will be released later in December 2011. Keep a look out for:
We have a cover!
The first monthly installment of The Sanction Chronicles will be available for sale September 17th.
Help fight Ovarian Cancer!
Win a first chapter critique from one of five multi-published, award-winning, bestselling authors!
Do good. Feel good. And get something good in return!
Author Heather McCollum is fighting Ovarian Cancer. To show appreciation for folks who donate to support “Heather’s Warriors” on the upcoming walk to fund a cure, her writer friends have organized a critique raffle.
You could win one of five critiques being offered by
Avon author Katharine Ashe – first chapter critique (up to 25 pages)
Nocturne author Cynthia Cooke – first chapter critique (up to 25 pages)
Berkley/St. Martins author Cindy Holby/Kassy Tayler – first chapter critique (up to 25 pages) Berkley author Virginia Kantra – first chapter critique (up to 25 pages)
Harlequin author Emilie Rose – first chapter critique (up to 25 pages)
How to enter in three easy steps:
1. Go to “Critiques for Heather” http://dccc.convio.net/site/TR/Ovarianwalk/OvarianAwareness?px=1060499&pg=personal&fr_id=1090
2. Click “Make a donation.”
Make a secure on-line donation of at least $5.00.(each $5.00 online donation = 5 virtual raffle tickets)
Be sure to enter a “Recognition name” (your name or an identifiable nickname).
3. Send an e-mail to
Type RAFFLE in the e-mail’s subject line.
In the body of the email, please include your Recognition name, the number of virtual tickets purchased (dollar amount of donation), and which author(s)/critique prize(s) you would like to be entered for.
ALL proceeds support ovarian cancer research at Duke University Medical Center, where Heather is receiving treatment.
Winners will be drawn/notified/announced the day after the walk, Sunday, September 18, 2011.
Want to support Heather without entering the raffle?
Follow the same link and donate WITHOUT sending an email.
For more information, please visit and like Heather’s SHOUT Against the Whisper Campaign on Facebook
Viewer and Reader frustration…
Craig and I often get caught by different ads and commercials for tv shows. What looks interesting? Quite often it all is interesting, downright fascinating. The problem comes from schedules. How many of our parents and grandparents, and for years, us and our children had to make sure we were home by 7 or 8 for the beginning of evenings TV shows. And so many stories captured our attention, we would fill three or four evenings a week with shows.
Yeah. And our news is going nuts with tales of obesity and sedentary Americans. Which, there is a point, but having a limit on how many shows we watch had some really bad consequences.
We’d get into one show and when new ones came out, we couldn’t watch them because they were on at the same time on different channels. So the newer shows suffered a lack of viewership in the realms of numbers that made the producers happy and were subsequently canceled.
Now, thanks to TV on DVD, Netflix, Blockbuster, and Hulu, (not to mention all the other outlets), there are hundreds of unfinished stories out there. Thousands of finished stories.
For instance, we just got through John Doe. An engaging story, a mystery about a man who wakes up naked in the middle of woods with no knowledge of who he is, but strangely knows everything else. It lasted for one season. 21 episodes and ended on one heck of a cliffhanger.
Luckily, in the case of John Doe, producers put out a statement of what was supposed to happen in the end. The answer to the riddle. Kind of. And while it is good to have an answer to the riddle, we lose the magic of the process. The growing characterization that takes place in each episode builds to that final answer, so it makes more sense, is more well-rounded and wraps up all threads.
But, the problem is each network wants ratings. And they aren’t happy with a few million people. They want everyone to tune out of their lives and tune into their station, all at the same time.
Really? Is this even possible? No. People have different interests. They want to watch different shows on different channels on their own time. When they don’t have work, school, sports and basically, life events deciding their schedule.
Intro streaming media. Any show at any time in any order. It’s all about the story.
But, how many of those stories are half done or worse, barely introduced? How many unfinished stories will we carry around, filling our heads with thoughts and questions?
What’s more, publishers do the same. They want ever rising sales numbers or story series never end. And readers are left wondering. How would it have all ended?
The good news is that authors, who often have those same uncompleted stories in their heads, are now able to self-publish pretty easily and make their stories widely available. Now it’s just a matter of finding them amid all the scammers, pirates and lazy people who just want to string enough words together they can call it a book or be published “without ever writing a word”. Looks like readers will need to be educated buyers.