I am so excited! The first StrikeForce book, A New Day, is now available in audio. I had the pleasure of working with the lovely Chloe Cole, who did a fabulous job bringing Jolene and the rest of the crew to life, and she will be starting work on One More Day later this summer. I’ve been extremely lucky with my narrators — I’ve wanted to stick with the same voice for an entire series, and so far, it’s worked out perfectly.
Here’s where you can grab your audio copy of A New Day. I hope you like it — I think Chloe was a perfect fit for this project, and I can’t wait to hear what you think.
It’s here! The next part of Jolene’s story, and the final part of the Killjoy story arc is available now, and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it.
Day’s End picks up several weeks after the events of Darkest Day. The Tribunal wants StrikeForce to turn Jolene over to be tried and punished for Render’s death. Suspecting that Eve is just a little too cozy with Jolene’s enemy and former love interest, Killjoy, the team refuses to turn her over, which results in the public hating and distrusting the team even more. Eve has squads of Tribunal soldiers in Detroit, ready to grab Jolene if they get a chance, so she’s essentially on house arrest, stuck in StrikeForce Command until the insanity dies down.
But while Jolene has been mostly down and out, her enemies, Killjoy and the mysterious woman in blue (who has been kidnapping super powered kids), seem to have upped their games. It isn’t long before Jolene refuses to sit back any longer, and when she and Killjoy clash, it changes both Jolene and StrikeForce forever.
Here we go! We are officially ONE WEEK away from Day’s End’s release, and I cannot wait for you all to read this one. My beta readers have given me their feedback, and I’m feeling good right now.
As is the usual tradition around here, it’s time to release this book’s playlist. The list for this book was actually pretty long, as there were a lot of different moods and different types of action. I narrowed it down to the top five songs I listened to during the writing of the book, presented here in general in order of where in the book’s plot I listened to them most. As always, it seems, there’s always one oddball song that doesn’t go with the rest of them, but Rihanna just freaking works for me. I listened to Diamonds through the entire last part of the book and I regret nothing.
Other than Rihanna, I apparently was feeling very 90s with this playlist. I think Jolene would approve. 🙂
1. Don’t Mess With Me — Brody Dalle
2. Bruise Violet — Babes in Toyland
3. Charlotte — Kittie
4. How Dirty Girls Get Clean — Hole
5. Diamonds — Rihanna
So there they are. If you’re interested in the complete playlist, you can find it on Spotify.
It’s almost here! The fourth StrikeForce book, which concludes the “Killjoy” story arc, will be out on May 9th, 2016!
This book, guys. This book drove me nuts, but in all the best ways. I feel like I stretched myself a bit as a writer. I tackled some things that I wasn’t sure I could manage. It’ll be up to you, of course, to decide how well you think I managed it, but at this point, I’m glad I tried some things I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do. If you’d like, you can add the book to your GoodReads shelf here.
Okay. How about a synopsis?
Thief. Villain. Hero.
Alternately hated, loved, trusted, and feared by the city she’s sworn to protect (sometimes all on the same day), Jolene Faraday, A.K.A. Daystar, has finally crossed the line.
In a fit of rage, her actions led to the death of the supervillain known as Render. That line, that paper-thin line between punishing and killing, is the one thing that allows ordinary humans to live in a world with super powered beings without being in a constant state of panic. And when one of their “heroes” loses control and crosses it, fear of supers reaches an all-time high.
And it’s not just the citizens of her city who are afraid. The Tribunal is calling for Jolene’s arrest, which Portia, leader of StrikeForce, refuses to comply with. StrikeForce’s insistence on protecting Jolene only adds fuel to the fire.
An Enemy Lurks in the Shadows
The world sits on the verge of chaos as Killjoy initiates the next phase of his plan, and StrikeForce continues to be one step behind the enemy.
But Killjoy’s next move, the move that has the power to destroy everything Jolene and StrikeForce have tried to build, will change the team, the city, and Jolene, forever.
And…. the cover! I ADORE this cover. Throughout this series, my designer (also my husband — it’s very convenient!) has done an amazing job of accomplishing the comic book/superhero movie feel I was going for.
So… May 9th! I can’t wait to hear what you guys think. I’ll have an excerpt up on the blog here in the next week or so, and some updated news about EXILE — I know many of you have been waiting for the next installment, but I needed a break and since we had come to the conclusion of act one, it seemed like a good place to stop… for now. 😉
Darkest Day was one of those books that I really had fun writing. Don’t get me wrong, this is me we’re talking about, so there were weeks worth of angst and “oh my god I’m the worst ever,” but for the most part, this was a blast. I was able to write plenty of butt-kicking, more than a few lines that made me grin, and (yes!) a little bit of romance. When I started talking about this series with you guys, I said that what I was going for was the experience of reading a great comic book in the form of a novel. I wanted the excitement, the quips, the sense of “oh, crap” when things go badly. I wanted to capture the interpersonal dynamic of a team of different personalities thrown together and expected to save the world — the friendships, the rivalries, the romances. I felt like I did that with Darkest Day, and I’m pretty excited about the way it all came together.
I hope you grab a copy, and please let me know what you think! You can always email me, or give me a shout on Twitter or Facebook. And, if you’re comfortable with leaving reviews, please know that I most definitely appreciate them.
And now… a new release means a new playlist. Here are the top five songs I listened to during the writing of Darkest Day, in no particular order.
Darkest Day Playlist
X Gon Give It to Ya – DMX
This song is absolutely perfect for writing fight scenes to. Thank you to the creators of the Deadpool trailers for making me see that. I listened to this one A LOT.
Charlotte – Kittie
There is so much rage in this throwback from the 90s, along with a thread of delicacy flowing through it. I’d forgotten about how much I loved this song, but then it came up in a Spotify playlist and I realized how perfect it was. Some of the lyrics:
So, I’m nothing. You took something from me, now you’ve disappeared. You’re right where I want you. You said you wanted it, alright. No! It’s not alright– No… Now I’m something, and your head is in my closet. Dead forever, they’ll never search it. Out of sight. No! It’s not alright…
I mean, really. It was pretty much perfect for this book. Angsty, violent. Yeah.
Hard Out Here – Lily Allen
Yet another song that was absolutely perfect for this book. We’ll just let the lyrics speak for themselves. They’re very Jolene (except for the sex life thing. I can’t even count how many times you guys have asked me if poor Jo is ever going to get lucky…)
I suppose I should tell you what this bitch is thinking You’ll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen I won’t be bragging ’bout my cars or talking ’bout my chains Don’t need to shake my ass for you ’cause I’ve got a brain
If I told you ’bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut When boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss There’s a glass ceiling to break, uh-huh, there’s money to make And now it’s time to speed it up ’cause I can’t move at this pace
[Bridge:] Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to say I’ll go ahead and say them anyway Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits
[Chorus:] It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard out here for a bitch.
Doll Parts – Hole
Another ragey, angsty 90s throwback. In case it wasn’t obvious already, I adored the 90s.
Dark Horse – Katy Perry
And, finally… a non-ragey, non-angsty song that doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest. There’s one of these on every one of my playlists. 🙂
Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Darkest Day!
We are just a bit over two weeks away from the release of DARKEST DAY, the third book in my StrikeForce series. Are you guys ready to see how Jolene reacts to the events of One More Day? One hint: it’s probably going to be violent.
First, let’s take a look at the synopsis:
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Nietzsche
One moment, one mistake, changed Jolene Faraday’s life forever. Devoted entirely now to bringing down the super villain known as Killjoy, she spends nearly every waking moment working toward his downfall — and the rest of the time trying to come to terms with what her life has become.
Somebody’s about to have a bad day…
Nightmares, guilt, and questions of her own morality notwithstanding, Jolene, A.K.A. Daystar, is becoming the hero she swore she’d be, and StrikeForce, under Portia’s leadership, is earning a measure of respectability from friend and foe alike. That is, until questions about Jolene’s involvement in a certain super villain’s death come to light, along with increasing pressure for her to answer questions about her shadowy past.
All of it is background noise, a distraction from her hunt for Killjoy and his team. And when they threaten yet another person she cares for, Jolene becomes nothing less than Killjoy and company’s worst nightmare.
And, the COVER!!
I’ll have an excerpt for you later this week. I cannot wait for you guys to read this one! If you’d like to add it to your shelf on GoodReads (I’d love you forever) you can do that here.
We are less than a week away from the release of One More Day! Next Wednesday, January 20th, you guys will get to see where Jolene’s story takes her next, and I cannot wait.
One of the things that seems to be becoming a bit of a pre-release tradition around here is the sharing of my writing playlist for each book. You can check out the playlist for StirkeForce #1, A New Day, here.) I think the first book had a lighter feel to it, with occasional moments where readers kind of wanted to hit someone. Book two is a bit darker (though there are still plenty of light moments!) and I think that’s probably reflected in the playlist. So here were the top five songs I listened to while writing One More Day:
5. X Gon Give it to Ya – DMX
I’ll just admit right now that once I heard this again in the initial trailer for the Deadpool movie, I knew I had to add it to the StrikeForce playlist. I think there’s maybe a little bit of Deadpool in Jolene, and that’s what makes her so fun to write. This is the ultimate fight scene song. (And this video is of the radio friendly version. I listened to the song with all the fucks intact, because Jolene. Ha.)
4. Garbadge Man – Hole
I’m still a fan of Hole just in general, and this is the first of two Courtney Love songs on this list. I listened to this quite a lot toward the end of the book.
3. Sappy – Nirvana
I’ll just kind of leave this here for now. First of two Nirvana songs in my top 5.
2. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle – Nirvana
This one actually came pretty close to being the song I listened to most during the writing of One More Day. Firstly, because there is no such thing as too much Nirvana, and secondly because the lyrics are just so damn perfect and it’s ultimately a song about isolation and betrayal and that probably says a lot about this book, I guess.
1. Miss Narcissist – Courtney Love
The most-played track from my playlist for One More Day was this one that was released late last year by Courtney Love. Besides having a really strong, driving pace that kept me bobbing my head and sometimes (the horror) singing along while writing, the song is a good mix of dark and light and the lyrics just kind of fit Jolene: Miss Narcissist, come on Magnificent and obvious Bless us with your presence And your paranoia Miss Narcissist, she’s the thief Sucks out all the energy Stole all my heart’s fertility like a parasite And all she needs is
Me, me, me No apologies In the end Miss Narcissist, it’s us versus them Ohh
Princess, what do you need? Stretch marks on your arteries Scars on your malignancy Come on, come on Self-obsessed, but weak Don’t come crawling to me We’ll throw your toxic trash out on the street
Me, me, me No apologies In the end Miss Narcissist, it’s us versus them
When I listen to it, I think of Jolene. Paranoid, a little bit self-obsessed, believes she’s weak, always wanting more even if she doesn’t know why, and ultimately believing that it’s her versus everybody else. So… yeah.
So there were my top five tracks for this book! Some runners-up were “Doll Parts” by Hole, “Possession” by Sarah Maclachlan, and “Detroit vs. Everybody.”
WEDNESDAY, guys! And here was a little teaser graphic I made for Facebook, because I kept hearing after I released that excerpt earlier this week that people chuckled at these lines.
I am so excited to finally share this book with you guys! One More Day, the second book in my StirkeForce superhero series is finished! It will be with my beta readers today, and then go through copyedits, and then you’ll have it. When? One More Day will be available on Wednesday, January 20th!
So, what’s the story here?
It isn’t everyday that you find yourself responsible for overthrowing the leadership of a superhero team. Unfortunately for Jolene Faraday, AKA Daystar, she doesn’t have much time to bask in the glow of her victory over Alpha and his cronies at StrikeForce. Though StrikeForce is working to regain its reputation and be taken seriously, the villains they need to handle are out there right now, and StrikeForce is nowhere near ready to deal with them.
Dr. Death, responsible for the deaths of nearly three dozen people when one of his experiments went awry in downtown Detroit, is still on the loose, and it’s only a matter of time before he comes up with another maniacal plan. Super powered people are going missing all over the world, and then there’s that whole “now what do we do with Alpha?” issue.
Aside from that, Jolene is still adjusting to the injuries she sustained the last time she faced off against Death and his crew, as well as dealing with the weight of keeping her past life and her superhero life separate. She can’t seem to find enough time for her irritating sort-of superhero boyfriend, and her friends don’t entirely trust her. Probably with good reason.
All of that means nothing when Jolene is faced with betrayal, heartbreak, and questions of loyalty. In the end she’ll have to decide whether to keep to the superhero route, or risk becoming the very thing StirkeForce always feared she would be.
And…. the cover!
Gah!! I give a little happy dance every time I see that. I can’t wait for you guys to read this one! I’ll have another teaser post soon, as well as my playlist for the book. Here’s that excerpt I promised you. Enjoy!
* * *
“On your right,” Caine’s voice said over the comm in my ear. “He’s about to let loose again.”
“Copy.” I swerved, turning back to the right and finally catching sight of the most recent powered dumbass Caine and I had been chasing. This one had been popping up all over the region the past two weeks, damaging buildings and injuring people, and then boasting about it on social media. If I had to guess, I’d say he was in his early twenties, probably. Tall and skinny, jock looking type. He could fly, and he was able to breathe fire.
He called himself, predictably enough, “The Dragon.”
Caine and I had spent most of a day trying to chase him down the last time he’d shown up in Detroit, with the rest of the team backing us up. He shouldn’t have been as difficult to catch as he was, except that in addition to the flying and fire, he had the ability to camouflage himself. If you were anywhere where there were buildings or trees or anything like that for him to blend into, you were screwed.
Over the past hour or so, we’d managed to draw him out near the river and toward Belle Isle. It was more open there, and there were no skyscrapers for him to blend into.
I got ready to move, and the phone in my belt rang. Again. I rolled my eyes. This was the fifth time in maybe ten minutes.
“Shouldn’t you answer that?” Caine asked as I hoisted him up and started flying toward the island.
“Not right now.”
“What if it’s your mom or something?”
I shook my head. “That’s not her ring. It’s Killjoy’s.”
Killjoy. Who I hadn’t heard a peep from in over a month, since the day he’d come to visit me in the hospital wing after my fight with Maddoc. I’d told him to stay away from Command, because I didn’t trust Alpha not to try to take him in. But that wasn’t an issue anymore and if he’d bothered calling or messaging or something even once in all that time, he would have known that.
I dropped Caine on the beach at Belle Isle, where he could get a good shot off if I wasn’t able to take the guy down. He wasn’t getting away from us again.
“Ready?” I asked him.
“Go get him,” he answered, pulling the stun rifle off his shoulder and aiming it. “If he starts taking off again, he won’t get far.”
I nodded, then rose into the air again. I knew by now, about a month after Portia had assigned Caine as my partner out in the field, that when he took a shot, he didn’t miss. The problem was that we didn’t get as many shots as we’d like, and superpowers, unfortunately, sometimes reacted strangely with the stun gun, so we had to make sure that we were somewhere where the chance of civilians getting hurt was low.
I raced toward Dragon, who hadn’t spotted us yet and seemed to be surveying the area below. Either looking for us or deciding which random structure to set fire to next. Either way, he wouldn’t get the chance to do any of it. Everything was a blur as I pushed myself toward him. His back was to me, and I had the perfect chance to get the jump on him, take him down before he even saw me coming.
And, at that moment, my phone rang again. Killjoy’s ring.
Dragon spun and kind of did this funny mid-air version of tripping in surprise. I was already going at him full speed, so I just kept going, and I was lucky that he wasn’t exactly a quick thinker. I bowled into him, got an arm around his neck, and flew with him back down to the ground. Even if he managed to take in enough air to blow fire, there was nothing on the beach at Belle Isle to set fire to. I landed, and he struggled and fought against me. I could see Caine further down the beach, running toward us. Dragon kept struggling and trying to get out of my grasp, and I tightened my hold around his neck, his head under my arm.
And my phone rang again.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I muttered. I used my free hand to dig my phone out of my belt pocket and answered.
“Hello?” I asked, well aware that I sounded like a bitch.
“Well hello to you too. I was wondering if you were ever going to bother answering,” Connor’s voice said over the line. The Dragon started struggling again, and I yanked him back toward me.
“Little busy just now,” I said.
“Yeah. Busy with Caine, huh?”
“You two are alway together. I see it on the news.”
I was seriously tempted to throw my phone into the river. “I’m working. I literally have an asshole in custody right now and he’s trying to get out of my grip and you’re giving me bullshit about my patrol partner? Are you kidding me with this right now?”
“I—“ he began, but now I was on a roll.
“And what business do you have saying anything about anything? I haven’t heard from you in over a month and I would have been sure you were dead except that I keep seeing you on the news.”
“You told me to stay away.”
“Oh kiss my ass,” I gave Dragon a hard yank when he tried to get free again. “That has nothing to do with dialing the damn phone once in a while.”
Caine met up with me and started putting the dampener over Dragon’s neck while I held him still.
“So you’re not going to say anything about Caine then?” he asked, and I held my phone away from my head and glared at it. Caine raised his eyebrows at me, oblivious to what was going on, and I shook my head.
“You can call back when you decide to stop being an asshole. I have things to do.” I hung up and shoved the phone back in my pocket just as Caine activated the dampener.
“Everything okay?” Caine asked.
“Don’t know who that was, but seems like pissing off the chick who breaks buildings for fun isn’t the brightest idea.”
I shook my head. “Two buildings, man. Two. You act like I do that shit all the time.”
We started walking up the beach, and I was more than happy to let Caine take over keeping a hold on Dragon. He smelled like burnt eggs and I had to try not breathing through my nose or I’d end up losing my morning coffee in my mask.
“You forgot about that house in Brightmoor,” he said.
“That didn’t count. It was going to come down any day anyway.”
“Uh huh. The Historical Museum?” he asked, glancing over at me.
“I didn’t break the building. Just some of the stuff inside,” I said with a grimace.
“Have they lifted the ban on you yet?”
I glared at him then, and he laughed and hauled Dragon into the mini jet we’d taken out for patrolling.
“You owe me lunch, by the way. I bagged this one,” I told Caine as I buckled into the seat behind the pilot’s seat.
“It’s kind of unfair working with you. You end up bagging all of them.”
“Yeah. All three of the ones we’ve managed to take down,” I said, rolling my eyes.
Caine strapped Dragon into the seat beside mine, securing his hands and ankles and double-checking the dampener before sliding into the pilot’s seat. Then he turned and looked back at me. “Hey. Better than leaving those three out on the street. We’ll take a win where we can get it, and eventually, we’ll start getting more of them. Right?”
“Who would have guessed you’d be the perky positive one of the two of us?” I asked him.
“Perky. Damn. You didn’t have to get mean about it,” he muttered, but I could tell from his tone that he was smiling. We took off, and I watched the city pass beneath us. I would have rather been flying outside of the mini jet than inside it, any day.
Finally! Release day for A New Day is finally here, and I cannot wait for you guys to read this one. Superheroes, girl power, Detroit, sarcasm, mysterious men… all of my favorite things, wrapped up into a story that I absolutely loved writing. If you’ve pre-ordered the book (thank you!) it should be waiting for you on your Kindle. If not, you can grab a copy now over on Amazon.
My pal, the lovely Corrina Lawson, blurbed the book and here’s what she had to say:
She totally got what I was trying to do. It’s a superhero story, a coming of age story, an adventure story, and at the heart of it all is Jolene, who I love as much as any of my other heroines. I can’t wait to spend more time with her, and I am so excited for you to meet her.
Let me know what you think! Leave a comment here on the blog, email me at email@example.com, tweet at me (@C_Vanderlinden) or leave a comment over on Facebook. Thanks, as always, for your support. You guys are the absolute best.
So, it’s that time again. A new book, a new series, means a new playlist! I listen to music while I’m writing, and every book has its own sound. Often, my main characters have kind of their own theme song, and I end up forever associating a particular song with a character.
Here are my top five most frequently played songs while writing A New Day. As you’ll see, it’s kind of a mixed bag. 😉
1. Till I Collapse by Eminem
This is Jolene’s theme song in my mind. Cocky, brash, unstoppable. It’s pretty much perfect for her.
2. Fuck You by Lily Allen
You’ll know why this is in here when you read the book. It’s pretty integral.
3. Captain America (Theme Song from Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
I’m writing about superheroes, and this theme is just so super heroic! It fit perfectly for certain sections during the second half of A New Day.
4. Just a Girl by No Doubt
5. Shove by L7
A runner-up for Jolene’s theme song, but it also works for a few other characters, too. 🙂
So, there we go! My top 5 songs from the A New Day playlist. Once the book is out and you guys have had a chance to read it, maybe we’ll open it up for a community playlist like we did for Hidden.
Thanks for reading! We’re only a few days away now, and if you haven’t done so yet, you can still pre-order the book on Amazon.