Tuesday, 21 September 2010

It's the End of the World As We Know It

I've always had a thing for post-apocalyptic tales of mayhem and adventure. Unfortunately very few of such tales involve romance. Oh, it may be hinted at in a vague, off-handed sort of way, or as a tool of conflict, but there is very little on the market to satisfy my need for End Of The World Lovin'.

Such a shame.

There is, of course, the seriously awesome Tsunami Blue, which I loved. And there are a couple other authors I'm eager to try, but the pickings are slim. What's a writer to do?

Write her own post-apocalyptic romance novel?

Lately Bailey has been annoying me. I am finding the second Bailey Morgan book just a bit of a slog. I don't know why. I'm sure Freud (Or my cousin, the Counsellor) could figure out why, but I'm just annoyed.

My friend and fellow writer, LM Pruitt, suggested I give Bailey (and myself) a break and fall in love with another world and another character. You know, before I go postal or something.

So, that is what I'm going to do. I'm playing with the time-space continuum and turning a novel that was maybe going to be a historical, or possibly a fantasy, into a post-apocalyptic future.

Will it work?

The writing gods only know. But suddenly, I'm feeling all sorts of creative...

There's an old friend sitting on the shelf patiently waiting for me to get myself together.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Slogging Along

I'm finding it a challenge to write these days.

The words slog along.

The characters are contrary.

The villains are cheesy.

I feel like banging my head against a wall.

Perhaps I need a break from Bailey's world and try out a new world for awhile.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Bad Kitty

I realize I've been woefully remiss in posting lately. Not to worry, I've got an excuse. It's a good one, too!

I recently started a new job. A new job which requires a long and rather frenzied commute, followed by a day of brain melting training, followed by another long and even more frenzied commute. I'm surprised I don't have brain cells leaking out my ears.

Does this mean I've stopped writing?

No. Hells no!

Granted, my writing is currently taking a slightly different form. I'm not sitting down at a keyboard pounding out chapter after chapter. Instead I've got pen and paper in hand (Yeah, I'm old school like that.) and I spend my free time at work plotting and planning and really getting the plot and characters nailed down. That way over the next few weeks I can do a bit of actually writing every single day. Since everything will be plotted out, I won't have moments of "Now what???"

Ok, I'll probably still have moments of "now what", but hopefully they'll be fewer and further between. Which means the ability to write faster and hopefully retain a greater number of brain cells. Which are useful. Mostly.

I guess my point is, when the going gets tough, you don't give up. You just find creative ways of making your schedule work for you and your writing.

Friday, 28 May 2010

It's All Fun And Games 'Til The Flying Monkeys Show Up

This week has been just a little bit mad. Not a lot mad, just a little. Between job hunting, co-organizing two Meetup groups and trying to get Book 2 plotted and written, I think maybe I've lost more than a few marbles.

The awesome thing is, that when it comes to plotting, planning, questions, comments and screams of moral outrage, I've got the best Writers' Group. Evah.

It's not a big group. It's not even an official group. In fact, not all of them are even writers. Some are readers who are passionate about a great story with a kick-ass heroine fuelled by just a tweak of magic. Without these women, Kissed by Darkness would have never been finished and Kissed by Fire would still be nothing but a germ of an idea. If that.

I can not stress just how important having a Writers' Group is for an author. They're your sounding board, your cheer leading squad, your faithful conspirators and your team of drunken commiserates. They'll give you unflinchingly honest feedback and unshakable moral support.

They don't have to be World Famous Authors. They don't even necessarily have to be writers (Though it helps if at least some of them are.). They DO have to love books and they have to be willing to be honest with you. 100%. Kissing your ass is worthless. Brutal honesty is your friend.

There's a fantastic blog post on The Write One about this very subject. See, I'm not the only one who thinks so! It's a common theme among all successful writers: Writing Groups are worth their weight in gold. And that, my friends, is one heck of a lot of gold.

So, if you want to be a "real" writer, hie thee to a Writers' Group. And if you can't find one, make one. You won't regret it.

Meanwhile, I'm off to have a chat with the flying monkeys. Might as well have them clean my house since the Cleaning Fairies took the day off...

Monday, 17 May 2010

Dragons In The Hedgerows

It's amazing, the places one can find inspiration.

Agatha Christie used to find inspiration on trams and trains and sipping tea outside cafes. Who am I to argue with genius.

Inspiration, my friends, is everywhere. I found my inspiration in hedgerows in the North of England.

Yes, hedgerows. Dragons live in them, dontcha know. They lay their eggs there and some times they hide behind the stone walls in quaint little English villages.

Trust me.

And sometimes, very late at night, if you watch very closely, you will find them meeting atop Hadrian's Wall for a conclave. That's when things get interesting...

So yes, ladies and gentlemen, Kissed By Fire is all about DRAGONS!

(Picture by Ushika)

"Thou shoulds't beware of Dragons for thou art crunchy and taste excellent with ketchup!"

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Big Day

Today's the day!

After days of going through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb, I'm finally ready to send queries out to agents. Go me!

I've sent out five query letters so far today and have five more I want to send this week. Have to write a synopsis for those first. That ought to be interesting.

I think it was Yasmine Galenorn who recently said writing is only a small part of an author's actual work. Man, was she dead on with that one! Creating the book in the first place is almost easy compared to the re-writes, re-writes and more re-writes. Not to mention copy editing, proof reading, writing query letters and everything else that comes with it. And don't even get me started on that horrible yet exciting feeling in the pit of your stomach when you finally send out those query letters...

And that, my friends, is only the beginning.

The query letters may be out in the ether waiting for a miracle, but the work is only just beginning. While I wait to see where the Universe takes me next on this brilliant journey, I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) for Bailey's next great adventure.

For now, though, I think my brain needs a break! :-D

Friday, 23 April 2010

Kissed By Darkness (Sunwalker Saga) - First Part of Chapter One

“You’re dripping blood on my carpet. Again.” The voice was as expressionless as the face. Only a slight glint behind deep brown eyes betrayed the fact that my boss and best friend was extremely peeved.

I could sort of see her point. Last time she’d had to replace the carpet. This time, though, the blood only went up to my elbows and there were just a couple drips. It’s not like she couldn’t get the place steam cleaned.

“That’s what you get for calling me in right after a slaying.” I dropped into one of the two chairs in front of her massive mahogany desk. She scowled at me. She didn’t like me getting blood all over her fake leather chairs, either. Bad for business, having a client sit down in a pool of vampire blood.

“Here.” She threw me a box of wet wipes. Only semi-effective for cleaning blood off things, but certainly better than nothing. I grabbed a wipe and started scrubbing at my arm. That’s when I noticed a few drops of blood in my cleavage. Gross.

Kabita leaned back in her chair, “How do you like weird?”

As though killing vampires and demon spawn for a living is normal. I tried to raise an eyebrow at her, but I’m no Mr. Spock; both went up. “Define weird.”

“Weird. As in: ‘up your alley’ weird.

Ah, she meant blood suckers. Nightwalkers. Minions of Darkness. Vampires. Right. Except for Kabita and me, vampires aren’t weird. They’re normal, everyday stuff. Or maybe I should say every-night stuff. It’s like saying that making bagels is a weird job for a baker.

Kabita runs a private investigation firm which specializes in hunting down things the government likes to pretend don’t exist. Creatures that would give most people nightmares. The government pays us a lot of money to track and kill the monsters while pretending to be normal PIs who do nothing more exciting than investigate cheating spouses. We get excitement and fortune. The government gets plausible deniability. We all go home happy.

“And how is this weirder than any other ‘up my alley’ case?

She pushed a file gingerly across the desk. Despite being one of the best demon spawn hunters in the business, Kabita found vampires extremely distasteful, not to mention creepy. Go figure. “It’s not an ordinary vamp,” she said. “It’s a Sunwalker.”

I checked to make sure my jaw wasn’t lying on her desk. Nope, still attached to my face. “Jesus, Kabita, what’ve you gotten me into this time?”

“Our new client wants us to hunt this Sunwalker and kill him, but more importantly, he wants us to retrieve something the Sunwalker stole from his family. He’ll fill you in on the details. You’re to meet him at this address,” she shoved a piece of paper across to me while carefully tucking a strand of long, ink black hair behind her ear.

Despite edging on forty, she didn’t have a single strand of gray. I hadn’t quite hit thirty yet, twenty-nine to be exact, but I hoped I looked half as good as she did at forty. I had my doubts. My job isn’t exactly the kind that keeps one young.

I shook my head, “No, way. Seriously, no way. This is insane! A Sunwalker? You do know they’re not real, right? Sunwalkers are just a myth.”

She gave me a look. She was good at “the look”. “Excuse me, oh Great Slayer of Vampires, but you don’t have a choice. Not if you want to keep your job.” Which I did, and she knew it. There’s something so immensely satisfying about going to work and hacking someone or something’s head off. They don’t usually let you do that at, say, the pharmaceutical company or the post office, even if that someone really deserves it. They kind of frown on it, actually. I also get to wear really cool kick-ass boots and jeans every day.

Truth was, though, Kabita knew I loved a good challenge. She wasn't just my boss, she was also my friend and would never give me anything I couldn’t handle, no matter how much I bitched and moaned about an assignment. I was damn good at killing vamps. A Sunwalker would just be a little more… tricky. Not only were they not supposed to exist, but how were you supposed to find a vampire that could walk around in daylight? Heck, he probably even had a nice tan.

“Fine,” I snatched the paper off the desk. “I’ll meet him after I take a shower.”

“Good idea.”

I just glared at her. Sarcastic witch.

Her return smile was annoyingly beatific.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I Have A Dream....

My path to author-dom began almost the moment I was born. I blame my mother.

For as long as I can remember, my mother would haul my two younger brothers and me down the hill to the local library. We'd fill our red Radio Flyer wagon with armfuls of picture books and then head uphill back home. Reading books was as important to our family as eating food or taking baths.

Fast forward to about age ten when I discovered my first Agatha Christie. My passion for the murder mystery began and so did my hero-worship of a woman who died just days before my second birthday. To this day she stands as my all-time inspiration for becoming a writer and I'm gutted I will never have the chance to meet her. Not in this lifetime, anyway. Who knows? Maybe one of my alternate selves had the opportunity! :-)

It's up for debate as to which was greater, my passion for mysteries or my passion for science fiction. I cut my eye teeth on Battlestar Gallactica and Buck Rogers. Of course, as I grew older I wanted to see a little more romance, a little more heat. Fortunately as a young woman I found my first romance. My favorites of the genre quickly became paranormal romances and scifi romances. Bring on Dara Joy, Linda Howard and Maggie Shayne! I couldn't get enough of them.

As I hit my late 20s and moved into my 30s, I moved away from romance and back to mysteries and scifi. I also discovered fantasies and thrillers and, dare I say, horror! I especially discovered a long hidden passion for post-apocalyptic adventures. Not sure what that says about me, but there you go. If there's a sudden zombie apocalypse, I am so going to be in my element.

And finally in my mid-30s my true passion has emerged: the urban fantasy. Somehow this one little sub-genre combines everything I most love about novels: fantasy, action, murder, mayhem, romance, alternative history, a little bit of scifi, and a whole lot of crazy and the occasional apocalypse (not necessarily of the zombie variety). From Nalini Singh to Alyssa Day to Ann Aguirre, I have so many books and authors I love these days, I can hardly keep them straight!

Somehow that love of books and stories cooked and simmered away in the back of my mind until finally it was ready to unleash itself on the world. Oh, sure, I've never stopped writing since the day I first learned to spell my name. I've written poetry, song lyrics, novels that never made it past rough drafts, recipes and articles. For the last three years I've worked as a part-time free-lance ghost writer and my articles are all over the web. Not always under my name, of course. :-) I've even co-written an e-book on personal development.

Yet my true love remains the novel. And out of that love birthed a germ of an idea which today is an urban fantasy novel. After a year and a half of writing, re-writing and more re-writing, that novel is finally ready to go and Bailey Morgan lives at last.

The hunt for an agent begins....