The_Countdown_Club with border The blog’s been on hiatus while I’ve been frantically trying to get everything done by the end of the year. However, my latest novel has just been released, and I can’t keep quiet about it! THE COUNTDOWN CLUB is a young adult suspense novel close to my heart, just out from Bella Rosa Books. I hope that you’ll check it out!

I’ve got a guest blog and giveaway going on right now on Deborah Blake’s blog here. I’ve got a “meet my character” post up with Lily’s Reviews for Jack, the harder-edged of my POV personas in THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, and a post on why I write what I right up on Slippery Words. But if that’s not enough, you can learn more about the book and read an excerpt below.

About the Book

“Mysterious and cleverly plotted, The Countdown Club is a must read for fans of One of us is Lying.” ⸻Amy Christine Parker, Author of Gated, Astray, and Smash and Grab

Making her way through high school in her art geek bubble, Rayna Butler is used to being largely ignored by her classmates. Sure, she marches to her own beat—her Kool-Aid dyed hair and her edgy paintings make that perfectly clear. So when she arrives at school one normal Monday morning and finds a handwritten note in her backpack that reads “Six days to die,” she’s sure that it’s just a friend playing a prank on her.

Jack Harkness is one of the toughest guys in school, a loner hiding his painful home life. When he also receives one of the threatening notes, he doesn’t take it for anything he can’t handle.

Rayna and Jack soon discover that even more students have received threatening notes, although each has a different expiration date. “Six days to die”. . . “Two days to die”. . . “Twelve days to die”. . . there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. And none of the kids appear to have anything in common.

The students take the threats with varying degrees of seriousness . . . until the first murder. Class salutatorian Liam is the first to go, when his house mysteriously burns down around him and his mother as well. Certain that their days are numbered, Rayna and Jack convince the others to join together to track down the killer before their time is up.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

RAYNA

 

Six Days To Die.

The note was handwritten in bold, angry lettering, the pen nearly slicing through the page and the “i” in Die dripping blood-red ink. It stared up at Rayna from just inside her backpack. Her breath caught, and she whipped her head around to catch anyone watching or aiming their phone to record the moment their sick joke hit home. Because it had to be a joke, right? Anyone who could get close enough to slip a note into her backpack without her noticing could surely have done worse.

But no one was looking or laughing.

She wanted to shrug it off. She wasn’t the kind of girl who made waves. Or enemies. But the news was full of people bullied or beaten just for existing. Being different. Saying no.

Six Days to Die.

A chill ran straight up her spine, raising the hairs on the nape of her neck beneath her Kool-aid blue ponytail. Her heart was pounding, and her breath was coming way too fast, and yet didn’t seem to be bringing any oxygen with it. If she kept up like this, she was going to pass out. She needed to calm down.

Now that she thought about it, she’d left her backpack unattended at lunch while she ducked out to the ladies’ room. Well, not unattended exactly. She’d asked Evan to keep an eye on it, but he wouldn’t have taken that too seriously. Why would he? He could have gotten distracted talking or even… Evan was always pulling pranks. He could even have done this himself. If so, she was going to kill him. Literally. Today. Screw the six-day waiting period.

But her breathing didn’t slow. There was no relief at a mystery solved. She knew in her heart Evan wouldn’t do this. It was too mean-spirited. And on top of that, there was no pay-off. They didn’t have fifth period together, so he’d never get to see her reaction.

But no one was paying any attention. Or if they were, they were damn good at hiding it. Just in case, maybe she should tear up the note to show how little it meant to her. To prove that she wasn’t freaking out.

As soon as she could bring herself to touch it.

The bell rang and Ms. Ibrahim told them all to take out their textbooks and turn to chapter twelve. Still Rayna stared at the note. It was just a piece of paper. Probably harmless, but what if the note itself was the threat? It could be laced with poison or powder or something that would mess her up on contact. It would have to be a slow-acting poison to make her suffer for nearly a week. But wouldn’t that be too unpredictable? How could the killer know it would take six days, no more, no less? And why give a warning so she could get a head start on a cure rather than wait, thinking she had the flu or something?

Unless there was no cure.

“Vanessa?” Ms. Ibrahim said sharply. “Something wrong?”

Available now!

Blog Hiatus

Posted: August 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s to be expected, I suppose, that the busier I get, the less time I have to devote to telling you all about things! I’m still active on Twitter, and hope you’ll follow me there (@LucienneDiver). Agent-me can still be found at www.knightagency.net, and Author-me will continue on at www.luciennediver.com/, but it seems that new blogs will be an uncommon occurrence for the near future, though of course I’ll keep up with links to articles and other resources for authors! Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to seeing you around the Internet or in person at various conventions.

stone sky It’s been insanely busy around here, so while I’ve tweeted and Facebooked (yup, today it’s a verb), I haven’t yet blogged my HUGE congratulations to N.K. Jemisin for her Best Novel Nebula Award win for THE STONE SKY! So well-deserved! And congratulations to the other amazing nominees and award-winners!

curse on the land In more recent news, Faith Hunter’s second Soulwood novel, CURSE ON THE LAND, read by Khristine Hvam, won the Audie Award for Paranormal!

the mermaid THE MERMAID by Christina Henry is deservedly one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month: Science Fiction & Fantasy!

BoneDriven Happy Book Birthday to Hailey Edwards for the release of BONE DRIVEN, the second novel in her wonderful Foundling series from Piatkus Books!

BONE DRIVEN by Hailey Edwards (Piatkus, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Books-a-million)

The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning – and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man’s land . . .

Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull – particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren’t crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There’s no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.

Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.

Book Two in the powerfully addictive fantasy series The Foundling, perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews, Jenn Stark and Helen Harper

What readers are saying about Hailey Edwards:

‘This is a well written and entertaining story, full of humour and suspense, that I found to be a terrific read.’
‘A fast-moving journey filled with the unexpected.’ (RT Book Reviews)

‘Hailey Edwards has exceeded all expectations.’ (Goodreads)

‘Well-plotted fantasy with intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. (RT Book Reviews)

‘Edwards has this way of writing that makes you feel like the narrator is talking to you and that you’re old friends.’ (Goodreads)

‘The world building is fresh . . . The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot. ‘ (Red Hot Books)

‘One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world.’ (Smexybooks.com)

So, there seems to be an exciting new trend in publishing (not) where people are trademarking or attempting to trademark perfectly common words already in widespread usage throughout the industry in titles, series, imprints, etc. A friend on Twitter recently asked for my thoughts, and since I have yet to figure out how to do threads and link tweets (yes, I know, I’m waaayyy behind the times) and since Twitter only gives you so many words, I’m going to share thoughts here. First, according to the Trademark Office’s website, “A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” Choosing a word that’s already in widespread use already undermines the intent of a trademark to distinguish your work from other work of a similar nature. If your trademark is “water” for instance or “chocolate” or any number of words just as common as those being chosen, no one is going to automatically associate this with you. It’s unlikely to truly work for branding. Now, if you have something like the “Harry Harridan series,” you’ve got a name that’s distinct and worth protecting in case someone comes up with something that might legitimately cause confusion, like the Harriet Harridan series or the Harry Harrison series or…well, you get the point.

Now, in order to maintain a trademark, you have to show continued use and that you’ve taken steps to protect your trademark, which means taking action if such similarities exist to avoid confusion in the marketplace. This means monitoring the market and dealing with any potential violations of your trademark. For a common word, you may a) be at this all the livelong day and b) really affect the livelihood of others and invite accusations of restraint of trade.

In short, trying to trademark common words is not a good idea from any angle. It’s likely to be expensive, ineffective and detrimental to your own reputation and to others.

Dark Queen Cover HUGE congratulations to Faith Hunter for hitting #6 on the Print & E-book Combined New York Times bestseller list and #14 on the USA Today list for her latest Jane Yellowrock novel DARK QUEEN!

texas soldier's so Congratulations to Karen Whiddon for starting out at #46 on the Bookscan Romance Bestseller list for TEXAS SOLDIER’S SON!

And kudos to The Knight Agency‘s Nalini Singh and Shannon Curtis, who won in three categories of the Australian Romance Readers Awards over the weekend!

Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2017 is Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Favourite Romantic Suspense 2017 is Heart Breaker by Shannon Curtis

Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2017 is the Psy-Changeling Trinity by Nalini Singh

So much awesome!

Yesterday was a truly amazing day! First, two new releases – wishing a happy book birthday week to Faith Hunter for her new Jane Yellowrock novel DARK QUEEN and to Karen Whiddon for THE TEXAS SOLDIER’S SON! (More on these below.)

DARK QUEEN made both Unbound Worlds’ and Amazon’s lists of Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the month.

stone sky THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin, third in her Broken Earth series, finaled in the Locus Awards for Best Fantasy.

AND the RT Readers Choice Award winners were announced! The Knight Agency has a bunch of amazing authors on the list:

Career Achievement/Paranormal: Nalini Singh

RT Book of the Year: AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION* by Alyssa Cole

Historical Romance of the Year: AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION* by Alyssa Cole

First Historical: THE HIGHLAND DUKE by Amy Jerecki

Paranormal Worldbuilding: SILVER SILENCE by Nalini Singh

Epic Fantasy Novel: THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin

(*these books not represented by TKA)

In addition to her fabulous award wins, Alyssa Cole’s A PRINCESS IN THEORY was highlighted by Barnes & Noble in their article The Great RITA Read: The Lost Voices, and Buzzfeed featured her in their article Meet The Black Women Upending The Romance Novel Industry.

And now, more about those new releases!

Dark Queen Cover THE DARK QUEEN by Faith Hunter (Ace, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-million)

Jane Yellowrock used to hunt vampires, but now she must fight–and win–beside them.

As Enforcer to the vampire Master of the City of New Orleans, Jane Yellowrock stakes her reputation and her life on keeping her territory safe. But Leo has been issued a blood challenge by the emperor of the European vampires, who seeks to usurp all of his power and possessions. If Leo loses the match to the death, the city will be forfeit, and the people of New Orleans will suffer the consequences. Jane can’t let that happen.

Preparing for the duel requires all of Jane’s focus, but with so much supernatural power in play, nothing goes according to plan. She has to rely on herself and the very few people she knows she can trust to stand and fight. Only two things are guaranteed: nothing is sacred, and no one is safe.

texas soldier's so THE TEXAS SOLDIER’S SON by Karen Whiddon (Harlequin, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-million)

A thrilling new Top Secret Deliveries story

Army ranger Kyle Benning never expected to live again…or have a family. When he was believed dead in an explosion, Nicole Shelton gave birth to Kyle’s baby. Now she’s a widow and a prime suspect in a murder case! Everything Kyle once knew is as dangerous as a war zone, but he battles trauma and a killer to rescue the woman he still loves.

I’m so excited to see three of my clients up for the 2018 Scribe Awards! Congratulations to Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christie Golden and David Mack for their nominations:

Short Story

“Ganbatte” by Keith R.A. DeCandido (from the JOE LEDGER: UNSTOPPABLE anthology, edited by Jonatha Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt)

 

Adapted Speculative and Genera

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS by Christie Golden

 

Original Speculative

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II: INFERNO SQUAD by Christie Golden

STAR TREK DISCOVERY: DESPERATE HOURS by David Mack

 

YA Original

Marvel’s WARRIORS THREE: GODHOOD’S END by Keith R.A. DeCandido