Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Now please, enjoy a post about… Me

Ah yes, probably the easiest blog entry I’ll ever have to write.

I have been asked by our illustrious leaders to write a quick intro post about myself, letting you know a little about who I am and why you should come back and check out my posts. Hopefully I can accomplish these tasks and not be forever shunned by my fellow fantasy bloggers.

My name is Danielle Monsch and I am a writer, predominantly though not exclusively in the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance genres. Not yet published (le sigh) but I’m working on it.

So for me, fantasy, there was never a choice that this was indeed what I was going to write, some form of it at least. It’s always what I’ve really loved. Of course, it started with fairy tales. Then, I segued into various mythologies – Greek and Roman to start, going worldwide as time wore on. Vampires and other beasties followed, concurrent with a lesser interest in King Arthur and more medieval fantasy. To this day, all of these loves reside within me.

However, I can’t write pure fantasy. I’ve always needed a good dose of romantic love included in my stories for me to really connect with them.

Which brings me to Romance. I can’t write Historical romance, my voice is way too snarky and modern for that. The only historical I could write would be some sort of ‘alternate’ historical, which would fall under the broad fantasy banner anyway. Suspense/Mystery, I have never been good at, I don’t have the talent to write a yarn where at the end of it, you go, “I never thought it was that person!”. As for Contemporary, I have written a couple short stories and every once in a while I’ll get a seed of an idea for one. Having said that, usually I kinda find them boring. True, some writers are amazing with contemporary and I do enjoy the occasional story set in the everyday world, but just like I can’t enjoy a pure fantasy story, I find romance not a lot of fun if it is about the emotions of the two protagonists with nothing exciting going on around them.

Yes, I want my love and sex. I also want swords swinging, guns firing, and good guys punching out the lights of the bad guys. Adding in a few monsters and magic, that just makes it awesome for me.

So, Paranormal Romance, where in the end the bad guys will lose and my romantic side will definitely get my Happily Ever After, and Urban Fantasy, where I can indulge my dark and uncertain side but still have love included, even if that HEA is not necessarily going to follow.

I’m excited to share my love of fantasy in this blog along with a touch of my writers journey. Of course, the ultimate goal is that I’ll be able to share my stories with all of you, but we’ll take that one day at a time. Til then, let’s have fun here.

What If...?

Greetings! Well met and all that rot! I’m Maureen O. Betita and I strongly believe in second chances. In fact, they play an integral part in every book I write. I’d even say I believe in chance after chance. I write fantasy of most every type I can think of. I’ve set stories in alternate worlds, alien worlds, close to our world…haven’t met a world I won’t tackle as a setting.

I was raised on fantasy, mixed in with a certain amount of mysteries. (Loved Arthur Conan Doyle, for example.) But the first book I remember with hallowed standing in my family was The Hobbit, followed by The Lord of the Rings. Eventually The Silmarillion. My father read them. My brother read them. My eldest sister read them. My next sister read them. (Mom? Well she was more a Leon Uris/James Michener sort of reader.) I hungered to read Tolkien. So, at a very early age I did. I think I was seven. I’ve read them all many times since then, too numerous to count.

But we were an equal opportunity family. From high fantasy to pulp adventure fantasy. Yes, Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Pelucidar…if Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote it, we read it. Usually over and over again.

I write fantasy because it gives me permission to create anything, anywhere, anyway I want. Worlds right underneath the ‘real’ world? Sure! Fairies? You bet! Foxborn? Lovely! Worlds where humans are settled after abductions, with other aliens? Why not! A Caribbean where the great albino Kraken plays matchmaker? Absolutely!

I may, just possibly…enjoy playing god a bit too much with my stories. It’s heady stuff, creating worlds! I’m big at the what-if game. Inspirations come from dreams, from what I read and from simply wondering… What if…?

You have a favorite what-if you like to read or write?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Confessions of a Liar

It’s true. I’m a liar. And I’m not just someone who lies about trivial things—like adding an embellishment to something I saw to make it more interesting. No. I tell big whopper lies that go on for hundreds of pages about things you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. Or maybe you would.

I’m J. C. Coy, and I write urban fantasy, usually dark, sometimes downright horrifying, and always hot. I like a sexy hero, and that character gets center stage. Not that I don’t care for heroines. But my work always features a male MC. For me, they are more fun to write and work with. They don’t give me the hard time heroines tend to.

Why dark? I blame that mostly on Stephen King. I discovered him when I was a teenager…and it was all over. No writer could top King in my eyes. I devoured every word he wrote, the scarier the better. My favorite monster has always been the vampire, and when I found a copy of Salem’s Lot, oh my, reading bliss. Later I discovered Anne Rice and fell in love with Louis and Lestat. Oh what fun. From there it wasn’t a long hop to paranormal romance. I then found the work of JR Ward. She took vampires to a new level, and boy, were they hot.

Five years ago, when I was rereading Anne Rice, I decided to give writing a serious shot. I’d always dabbled, but never with the intention of seeking publication. Naturally, I started with work much closer to horror than paranormal romance. Over time, the romance became more important to me than a good scare, and my work started to evolve. Then I read some urban fantasy and knew I’d found what was right for me. But after two years of trial and error, of reading writer’s books and articles, I was still making mistakes. Worse, I didn’t know how to fix them.

I joined Romance Writers of America and a few subchapters (most notably Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal and Central Ohio Fiction Writers). Through them I learned of workshops with published authors. I learned how to fix my plot problems and tighten my work. I’m now published in short fiction and ready to shop my monster sized, but tight manuscript. I love this journey of telling lies. I’ve found the thing I was meant to do. To me, the endless hours of writing and editing are not work but a joy. I am honored and privileged to be a member of this wonderful liars’ club—the world of the writer.

How about you? Do you like it dark? And hot? Maybe with a tickle of fear?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Fantasy? Because Sometimes, Reality Bites

It’s ironic that I’m writing my opening post about fantasy today.

Exactly five years ago today, I sat in a crowded hotel room in Bossier City, Louisiana, and watched my world collapse as Hurricane Katrina ripped through my hometown of New Orleans. Overnight, the only things I owned for sure became the $50 I had in the bank, the two dogs wandering around my hotel room, two days’ worth of clothes thrown hastily into a suitcase, and a car.

What does that have to do with fantasy? Well, it’s the reason I began writing fiction after years as a journalist. In 2007, two years after the storm, I left New Orleans with a lot of angst, thinking a change of scenery would help me move past the nightmare that continued to haunt me even though I'd lost so much less than a lot of my friends. All moving did was make me homesick, so I decided to write about my experiences. A thousand journalistic books and memoirs had been written on Katrina, and I didn’t think I could add to it.

I decided instead to write what I read: urban fantasy.

I didn’t know there was such a thing back when I started reading first Stephen King, then Anne Rice and Laurell K Hamilton’s early Anita Blake books. Didn’t know there was a whole “genre,” in fact, until I picked up Simon R. Green’s Nightside series about four years ago. It blew my mind! I had to read more, and discovered a whole world of fiction I’d somehow missed in my Katrina malaise: Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, J.R. Ward.

I love the idea of supernatural heroes and villains in the midst of our human world, and how urban fantasy can explore the human condition in a new way without leaving the world we know. I love the idea that the burly guy in the next line at the supermarket could be a werewolf, or the dark sexy beast across the barroom floor might be…a dark, sexy beast. I love the idea that good can overcome evil despite overwhelming odds, and that heroines can be kickass and vulnerable at the same time.

I don’t live in New Orleans anymore—now I’m in Auburn, Alabama. But my characters live in New Orleans, and I get to be there everyday with them—through two books, so far, and a third in the works.

Where do you like fantasy to take you?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A bit of fantasy

Marie's Into
Well let’s see here. My influences over the years have probably been more fantasy than the other authors here, but I have a wide variety of genres I read and write ;). I’ve been a huge fan of fantasy since waaaaay back in the day.

TSR had created their Dragonlance series, it took off like mad and there were fantasy adventures as far as the eye could see. Then I got into Lord of the Rings. Yes, I know LOTR was around long before Dragonlance, but I just hadn’t found it as a kid. But my love of fantasy pulled right into it.
Other early fantasy favs included David Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffery, Barbara Hambly.

The writing end came on a slightly different path. My first attempt was a story influenced by surfing (which I’ve tried but failed at), Star Wars, and a bit of The Brady Bunch. I don’t remember much (I was about 14 or so ;)), but I did remember how cool it felt to type the words and have MY story begin to take shape. Ya have to admit it was original.

I kept reading like mad, but lost my interest in writing. (Most likely it was boys- they took over everything for a bit there.)

Then about 16 or 18 I started another story. This was a fantasy one that only got to about 175 pages before it was put down. Again, I got distracted, but parts of that story stayed with me and have influenced my recent works.

Years later (no I won’t tell you how many ;)) I started another story. This one was HUGE, a full epic fantasy trilogy weighing in at 670 pages (book ONE mind you). Over the years I’d pick it up, re-write it, put it back. Started the second one, finished it, but still wasn’t sure what to do with it. Got a few nice rejection letters, put it back.

Then about three years ago a friend at work and I got started talking about writing. She offered to read my epic (down to a “trim” 540 pages at this point). And I got sucked back into the magic of writing. I joined the RWA, cleaned up my BIG book, sent it out, got more rejections, started a SF book, pulled the big book for a major editing/weight loss program (2011 will be its year), finished the SF book, started a humorous fantasy mystery book, then a steampunk book.

I decided to keep working on all three “new” projects while not submitting anything to agents for this year. I want to get used to doing multiple projects as well as taking the submission strain off. 2010 has been for crafting and creating. I will start submitting again in Feb 2011, then return to that formerly 670 page epic fantasy novel and give it the cutting down it needs.

I love to write, more exact, I love to have written. I still get that burst of thrill when I read what I’ve created (often along with the, “Oh wait, let me fix that” that hits all authors.) It’s taken me a while to get here in terms of craft and knowing who I am as a writer but I’m getting there. And I’m exactly where I need to be.

What about you? Any of you have some long deep dark buried fantasy favs?

Nice to meet you all!

My Introduction

Who Am I:

Darcy Carson, here. I hail from Renton, Washington. I'm one of those born and bred Washingtonians, a very rare creature. Having a mother who was a librarian is probably what got me started reading. According to her she never saw from face from age twelve to eighteen. I was hooked on reading. I could read and reread any book at my leisure. And I never had to pay a late fee! Somewhere along the line I read a book that I thought I could write better. Isn't that always the way? I signed up for a local community college writing course and fell flat on my face. The teacher asked me in front on the class if English was a second language for me. It was so bad. Everyone was apalled by her and her comments. I became her class whipping boy. But what she didn't know was that she created a monster. I don't quit! Hate losing. Very competitive. So, I kept writing, kept improving (I hope). And eventually sold a romantic comedy. Neener, neener to the old biddy.

Why I Read The Romance Genre:

Because I love it! Who doesn't like handsome heros and strong, independent heroines. My kind of people (especially since I'm so stubborn myself--some people call me a bitbull with lipstick. Gotta love your friends.). I fell in love with historical romances in the heyday of big, swashbuckling adventures. With those stories I went all over the world, saw new things, experienced everything. They made you love, cry and love.

Why I Expanded To Reading Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance:

I don't think I ever left. I was reading these type of stories before they were even called that. Most won't remember the Gor series by John Norman. This was an alternate Earth world. Women were abducted from Earth and made slaves on Gor. It was series loved by mostly men. Duh, why wouldn't men buy these books--a planet where women were slaves and had to do whatever the man said. But, wierd me, I read them, too. Because guess who was the conqueror in the end? The woman. Men never got it. A few years ago I picked up Terry Goodkind and his Wizard's First Rule series. Romance has always been in fantasy and paranormal books. The only difference is that publishers are finally focusing on that element in the stories.

Why I Switched To Writing Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance:

The most obvious answer is because I haven't been able to sell my historical and contemporary stories. But is that correct? I don't think so. I was sitting in a class given by Stella Cameron way back when and this idea popped into my head about a man cursed--dragon by day, man by night. I started playing the what if game and before I knew it, I had a story bubbling to come out. I finished the story, got an agent because of it. She sent it out and twice the book made it to Marketing, who then nixed it for some unfair reason. Will it sell some day? You betcha! Currently I'm working on a witch who belongs to the magic police. In the rewrite process at the moment. It's a love-hate relationship with me.

That's about all about me. Oh, BTW, that terrible teacher . . . I killed her in a book. Loved it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Couch Time with M.L. Archer

Yes, Doctor, it's true. I'm a writer. I wouldn't say that instantly marks me as mentally unbalanced, but I do spend much of my time envisioning people and places that don't exist.

On second thought, maybe I do need couch time.

Okay, it all started back in the third grade when I read a book called, “A Wrinkle in Time.” This story alerted me to the notion that maybe, if I was very lucky, the world might not be such a dull place. At least, not as dull as third grade English.

I followed this train of thought for years, much to my parents chagrin. I still remember the way my mom screwed her face up at me when she asked, “Why don't you ever write nice stories?”

I dunno. I guess nice is in the eye of the beholder.

Then something else happened along the way. I heard that ancient quote from Ecclesiastes, There is nothing new under the sun.

I thought about it and at 16 developed a theory. If there is truly nothing new under the sun, then the fact that you can imagine anything means it already exists some place else in the universe. It was uphill from there, or downhill, depending on your perspective.

I wrote a story for my high school paper about a school run like a 1920's crime syndicate. My first novel was all about a ghost who died in another dimension, but haunted this one because during his lifetime he had always wanted to travel.

As an adult I've published over thirty short stories and each would probably make mom wonder about me.

My first published novel, The Calling of Mike Malone, set for release next August, is about a guy, Mike Malone, who has to deal with his father's desire to make him his own, personal, antiChrist.

That was a shameless plug, by the way.

I think the universe is a stranger place than we imagine. Maybe even stranger than we can imagine.

But I'll tell you one thing, it sure is fun living right here...right now.

May you feel the same.

And thanks for visiting the blog!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Introduction

Who I am: 
Hi everyone! I'm Sarah Mäkelä. I currently live in Central Florida. I received my Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing a few years ago. I've loved scary stories ever since I was a child reading and listening to the Scary Stories books as well as Goosebumps, of course. My passion for writing flared up after reading a collection of poetry my mother had written. Finally, in seventh-grade did I put that to practice with a children's story assignment in English class. My teacher encouraged me to enter it to the school contest, and that story ended up winning and going to districts where I got an Excellence In Writing award. After that, I started writing some poetry and short stories. A few years later, now almost ten years ago, I began fiddling around with novels.

First things I remember reading in the genre:
My love of romances began shortly thereafter when I picked up my first Harlequin (which was actually a historical). After a couple years of reading historicals, I discovered paranormal romance via Christine Feehan's Dark series. I'd known about Laurell K. Hamilton's books for a few years, so around the same time as I delved into paranormal romance, I decided to start reading those too.

Why I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance:
I instantly fell in love with both paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I loved them each for different reasons too. Being fascinated with romance and certain...ahem...aspects of the relationship between a man and a woman, I thoroughly enjoyed the paranormal romances. I adored urban fantasies though for the sheer fact that I could follow around the heroine book after book to read about her adventures, and she also had hot, steamy men! The book just weren't as sensual. They focused more on plot. That totally suited me though, but when LKH's books became hotter, that was great too.

Why do I write urban fantasy and paranormal romance:
I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy for the same reasons I love reading it. The amazing relationship arc and being able to see a couple literally fight for their lives and the relationship. I write urban fantasy to bond with the heroine and be able to follow her on awesome adventures. She can have hot, steamy men helping her out, but it's her book. The story isn't tied to her having a HEA at the end of the book and moving on to the next couple. In fact, I can be pretty darn mean and not let her achieve what she wants. Mwahaha...

So how about you guys? What are the first books that you remember reading in the Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance genres? Why do you love the genre and/or write it?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Introduction by Marissa N. Berry

Fantasy is the ultimate escape. I like to be thrown into another world full of Kings, Courts and scandal. I love urban stories where characters battle the modern day world and powers within.

The thing that sways me toward high fantasy is the robes. No joke. I can’t help but admit if I could get away with some robes and slippers, I would sport it every day. I’d drape the hood over my head in the morning and call it good. My superficial reason.

But stories in fantasy go much deeper. They explore cultural discovery as different groups of beings clash. It’s the ultimate in conflict: Good vs. Evil. It’s acceptance as good fights a little dirty to beat evil. Where’s the line between a hero we love and a hero who steps one foot too far into the realm of darkness? I love it when authors toe the edge.

Emotional depth is the driving force in what I read. I love to cry, but I admit I’m a huge sap. Happily Ever Afters are my friend. I love series that star different heroes and heroines but evolve around the same world. It allows the world to become a whole other reality.

My name is Marissa N. Berry and I write Fantasy, Urban & Paranormal Romance. In my stories, love will conquer all, powers will grow and you can count on fantastical passion. HEA, yes! But I taper my happy endings with the Triple-Ds: drama, deception and death.

Does magic exist in the real world? I have no proof. But I don’t have any proof that it doesn’t either. That’s enough to make me a believer.

Ever since I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, I thought to myself… I want to do that. Since then I’ve been swept away by the world of fiction. I love romance and the passion it ignites. I love knowing a story is going to end happy because then I think, okay, now really impress me. I will forever live for the story in-between the beginning and end.

What do you love about Fantasy? Do I have any other robe supporters out there?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome to Castles & Guns!

A blog where High Fantasy meets Urban Fantasy.
Starting tomorrow we have some great bloggers lined up for you. Please be sure to check our bio section for who will be blogging and what days they will post. Be sure not to miss your favorite author or up-and-coming prepubbed.
Thank you for reading and we hope you visit again soon!