• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

A Swamp Visit with #pararom author @LivRancourt and her new release…

Today began like any other day.  Hellhound greeted the heralding light of a new day with a rousing chorus of canine delight. The Prankster Duo is prepping for their summer of total dominion. The Knight is considering various siege targets.  

And me?

I’m sneaking over to Snarky’s place because the talented and honored Dwarf Friend, Liv Rancourt, is stopping by. As a matter of fact, in apologies for sending buckets full of rain her way the other week, I invited her down to our sunnier part of the world to dry out and rediscover what the word ‘sky’ and ‘dry’ have in common.  

It helps that Eerie and Mischievous managed to tick off the Voodoo Queen down south, because it’s been a little warmer than normal. So much so, even the moss between toes has dried out and Dreamer’s become a little perturbed at the beating her flowers have taken.  I think she sent a few air elementals southward to Queenie’s place to help her re-arrange her perspective. 

Regardless, now that Snarky has set out some really cool pastries and Eerie’s coffee is scenting the air, it’s time to grill…<cough, cough>…ask Liv a few questions before we dive into her Paranormal Romance, FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

The thing is, before I was ten I knew I wanted to be a writer, though by the time high school rolled around, I’d kind of forgotten. Writing was cool, singing was cool, but the future? Who knew?

One of my college roommates was a nurse, and I figured there was NO WAY I was smart enough to do that. Then I got into nursing school, and figured there was NO WAY I could handle the responsibility of the job.

Heh.

It was only after twenty-some years of nursing that I figured if I was ever going to do that writing thing, I better get on it. So now you know that my life was a clueless stumble from point A to point B – though I will say I’m pretty happy with where I am now.

-Isn’t that how we all get to where we’re going? Trodding the straight and narrow is so boring. At least when you stumble, exciting things happen…besides smashing face first into the ground!

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Neil Gaiman. OMG just saying his name …. I imagine if I ever met him, there’d be lots of silence with me sitting awkwardly, unable to connect my brain to any higher verbal functions, and him sitting awkwardly, wondering why this relatively normal woman has turned into a gibbering zombie.

-But you’d be such an attractive zombie, I’m sure he’d overlook the gibbering thing…

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

For a while I was the best friend Laura Ingalls never had, and then I lived in the attic next door to Sara Crewe (A Little Princess). I solved mysteries with Nancy, and survived the Crimean War with Florence Nightingale. So yeah, I pretty much plunked myself into just about every book I read. Actually, I kind of still do…

-Shhh! I won’t tell if you won’t…

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

It’ s all about the characters. If I feel like something’s not working, I break out the notebook, grab my pencil (because pens make me crazy) and start writing from the POV of whichever character’s most involved in the situation that’s giving me trouble. Sometimes it’s more than one character, but either way, it helps to refresh my memory of who each person is and how they’d respond to things.

If that doesn’t work, I step away from the piece for a while and work on something else. Taking the dog for a walk can help, too, as can sleeping on it. Often when I wake up in the morning, I find yesterday’s plot macramé has unraveled itself nicely.

-I’m with you. Sometimes I’ll write from a secondary character’s POV just to figure out where in the hell are we going with this…

What is the best advice you can share with others? 

My standard answer to this question is: “WRITE”. But I’m going to vary that a little. Write some, share what you’ve written and ask for feedback, and write some more. Get yourself a couple good books, like “Goal, Motivation & Conflict” by Debra Dixon, or “Save The Cat” by Blake Snyder. Write some more. Sign up for a class – there are a bazillion on-line classes so you can work from home and on your own schedule. Write some more.

These steps can occur in any order you choose. The important thing is to learn the craft and to  get feedback. Oh, and write some more.

-And when all else fails, WRITE!

Now it’s time for quick fire round (and yes, I have been watching way too much Top Chef!)

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Fangs. It’s all about the vampires, baby.

 -As long as they don’t sparkle, I’m good…

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Does “The Lord Of The Rings” count? On their own, fairytales are a little…basic. I’d rather read a book that does a good job repurposing several to create something new.

 -LOTR works, and because we love you, we’ll count it as a fairytale!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

“Breathing His Air” by Debra Kayn (Crimson Romance), “Tarnished” by Karina Cooper, “Winter Knights” by Harper Frost, “Winterblaze” by Kristen Callihan, “The Chalice” by Nancy Bilyeau…oh, you said just three, right. Oops.

 -I’ve yet to find a writer that can stop at three…

Greatest one liner of all time?

Don’t know about “all time”, but right now my favorite one-liner happens in my current WIP (working title King Stud). The main character Danielle is exasperated with her best friend’s younger brother, who’s a carpenter. He tells her there’s so much original woodwork in the house she inherited it’s making his dick hard. She says, “You’re like twenty five years old. Your dick gets hard when the wind blows.”

And he says, “Twenty four, and…well…”

He’s pretty confident for a youngster.

 -*snort, giggle*  niceeee…….

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcasm FTW!

 -and this is why we’re friends….

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

I am the Queen of Clutter, and my “writing cave” is the dining room table. Someone has left a beret on the table. I don’t know who, and I don’t know why. I’m not writing about France or anything. Maybe I should be…

-Or maybe someone should take you to France? *waggles eyebrow*

Favorite supernatural creature?

Vampires. But you knew that.  😉

-*big grin*

Big love to Liv for braving our wilds once more and bringing such a great title with her!

Want to spice up your reading list this summer? Check out Liv’s latest release and must have: FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN 

Molly, a forty-something single mom, tangles with the wrong guy and gets a hell of a hickey. That blotch is really a demon’s mark, and she’ll have to face the three things that scare her most to get rid of it. First, Molly loses her job and then she has a near-sex experience with her philandering, not-quite-ex-husband. Worst of all, she has to sit by a hospital bed, wondering if her son is ever going to wake up.

The Powers That Be assign Cass to help her. He’s an angel who’s trying to earn a seat in the celestial choir by helping out a human in need. Vanquishing the demon would be his ticket up, but only if he plays by the rules. He’ll never earn his wings if he loses his heart to the lovely Molly. But she has even bigger things to worry about. She stands to lose her soul.

9781440564147

Buy Links:

Crimson RomanceAmazonBarnes & NobleARe

Liv #2

Liv Rancourt writes paranormal and romance, often at the same time. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and one wayward puppy. She likes to create stories that have happy endings, and finds it is a good way to balance her other job in the neonatal intensive care unit. Liv can be found on-line at her website (www.livrancourt.com), her blog (www.liv-rancourt.blogspot.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/LivRancourt).

You think you know Hugo winner @seananmcguire – think again!

We’ve been trying to classy up the Swamp lately. This involves shanghai-ing…err..gently persuading some really cool peeps to stop by for a few and answer some truly insightful questions.  This week we were able to lure the one and only Seanan McGuire to our destination of mold, mildew, and spongy ground.  For those who haven’t met her before, let me introduce Seanan. She is the mad genius behind the Urban Fantasy October Daye series and the truly fun InCryptid series. Her podcast, The SF Squeecast just picked up a Hugo award. Born and raised on the West Coast of North America, she currently shares a crumbling farm house with her three improbably large cats, her large collection of horror movies, and enough books to qualify as a library under local zoning laws.  She has no qualms about cuddling rattlesnakes, but weather terrifies her.  When not writing, she enjoys visiting haunted cornfields, collecting creepy dolls, and watching too much television.  Sometimes she’s her own evil twin, Mira Grant. 

She really doesn’t sleep much.

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Try not to scare her away!

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? Your guests don’t have to be alive and if you really want to make it fun, you can use favorite fictional characters.

I’m assuming my guests would be functionally alive for the duration of the party, at least, or we’re potentially sitting at the table with a bunch of corpses, and that would be…bad.  Very, very bad.

I don’t know, Seanan, Eerie’s Zombies tend to have some table manners.  We have managed to keep them from leaving pieces behind or leaking over the table.

So I would invite Stephen King and ask him about language; James Gunn and ask him about what he would have done in Slither II; Andrew Volpe and ask him about music; Walt Disney and ask him about imagination; and my friends Michelle “Vixy” Dockrey and Catherynne Valente, because seriously, if I had a dinner party with those people and didn’t invite Cat and Vixy, they would have a keep-away party with my internal organs.

 You might need to set a few extra spots, I think Eerie may crash your dinner party and I would be the plus one…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I actually wanted to be a Broadway performer when I was younger!  I did years of voice and dance lessons, and appeared in quite a few productions here on the West Coast.  Sadly, a spinal injury took dancing off the table, and I was forced to refocus my ambitions.

That totally sucks, but on the positive side, we get to go on adventures with Toby and the Price family!

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning: Contents under pressure.  Contains language.  Some concepts may be too complicated for after-midnight reading.  Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

                  *makes note to find out story behind Happy Fun Ball*

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

…oh.  Oh, that would end poorly.  “Die die die die die die bitch die die die” is probably the more socially acceptable part of that little screed.

                                 *snort* I think a few of mine would jump all over that band wagon, complete with a burning effigy.

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

Since all my series are ongoing, I actually intend to share most things, given sufficient time.  It’s one of the nice parts of being a series author (although I very much envy people who can think in stand-alones).  Quentin, from the Toby Daye books, loves hockey.  He’s a good Canadian boy and he appreciates his nation’s favorite pastime.  He actually has fantasies about getting Toby to a hockey game and watching her expression when she realizes that blood will bounce on ice.

                                    That’s kind of cool, I hadn’t imagine Quentin into Hockey, basketball..not the nice one, but street style…very cool…

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Stephen King, definitely.  I fully expect to lose the power of coherent speech if I ever manage to meet him.  I think if we do meet, it will be through the efforts of a mutual friend, who will stand there and laugh as I stare and whimper.

                                   Maybe you can prepare pre written signs a la the Roadrunner?

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

You actually asked the self-insert character question!  I salute you.  I used to tell myself stories where I’d get to meet my favorite characters, but I never committed any of them to paper.  My favorite movie growing up was Little Shop of Horrors, and I actually never did a self-insert there, although I’ve been in the musical seven times, and have played every female character except for Audrey.

                                  Here I thought it was just me who was strange enough to do this, but I think it’s like training wheels for writers, playwrights, actors…

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

My first serious attempt at writing was a fourteen-page essay when I was nine, explaining to my mother why she had to let me read Stephen King.  It had footnotes and a bibliography.  I finished my first book when I was twelve.  It was called Dracula’s Castle, and if I knew where it was, I’d probably put it online.

                                      Since my Prankster Duo would do something like this, I have to ask, did she let you read it?

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

When in doubt, blow shit up.

                                      Niiiiceeee….

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

I worked for the phone company for a while as a process engineer, and there was one summer where they sent me everywhere.  I had almost no time at home or with my cats, and I was exhausted.  I stopped enjoying travel, and I started having travel troubles for the first time in my life.  Then, when I arrived in Florida after a bad flight, I got picked up by a black van at the taxi stand, and the driver kept pointing out things that weren’t normal tourist things, like the gator farms and where the good movie theaters were.  Just as we reached my hotel, he looked at me in the rearview and said, “You’ve been having a bad time lately.  Some bad trips.  But don’t worry.  That’s all over now.”  And he was right.  Things got better after that.

                                            How cool is that?

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

I have the best readers.  A lot of them have named cats after my characters, which I take as high praise.  And one reader’s seven-year-old memorized a song of mine, “Wicked Girls,” when she had to take a poem to her first grade class.  I consider that the sweetest thing ever.

                                          Wow! A poem? That is truly the best thing ever!

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Probably military sci-fi.  I don’t have the background, and I would have real trouble with the details.

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

Never measure yourself against anyone else.  Their stories aren’t yours to tell, and guess what?  Your stories aren’t theirs.

                                               I’ll have to remember this one…

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Read.  Write.  Revise.  Don’t read the comments, ever.  Play nicely with the other children, even if you don’t like them.  Nastiness never did any long-term good.  Support your peers; someday you may need them to support you.  Success is not a zero-sum game.  Your story is not done.

And now for the bullet questions you all love…are you ready?

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Tank.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

The Three Sisters, variant four, happy ending version, AT tale type 713-b.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

              Crops and Robbers, by Paige Shelton; Forbidden, by Kelley Armstrong; Virus X, by Frank Ryan.

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Bet you wish you’d gone to Hollywood with me now, don’t you, Bill?”

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcasm, all the way.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

My 20+ pound blue classic tabby and white Maine Coon, Alice.

threecats012

Favorite supernatural creature?

It varies from day to day.  Right now, the mermaid.

A big, huge thank you to Seanan for taking the time to be with us today. She’s definitely help add a little pizzaz to our place!  Want more Seanan McGuire? Don’t fret, her latest release is Midnight Blue-Light Special, the second book in her InCryptid series.  These urban fantasy cryptozoology adventures follow the Price family as they do their best not to get eaten by anything unpleasant.  The series began with Discount Armageddon, and there are several free short stories on Seanan’s website, at www.seananmcguire.com.

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Come visit with the marvelous @KellyMeding…

Welcome one and all to April’s Swamp Visitor–Kelly Meding. You may recognize her from such enthralling titles as Three Days to Dead, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead,  or the equally entertaining Trance and Changeling. If you don’t have them on your TO READ list, you best get a move on!

Without further ado, I give you…KELLY MEDING!

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?  

                         Incurable Sarcasm Ahead: Proceed At Your Own Risk

*hehehehe* I like that one…

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

             Sadistic. Mean. Overly dramatic. They’d probably accuse me of over-thinking the plot at times.

Oh come on! Don’t they know you could make it so much worse?

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing. 

 This question is fitting, considering Tempest is about to release in April, but one of my favorite characters is Ethan Swift, from the MetaWars books.  I’ve had a soft spot for him since his first appearance in Trance.  He’s the quiet guy with inner strength, who always wants to take care of others before himself. I haven’t shared a great deal of information about him in Trance or Changeling, but he takes center stage in Tempest.  Readers who paid close attention in Changeling figured this out, but since it’s never been plainly spoken/written anywhere, Ethan is gay. Dahlia is the second person to whom he’s ever admitted that, and the third person who finds out in Tempest will probably surprise you.  As for a totally unknown fact, when he was twenty-one, Ethan spent a year as a beach bum in Boynton Beach, Florida, working at a tiki bar for income—a lot of which he spent on sunburn cream.

I can empathize with Ethan, except I don’t know if there’s enough sunburn cream in the world to make sure I don’t resemble a burnt lobster!

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting? 

I had a moment like this last year at Authors After Dark: NOLA, when I met Jeaniene Frost for the first time. We’d communicated a few times in the past, and she graciously blurbed Three Days to Dead way back when, but I’m a huge fan. So I admit to being heart-pounding nervous, and I probably babbled a little. But Jeaniene is so sweet and gracious.  The other time it happened was years ago when James Marsters attended a SF convention, and I was briefly in his presence during the autograph session.  I was crazy nervous, because, well, it’s Spike!

Oooohh, Spike and Authors After Dark…there’s two items on my bucket list.  It’s a good thing we’re doing this interview via blog because I’m not sure you’d understand the words tumbling from my mouth, or if they’d even make sense…

And now for our favorite part–bullet questions.  Kelly’s under the gun and fires back…

Blades, guns, fists or feet? 

Blades, all the way. To me, they simply look cooler on screen or drawn in a comic. Guns are too easy. Blades require you to get in close, but they maintain an elegance that fists or feet don’t.

A women after my own heart…

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time? 

For traditional fairy tales, The Little Mermaid. I love the beauty of the mermaid’s sacrifice at the end of the story.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read? 

Hitchers, by Will McIntosh (loved, loved, loved Soft Apocalypse, and I can’t wait to read this one); Echoes at Dawn, by Maya Banks (I am crushing on the KGI books right now); Static, by L.A. Witt (her m/m romances rock).

You and me both! I love Maya’s KGI Books!

Greatest one liner of all time? 

I don’t think I could actually narrow that down. There are simply too many.


Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism.

Every time, all the time…


Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A little plastic unicorn from Authors After Dark: New Orleans, that I had signed by Allison Pang, Kristen Painter, Kelly Gay, Amanda Carlson, and Carolyn Crane.


Favorite supernatural creature?

Shapeshifters.

Huge Thank You to Kelly for stopping by! Want some more? Check out this peek at TEMPEST, out April 22, 2013 from Pocket Star:

Tempest_final_cover

Two months after the discovery of the powerful, non-Meta Recombinants, the former Rangers—Meta-powered humans dedicated to preserving the peace—have made no progress in uncovering the newcomers’ origins, or convincing the public to trust them. Newly powered Metas are popping up and causing trouble, while the former Banes—Metas who harm humans and create chaos—show no inclination that they even want to leave the island prison of Manhattan. With a presidential election looming, the hot political debate is all about Meta rights—and whether they deserve to have any.

Still haunted by the murder of so many in the Meta War fifteen years earlier, Ethan “Tempest” Swift accepts an assignment in Manhattan, working with a team that’s interviewing Banes to determine which are still threats and which have reformed. But Ethan has a personal reason for going to the island as well. Armed with questions for the Bane who just might be his father, Ethan’s quest for answers is interrupted by an unexpected assault on the island. Forced to side with old enemies to uncover who’s responsible for the devastating attack, Ethan begins to question more than just his past—he questions his place in defending a world that sees him as its enemy.

Get yours:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble 

ALL ABOUT KELLY MEDING:

Born and raised in Southern Delaware, Kelly Meding survived five years in the hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia, only to retreat back to the peace and sanity of the Eastern Shore.  An avid reader and film buff, she discovered Freddy Krueger at a very young age, and has since had a lifelong obsession with horror, science fiction, and fantasy, on which she blames her interest in vampires, psychic powers, superheroes, and all things paranormal.

Three Days to Dead, the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series, follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires.  Additional books in the series, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam.

Beginning with Trance, Kelly’s MetaWars series tells the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead.  Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books, with Tempest and Chimera following digitally in 2013.

WANT MORE KELLY?  

You can find Kelly on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KellyMeding), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/kellymeding/), and Facebook, as well as her website (http://www.kellymeding.com/) and her blog Organized Chaos (http://chaostitan.blogspot.com/).

–Wicked

Things You Didn’t Know About the Awesome Faith Hunter @hunterfaith #faithhunter #JaneYellowrock

Just when you thought you had a handle on what you know about your favorite writers, you discover there is so much more to know! Faith Hunter, author of the Jane Yellowrock Urban Fantasy novels and Rogue Mage Fantasy series, was sweet enough (and brave enough) to share a little of herself with us!  Dare you to take a peek!

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? Your guests don’t have to be alive and if you really want to make it fun, you can use favorite fictional characters. 

Well, if they were dead, they probably wouldn’t come to the party. And, if they did, they probably wouldn’t help the ambience with their rotten stink. Or their rattle-y bones if they’d been gone a long while. And if they were zombies, they’d try to eat our brains, not the food I’d so carefully prepared. So I guess I’ll pass on this one. Oh. Wait. They can be alive???

           Wow, you’d cook for them? Brave, brave Faith.  I don’t think they’d still be breathing if I had to cook. Although that     would make some interesting dinner conversation…hmmm…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to be a nurse so I could help people. Then I found out nurses sometimes have to wash people’s butts, and I decided to become a lab tech. I only later discovered that lab techs have to do tests on poop. My bad.

         *snort* Yeah, that might take some getting used to…

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning! Warning Will Robinson! Warning!   (laughing) You have to like old scifi to appreciate this one.

         Hey! Who you calling old? I love that line…actually used it on my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor the other day *grin*

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I adore two actors: George Clooney and Mark Harmon. A-D-O-R-E! If got to meet either actor, I’d probably blubber like I was having a stroke. And then cry. And then pass out. All of which could be worse.

           Only if they didn’t catch you. Think of the possibilities if they did, though…

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

Wonder Woman. She was tall and skinny and athletic and had big boobs and wore a big cape. I was successfully psychic in the boobs part. And I do love scarves which might be considered a type of cape. As for the rest, I guessed totally wrong.

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

I remember a 4 day trek up to Nantahala. It was cold and raining and wet and miserable, and the RV was full of river-stinky wet gear, and wet, cold, stinky river paddlers (some of whom didn’t feel like showering because it was only Wednesday). And I was stressed and exhausted. Deadlines looming. Needing to get home. And because I had promised to join everyone, we geared up in our cold wet river gear and went down the river.

We were the only people on the water.

Mist fell down the sides of the gorge like a waterfall of clouds. Birds sang like they were calling for the last warm days of summer to return, and to remember them. The water called back with a muted roar of joy and power. The river carried us along like the veins of mother earth. I got out front at one point, and a bird flew along beside my boat, just us, alone on the water. Wings outspread in a slow glide, he watched me with one quirky eye, sharing some great bit of bird wisdom about flight with his water-bound cousin. Rain fell and dimpled the surface of the river in the places where it was smooth. Raindrops mixed with my tears until I couldn’t tell the difference between the tears of the earth and my own.

And I was restored.

That river trip was a thing of great worth, a priceless, un-match-able experience. I returned home relaxed and calm. And I met my deadline. I carry that river trip in my memory like a precious thing. And when I’m stressed, and having panic attacks, and feeling like a failure, I remember that trip. And that bird, gliding beside me, sharing the experience of the cold and the wet.

             Wow, Faith, that actually made me tear up! It sounds so incredibly beautiful.  It’s those type of moments that restore your creativity and sense of wonder.  Something every person needs! Thank you for sharing.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Erotica. My sex scenes suck. Wait. That came out aaaaaall wrong.

     *snorting coffee through nostrils* Seriously, you are a dangerous woman when hot beverages are involved!  I know I feel like the closet perv when doing my scenes.  Hunched over the keyboard, office door closed, continuously checking to make sure the Knight, the Hellhound or the Prankster Duo aren’t lurking behind me.

Now it’s time for our favorite bullet questions!

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Yes.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, of course. Wait. Was that not politically correct here?

No worries, what is said in the Swamp, stays in the Swamp!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read? 

I only have two waiting: 1. Kim Harrison’s Ever After. 2. Patricia Briggs’ Frost Burned.

Greatest one liner of all time?

Go ahead … Make my day.

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Yes. Each as appropriate.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Hmmm. That would be either the boar skull (complete with tusks) or the free rang anole lizard named Longfellow. He is sleeping in an orchid as I write this, but he spent today running up and down the shelves that hold the orchids.

Favorite supernatural creature?    

Angels. Not the pretty lady kind, but the warrior kind — mean brutes with the swords of justice and armor. I mean, really. Kickass gorgeous males with wings and swords? How cool is that?

Intrigued are you? Good, because here’s a look at Faith’s latest release, BLOOD TRADE:

Blood Trade Cover

The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets.

But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.

Available now at AMAZON  and  BARNES AND NOBLE!

FaithHunter8Small

Faith Hunter has written the Jane Yellowrock series and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the RPG Rogue Mage. Several of her novels have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists, and she has four new books under contract. Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she has written action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. Under all her pen names, she has over 25 books in print in 27 countries.

Faith writes full-time and works full-time in a hospital (for the benefits). She’s a workaholic and playaholic who makes jewelry, collects orchids and bones, travels in her RV with her hubby and two dogs, and white-water kayaks.  Once upon a time, she also tried to keep house and cook, but since she started writing two books a year, she may have forgotten how to turn on the appliances.

Want more? You can find her:

Website   Facebook   Twitter: @hunterfaith

Querying the impossible Query…

Yep, no hiding now. It’s on to a brief discussion on queries.  The query is a loathsome beast, not as dreaded as the Synopsis, but a close runner up. Now, you can go out and google all sorts of interesting information on creating the perfect query, or what goes into a query.  I’m not so sure there’s such an animal as “the perfect query”.  Regardless it is a very vital part of the whole getting yourself published process.

Let’s look at what this little nugget is suppose to do for you.  The main purpose of a query is to SNAG THE ATTENTION of the person reading it.  You want that editor/agent/pub house to gasp in delighted shock and think “OMG! I MUST HAVE THIS STORY!” After which, they rush to their phone/email and quickly demand more.  That’s a realistic expectation, right?  Um, yeah time to re-evaluate here.

No matter how great your story is, I can almost guarentee those you’re looking to impress have already seen it. Discouraging though that may sound, it’s truth. But here’s the good part of that.  From talking to agents/editors and reading numerous articles, you must not give up hope.  A unique voice,  a new twist on an old idea, an intriguing story…all of these are still in demand.

Now you have to get your query to stand out.  Don’t put it on tie-dye paper, drench it in some sweetly sick smelling perfume, have a singing stripper deliver it to the agent/editor’s office (though they may enjoy the show and remember you, they may also seek a restraining order).  Instead, make sure the very first line, aka your hook, sinks its barbed teeth in deep and won’t let them wiggle off your snare.  Make that first line exciting, intriguing, something that will leave whoever is reading it, wanting more.  Even more important, make sure it stays true to your writing and the story. If you’re doing a humorous mystery, it could be “Thanks to the dark and stormy night, there was no avoiding the vat of syrup that turned Millie’s life into a sticky situation.”

Yes, I’m highly aware of how corny that sounds, but you get the point. Besides, there is really no way to write a great hook in less than thirty seconds.  Although, now that I’ve written that, this story could go places…

Never mind, back to our point–query writing. As hard as it is to create, you need

  1. Hook
  2. Your blurb–this is how you keep your query quarry’s attention.  You tell them what your story is, who’s involved, what’s at stake and leave them wondering…will they succeed or not?
  3. Your book info–this means title, word count, genre, is it stand alone or one in a possibly series?
  4. Your publishing credentials.  Now, if you haven’t published before, have you been nominated for any awards, even if it’s in non-fiction writing, list it.  Won any contests? Tell them.  If you’re published, you know the drill–titles, publisher, and when.
  5. Something unique about you–think one line bio.  Set yourself apart, but don’t lie.  Everyone has that one thing that’s just them. For me–I live in a testosterone household with three Star Wars geeks and a 100 lb. lab–find yours and use it.
  6. Contact information–they need to get ahold of you to get more of your story, so make sure you give them every available chance–email, mailing address, phone number and your name.
  7. Be polite–thanking them for taking the time to review your request, not only is it nice (and my momma made sure I understood politeness) but think about it, aren’t you grateful they did take the time?

There you have, the basics of a query letter.  Now comes the fun part–hit that send button and get your story out there. No one will be able to appreciate your wonderfulness if you don’t share it.  Take a chance, risk a little and the rewards might be more than you hoped for!

Best of luck, guys!

–Wicked

Remembering the little details…

Yes, I realize I missed my Thursday post with my fellow dwarves. Nope, I have absolutely no excuse. Unless you count the fact that sleep decided it wasn’t being appreciated enough and left me in a snit about two weeks ago.  Damn drama queen.  Now I figure out how to lure it back.  In the meantime, I took over Saturday’s spot on the 7ED site to play catch up.  On my blog, no one will notice…

I promised we’d get back to some basics on writing, so now that Shadow’s Moon is out propositioning some very nice people at the pub houses, let me clue you in on something I knew, but had slammed home recently.  When writing a series, it’s very important to be able to remember the little details.  You know, things like hair color, eye color, height, gender, where someone lives, what their favorite food is, what they drive, who their parents are…the little things.  It’s all those little things that make or break your world over numerous books.

Readers are some of the most intelligent, eagled eyed people out there. If you tell them your character is blonde, blue-eyed, lives in the city, drives a sports car and prefers chocolate over caviar (like who doesn’t?), and then somewhere down the line she’s puttering around in the suburbs, eating caviar and driving a Jeep, there will be issues. I promise you.  So how does a writer keep track of all these little things? Especially as they are constantly refining their worlds and characters?

The answer is…a series bible.

Now, when I started Shadow’s Edge, I had the beginnings of a bible for the series. Of course it was scattered around my office and filing cabinets masquerading as scribbles on notebook paper, more scribbles on post-its (a vital component of any office), even more scribbles on the back of restaurant receipts with coffee stains.  By the time I finished the first book, I managed to gather my loose little notes into one central area. Then I was off to write Shadow’s Soul. When I spent more time trying to verify something about a character of one of the Kyn Houses than actually writing the scene, it was time to put it all together.  But, first I had to finish the book.

So Shadow’s Soul done and out into the world, Shadow’s Moon was well underway and my notes were still an unruly pile in need of some serious discipline. It may have taken a few discussions (read-heated debates) among the Evil 7, but it was glaringly obvious if I wanted to win some of my points, I better have proof that I really did have that character doing that before.  This meant the last two weeks, on top of query letters and synopsis creation (which we’ll try to address next week), I finally buckled down to get all those pesky details in order.

What exactly goes into a Series Bible, you may ask…my answer, after many hours trolling the internet and talking to other writers: Whatever you feel is vital to your world. 

With that lovely open to interpretation answer, I will share what is in mine and you can discard or copy what ever tickles your fancy.

CHARACTER PROFILES:  this includes all the vital stats on your characters–physical, emotional, background, who they’re linked to and how, images (there’s fun to be had doing an internet search entitled: hot brunette males), where they live, what they drive, how the dress, personal ticks/habits, job position, etc. 

LIST OF MINOR CHARACTERS:  I went book by book and anyone I mentioned by name went on this list, along with the notation DEAD if they didn’t survive.  You never know when one of these names comes back and takes over.

WORLD HISTORY:  this includes world rules on how your world works, the history of its creation and they way your current world interacts/ed with others.  In mine, I have a breakdown for each of the four houses of the Kyn, the governing structure, magic rules for each race, some history behind each of them, strengths/weaknesses of each race (physical/emotional), territory division for the Shifters and who runs which packs, glossary.  This is a huge section and you can break it down further if it helps.

PLACES/LOCATIONS:  a list of all the bars, restaurants, businesses, homes that are in each book and how they’re linked to the characters.  Someday I’ll have maps too!

BLURBS: from each book.  Here’s a great way to get a jump on your query, write your own blurb for your book.

SYNOPSIS: from each book, anywhere from 1-5 pages.  You’ll need these.

SERIES ARC:  This is important as it helps you see where each title will fall under your major plot, and how each title will help move it along.

NOVEL PLOTS:  self-explanatory–plots for each book, at least how they start out. They never end up the same.

SHORTS:  this is a list of ideas I will someday brave in my attempts to master the short story.

There is a massive amounts of opinions on what should be in your series bible, plus quite a few free worksheets if you want them, but I found this is what works best for me.  It allows me to keep it all straight and not lose sight of my overall story.

So for those who’ve stuck this out to the end–add your suggestions to what should be in a series bible!

-Wicked

It’s Party Time! Are you ready? #BloggersBookFair and @kimmydonn

It’s coming! Oh yes it is.  Next week, starting on Thursday, 2/7-2/10 I get to be part of the Bloggers Book Fair over at my blog at www.jamigray.com.  Don’t know what it is? Well, here’s a little background, the theme this year is:  “The World for a Shilling”.

And that came from where?  The Great Exhibition of 1851. The Great Exhibition was held in Hyde Park in London, England from May 1st through October 15th. They built a special building called the Crystal Palace to house the enormous event. Countries from around the world brought their goods to be shown including food, textiles, machines and anything you could imagine. At first, the entry fee was very expensive for those days, but once the organizers (Prince Albert, Henry Cole, and countless others-Even Queen Victoria was highly involved) realized that they had made more than enough to cover the costs, they lowered the price down to one shilling. Once they did this, virtually anyone could get in and see the wonders of the world–hence the saying “The World for a Shilling.”

And this means what to you? The approximate value of a shilling compared to today’s USD is about $5, so all books featured will be $5 or less. Which means you get a chance to discover some really fantastic authors in a wide variety of genres!

So don’t miss out on this really cool opportunity.  You can go directly to the Blogger Book Fair site HERE!

I get to host the following great authors, so don’t forget to stop in for your chance to score some free reads!

Kimberly Gould

Rebecca Hamilton

Nathan Squires

Cindy Young-Turner

S.M. Boyce

Kate Lutter

And for those who’d like to get a sneak peek of what’s in store, a new release: Cargon: Duty & Sacrifice is Kimberly Gould’s sequel, to her first book, Cargon: Honour and Privilege is now out and available!

Cargon Duty and Sacrifice FINAL front COVER 1-14-13

Get your copy now at AMAZON or SMASHWORDS!

See you all next week and don’t forget your schillings!

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest!

Today’s post is a little early because we are taking part in Ciara Knight and Ninja Captain Alex’s “Did I Notice  Your Book” Blogfest.  Yes, my loyal Swamp followers, I’m here to share my discovering with you.  The coolest part of this blogfest, I’m not the only one sharing awesome new writers.  In fact, there are over 80 of us doing the same thing today, so if you need to add to your towering “TO BE READ” pile, stay tune at the end of this post for a link to a list of all participating authors where you can discover your next favorite writer!

Choices, choices, choices…you would not believe how many really great stories are sitting out there, all by themselves, trying to be heard over the roar of the masses.  So today I chose…

Yes, that’s right, Bloodstorm-Heart of a Vampire is Amber Kallyn’s introduction into an entertaining world of vamps, shamans, shifters and castles in the desert.  It all starts out with our lovely vamp, Nikki, doing what vamps do best, hunting for blood.  Not just any blood, mind you, but the one flowing in the veins of the monster who slaughtered her family and turned her.  Unfortunately, she’s tracked her Maker into a small desert town where the ruggedly handsome sheriff and the Magic Council’s Keeper of the Peace, Shane calls home.  When the two meet, Nikki’s desire for revenge is soon eclipsed by her desire for Shane.   Problem is, her mad sire has been creating a few newbie vamps–in someone else’s territory and Nikki’s sudden appearance puts her front and center for the local supernatural community’s suspicions, leaving Shane caught between his heart and his duty.

This is an awesome read and a great start to Ms. Kallyn’s series (the second book, Hungerstorm is also out!) and the best part–right now it’s free in e-book format, so what are you waiting for? Go check it out!  Here’s the link for her author page at Amazon so you can see all her titles!  

http://www.amazon.com/Amber-Kallyn/e/B006HAOP3U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

And if you’re eager for more, swing over to Alex J. Cavanaugh’s place for a complete list of participants in today’s Blogfest, I promise you’ll discover new favorite reads! Don’t forget to spread the word!

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest’s list of participants

–Wicked

To Self-Publish or not to Self-Publish

I spent years working on my first novel, but after careful consideration, have put it aside for a while to work on other projects.  With that said, I started another piece.  This piece was designed to be a short story that I wanted to self-publish; however, somehow it has morphed into a novella.  (It is a young adult fantasy story, and I’ve already plotted the series.)

This project has moved faster than I expected, and soon I will be facing a completed novella.  I am very excited for this next step, but I’m terrified at the same time.  This next step is unfamiliar territory to me.  Instead of being a writer, using my skill to create a whole new world, I’ll become a marketer.  I am not a marketer.

Part of me likes the idea of finding an agent and a publishing company, because they’ll have expertise that I lack, but part of me worries about losing control over my novel.  When I first started writing, I assumed the strength of working with a publishing company was that they would put the time and money into marketing my novel for me, but my innocent eyes have been opened since then.  It seems even exceptional novels can be published through a publishing company, while the marketing is still left up to the writer.  But is this the norm?  Are we as writers expected to know how to sell our novels?

And then there is self-publishing.  With a bit of research, and talking to writers with more experienced than myself, I see the ease through which we can self-publish.  Anyone, it seems, can publish their work.  They can have the control of designing their own cover, choosing their date to publish, and monitoring their sales.  But self-publishing comes with an equal risk, that no one will read your work unless you market your book properly.

I’m new to the world of publishing, unfamiliar with its secrets, but I hope that when the time comes, I make the right decision.  And although I might be wrong, it seems clear to me that I will need to learn to be a marketing expert if I have any hope of making it in the writing world.  What are your thoughts?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

Who’s Head Are We In?

As a writer, you are made aware that there are a number of rules by which you must write.  Part of me, the one pepetually stuck in my teenage years, wants to thumb my nose at this never ending list of Do’s and Don’ts.  However, I’m a logical, thinking adult…and I still want to thumb my nose at the damn list.  Since writing is a craft you are continually perfecting, I have no doubt that I have broken several of these rules without even thinking about it. 

Yet, until my latest WIP, there is one rule I’ve been very careful of not breaking–keeping a consistent point of view.

If you’ve read (or are planning to read) my first two books, you’ll note that we are always in Raine’s point of view.  Since I’m easily confused, will just label my style as Third Person Limited–basically the story is told from the protagonist’s POV using “he” and “she”.  This has worked quite well for me, until Xander and Warrick decided to show up. 

I’ve tried the First Person POV–everything told from the protagonist’s POV.  This style lures you in with the promise of pulling your readers in closer to your character.  Those snickers you hear as you dive in? That’s the style laughing it’s ass off at you because you have stepped into the quagmire of “I thought…”,  “I moved…”, “I…”,  “I…” and it so hard to drag yourself free.  I have mad respect for all those writers who’ve used First Person POV brillantly.  I’ll even admit to having a partial story in this style.  It’s now sitting in a corner by itself until it learns to behave better.

There is this term–“Head hopping” that most writers hear.  For those not familiar with this term, pick up a book and tell me, how many of the characters are telling the story?  Are there chapter or scene breaks inbetween each character’s scene?  If so, the writer is skating the thin edge of the rules, but doing well.  But say you go from John’s perspective to Mary’s, then to Roman’s all within a page, back to John’s, then to Roman’s, then to Mary’s, all within two pages, that’s called head hopping.  It’s a bit like standing in the center of the room with the characters surrounding you and you spin endlessly trying to follow along.

Now, one of my favorite authors (and no, I’m not sharing the name) likes to head hop, and they have TONS of books out there.  As a reader I’m okay with it, those stories work for me. As a writer, I’ve tried very hard never to head hop.  For me (THIS IS MY OPINION!) I always felt like I was cheating if I had to use multiple perspectives to get the story across to the readers. 

*clears throat* 

Recently, I’ve had to change my mind.  Those who’ve been following along know I’ve struggled to get Shadow’s Moon under way as I searched for the correct POV to do the story from.  Finally, this weekend, it hit–this story is about two very distinct people, therefore the reader needs to hear both of their voices. 

*sigh*

So those rules you hear all the time, take them with a huge salt lick.  Rules are a great way to help you start out in writing, but don’t be afraid of ignoring them and jumping off your creative cliff occassionally. You’ll be surprised what meets you half way down! 

 Wicked

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