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Win an Amazon Gift Card!

I need your help choosing a book cover for my upcoming novel Coffin Land, a vampire thriller with a steamy romantic subplot, set in Charleston, South Carolina in 1788. Vote for your favorite  cover idea to be entered into a random drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card. Tell me in a comment: Which cover would make you pick up the book?

Enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card by commenting on your favorite cover. Be as wordy as you want! Why do you think that one’s the winner? And which are runner-ups? Feel free to critique, but keep in mind these are rough mock-ups. Drawing date: Monday, August 24, 6 PM central.

Newidea1

Idea 1

Newidea2

Idea 2

Newidea3

Idea 3

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Idea 4

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Idea 5


Winner Announced in Goodreads Giveaway

Martin Turner won an autographed print copy of The Bad Death. When I host a Goodreads Giveaway, I note with interest the distance of  the entrants from my home on the Redneck Riviera. Today, I’m almost ridiculously psyched to send my novel to the quaintly named area of Bexhill on Sea in England.

If you’re not Martin Turner, don’t despair. You can buy an autographed e-book of The Bad Death (and my other books, too) from Authorgraph, for no more $ than you’d pay Amazon for the non-autographed copy. You’re welcome 😉


Win an Autographed Print Edition of The Bad Death

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Bad Death by Naima Haviland

The Bad Death

by Naima Haviland

Giveaway ends September 05, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Frenemies in The Bad Death

Charlotte, Jane Eliza, Eugénie

Oh, the complicated nature of female friendships. One’s a murderess. One’s using black magic to get pregnant. One’s the product of her big brother’s OCD. They’re besties as long as no one tries to best the others. Each has a unique relationship to Anika, the plat-eye slaying heroine of The Bad Death. Here’s a short bio on each.

Charlotte Mouret – As close to perfect as Julian could make her, Charlotte was educated in a schedule that never left time for idle (or independent) thought and married off at seventeen to the family’s financial manager. Though Julian assures her their field hand is an idiot savant, Charlotte suspects there’s something unnatural in Anika’s sudden talents.

Jane Eliza Farmington – Cherished daughter of a retired slaver. Society beauty. Poisoner. All magic that turns a profit is good magic, and Jane Eliza’s murders are just business. As a witch doctor’s delivery girl, Anika must avoid becoming a toy in Jane Eliza’s deadly games.

Eugénie Mouret – Julian’s sister-in-law knows full well the power of magic. She’ll pay any price for the charms that guarantee a pregnancy. Anika promised her a son destined for power. But if the magic works, who — or what — will live in Eugénie’s womb?


Catching a Lifeline and Just Catching Up

I have been writing The Bad Death like my head’s on fire. That’s why I haven’t been blogging. I had the antebellum, interracial vampire slayer novel slated for publication this summer, but my imagination had other plans, so all I can say is — folks, it’s gonna be great! Not only is the novel taking off, I feel refreshed and excited about the year ahead as a new philosophy and new goals take shape. This sea change went from a ripple to a surfable wave on a recent business trip to Colorado Springs.

At the time I felt my Firm had misfired by sending me. I was unfamiliar with the client’s methods and jargon. I tried hard to contribute but ended each day feeling that I’d failed. I went to bed every night expecting the next day to be worse in unimaginably horrible ways. The Bargain Books Warehouse in downtown Colorado Springs turned out to be a lifeline.

I’ve always believed in the power of cats to bring luck and healing. Sure enough, this little lady named Pages walked across the paperbacks to say hello. After that I found an old hard copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. I read the first three chapters that night. Its plain-speaking and practical advice turned the trip around for me.

Near the end of my two-week stay, I’d created the structure our group needed to build the products we intended. Before flying home, I stopped in Bargain Books Warehouse again and met their other resident cat, Booker.

This time I bought: Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, and Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge. I also bought NPR’s Story Corps collection Listening is an Act of Love; a cool, mature romance by Cheryl Reavis titled Blackberry Winter; and Suzanne Finstad’s Sleeping with the Devil, a true crime with an inspiring heroine. I flew home with heavier luggage but a lighter heart.

I’ll share my insights and opinions of these books in future, but first I’ll be guest-posting on M.R. Gott’s blog Cutis Anserina. More details on that next week.


Sally Hemings and Interracial historical romance fiction

Sally Hemings was an enslaved woman believed to have been Thomas Jefferson’s mistress and the mother of five children by him. It was a great scandal when Jefferson was President. For centuries, historians denied it, but rumors persisted. I heard recent DNA tests actually proved it. Historical observations of Sally Hemings suggest that she would have appealed to Jefferson for reasons beyond the physical. And there was much about Jefferson that would tempt a woman to see beyond the obvious injustice of his lifestyle. Two films bring their personalities to light and focus on their relationship. Both run on plot lines and dialogue that are mostly conjecture, as no documentation, such as personal letters, exist to prove the depth of their attachment. I’ll give mini-reviews of each, briefly review two books, and then tell you the main reason why I’m on this kick.

Sally Hemings: an American Scandal shows how the relationship between Jefferson (Sam Neill) and Sally (Carmen Ejogo) developed and how it matured over decades. It’s even romantic at times. The film focused a lot on Sally, her extended family, and fellow slaves and the cruelty they faced from racists and legal racism. I like that this film portrays Sally as spunky and outspoken, yet also a tactical thinker. The screenplay made her a total person with difficult decisions to live with.

By contrast, Jefferson in Paris showed Sally Hemings as a cross between Prissy from Gone with the Wind and …oh, I don’t know … Lolita, maybe. Nick Nolte plays Jefferson; Thandie Newton plays Sally. It’s kind of creepy, actually. Watch it yourself and tell me what you think. It’s a typical Merchant Ivory film — a visual feast of period costumes, sets, and scenes that brought joy to my eyes. The film ends with the biggest decision of Sally Hemings’ life.

That decision is the main reason I find Sally Hemings one of history’s most poignant and compelling women. In her teens she literally held freedom in her hands and made the conscious decision to relinquish it. The Hemingses of Monticello: an American Family examines her decision, as well as the lives of her extraordinary family. This nonfiction account by Annette Gordon-Reed is a thorough and compassionate book.

The Slave Master’s Son by Tiana Laveen is an interracial romance set against the backdrop of the Civil War. In my opinion, it needed an editor. I applaud the writer for taking on such a tricky topic, though. And the cover’s dead sexy. The Slave Master’s Son has many favorable reviews on Amazon, so don’t let mine be the last word. Download the free sample and tell me what you think.

Which leads me to why I’m on this kick as I ready my novel for publication later this year. The Bad Death is an antebellum vampire-slayer novel. Its heroine, Anika, is a slave on a South Carolina rice plantation in the late 1700s. Her love interests are Marcus, the enigmatic slave driver (who is himself, a slave) and Julian, Anika’s master. How not to fall flat on my face with an interracial, slave-era love triangle? It’s important to get this right. I know I can’t please everyone, but I want to know my subject and live inside my characters in order to tell their story in a way that does them justice and is respectful of the history underlying the fiction and fantasy.