Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pixies from Folklore

Ack! Sorry, sorry, sorry! I managed to do it again. *scribbles her next Castles & Guns blogging date on a calendar in big letters* I've been busily writing and editing my current manuscript in almost a whirlwind this past week, so needless to say, I'm a little out of it. *grins*

Speaking of the manuscript in question, it features elves and other beings of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts -- a first for me, so today I offer you some information on Pixies.

Illustration from Among Pixies and 
Trolls, a children's anthology
Name: Pixie (also Pixy, Pixi, Pizkie, Piskies and Pigsies)

Type: fairy or sprite-like being

Origin: Cornish folklore

Description: Pixies are very small beings that live mostly in the high moorland areas near Devon and Cornwall. They're also associated with exploring ocean caves. Usually, they are naked or scantly clothed and possess pointed ears and a pointed hat. Some say that pixies have wings, and others say they are without wings. One thing they especially enjoy is riding horses. While doing so, they make ringlets in the manes of the horses they ride. As for their demeanor, sometimes they kidnap children or mislead travelers (the cure for being pixie-led is to turn your coat inside out), but they not thought to be malevolent. They've been said to be help out widows and those in need at times.

Interesting Facts: Pixies lore predates Christianity in Britain, and the people in Cornwall and Devon took them quite seriously. To this day, there is a Pixie Day from an old tradition re-enacted annually on the Saturday in June nearest Mid-Summer's Day in Ottery St. Mary, England.

Have you heard of Pixies before? If so, where?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Flash Fiction Fun!


Hi everyone –

Remember how I said I’m not much of a craft blogger?  Well, that was true! LOL

And then we asked for things you might want to see in the Castle of the Castles & Guns…

Still with me?

Okay…  Now I haven’t asked the two queens of the Castle for permission, so let’s keep this on the down low.  Muahahaha!  *ahem*

I love flash fiction!  All sorts!  I love to write it and read it.  Give me a great hook at the beginning and a twist at the end that I never saw coming and I’ll smile for the rest of the day!

So let’s do it!  I’ll show you mine, and you can show me yours…  The winner will win chocolate and Night Walker goodies!  Woot!

Here are the rules…  I want a Murder in 250 words or less!  (This story was originally printed in the "Death in 13 Flashes" anthology.)

Lap
By: Lisa Kessler (212 words)

Lap, lap, lap.
Carl woke in a cold sweat, haunted by the seemingly innocent sound.  Cats lapped up their milk every day.  So why was the sound so ominous in his dreams?  He shook his head with a disgusted chuckle.  He didn’t even own a cat.  Hated the damned things. 
"Bad luck wrapped up in fur," as he always said.
Rubbing his face with calloused hands, he lumbered down the hall to the kitchen.  A short chat with Jack Daniels was usually all it took to calm his frazzled nerves and drift back to sleep.  Just a few swallows and he’d be resting peacefully again.
Climbing his stepstool, Carl stretched his arthritic fingers, reaching for the smooth glass bottle when he heard a hiss.  He craned his head back and gasped when the devilish green eyes flashed back at him, his fragile balance faltering.  The glass bottle crashed on the floor just before Carl did.
His brittle skull crunched with the impact against the unforgiving linoleum floor.  Stale air passed his lips for the last time.
The cat approached with a cautious stride, circling, investigating his large quarry.  Satisfied with the hunt, he knelt beside the old man’s cracked skull taking in the delicious aroma of fresh blood.
Lap, lap, lap.
THE END


So bring it on…  I promise you they’re super fun!  250 words or less…  Post it in the comments with your email address and I’ll draw a winner over the weekend…

(Little Secret:  There are goodies in the Castle Vault for everyone who posts a story! )

Thanks for playing!  Can’t wait to see what you come up with…

Lisa :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guest Author Lynn Rush

Be nice to me or I’ll kill you in my next novel
Have you guys seen that shirt around? I have and I just LOVE that phrase.
I often get asked how I come up with some of my characters and it triggered a thought about that t-shirt slogan—LOL
An example of how I came up with one character is when this girl sauntered into a Barnes and Noble one day. She wore this crazy outfit, had an arrogant walk about her, and was very happy talking quite loud to garner the attention from everyone in the near vicinity.
She became the opening scene of one of my novels.
Of course I magnified her characteristics and later had demons chomping on her leg…but she sparked ideas for an interesting character I could have fun manipulating.
And maybe I had demons attacking her was because she seriously disturbed everyone around her with her loud talking, boisterous attitude, and space-consuming personality. Even though, honestly, I found her disturbance intriguing; hence the opening scene of my novel.
Oh, and in case you want to know, I didn’t actually kill her off….

Whether you’re a reader or a writer, where do you get your inspiration from? Ever run into something like that where someone’s disrupting those around him/her? How’d you react? Writers, did you toss “them” into a book and kill them off? Or let demons gnaw on their legs…oh wait, that’s mine. I already did that! J




BIO
Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake.
Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. Originally from Minneapolis, Rush currently enjoys living in the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of 15 years and jogging with her two loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Connect with Lynn online
Catch the Rush: www.LynnRush.com

~~~See you in the paranormal~~~




Awaited (Wasteland, #2) –Available May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 9781937254216
Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/HTGzgR
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/IDvp4H
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/JewjTX
All Romance E-Book: http://bit.ly/HHTx2U

Book Blurb for Awaited:
The voice is a powerful thing. . .
Russell Leonard is a centuries-old Guardian who’s lost faith in his purpose. So when he’s charged with procuring the first female Guardian in over two centuries, he can only hope it’s the red-headed beauty who’s been haunting his dreams for months. And if it is, he intends to claim her as his. But when he finds his dream woman, Annabelle is mute and bears no Guardian’s Mark.
He soon realizes she’s been tainted by an ancient evil. Russell must somehow release the secrets trapped within this delicate soul to help her tap into the only weapon powerful enough to silence a millennia-old demon—her voice.
“From the first action-packed scene, AWAITED grabs you and doesn't let go until its awesome conclusion.” ~~Caridad Piñeiro, NY Times Best-Selling Author

Monday, May 28, 2012

Creating Characters to Suit Your Needs...or Wants

First, let me start off by saying, Happy Memorial Day. May this day find you spending happy times with family and friends, as well as those quiet moments of remembrance, in honor of those who gave their all for our country.

Now then, I want to talk today about character creation. But I'm not talking about whether to call a character Joe or Susie, and planning if he works in an office and she at a dairy farm. Unless the cows were robotic and she was from the planet Zorlonian and he time traveled from the 5th century because of a prophecy... Yeah, that kind of characterization. The kind we as writers: Completely. Make. Up. Fictional. Not your ordinary Dick and Jane. The fun stuff. At least, I think it's fun. 

This is part of the artistic license we as writers can indulge. You want a superhero who can melt gold? Got it. You need a villain who is half alien? Done. You see your heroine as only partially visible? A writer will make it happen. 

In my upcoming release, Bad Gone Better, I indulged a great deal in my character's creation. The hero, Gunner, is a Doppelganger, so I had a set of rules - some researched, some created - to go by. Does he have a soul? Does he have any humanity? Where do Doppelgangers live? When they cross the line (and just what is that line), what serves as punishment? Every time I came up with one answer, another question evolved that I could wrangle and ponder until I melded the rules to just the way I wanted them.

Flip the page. The heroine is Melanie. Because of my rules set for Doppelgangers, she couldn't be human, so, what could she be? I admit, I had a very fun time creating her. I knew what I wanted from her, but it took me awhile to pinpoint the name of her...being. Then it hit me. I researched, found out interesting information, added some of my own rules (insert artistic license here), and voila: a Wraith was born. Er, created. That's right. A tattered cloaked, soul-stealing, terror inducing Wraith. Ah man, I love her.

After these details were settled, the love story simply fell upon the pages of the book. I'll admit, the story is dark in places, it's sexy in others, but it's a story that I knew had to be written; especially with some of the most unconventional characters. To put any other being in their places simply would have been - a completely different story.    

What about you? Have you gone out of your way to create that perfect character to suit the needs of your story? Or what about the other way around - created the perfect story to go with the awesome character you made up? I do want to know. 

This Friday, Bad Gone Better will have it's release at Changeling Press. While you ponder my question, here's a little bit to tease...

Bad Gone Better
Doppelganger Tales: 2

A Doppelganger and a Wraith. Hell couldn't make a better match. Too bad they're not in Hell...

Gunner is ready to give up on life. Imprisoned for eternity is not how he'd envisioned returning to the Doppelganger realm. He's been pushed, punished and tortured, but nothing has been able to break him. Until she comes on a three-moon night.

Melanie is a Wraith seeking revenge. She hadn't planned on tangling with Gunner, but he provides what she needs to survive.

Begging for an end, Gunner is startled when the strange Doppelganger king offers freedom, but it comes with a price.

As Melanie searches for her killer and Gunner works toward his freedom, will they discover their paths are heading in the same direction? And is this direction toward something better, or toward the void of darkness neither can seem to elude?

(Edited) Excerpt: 
Melanie cocked her head, completely puzzled. "Thomas told me you'd help me seek the Doppelganger Svinchen. I would let you go and you would aid me, or your human twin would have to take your place."

His eyes went large, but she didn't have time for indecision or lies.

"Fine. I'll tell Thomas you refused. I will be back for sustenance, but otherwise I'll leave you be."

She blew her breath downward and lifted herself up. Might as well leave the same way she came in.

"Wait. Hold on," he called. She stared at him, but didn't stop her slow ascent. 

"Damn it, I said wait."

"What purpose would it serve me to wait? I don't have time for games, Gunner."

"No games. I promise." He closed his eyes as if in pain. "Come back here. I'll... I'll help you. I gave my word."

She hesitated. Throughout the realms, it was common knowledge that a Doppelganger's word could never be trusted, but all she'd seen of this man, all Thomas had revealed about him, showed that his humanity overwhelmed his natural desire for chaos.

She returned to the ground.... "Fine," she told him. "I'll free you to help me. When I've had my vengeance on Svinchen, I'll escort you back to Thomas, and he'll grant you whatever you agreed upon."

His shoulders grew stiff as though he didn't want to speak. "Agreed."

"But know this, Doppelganger Gunner." She moved close to him. "Cross me, upset me, disagree with me one time, and I'll remove all your humanity. In a very thorough, painful way." Her voice rose slightly with the last sentence, enough to make him shake his head and squeeze his eyes shut.

"I've given you my word. I won't back down." 


Have a Happy Monday, and Memorial Day ~ Ayla


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Loving Your Characters

I have a confession- I love my characters.

Now this really shouldn’t come as a shock, after all- I created them.

But this is different. I just finished reading a SF novel- pretty dang good one too- and I realized I liked my SF character better than the one I was reading about. Actually, my thought was that Vas (my SF character) could sooooooooooo kick this character’s butt.

LOL- it might seem odd to think about which fictitious tough ass female character would win in a fight. But it was a fun thought. Now I don’t like just tough characters, but if something on the front of the book (or even inside) states that this is one tough chica- then she better be tough.
And I was very entertained that MY tough chica was far tougher than the other author’s “tough” chica. To be honest, even though they said she was tough, she really didn’t demonstrate it much. It was a case where the author TELLS us she's tough, but then fails on the follow through. 

That lead to the fact that I really do love my characters and not just because I created them. I like them in the same way I would some of my favorite characters written by other authors. I love that my women characters are actually tough (each in their own way) and it’s not the author simply telling you they are tough. My gals don’t need a guy- guys are fun, and often very handy, but my girls can all take care of themselves if need be. The guy compliments who they are, but they don’t need to complete them.

And my two toughest, Captain Vaslisha Tor Dain and Sakari, could probably beat any literary character that didn’t have super human powers (and possibly a few of those as well). Now obviously, there’s more to them (and the others) than just an insane level of kick-assed-ness. They screw up, sometimes they fall, sometimes they cry.

But they get back up and get right back into where they need to be.

This insight lead to another- I feel satisfied, REALLY satisfied, in the fact that I’ve written these books, and the one I'm working on. As in if they don’t get published I won’t feel I wasted my time type of satisfied.

This is a really cool feeling.

I know many folks (me included) sometimes say, “even if I don’t get published I’m still going to write.” This is true, but some part of me still felt it would almost be a waste if any or all of my books didn’t make it.


How about you- how do you feel about your characters? About other folks characters?  Ever find one that didn't live up to the back of the book hype?

Friday, May 25, 2012

What to (or not to) wear...

I've been somewhat away form my writing and editing this week. Not by choice. Memorial Day marks the huge anime convention here in my city and my teens *must* have new costumes. So, I've been sewing. And sewing. I even sat down at my computer to sew. It didn't work.

I've had a lot of time to think about clothing, though--and I began to wonder about the amount of effort writers put into what clothing their character wears. I know that I had to research for both my Roman and Druid time travels. I still adapted it, even after researching. In writing fantasy or science fiction, we have a lot of room to make up really interesting clothing--and use it as a tool for characterization.

For example, the standard princess of fairy tales usually wears a pretty dress. Put her in bone armor--and well, she comes across a bit differently. Or if Mr. Handsome Prince likes to wear chainmail underwear...

In science fiction, we tend to see practical clothing. Clothing with built-in gadgets or specialty fabrics and such. And lots of uniforms. Why is that? Just practicality?

Of course, we don't want to get so caught up in describing the clothing that we over do it, but I certainly like the added characterization possibilities that clothing provides. What about you? How do you research your clothing? Do you go by era? Or do you design something? Do you enjoy clothing your characters? Or is it superfluous?

What is *your* favorite costume to wear? Most conventions seem to have costumed parties, so I know lots of you guys (and me, too) like to dress up!

Ugh, I have to get back to work. My kids don't give me a reprieve for this deadline. I still have quite a bit of my oldest daughter's to finish, plus her assassin's fan to make. My younger daughter's is done, thank goodness.  Wish me luck.

Kerry


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who the heck is Heather McGovern?

I thought, since I’m filling in for Darcy over her next few blogs, I’d take this first blog as a chance to introduce myself. The thing is, I hate stale introductions. Don’t you? So let’s mix it up. I’ll do a quick rundown of a few likes and dislikes and give you an idea of me. Feel free to comment with the same because I love lists and I’d love to meet all of you!

Likes
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance (this one’s a bit obvi, huh?)
Men
Big men
Leather
Big men in leather
Superheroes
Celtic Warriors
Women who kick a$$
Accents
Freedom
Travel (including Time)
The anti-hero
Action
Love
Lust (those last four combined is HAWT!)
Writing
Reading
Lists
My iPhone

Dislikes
Beets
Losing my iPhone

Darcy asked me to fill in for her, not only because we’re buds, but I’m also a struggling artist of the pen (keyboard), working toward publication in the romance genre.

Right now, my WIP is book two in a series about the Fianna: modern descendants of an ancient line of Celtic warriors, skilled in fighting and each gifted with a different psychic ability, still serving the magical community today. They could be your neighbor, maybe even your co-worker, and you’d never know they fight dark druids, black magic, and the evil forces causing all those bumpy things in the night.

For those interested, the Fianna were real waaaaay back in the Irish days of yore. Yore being the Pre-Christian, age of polytheism, iron, bronze, and mythology. They really were gifted, they really did fight like mean mofos, and they really did serve druids. I bet there really were some hotties too.

Each book in this Fianna series focuses on one of the four members of a circle, the second being Sawyer’s tale. “No Rules” is the working title. (I’d like to take this moment to go on record as thanking Darcy for that. She pretty much names my every book. It’s her super secret super power.)

So that’s pretty much me and my writing in a nutshell. What about you? I look forward to blogging here and meeting all of the Castles & Guns followers. I think we’re going to have great funky fun together. Just keep it legal. Ish.

Heather McGovern
@HeatherMcGovern
ourmshelf.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Author Interaction With Readers: To Comment Or Not To Comment

I need one of those flowers. Did anyone else play that game with the petals? He loves me . . . He loves me not . . . He loves me . . . He loves me not. Is that from the Little Mermaid? (I tried to Google. Still can’t confirm where that’s from) I need one of those flowers so I can pick the petals. To comment . . . Not to comment . . .

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts lately about what authors should and shouldn’t do when responding to readers. I troll the internet looking for advice, and usually I find answers from wiser people than myself. But in this one case, I just end up confused.

Some things are easier to understand than others. I think it’s pretty obvious that yelling at reviewers is bad. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and when we're placing our work into the public domain we have to expect honest feedback. Sassing readers is probably not a good idea either, unless that’s your brand, and then if we’re being really honest here, I want to ask how the heck that works for you. Not only that, but on a personal note, I don’t particularly want to sass people online. I’d rather laugh and engage in pleasant conversation because I get enough sass in real life. I can’t unfollow people in real life, although I advocate that becoming an option.

There are obvious things (like throwing fits), but then there’s the in-between. I don't think I’m alone. More of you must be out there. We’re not going viral with our tirades, but we are trying to figure out when it’s appropriate to comment and when it’s not. I don’t want to alienate readers, so I wish I had more guidelines. When should authors comment? And when should we disappear into the background?

Personally, I respond to all e-mails and @ mentions on Twitter. I figure if you’re talking to me directly, then you’re probably okay with me responding back. I like meeting new people and talking books. I love following conversations on Twitter about authors and novels. It’s the way I’ve been picking the books I read lately. So if I can engage that way on Twitter, I want to.

But it’s not that simple . . .

What about the hot button issues like reviews, good or bad? In general, I feel like a blog is a blogger’s domain. I don’t like to invade where I’m not invited. I do comment if you have me as a guest for an interview or post. But I don’t generally post on reviews, because I don’t want to scare readers away. I want them to be able to speak honestly without thinking the author is eavesdropping.

I’d love to hear your advice. I’m just trying to muddy my way through the rules. It gets confusing when all the rules conflict. We can’t be everywhere online, but I like to think I’m assessable. If we could figure out a secret code between readers and authors it would make it a lot easier for me to follow. @ mention me on Twitter if you want to talk. Although, I know a lot of authors can’t always answer all their @ mentions because they get too many. So maybe that’s not an alternative. I wish I knew the answers. I’m a rule follower for the most part. When the rules get confusing, I start questioning.

I like to write stories about rebels, but in real life, I like to know expectations. I know we can’t pacify everyone and that sometimes we will offend people in one way or another. But this seems like a silly thing to offend someone over. If you don’t want me to comment on your blog, I won’t. If you don’t mind, I’d like to. Maybe it’s as simple as a blogger writing above their comments. “All Commenters Welcome!” on reviews or posts or whatever else. Then I wouldn’t feel like I was invading anyone’s space.

So what do you think? If an author pops into a conversation, do you find that intrusive? Do you like when authors speak (or more likely type) to you? Do you think that authors should only respond if you contact them directly?

Kinley Baker
@kinleybaker

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Romance and the 2012 End-date


I've heard chatter about the December 21, 2012 end-date for years. According to some believers and some myths, in seven months on the winter solstice, the world as we know it will end.

Prophesies abound, some of which come from the study of ancient Mayan culture and the interpretation and misinterpretation of the significance of the Long Count calendar. One of three calendars used by the Maya, the Long Count is an astronomical calendar for tracking longer periods of time or the universal cycle—the universe is destroyed then recreated at the start of each universal cycle—with the last cycle ending on December 21, 2012.

I haven't researched the subject much, but I'm reading the sexy Nightkeepers (Final Prophecy) paranormal series by Jessica Andersen, which combines the countdown to the end-date with ancient Mayan myths to spin fantastical stories with powerful mage heroes and heroines who fight demons to keep Earth safe. Love the series.

Do you know of other authors who use this apocalyptic date to create fabulous romantic tales? Please share.

~Dawn Marie

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Emeralds, Emeralds, Emeralds

For May the gemstone is the brilliant green Emerald.  It's referred to as the nature stone or Venus' gem.  It is also called the Gem of Eternal Spring because of its green color.

This mesmerizing gemstone is surrounded by rich lore.  The ancients loved the emerald as the gemstone symbolizing love and rebirth.  Roman lapidaries kept them on their worktables to rest their ees.  In India, the gemstones were ground up and taken as a laxative, as a remedy for heartburn and to ease the pangs of childbirth, and as an elixir against old age.  Like a one-a-day vitamin--it was good for what ailed you.

According to legends an emerald will strengthen memory, quicken intelligence and assist in predicting the future, as well as give the owner the gift of eloquence.  Oh, I like that one.

Like almost all green stones, the emerald is also considered advantages for business/money ventures.  They can be used to promote sales and cash flow by visualizing the flow of green money into the cash drawer.  When doing this visualization, you are to wear an emerald around your neck.

In King Arthur's time, the Holy Grail was said to be carved from a large emerald, and became the symbol of chastity.  In fact, it was believed that this pristine gem would break apart in the presence of lust, so wearers were forced to choose between the emerald and their passions.  It was also used to reveal adultery, since it was said to glow dark when a lover was faithless.  Or, if your lover betrays you, it will shatter.

For those of you born in the month of May, enjoy your wonderful birthstone.  It's a powerful stone.

darcy

Friday, May 18, 2012

Editing Test

Most of you know that I am an Associate Editor at Entangled Publishing--and I've done freelance editing for a long time. I thought it might be fun to do an editorial assessment of sorts...

Are you editor material?

Here is a test I made up to help you figure it out. Write your answers down (y/n) then check your score at the end.

1. Do you scream at the TV/movie screen constantly--pointing out plot holes or reasons why that dead body couldn't be in that place?
2. Do you mark up the letter home from your child's teacher before actually reading it?
3. Upon meeting someone, do you immediately make a list of hair color, skin color, age, height, eye color, spelling of name, and what they are wearing plus any scars or injuries?
4. When your grandmother/aunt/best friend is telling you their wedding story/childbirth story/other traumatic event for the 45th time, are you correcting them as they tell it (but you said there were four lilies in the vase...)?
5. Do you find yourself re-thinking your thoughts as fast as you think them--only more coherently and without adverbs?

Score:
0-1 Hire an editor
2-3 Hire an editor, but don't pay them until you check over their work
4-5 You are screwed. You'll never enjoy the written word again. There's always at least a typO.

Kerry

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Do You Love in Heroes?

Eep! I'm sorry I'm late with my post today. In between the relief of finishing up edits for my editor (turned in Tuesday night/Wednesday morning) and planning my fifth wedding anniversary, I'm frazzled!

One thing I've been thinking about recently is the heroes in fiction and otherwise who really steal a piece of my heart. It's funny because my favorite guys have usually been ones that I haven't cared for at first. Ones that I'd been a little frustrated with and couldn't see how I could ever really love the character as much as I do. For example, John Pritkin from the Cassie Palmer series, Curran from the Kate Daniels series, and Gabriel Baird from the Gears of War video games series.

Here's a list of some special quirks that work on me for some reason. lol

  1. Cocky, bordering arrogant
  2. Muscular... yum!
  3. Blond hair usually really sparks my interest, but I also love black hair on guys
  4. A quirky sense of humor
  5. Tough, strong
  6. Very good at what he does, whether it's military or fixing things
  7. Under his hard shell, he's kind and caring
  8. A werewolf or mage is also really nice, but not entirely necessary

Okay, your turn! Fess up, what's your list of things you love in heroes?

Sarah Mäkelä
@sarahmakela

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spread the Word

Hi everyone -

Most of you who know me, know that I'm a pretty big social media lover.  I teach classes on it with my hubby, and I'm usually pretty accessible online just about everywhere...

Often when I teach a social media class for writers, there is cringing and gnashing of teeth about "I hate promoting" and "how much time will it take?"...  I think these are normal reactions, but the joy of social media is that it doesn't have to be painful...  In fact, it can actually be...

Fun!

Yesterday was my launch day for Night Walker in Mass-market paperback.  I had planned a facebook "spread the word party"  (No contests on facebook anymore, be careful!)

Anyway, in spite of Amazon and Barnes & Noble releasing the book early, I went ahead with the virtual party...  I gave away lots of fun bath goodies that I got on sale at The Body Shop, along with a few signed books & posters.  https://www.facebook.com/events/361845210514967/

And all day people popped in to chat, laugh, play, and best of all, share my Night Walker cover and Amazon link all over facebook!  This was a larger than normal time suck for me today, but it was a FUN promotion for me and all the peeps playing along...

And it shot the kindle version of Night Walker up the Amazon rankings all day!!!  WOOT!!!

So before you roll your eyes at social media, just remember to keep it social.  It can't be "Please buy my book" all the time, but when it does come time to promote, remember the golden rule:  If you're having fun, so will the people who are helping to spread the word about your book!  Everyone wins... :)

What do you love/hate about social media?  Have you tried something that turned out to be a big success?  I'd love to hear your experiences...

Lisa Kessler :)
http://twitter.com/LdyDisney
http://facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guest Author Casey Wyatt

Lightning Never Strikes Twice . . .  or Does It?

By Casey Wyatt

While perusing the news headlines looking for inspiration, I ran across the story of a Virginia woman who won the lottery twice. On the same day. Each ticket was worth $1 million dollars.

Wow, I thought, she is one lucky lady. How often does that ever happen? Who is ever fortunate enough to receive such a windfall in one fell swoop?

Then I realized I was that lucky too.

Sure, I’ve never won large sums of money, but I did manage to go from unpublished author to published author in the same year. Not once, but twice.

Unlike the lucky lottery lady, I won’t be rolling in dough anytime soon, but I did accomplish an important life goal. Like most writers, I started off with a dream of publication and no clue how to achieve it. After many years of dabbling and spinning my wheels, I took charge and learned how to finish a book.

Once I completed my first manuscript, I faced the daunting trio of critiques, contests, and submission, followed by praise, sometimes not so glowing feedback, and dreaded rejections. I took classes, participated in NaNoWrimo, joined RWA, started a blog, joined various social media, and pitched to editors in person.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

As I pondered my writing journey, I started thinking, because that’s what writers do – we’re professional thinkers - how much success is luck? And how much is hard work?

On the hard work front – I had to write the books, learn craft, create the queries, learn more craft, write synopses and actually submit the books.  I also had to research the right publishers and determine who would be interested in said books.

On luck’s side – the editor had to be someone who loved my story, had capacity for it on their schedule, and wanted to buy it.

It may seem like hard work outweighs luck, but I think they are complimentary rather than at odds. You need both on your side.

Of course publication is only one goal on my roadmap of life. I’ll never, ever finish learning. I will receive glowing reviews and some not so great ones. I will still get rejected. And I continue to get up each day, put my pants on one leg at time, work my NDJ (necessary day job), and take care of my family.

Who needs the lottery? All in all, my life is pretty sweet as it is.

What role had hard work and/or luck played in your life?


Blurb:

The last thing Nix, a Sea Nymph, wants to see behind the dumpster near her tattoo shop is another dead mortal. She also doesn’t want to hear Hades piss and moan about how the souls of the dead aren’t making it to the Underworld. And Nix certainly doesn’t want to be attracted to supernatural police agent, Calder Quinne when he comes to investigate. All Nix really wants is to run her tattoo shop in peace and quiet. Hey, we don’t always get what we want, now do we?

Available now at:

Amazon:




Bio:

Casey Wyatt has no personal knowledge of the paranormal, but she hopes someday that may change. If there are ancient Gods, elves or satyrs living nearby, they’re more than welcome to visit. Bring pizza and chocolate please!

Casey’s paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels have won or placed in numerous RWA contests. When not writing, Casey enjoys time with her family, loves to read, and enjoys knitting and crocheting.

She lives in a bustling Connecticut town with her husband, two sons and an assortment of pets (none of which are shape-shifters).

Visit Casey on the web: www.caseywyatt.com  or at http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/. You can also find Casey on Facebook and Twitter (@CaseyWyatt1).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Zombies, and Real Life Scares

Hello everyone! Great Monday morning to you. Let me offer belated Mother's Day wishes to all the fabulous women out there in cyberland. No matter what you mother -- people, animals, plants, monsters  -- you are terrific. 
Yesterday, my own Mother's Day started off pretty fantastic. My family did church, a nice lunch, and a visit with the mother-in-law. Then we came home and (this is why I love having boys) drew up a bunch of wicked zombie posters. Masking tape in hand, I hung up these fantastically scary/funny pictures from door frames, bookcases, you name it. My joyous boys then armed themselves with Nerf guns and ping-pong balls and played attack/target practice/you name it. All fun and laughter, and I'm thinking this is turning out to be a pretty great day. 
By this time I needed a little break, so I plop down in front of my computer to check emails. Great news - a recent release of mine, The Fires of Beltane, received a 4.5 star review from Sensual Reads. Yeah, I was a bit ecstatic. Naturally, I wanted to shout it to the world. I posted on facebook, twitter, you name it, when my computer started acting funny. 
First, my internet page completely shut down. Just, zip. Back to my desktop. I shrugged, checked my internet connections, and logged back on, ready to update my web site, blog, etc. Before I could do much of anything, the internet closes again, but this time things on my desktop disappear. It was almost as if someone behind me held a laser gun and zip-zap-shot, icons spun and winked out. No lie. My programs, my WIP files, my released files. Leaving me, gasping for air as I see them go, and I didn't know how to save them!
Okay, I panicked. Wouldn't you? See, in a cruel twist of fate, my Norton expired last week. I'd planned on renewing next week. This scare had me praying and getting back online to download and install the new Norton. It took me two or three tries, but I got it on. Ran a full scan which took a few hours, and it did find lots of cookies and one virus that it told me it annihilated. Rebooted the computer with high hopes that all would be well and...
Nothing. My desktop was a vast blank, black page with a full recycle bin icon in the left corner and a notepad widget reminding me of my current WIP in the right corner. It took me awhile, but I discovered my programs were hidden and pulled most of them up.
Now, I'm working on trying to see if my documents are hiding somewhere as well. By now, I've come to terms I may not see my Word files again. I'm okay with this. Most everything had been backed up, emailed, stuck somewhere, so I can find them again eventually. What has me worried are my pictures. I know I've backed up my pics, but it's been awhile, so I'm sure there will be a lot missing if I can't get them back. sniff. sniff.
Ah well, that's life sometimes, isn't it? You make fun of the zombies and someone out there knows and gets back at'cha in very frightening ways. All this to say, I hope your Monday is terrific, and don't worry about the blues, I think I'm carrying enough for everyone. :D
But I won't leave this hanging. Help me out a bit. I know I'm not the only one that's had the "Oh, crap!" and other %$&#(! words - moments. How about you? Had any real-life scares that seemed to be direct attacks of your treatment of monsters? Let me know!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Do You Like Your Villains?

The other night I was watching the movie Independence Day and it got me thinking about villains.  Now with that movie, the big bads are extremely big and very very bad.  They truly have no redeeming qualities. You didn’t see them much, but they were the driving force of the entire film. They stay bad until they get blown apart-no question about their badness.
This got me thinking about a book that annoyed me a few years back (I love the author in general, so I’m not saying who it was ;)).  Her villain turned nice guy.  Ok, maybe not nice guy and she sort of had two layers of “big bads”, however she mellowed them too much towards the end for my taste.  First, the lower level big bad went all soft and mushy (“just misunderstood, and mistreated”) then the horrific big bad guy- did the same thing.  After three books of us seeing how bad he was.
Now, villains should always be thought of as being the heroes in their own story, they can’t just be bad to be bad- they need to be aiming for their own goal.  Even complete sociopaths have their own twisted goals.  But I had a problem with this author when she “redeemed” the bad guys.  Call me old fashioned, but I don’t want the bad guys to change their minds, I want them to get their comeuppance (I’m a mean vengeful little thing ;)).  I read this book YEARS ago, and it still sticks with me how let down I felt when the author had them realize the error of their ways.
Part of the problem for me was the effect it has on the conflict that had unfolded over three books- why fight when with enough psychobabble the villain will realize it was just because they didn’t have enough love and it’s all good?  (And yes, I have an educational back ground in psychology, I believe in psychology, but I DON’T agree with using it as a God in The Machine.)
Another part is the hero and heroine.  Your good guys (and gals) are only as strong as the foes you throw against them.  What does it say when instead of being “bested” the villain gives up and everyone understands they weren’t bad really? (I am over exaggerating a mite here for emphasis, but it’s not too far off. ;))
Clearly, the aliens in Independence Day are an extreme, and valid only in certain types of movies and books.  Big bads that straightforward and one dimensional won’t work for most projects.  But at the same time, don’t let your villains wimp out at the end.  To me the major transformative character arc should be your heroes, keep the villains multi-dimensional- but also keep them bad.
What about you?  What types of villains to you love to read/watch?  If you’re a writer,what type do you write?
Thanks for coming by!
Marie Andreas




Friday, May 11, 2012

Writing Group

Writing is a fairly solitary craft unless you are one of those special writers who is able to co-write. (I have no idea how you guys do that!) Mostly, writers sit and work alone (the voices in your head do not count) - hour after hour and day after day. Sure, we all play on social media and have lots of Facebook friends and Twitter followers and etc--but the writing is done ALONE.

Most of the time, I think the loneliness is okay. But I do think having an inner circle of sorts can really help. How many of you have CP (critique partners)? They really help--not only with polishing your work and telling you that your heroine is TSTL, but they help with the loneliness writing can sometimes bring on.

One thing that I have found really helps even more than a remote CP is belonging to a good old fashioned writing group. These groups have been around since before the internet was popular and before you could email your manuscript to someone across the country or the world and get an opinion in a day. With a writing group, you are stuck with people in your own town, for better or for worse.

I've been in quite a few writing groups. I've seen writers who just want attention, who just want a date, and who want all kinds of other things. I've finally fallen into a great group of writers and we have a pretty darn good group. We meet most every Tuesday for about two and a half to three hours and critique.

Do we all write the same genre? Heck no! We are all pretty different in our writing styles and our backgrounds! We range in age from early thirties to mid-forties. We are all races, both genders, different religions/no religion, different political parties--but we are all writers. Yeah, we probably all complain about each other at some point, like old married couples. But we keep meeting, and talking about writing and other topics. We go out to eat occasionally. Once a month, we talk about plot and out writing goals. We plan to do a writing retreat. We fuss at each other and motivate each other and support each other when one of us has a bad week.

In such a lonely pursuit, it is so wonderful to be able to get together--even when it is just to complain.

How about you? Have you belonged to a writing group before? Did you enjoy it?

Kerry

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Party for One

When it comes to celebrating success, I do not have a problem throwing myself a party... as long as I get to keep the guest list short. Very short. A party of one, actually.

One of my favorite teachers in my past once told me that the only person who is going to celebrate you is YOU. What I took from that is you have to toot your own horn because no one else is going to start the parade. Now, that doesn't mean brag or rub success in the faces of others. Nope! Instead you have to be the one to announce your life journey highs. If you do not, no one else will know and celebrate with you.

Last week I learned that my modest little effort When the Saints Go Marching Dead finaled in the Paranormal category of Kiss of Death's Daphne contest.

You can imagine my reaction. Well, most of it. After the initial thrill, I was honestly tempted not to tell anyone about it. Thankfully, RWA chapters do not give you the option to remain low key. I love RWA! They truly encourage writers to unite and enjoy achievements. But again, this didn't help my thought of keeping being a finalist on the down low.

This led to a new discovery...

I do not have to celebrate my own success... Not when my writer friends and critique partners will celebrate FOR me as well as WITH me. Seeing them so excited and happy for me was better than a party of one. In all honesty, it's their accomplishment too. They have given me support, encouragement, feedback, and much more.

The point I am attempting to make in my little clumsy way is that you need to surround yourself with positive people. Other writers full of good energy who will be with you every step of the way. You invest in each other and when one has a lucky day, everyone has a lucky day.

From big to small, success is something to be shared.

Now for some unrelated bittersweet news, my fellow Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance loving peeps! The 'bitter' part is that I will be unable to entertain you for the next six weeks. But the 'sweet' part is that my good pal, Heather McGovern, is will dazzling you in my place. You can say 'hi' to her @HeatherMcGovern or check out Life on the M Shelf.

I will be missing ya'll!

-Darcy (of the Drake variety)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Do You Escape?

How do you escape your everyday life?

How many of you read?

How many of you write?

I think that pretty much covers everyone. Good night, everybody . . . Just kidding.

But I was thinking that as much as I love reading and writing, it’s the other hobbies and activities in my life that end up in my stories. For example, Jessa’s frustration at knitting showed up in Ruined. That may very well stem from my real life frustration. But things that we love also show up in fiction. I love books about Florists. And I love stalking authors on Twitter only to learn that they too are passionate about flowers, like their heroines or heroes. I think that passion comes through on the pages.

I admit I might be in the market for a hobby. Knitting obviously didn’t work out. The story of when I tried to garden will never be told online. And my husband has banned me from our kitchen. Now, I’m just showing you all how horribly not domestic I am. However, I do lots of laundry. My claim to fame and what I use to convince myself I don’t lose at housekeeping.

There are so many unique hobbies out there and it makes me really envious.

I’m not saying I’m going to steal your hobbies, but I am interested in how you all spend your time. I think especially in fantasy, it’s nice to incorporate hobbies that we all understand. While none of you have been to the realm where the book takes place, several of you can relate to the fact that the heroine wishes someone else would weed her garden. This makes characters more relatable, even when they live in other worlds. I think relatable characters are what sell a world.

So what do you do for hobbies? How do you spend your time? What makes you the happiest?

Kinley Baker
@kinleybaker

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tarragon—Protection against Dragons

May is the time of year I take stock of my balcony garden and determine which herbs over-wintered and which I need to restock. After researching dragons for a story and reading that tarragon wards off dragons, I decided to add a French tarragon plant to my collection.
Apparently in the Middle Ages, the plant was linked to dragons because of the serpent-shaped rhizome (fleshy mass of roots), and there was a wide-spread belief tarragon not only warded off serpents and dragons, but also healed snake bites. This belief probably came from the doctrine of signatures, a philosophy shared by early herbalists, which suggested a plant's appearance reflected its possible uses.

French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) plants are now grown for their aromatic silver-gray foliage and their use as a culinary herb. Pair with parsley, chives and chervil for the traditional French seasoning fines herbes.

Dried tarragon loses its power, so make sure to keep fresh tarragon at the ready. One never knows when one might need to treat someone for a dragon bite.

~Dawn Marie Hamilton

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What a Witch Does in May

We've all heard April showers bring May flowers. 

Did you know that witches believe that plants have their own spirits?  They can fill the roll of a familiar just as easily as a magical companion.  Think about . . . lean up against a tree.  Do you feel calm?  Feel the strength of the tree?  Feel grounded?  If you do, you are tapping into the energy of the tree. 

Certain plants are better suited as familiars than others.  The easiest type are the small potted houseplants, the so-called pets of the horticultural world.  Take care of your plant, including soil, light, water, space and temperature.  Don't be afraid to talk to it, even sing to it, or play soothing music for it.  You want to connect with your plant's spirit. 

Many witches will attune their energy to the plants by watering the plant with their own drinking glass or placing a crystal quartz into the potting soil.  By providing a balance of physcial, emotional and spirtual care, anyone can enjoy the magical partnership with their plants.

Enjoy.

darcy

Friday, May 4, 2012

Taking a break...

We are mostly writers here, right? We drive ourselves to meet that word count goal with sprints (1K an hour), daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals--and even yearly goals. We like seeing those numbers creep ever higher. I know I do. Every day when I actually make time to write (I will admit that my editing job and my writing life and my teaching job and my artist and costuming jobs have not all found a nice balance yet...), I write down my WIP's current word count. At the end of my writing session, I write it down again and see how much I've written. It's the numbers, baby! I'm all about seeing those numbers go up.

I did take a day off this week though (eek!). And, I decided that I wouldn't even feel guilty about it. I went to the grocery store, cleaned house, and cleaned my desk--without worrying about *not* writing. It felt great! In the afternoon, my neighbor invited my 5yo over to play in the water table and sprinkler and I went over and watched for a while. (yes, it has been scorching hot this week--in the 90s!) I cooked a big dinner--steak, grilled fresh shrimp, grilled eggplant, and made banana pudding. And all the while, I didn't worry about *not* writing. I still got on Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. I'd probably have done better to have avoided that, too. Any time I had the urge to work, I pushed it aside and tried to stay in the moment of the early summer day.

The next morning, I awoke early (4:30 early--and I had gone to bed after 1 a.m.) with my plot issues all flowing through my head. I lay in bed with the story just playing out--and things just resolved right before my eyes! Honestly, I don't think I had a conscious thought in the process--I really think the brain vacation I took allowed me the break I needed to actually work through the issues I was having. Besides the writing breakthrough, I felt great! Not completely like a new person, but so much better than I had two days before. A deeper happiness. Does that make sense? It is amazing how much rejuvenation a single day can bring.

Lesson:  I made more progress by *not* writing. And I felt better. wow. This may be old news to all of you. (I am a slow learner) I had a taste of it at Hermit Week back in February--when I learned that taking time to just sit and do nothing is as important as multi-tasking sometimes. A tiny bit of inner stillness and a brush with creativity--addictive.

I am going to try to schedule in a day every two weeks where don't write (or even edit!). It's going to be difficult. I'd like to work up to doing it weekly--I am sure it will be great for my creative process (and my mental state, lol). Eventually, I want to have an (shudder) Internet-free day per week. Yes, I have said that goal aloud. *can I take it back??* Just kidding. Yes, it is a scary thought.

How about you? How do you recharge? Have you ever considered an Internet-free day--or do you do it now?

Kerry Adrienne

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Deadlines

As an unpublished author, I used to dream of having deadlines. I knew that participating in National Novel Writing Month gave me energy to get to 50,000 words in a month (and it still does), but with the last book I turned in, I've found that not all deadlines are fun. Sometimes, they're downright painful. Life is exploding in one way and then another, and you're dodging the shrapnel of life while trying to soldier on toward the end goal.

This recent book was like that. I went through a broad range of emotions, everything from wondering why I decided to pick up writing all the way to hey, this is pretty good. Those emotions aren't rare. I've felt them before occasionally, but instead of with months between, it was with days -- or even hours.

Here are a couple tips I found while in the trenches (yes, I'm going to town with the military theme, aren't I?):

1.) Try to remind yourself why you initially wanted to write the story. Sometimes when I'm up to my neck in stress, it's hard to remember why in the world I decided the story needed my attention right then and there. Once I went back to what sparked the enthusiasm in the story, it was easier, and I rebuilt the tiny flames of passion, figuring out what I was doing and why.

2.) Find something that relaxes you and do it, whether it's reading, getting a massage, playing computer games, or taking a walk, go for it! Getting a little time away for half an hour or so re-energized me since lets face it... how much work can someone really get done when they're crispy and at their limit? Probably not as much as they'd want or need. That said, don't let half an hour reading turn into two hours. You're under a deadline! No running away allowed! :-)

What tips do you guys have, writers or not, to keep you on track when you're under a tight deadline?

Sarah Mäkelä
www.sarahmakela.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Giving history a paranormal twist…

Hi everyone –

My debut paranormal romance, Night Walker, is being re-released in mass-market this month, so I have a big blog tour coming up and more book signings… One of my favorite questions I usually get asked is this…


Why did you decide to use real history in your paranormal romance?

 The truth is I didn't set out to do that. In the beginning dreaming-up-my-book-idea stages, my goal was to write a vampire novel using the Americas instead of Europe. In fact, I wanted a vampire on the beach here in San Diego.

With that goal in mind, I searched out the oldest building in San Diego, the Mission de Alcala. I visited the mission a few times and bought some books on the history of the first Spanish Mission in California. (New Spain at the time.)
While researching, I found an interesting unsolved mystery. The Kumeyaay tribes were native to this area of southern California, and they were known as a very peaceful people. There is only one act of violence on record.

On November 4th 1775 in the cover of night, over 600 men from nearby tribes united together, burned the Mission de Alcala to the ground, and bludgeoned the head priest to death, mutilating his body until he could only be identified by the rings on his hands.

There are a few theories out there, but we will probably never know what really incited the peaceful Kumeyaay to band together that night. And although the Catholic Church named Father Jayme the first Catholic martyr in the New World, I had to wonder… What did that man do to inspire a peaceful people to kill him so viciously?

That’s when I started to dream up Calisto’s story. I realized at that point that the attack could have been led by a betrayed man. A man wishing to avenge the death of his one true love. I also researched the Kumeyaay tribes and interviewed a San Diego historian. In my research I discovered that the Kumeyaay had healers they called kuseyaay who healed wounds with their mouths. A vampire could bite their tongue and use their healing blood to mend mortal wounds. What better way for a vampire to live among a tribe without anyone discovering their true nature?

For me, weaving in as many historical facts as possible made the paranormal become more believable and real. It gave my story a foot in reality while leading the reader down a paranormal path. And hopefully suspending disbelief for the reader until it seemed like a Night Walker really could live on the beach in La Jolla. LOL

So if you’re struggling for a new story idea, give local unsolved mysteries a try… You never know what might be lurking in your own backyard! :)

Lisa
http://lisakessler.wordpress.com
http://twitter.com/LdyDisney
http://facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter
http://facebook.com/NightSeries
http://goodreads.com/LisaKessler
http://Lisa-Kessler.com
http://www.entangledpublishing.com/night-walker/

He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her... 

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She's haunted by dreams of her own death...

After catching her fiancé with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she's drawn to him in ways she doesn't understand.

They've waited in the shadows for centuries... 

Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he's ever loved again.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Author Jami Gray

You Write What?
by Jami Gray

Urban fantasy...hmm...cover art with women (and men) I wouldn't want to run across in a dark alley...leather EVERYWHERE... and weapons! Oh the weapons are just beautiful!

However, not everyone is so enamored of sharp pointy things as I am, and when people find out I am a writer and what I write, I am inevitably asked two questions: What is Urban Fantasy and why choose to write it?

Let’s take the first question, shall we? So what is Urban Fantasy? Easiest explanation: the existence of magic in the real world. But one of my many rejection letters had me out searching for a better answer. The very nice editor stated “…the idea of secret warriors keeping the world safe from paranormal entities isn't as original as it used to be, unfortunately.”

After some head scratching and re-reading this comment in hopes of discovering a secret message I just wasn’t getting, I had to think about it. Not only do I write UF but I read a great deal of the books out there in the same genre, and I agree this concept may not be an original concept. Nope, from what I can tell, it's the basic framework of about 70% (could be higher, but I estimate on the low side to be safe) of the Urban Fantasy books sitting out on the shelves.

So I went out on the Mecca of all disinformation or information (depending on the sites you visit and/or believe) known as the Internet. I asked “Define Urban Fantasy”. Here's what I got.
Wikipedia called it "a subset of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times or contain supernatural elements."

Wiki then went on with, "Many urban fantasy novels geared toward adults are told via a first-person narrative, and often feature mythological beings, paranormal romance, and various female protagonists who are involved in law enforcement or vigilantism." Then proceeded to list several titles, of which I own and enjoy a great deal.

Word IQ.com defined Urban Fantasy as "a subgenre of fantasy, also known as contemporary urban fantasy, modern-day fantasy, or indigenous fantasy. These terms are used to describe stories set in the putative real world (often referred to as consensus reality) in contemporary times, in which, it is revealed, magic and magical creatures exist, either living in the interstices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It thus has much in common with, and sometimes overlaps with secret histories."

If I wanted to go on until the dead horse was glue, I could. There are tons of discussions and definitions of Urban Fantasy out there. Everyone has an opinion; readers, writers, editors, agents. It's most intimidating.

So if my story revolves around a paranormal female protagonist who is involved in vigilantism over paranormal entities who threaten both mundane and non-mundane beings set in modern times, I guess I'm not that original, just another wanna-be Urban Fantasy writer.

Then again, based on the concept "Every story that's ever been or ever will be told, has already been done" I'm guessing what sets apart various UF stories are the strengths and individualities of their characters and the challenges they face. That and the author's ability to find that elusive editor/agent who likes them.

I think my original answer still works.

Okay, first part answered, on to the second part—why Urban Fantasy?

Creating worlds where magic is part and parcel of who you are, what you do and where you live has always intrigued me. Even at a young age, happy ever after left me asking, "But, why? What happen to the wicked witch/evil stepmother/monster under the bed?" In UF characters walk a thin line between what's considered right, and what's considered wrong. They live in a gray world, much like the real world, except they have handy-dandy tools like being able to shift into something more feral and beautiful, work magic that leaves you gasping for breath, or handle weapons until they're poetry in motion to help solve their dilemmas.

So why do I write UF? Because I've always loved the idea of being part of the world but being apart from the world and traversing that thin, blurry line. Give me twisty plots with strong, flawed characters who make difficult choices for the greater good--even when those choices may be completely wrong and I’m yours. Being unique, whether you're the only human in a room full of monsters, or the only monster in a room full of humans, is key to Urban Fantasy. Otherwise, why would any of us want to read the stuff?

EXCERPT:

As soon as her foot touched the ground, she felt the disturbance of her inner wards inside the house. Something, or someone, had breached them. A powerful someone, since the outer wards hadn’t been tripped. She muttered a brief oath and caught the edge of the car door before it slammed then realized her element of surprise was shot since her headlights weren’t exactly hard to miss in the inky darkness.

Easing the door almost closed until the interior light clicked off, she stood by the SUV, an unmoving shadow. The soft rhythm of falling rain and the slight rustling of the breeze running through the dense tree leaves helped to cover her movements. She kept to the darkness of the garage, scanning her front and side yards. The lights were still off, none of the small bushes were mangled, and there were no strange cars visible. Whoever it was either flew in or parked somewhere out in the surrounding woods. Raine sent out a flicker of energy to read the house wards. Crouching down, she moved silently toward the wrap-around porch. The wards weren’t offering much help. All she could sense was one intruder. One trespasser versus her and her knives? She’d take those odds. She slipped over the porch railing, dropping softly to the deck.

She moved toward the door from the left side, avoiding the windows and keeping her back to the wall. Staying low, she approached the door below eye level, in case whoever or whatever was inside took a shot. The hope being their shot would go over her head. No sense in being an easy target. With a flick of her wrist, her blade dropped out of its sheath into her right palm, while her left hand reached for the doorknob.

A deep voice emerged from the darkened interior as the door swung open. “Raine, its Gavin. I have a message for you.”

Blurb for Shadow’s Edge:
It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.

Shadow’s Edge: Book 1 of the Kyn Kronicles is out now and Shadow’s Soul: Book 2 of the Kyn Kronicles hits shelves Summer 2012.


You can find me at:

Buy Link: www.BlackOpalBooks.com
Website: www.JamiGray.com
Blogs: www.7EvilDwarves.wordpress.com or www.JamiGray.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamigray.author
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JamiGrayAuthor