Category Archives: Interviews

Seeing the Wind in Revisions

Happy Spring Day, Dark Dreamers,

“I have always maintained that if you looked closely enough you could see the wind—the dim, hardly-made-out, fine debris fleeing high in the air.” Stewart Edward White painted this lovely concept in his book The Mountains. I have loved this light and movement filled portrayal. As I tell my students all the time, write your soul so your audience feels it. That’s what descriptions are. In dark urban fantasy, that’s doubly important as you may be describing a creature no one has met, such as vampires, scions, shifters or ghosts, or an action no audience member has ever, hopefully, experienced, such as having their blood slowly drained from their body or the shifting of their bones and muscles as they become an animal. What senses will engage the most to share the event with the reader? When does detail and description become too much?

But as we’ve discussed here before, very rarely will we hit the artificial obvious images perfectly the first time on the first draft. Try as we may, we have to collect that sand first, before making the castle of our masterpiece. We need to revise and clean and shape until our blood splatters just so, and a kiss captures just the right breath, and the monster’s eyes are just the right shade of hate. If we can’t see it, they won’t feel it. But something happens when we see the wind, we forget to write the world it flows in.

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And the blood flowed and covered everything like a great big red bloody mess…yes, poetry.

What I mean by this is often as writers we can get so fixated on describing the details of the scene, we often simply assume our readers can see the rest of the world as clearly as we can. This doesn’t just limit itself to the physical description of a place or a person, but also the internal workings of characters as well. Why is a character reacting or feeling? What clues can we give our audience? The importance here is our readers often will empathize with our characters if they can believe and feel their motivations and emotions. But that has to be there. On both physical and emotional cues, and that can be hard for an author to spot the lack of both in drafting and revising.

We always see the wind, because we are so intimate with the voices in our heads and the story we’re stitching. We love our baby masterpiece in the making. It’s hard to see their faults or the missing gaps in our writing because our brain autocorrects not only our grammar when we read it, but also the continuity and motivational gaps since it already knows that whether it’s on the paper or not. We see the wind because we gave it life, but often it stays in our eyes and our heads and never makes it to the paper. Our poor audiences, not being psychic and all, has no idea what’s left in our head and is at the mercy of the scraps thrown onto the paper.

This is true not only for fiction writing but also academic writing for my students, memo writing in the office, proposal writing for the government. Writing is writing, for ill or for good. And the best resource stay true for every one of them: other people. People will cheerlead you when you are dragging, kick you in the butt when you need it and be an extra set of eyes and brain for your words. Once they can describe the wind the way you can, then you know you really have something.

I love my critique group who does all of the above for me. They workshop everything from a barely formed idea to a fully written scene. But my best secret weapon is my husband, who is also a writer. We try to perfect each other’s work and point out when the wind is a bit lacking. Recently a local reporter wrote about how we put this idea to use. Here’s a link to that article: Frederick News Post Article

So, my question to you, Dark Dreamers, is who or what is your secret weapon to make you better in what you do?

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I’m Ready for my Close Up, Mr. Vampire

Good Morning, Dark Dreamers,

Recently, I have had the exciting opportunity to be interviewed, not just by wonderful bloggers online, but in front of the scary, scary camera. It even went out over TV and people let me know they saw me. Frederick Community College, the same location who hosted the amazing launch for my debut new adult novel, OF SCIONS AND MEN, also asked me to come in for a face-to-face interview not only on being an author but also on my writing process. This was a fun time, even if being scene on film is a daunting task for me, and one not often given to urban fantasy fiction writers. We spoke about many aspects of writing. Problems doing research created between TSA and myself. Vampires, shifters and mediums and how to create their consistent magic in my world. The birds and the bees: where crazy, dark ideas come from. Oh, and I even dropped a big hint of some stuff to look forward to in book 2, THE SCIONS OF WRATH.

Here are a few links to the interview.

This one is the short version that only focuses on the writing process:

But, if you want all those juicy details I mentioned above, here’s the link to the full interview:

 

Those are not the only fun videos I have for you, Dreamers. There is also a video of me reading part of the first chapter from OF SCIONS AND MEN at the book launch.

 

In honor of interviews, question and answer sessions, and getting to know each other better, Dark Dreamers, I leave you with a challenge today. There are many times I wish I could go see an author in person, but never get the chance to. I read and want to ask questions. The magic of the internet makes this so much easier now. Ask me one question that you want to know the answer to in the comments section, and I will answer you honestly. It can be about me, or the books (without major spoilers), teaching or writing. Fun, funny, serious, witty, any of the above. What do you want to know?


Only a Month to Go & the Interviews Continue

Hey there, Dark Dreamers,

The last few weeks have been busy with writing on book 2 of the American Scions series, teaching and interviews. With the January term coming to a close and the start of spring semester upon us (this snowmageddon aside) life has been crazy busy. But there have been some bright and shareable moments in this new adult author’s world..

The groups for my January term small group dynamics class were amazing. They supported each other and went the extra distances. They made it a pleasure to teach and have renewed my faith in the future of humanity with these people at the helm. This is a great start to teaching for 2016.

Speaking of 2016, today makes it exactly a month to go until Of Scions and Men releases. The launch is shaping up to be an event in itself. We plan to give all these vampires, shifters, mediums and scions and proper ringing in. More to come on that in the next week.

But 2016 also seems to be the year of the interviews, and not just on the book front.

The school at which I work asked me recently to represent the college for the local newspaper. This was an article to help students get back into the swing of the new semester. No urban fantasy, but plenty of real world information. Here’s a link to the article: School Notes.

Today another exciting interview went up on my book front. The amazing and talented asked me for all sorts of tidbits about my debut new adult dark urban fantasy novel, OF SCIONS AND MEN as well about me personally. It was a fun interview. Check it out!

Now I must go get the dogs harnessed to the sled as the snow has begun falling and we will soon see the end of civilization as we now it (until they plow for Monday).

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But this author will play.


Holiday Presents: Reviews and Interviews

Happy Holidays, Dark Dreamers!

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe holiday season. Mine has been magical (even without vampires), but I’ll tell you more about that in a different post. In the mean time, I have exciting updates to share.

February 22, 2016 is getting closer and closer and with it the official release of my debut new adult dark urban fantasy, OF SCIONS AND MEN. So the marketing holiday fairy has been zipping around sending out eARCs to people. The first reviews have been coming in, and I’m happy to say they make me very excited. So I’d like to share a bit with you.

First, the most recent response to someone reading OF SCIONS AND MEN:

“This book was beyond words amazing. It held me from the first page. Sadly, I did have to put down my tablet to wrap presents. The idea of scions for vampires is great. The characters were so well written that they were beyond imagination . I Loved Rowan, Devon, Carson, Nadia, Will, I hope that their story will continue.”

Couldn’t be happier! The best present ever and pushing me to get the second one out even faster!

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Next, the wonderfully talented Jodie Anderfski recently interviewed me. It was a whole lot of fun. Take a look at the interview and sign up to win books at the #HolidayBookBash.

With all that, I hope this season of giving and humanity helping and relying on one another treats you well. I wish you smiles and to those of you who are journeying, safe travels.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Raise your glass, Dark Dreamers,

I have always been a lover of the dark. Call it the New Orleans in me. But that doesn’t mean that it was all vampires and ghosts all the time. As I child I can remember watching the show Cheers with my mom. Everyone would smile, both on and off screen, whenever Norm would walk in and the bar would erupt with “NORM!” That sense of belonging and the village coming together, even in the heart of the big city, warms even the most distant heart on a cold Boston night. Isn’t that right, Dr. Frasier? In New Orleans, a big city in its own right, people are extremely loyal to our regular spots. The holes in the wall that become a part of home. It’s why we loved the Saints even when they were the Ain’ts and a lot of chains have so much trouble staying alive. I still don’t think the city has forgiven Rite Aid for taking over the K&B spot when I was a kid.

Being a true child of my hometown, I love finding my spots. Plus, once I’ve found them, I stick to them even way up here in the frozen north of Maryland. Today, my Cheers isn’t a bar. My favorite routine spot is a little hole in the wall Greek restaurant: Greek Aroma. This place drew me in because it is amazing. For such a small venue, they serve the freshest and cleanest food. I have brought people in from out of town there all the time, not to mention the locals, and everyone loves the food. But for me, it’s more than that. Good food is of course key to any successful restaurant (and this place is successful with people there waiting from open through all afternoon) but what made this my place, my regular place, is the people. The people there are so friendly. Especially the main manager, her smile could power a city and her open and welcoming nature makes you feel at home even on the roughest of days. The combo of the two…they had me at gyro.

This is a job for a Super Gyro. Comes with his own cape.

This is a job for a Super Gyro. Comes with his own cape.

Here, I get to feel that warmth deep inside when I walk in and am greeted with cries of recognition. Often, my order is put in before I ever make it to the counter. I may never be rich and famous, but for this one place to remember me from the hundreds that eat there every day. I want to go back for that as much as the food.

But this got me thinking about routine. People each have their own places. They may not have “Norm” moments, but a place they make a part of their everyday lives, giving them that same sense of comfort and belonging. It could be a coffee house or a restaurant or the gym where other “strangers” comment on your progress and keep you going on the hard motivation days. We are social creatures (even the introverts) and thus even if it is just a person or two, we enjoy a momentary easy connection.

So why do so few written characters have these places. Where does Bruce Wayne stop for coffee on the way to Wayne Enterprises after a long night of vigilantism? Does Jean Grey have a quiet bar she goes to when Cyclops is just being too much of a jerk? We see regular hangouts in sit coms because it’s easier for set design, but what about in books for character design. The few times I’ve seen it in books, a character having a “place” (not their job space or their home space) where they felt safe, really made that character much stronger to me.

Thus, a new space in my book world is born. They say don’t piss off a writer, or they’ll kill you in their book. The reverse is also true. One of the highest honors a writer can give someone is to write them well in their book. So, Greek Aroma, my place, has inspired me to create such a space in my series. Rowan has just developed a taste for Greek.

Image courtesy of Greek Aroma


The Black Cat Interview

Exciting news, Dark Dreamers,

Black Cat Blog interviewed me about my writing style and the deep dark world of urban fantasy and vampires. It’s full of puppies and zombie hunting and cake. Go check it out!

zombie hunting family

Ann Anderson Noser’s Hard Hitting Interview


THE 777 CHALLENGE

Hey there, Dark Dreamers,

Ann Anderson Noser tagged me to share seven lines from the seventh page of a work in progress.So here’s an insider preview into THE SCIONS OF WRATH, book 2 of the American Scions series.

Devon’s anger coated my thoughts laced with something else. Turning up the volume between us I could feel him creasing his brow and tapping his fingers on the dash of the car. Devon was suspicious. Then I caught his last thought of demanding me off the case.

Ease up there, bucko. I don’t like be shot at…

Being shot.

I don’t like being shot, but don’t start thinking of pulling me off the case.

That’s not what I was doing and get out of my head, woman, and let me figure this out.

I smirked. Sucks don’t it.

Now I’ll tag 7 other authors to play this game:

JP Sloan

Meredith Bond

Michael Shean

Vicki Leigh

Suzanne van Rooyen

Pat Esden

Louise Gornall