Year of Living Heroically #2 – Refusing the Call


Today is especially fitting to write this post as it is currently 19 degrees in Dallas Texas. If there is anything that will make you refuse the call of an adventure, it is cold feet.


On a hero’s journey, refusing the call highlights what exactly the hero thinks about himself. They are not just saying, “No I don’t want to,” but more along the lines of “I’m afraid because of …” That dot-dot-dot is the real part of themselves that they will have to overcome in the adventure ahead.


My favorite case in point is our man Luke Skywalker, who refuses to go with Ben Ken-obi by saying, and I’m flagrantly misquoting, “No I can’t go with you. I have to stay on the farm with Uncle Owen.” He’s not really saying that he has to stay on the farm with his Uncle. What he is really saying is that he is afraid that he is not awesome like his father and he’s just a lowly farm boy. Once the farm is removed from the picture, literally, he spends the rest of the movie trying to become awesome like his father. Sort of.


In romances, this might look a little different. For Violet, in Diaries of an Urban Panther, her refusal highlighted her fear of getting close to someone, because all of her loved ones had died. So she refused to believe that the boy liked her at all. He was just saving her skin, over and over and over. Violet spends the entire book learning to open her heart to other people.


So to apply this to daily life, its simple: know why you are saying ‘no.’ No to life, no to helping someone move their couch, no to spending some time reading to the elderly.  When you are called to do something, understanding why you are saying ‘no’ might help you find a fear you didn’t know you had. Perhaps you didn’t know you were afraid of loosing your toes to the cold weather (as I am facing today).


Understanding why you are refusing the call might even help you face your fears head on.


But that is another blog post for another time.

This year, I have set it as a resolution to read more. Part of that becoming a Hero thing I mentioned last month. Read more to know more to make better choices. (and yes, I feel that reading fiction helps you discover the depth of the world around you and the depth of you).

In today’s world of insta-nowness, writers no longer have a few pages to hook readers. We have a sentence. And if that sentence is any good, we might have a paragraph. As a consumer looking to delve into different genres, writers have about three sentences to hook me.
So opening lines are key to not only getting readers attention, but letting them know the what and how of your novel. Letting them know exactly what kind of adventure they are promising.

I’ve picked out a few of my favorites that I feel really show the author guiding us into their world, telling us what the book is going to be about, and how they are going to tell us that story.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813).

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984 (1949).

OK. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s only a VISA bill. It’s a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be? – Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic (2001).

“I’ve watched through is eyes, listened through his ears, and I tell you, he’s the one.”- Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game (1997).

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying the first step to eternal life is you have to die. -Chuck Palahnick Fight Club (1996).

Just to make sure I was getting a full spectrum of first lines for new books to sink my teeth into, here are the first lines of the top five current NY Times Best Sellers:

1. While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. THE GOLDFINCH, by Donna Tartt

2. There was a time in Africa when people could fly. THE INVENTION OF WINGS, by Sue Monk Kidd

3. The found Seth Hubbard in the general area where he had promised to be, though not exactly in the condition expected. SYCAMORE ROW, by John Grisham

4. I may have found a solution to the wife problem. THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme Simsion

5. It was all because of the Berlin wall. THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, by Liane Moriarty

All of these first lines not only are intriguing, but tell us exactly how the writer is going to tell the story. We know that Palahnick is going to be insane but a different kind of insane from Kinsella’s rampant fast-paced narration about shopping. Though Simsion’s The Rosie Project seems to be about marriage with its very scientific tone, it is strikingly different from the snarky one that Austen presents about the need for a wife.

Opening lines are the promise that writers make to readers that set the tone for the rest of the book. They are the call to adventure for the readers.

Hello all,

Putting on another blog tour for the big VAMPIRES GONE WILD anthology with Kerrelyn Sparks, Pamela Palmer, Kim Falconer, and little old me!

12th- United by Books
13th- Book City Chick
14th- Books and Kisses
15th- Paranormal Cravings
16th- Anna’s Book Blog

Leave a comment at each site to enter and win a digital copy of the new anthology!


Next Big Thing!!

Hello all,
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wow, 2012 just slipped past me. But I’m looking forward to fresh pages and new characters to introduce you guys to this year.
Secondly, a few of us at Supernatural Underground have put together an anthology of stories about vampires. Yep, this shifter girl is writing vampires now.
 1) What is the title of your next project?
“First Dates are Hell” is appearing the The Supernatural Underground anthology, Vampires Gone Wild, out February 12, 2013 at all e-book retailers.  The book also features stories from: Kerrelyn Sparks, Pamela Palmer, and Kim Falconer

2) Where did the idea come from for the story?
We met the hero of “First Dates” Valiance in the third installment of the Diaries of an Urban Panther series. Valiance was a warrior prince for the vampire Clade inDallas and when our heroine and werepanther Violet Jordan needed a little more help, Valiance pledged his sword to her cause.

I wanted to know what Valiance was doing now. How did he adjust being the only Vampire left in Dallas? What would Valiance do when left to his own devices?
What Violet would expect of this warrior in a time of peace?

3) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is an easy one. I made a Pinterest board for each new project, so casting the characters was the first thing that I did.
Michael Fassbender as Valiance                         Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Esme
4) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It’s been a hundred years since Valiance dated; it isn’t any easier now than it was back then.

5) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It took me about a month to write the first draft. What was challenging about this project was that it was a short story, and even though there are fewer words, the characters still need to react and change during the story, so they needed to be the right words. Apparently, I think in epic story arcs, so I really needed to look at what I wanted to focus on, which was the one choice that Valiance would make.

6) What other projects would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hopefully it’s still in the same vein as Diaries, but I think this one is less snark and more emotions. I think that “First Dates” has elements of what has always influenced me as writer: the snappy snark of Shonda Rhimes, the emotional journeys of Alice Hoffman, and the paranormal world building of Charlaine Harris.

7) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See the pictures of Michael Fassbender and tell me that you wouldn’t want to think about him non-stop for a month. My life is awesome.
8) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Fun Story time: I’ve always preached that you should write about what you know. For, Diaries, the main character needed to shoot a gun, so I went to a gun range. In the second, I needed to know about biker bars, so I went to a few around town.
For this story, the Vampires in my universe can only be killed by having their heads cut off by an iron sword, so all my vampires carry an iron sword. So, not to drop spoilers, but there is a sword fight in the story. Being a normal person, I don’t usually wield a sword, but like a normal person, I do have foam swords and a really great husband. So my husband and I choreographed the fight scenes so I could write about it. After a few bruises, we finally worked it out and voila, fight scene.

Hey guys,

Check out the new website! I love it! It was made by the brilliant Forever Design Studios.

And here’s some cover art for you!

Vampires Gone Wild comes out Feb 12, 2013!

Available for pre-order

Hello one and all!
And here is the big blog tour dates! Leave a comment and be entered to win a Diaries of an Urban Panther gift set: All three Diaries signed, A coffee mug and your choice of a $25 Amazon/BN gifcard for more happy reading!


To enter into the giveaway
-Comment on a blog tour post
-Like on Facebook
-Follow on Twitter @pantherista
-Comment on this post.


20- Books and Kisses
22- LovLivLife
23- Paranormal Cravings
24- Bitten by Paranormal Romance
27- Booking It Reviews
28th- Reading Romances
28th- The Unread Reader
29- Ramblings from this Chick
31- Paranormal Haven
Sept 3- Supernatural Underground

My life so far

So first things first.

There will be a MASSIVE give-away for the big release  with thewinner announed on the Supernatrual Undergraound post on Sept 3rd. So Stay tuned.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, I can talk about the weirdest part of my trip to RWA. Yes, I managed to survive five days of romance writers packed into the Anaheim Marriott and we all had an amazing time.  There was much networking, crafting, and general good fun.

However, while perhaps at the bar with some authors who will not be named (but if you ask me, I will totally tell you), we met a group of young men who were fascinated by the fact that we were romance writers. Once they got over their star-struck shyness, one of them asked me, “What does your day as a writer look

I’m pretty sure he thought I’d say, “I wake up in my satin robe and eat chocolates and type until my fingers burn.”

We writers talk a lot about our image as writers. We know that people think of writers as crazy people  with pencils in their hair and drinking their fifth cup of coffee. To dissuade any thoughts of fluffy high-heeled slippers, I was honest with this young man. I  work a 40 work week at a desk job, and then come home and transform into the awesomeness that is Amanda Arista, the author.

Okay, its really not that awesome, but its not all typing away at the computer. And I don’t feel I eat nearly enough chocolate.

This is my life.

I go to work.

I come home and get attacked by my dogs.

On the weekends, I try to do something new, like get in touch with my Italian side
by making wine.

I do make stuff with lots of chocolate, so that might not just be a myth.

I sit  around and drink coffee. So the coffee part is completely true.

Life is how you interpret it. I interpret mine as pretty darn awesome and I wouldn’t
change it for the world.

All right peoples. I happily present to you the third and final installment

of the Diaries of an Urban Panther series.


Dear Diary,

With new supernatural creatures popping up at every turn (Ghouls?
Really?), the city divided, and my long-lost cousin blazing into town,
I’ve got a lot on my mind. Oh, not to mention I’m supposed to be planning a wedding. Chaz has got to be the best, most patient (and probably clinically
insane) fiance around.

But defeating my sworn enemy in a battle for the souls of Dallas is going to
require more than just my full attention. It means learning to depend on
everyone—especially Chaz—if any of us are going to make it out of this alive.
Because if Plan A doesn’t work, I’m going to need them for Plan B.

And Plan C . . .



Look for her at Avon Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many more e-book retailers on August 21st.

As always there will be a blog tour and one hell of a give away.


I’m excited to announce that Nine Lives of an Urban Panther, the third and final installment of the Diaries series will be out in ebook form on August 21st.

I’ll post cover art when I get it!

Virtual Blog Tour Locations

Thanks to the lovely ladies over at GoddessFish Promotions, we have another round of Blog Tours lined up for the launch of Claws and Effect!

December 26: Reading Romances

December 27: Ramblings From This Chick

December 28: I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read!

December 28: Caridad Pinero

December 29: Riverina Romantics

December 29: REVIEW ONLY: Reviews by Molly

December 30: My Bookish Ways

January 2: Cocktails and Books

January 3: Immortality and Beyond

January 3: Supernatual Underground

January 4: We Fancy Books

January 5: AsianCocoa’s Secret Garden

January 6: Adventure Into Romance

There will also be a Giveaway of a $25 dollar gift certificate to a randomly selected commenter and maybe jsut maybe something more, much more.