• 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

Writing Masters: Jim Butcher


I was reading some articles about writing, and it suggested googling one of your favorite authors, plus the word writing. I googled “Jim Butcher Writing”, without the quotations.

Google page: http://www.epublishabook.com/2014/06/09/writetip-elements-subplot-writers-writing-amwriting/


Product DetailsProduct Details


He writes both High fantasy and urban fantasy, but his tips apply to any genre





Some awesome pages that came up:


Jim’s LiveJournal

He hasn’t been on this for years, and the later posts are sporadic, but he talks about how he plots and writes



This is a blog that lists direct links to Jim’s writing articles




Google Docs that someone collated Jim’s tips (Can be saved as a document)







How Jim got Published



Q4U: What authors would you like to see writing tips from?


Hope you find these helpful : )

~ Amber

Write for Your Genre

I’ve heard different thoughts on how important or unimportant it is to keep in mind your genre while writing, but for me, I’ve discovered that it is essential. Young adult fantasy is a genre I’ve written quite a bit in, but recently, I started a high fantasy novel for adults. If I played by the same rules I usually do, this novel would not work at all. High fantasy allows for a lot of description and exposition, whereas young adults readers typically lose interest if you don’t get right into the action.

Both genres are really enjoyable to write in, for completely different reasons, but dabbling in high fantasy has been incredibly fun for me. Usually I have to focus so much on making things fast-paced in my YA novels, I don’t get to go into all the details I want to include. My high fantasy novel is fulfilling my craving to be detailed, while also allowing me to explore my new goal: to use powerful details, rather than lots of details.

I know for some people, they write their novel, and then decide on their genre and audience. It is amazing to me that other writers are able to do this, but as I’ve discovered, I need a little more structure than that. What about you?

Where, Oh Where Has All the Love Gone?


Was that or was that not an awesome interview with Jennifer Estep? You guys were great to come out and comment. Don’t go too far away, we still have The Bloggers Book Fair and the Paranormal Nights Blog Hop. Not to mention, I have the wickedly exciting Kallypso Masters and Trish McCallan coming to visit towards the end of July, beginning of August.

So this week we’re back to regular programming and I thought I’d touch on a topic I’ve been thinking about forever…how vital is romance to your Paranormal or Urban Fantasy reads?

For those who follow on a regular basis, you know that SHADOW’S MOON, the third title in my Kyn Kronicles, is a finalist in the 2013 RWA (Romance Writers of America) Golden Claddagh Contest for their FF&P category. I’m totally humbled to be nominated with some really, fantastic authors and can’t wait for the winner to be announced on 7/18/13.

Granted, SHADOW’S MOON, can not be confused for anything other than what it is: Paranormal Romance (ParaRom). The main story arc centers around Xander and Warrick’s relationship, and the secondary arc continues with the upheaval in the Kyn world.  Since romance took most of the stage in this one, it got tagged as a ParaRom. Which worked well for getting it into unpublished novel contests.

Yet,  let’s go back to SHADOW’S EDGE, my first book.  Like many newbie writers out there, I had to figure out exactly what my book was before I could even begin the hunt for a publisher or agent.  It was actually fairly simple since the romance in that book was hinted at, but the main thrust (no pun intended) was the unraveling of who was killing off the Kyn and why.  It is straight up Urban Fantasy (UF)

Then I did SHADOW’S SOUL, the second book in the series.  I knew romance would play a bigger role because, let’s face it, Raine and Gavin needed some special alone time.  Yet, this is where I began to run  into problems.  The main story arc is all Urban Fantasy, yet the secondary is the deepening relationship between Raine and Gavin, a relationship that will in turn, impact those around them.  So was it UF or ParaRom?  I ended up straddling that line and sent it out as UF or Paranormal with Romantic Elements.

Let’s be honest, it could have gone either way-UF or ParaRom.   I stuck with my middle of the street label because I knew that the romance was secondary to the main plot.

Was that the only reason?

Umm, no.  Here’s the thing, there are tons of great sources out there for writers in every genre.  However, I’m finding most of the places, contests, blog hops, etc. I ended up joining their main focus is romance.  It has led me to wonder, has romance invaded every genre?

My current WIP is a Paranormal suspense.  Is there romance in it? Yep, but it’s a very secondary part of the story.  The main story centers around my main character discovering exactly who she is and what she is capable of as she tracks down a killer.

Could I do more romance in it and then send it out into the very popular Paranormal Romantic Suspense market? Probably.  I’ve chosen not too.  Not because I’m against writing romances. Heck, they’re one of my favorite genres to read and judging how much romance is attached to every genre, they’re everyone else’s favorites too.  The thing is, I really like having more to my stories than the relationships between the two main characters.  I enjoy creating detailed worlds with various story arcs and subplots.  But trying to find the write support groups, contests, blog hops is difficult.

When your book crosses genre lines, you run the risk of presenting it incorrectly to your audiences.  And sometimes audiences are not forgiving.  They don’t want you to waste their time. How does a writer avoid this?

Answer IMHO, you don’t.  When your story begins to blur genre lines, you have to decide how you want it presented.  Is it an Urban Fantasy with some romantic elements? Is it a Paranormal Romance? Is it Romantic Suspense? Is it Paranormal Suspense with romantic elements?

In this day and age of labels, perhaps we’ve gone too far in trying to label our genres.

Maybe it would be easier if I just keep it to one word?


The Next Big Thing…

I’ve been tagged by Sandy Wright for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, where new releases and new authors get highlighted. Sandy’s SONG OF THE ANCIENTS, is a Paranormal Suspense currently making the rounds in finding a publishing home.  Feel free to check out her blog at www.writersandy.com for all the nifty details on her first book.

So since I’m it, let’s get to it!

  • What’s the title/working title of your latest book?

For those that are following, we’ll do SHADOW’S MOON, because I’m keeping my current WIP under wraps for a bit.

  • Where did the idea for the book come from?

This will be the third in the Kyn Kronicles, but this time I decided to leave Raine and Gavin alone to take advantage of some downtime.  Instead I got caught up in Xander and Warrick’s relationship. I’ve always loved the concept of magic and the supernatural existing alongside reality, so the world I created has some dark corners that you don’t want to face without a sharp, pointy object. For SHADOW’S MOON, I wanted to explore the relationship between the most dominant male wolf in the Northwest and his top female enforcer, Xander.  What happens when two strong personalities meet? Do they bend, break or create something new? SHADOW’S MOON continues the twists and turns of the Kyn universe, but also allows the readers a chance to see the world through the eyes of the Shifter House.  Plus the sparks from Xander and Warrick were a blast to maneuver through.

  • What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

  • What’s a one sentence synopsis for your book?

As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn’t in Warrick Vidis’s vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for the one threatening their pack, will he be able to bend before they both break?

  •  How long did it take to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took me about 4 1/2 to 5 months to get through the first draft.  Then another month or so to fine tune it.

  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

         Currently it is under consideration by a handful of publishing houses/agencies, so fingers crossed one of them picks it up.

  • What other books would you compare this book to in your genre?

Hmmm…think Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series or Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson or Alpha and Omega series. 

Since I like to share the spotlight, here are my “MUST READ” new authors! Swing on over and check them out!

Mona Karel

Liv Rancourt

Amber Kallyn

Lynn Rush

Ladies and Germs, I Present…LYNN RUSH! @lynnrush #VioletDawn #VioletMidnight #YA #Paranormal

Wicked *stopping by the lovely gardens at Dreamer’s place*: Morning, Dreamer. How’s Angel Boy?

Dreamer *pats the already neat soil around another colorful flower*: Good, keeping me busy.  *Rises to her feet and leans against her pale blue picket fence*  So, what has you out during daylight hours? I didn’t hear anything about the Prankster Duo letting Eerie’s Zombie herd out for a run.

Wicked: Actually, I’m expecting company. As a matter of fact, she should be here.

Dreamer *gazing down the beaten Swamp path*: Does she happen to fly?

Wicked *puzzled*: Um, not that I’m aware of, why?

Dreamer *slightly alarmed look on her face*: Because unless your guest has grown a pair of wings, something or someone is heading in at a very unsafe speed.

Snarky *dashing out of her cabin, curling her “formal” whip*: So, is she here yet?

Wicked *turning to watch a racing blur on two wheels skid to a stop and spray up some dirt*: I’d say, yes.  

*Ooohhss and Awwwss commence and the Swamp inhabitants shuffle, slither and limp their way over to meet our latest guest*

Wicked *huge grin*  May I present the wonderfully awesome, up and coming Young Adult Paranormal author and all around great person…Lynn Rush!

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 psychiatrist and eventually an FBI profiler. Remember Jodie Foster’s character in Silence of the Lambs? I sooo wanted to be her!!!

Mine was a judge, so think of this…your cases could have sat before my bench. Oh, think of the fun that would be!

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

Some of them would call me a crazy-insane speed junky (I used to be a speed skater and mountain biker). Some might called me a space cadet because when I start writing, I kind of lose track of what’s going on around me. But all of them would describe me as driven. I’m pretty persistent when I have my eyes set on a goal.

Hey Lynn, maybe we should check out the Bondurant Driving School Track sometime?  I hear they let you break the rules on speed!

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?

Oh yes. I sure do! It’s called Light of Truth. It was my very first novel ever written. So, it was back in 2008—I won’t say my age (LOL)—and I didn’t even know what point of view meant! My sweet mother-in-law, Lynn, was the first to read that. Despite how horribly it was written, she found some things to encourage me with and that sparked everything! She’s the reason I give a portion of my proceeds to cancer research and treatment. She died of cancer October 2011, one month after the release of my very first novel (Wasteland).

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

Getting emails from readers just makes my day. I try to answer every email, tweet, or message I receive because the readers are what it’s all about for me. I love interacting with them. I’ve gotten little messages from how they have book boyfriend crushes on David, my 400-year-old half-demon, to emails about how thankful they were for the New Adult category. That made me really smile because starting in a new category is always difficult. You’re just not sure how people are going to react, but so far, it’s really going well. New Adult isn’t as sweet as YA but it’s not so steamy as Adult. And when a mother wrote a note stating that when she saw New Adult, she felt safe letting her kids read it (16+).

Now it’s time for the best part–our bullet questions. Ready? Set.  GO!

Blades, guns, fists or feet?


Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?


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

Jeaniene Frost: At Grave’s End, Destined for an Early Grave and This Side of the Grave. I’m digging that Night Huntress series!!

Greatest one liner of all time?

No soup for you!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Wad of gum on a coaster. I tend to chomp a bunch of gum while typing…was too lazy to get up and throw it away.

Favorite supernatural creature?


Now for the most exciting part of all.  Lynn’s latest title, VIOLET DAWN is here!

Violet Dawn (Violet Night Trilogy, #2)—Release Date April 1st, 2013

Violet Dawn 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17160459-violet-dawn

In the darkest place, the Light shines brightest.

Emma’s love saved Jake from life as a vampire. But their happily ever after is threatened by a savage Vamp seeking retribution for destroying the Avenos Trinity of Evil.

A mysterious stranger enters the mix, coinciding with the first Vamp attack in months. Emma’s new friendship, and the suspicion and deceit surrounding it, further drives a wedge between her and Jake.

To complicate things, Emma is bitten by a Vamp with abilities no one has ever seen before, and that bite has left its mark.

A mark that might tear Jake and Emma apart forever…

“Fast-paced, action-packed, Violet Dawn is basically everything you’d want from a vampire hunter novel and then some. Emma has kick-ass written all over her.” ~Kate Evangelista, author of Taste

“Rush knocked this sequel out of the park.” ~Carrie Butler, author of Strength

If that’s not enough, check out Lynn’s other titles as well:

Violet Midnight

Violet Midnight (Violet Night, #1) Released October 2012

Amazon E-book         Amazon Paper       Barnes and Noble       Goodreads        All Romance E-Book     Book Trailer


Tainted (Wasteland, #3) Released January, 2013

Amazon                       Goodreads                   Book Trailer by Rachel Firasek


Awaited (Wasteland, #2) –Released May 2012

Amazon Print        Amazon Kindle          Barnes & Noble        All Romance E-Book          Kobo            Goodreads    

BooksAMillion (BAM)    Book Depository     Book Trailer


Wasteland (Wasteland, #1) Released September 2011

Amazon       Barnes and Noble       Goodreads      All Romance E-Book      Kobo        BooksAMillion (BAM)      Book Depository

Book Trailer

Salvation comes with a price…

Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.

The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.

“A pulse-pounding adrenaline surge brimming with poetic pyrotechnics, Rush’s story caresses your heart. Wasteland is a game-changer in the ho-hum angel/demon world. Beautifully written prose, strong characters and a compelling plot will keep readers hooked until the last page.”  –Romantic Times

***A portion of all proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness***

About Lynn…

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, and a portion of the proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness.

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 16 years and jogging with her two loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Connect with Lynn online

Catch the Rush™: www.LynnRush.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynnRushWrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LynnRush



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!


The Amazingly Wonderful @CE_MURPHY is Here for a VISIT!

Red Dwarf:  Psstt…Wicked?

Wicked *looking up from current reading choice RAVEN CALLS*:  Mmm? What? I’m kind of in the middle of a really good part here…

Red:  I’ve brought you a surprise.

Wicked *looking up, squinting*: OMG! Is that…? Where did you…? How did you…?

Mighty *hushed awe*:  It’s C. E. MURPHY!

Smokey: What? Did I see a Smurphy? What the hell is that?

Wicked: Not Smurphy, MURPHY! You know, awesome authoress of URBAN SHAMAN, TRUTHSEEKER, Belinda, Joanne, Margrit…any of these ringing any bells?

Snarky *w/contemplative look, running newest supple whip through hands*: This aught to be fun!

Eerie w/Mischevious on his shoulder:  Are you sure those bonds are going to hold her to that chair?

Quirky: Yeah, if she falls, Eerie’s pets are going to have a feast.

Dreamer:  Umm, guys, I think perhaps you might want to consider that kidnapping and imprisonment might not be the best way to make new friends.  *under breath* Or have them come back.

Wicked *dancing manically with uber Fangirl glee*:  It’s CE Murphy, CE Murphy and she’s going to talk to us…we are soooo cool!

**Swamp disclaimer: We promise to release Catie as soon as we’re done and no harm was done to this or any writer during this interview**

Catie was nice enough to answer all our questions, so sit back and enjoy the visit!

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?

…a writer. 🙂 No, seriously, my earliest memories of job ambitions are that I was going to be the first woman Senator from Alaska (I may have grown up in a somewhat political family *wink* ) and a writer. An astronaut and a writer. A fireman and a writer. A laywer and a writer.

The writing stuck. The other things, not so much. 🙂

                                            We’re glad the writing stuck, we’re kind of partial to it as well!

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

Joanne Walker, from the Walker Papers, would probably have one that says, “WARNING: TENDS TO SAY THE FIRST THING THAT COMES INTO HER HEAD. RESULTS ARE NOT NECESSARILY PRETTY.

Margrit Knight from the Negotiator Trilogy would have one that says, “DON’T GET HER STARTED, BECAUSE SHE NEVER BACKS DOWN.”

Belinda Primrose from the Inheritors’ Cycle’s warning would just be that: “WARNING! STAY AWAY! DANGEROUS!”

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

I would not care to have my characters describe me, given the things I put them through.

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.

Dude, if I was going to tell you those things, they’d be in the books!

                                       Awww man, c’mon, we promise it will stay just between us!

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?

Meeting Guy Gavriel Kay pretty much turned me into a gibbering idiot. The worst part was that he’s kind of shy, so after I babbled at him I literally couldn’t figure out a way to keep–or more accurately, *start*–an actual coversation. “I love your books!” I said to him. “They make me cry!”

“Everybody says that,” he responded, a little wryly. “I’m afraid that’s what they’ll put on  my gravestone: “He made me cry.””

Me: *inane attempts to assure him I meant it in a good way, followed by slinking off feeling silly*

Really, though, I mean–shortly after I got published I ended up on a mailing list with Mercedes Lackey, for example. I managed to keep my cool, but then I was invited to be in an anthology with her. At that point I emailed her privately and I was like, “Okay, look, I know that to you you’re just Mercedes Lackey, but to me you’re MERCEDES LACKEY AND OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE* I GET TO BE IN A BOOK WITH YOU *flails like an idiot fangirl*”‘

She was very nice about it. 🙂 And most writers are, really, so at this point it’s much more difficult to think who I’d become incoherently fangirl at (I did it to Marjorie Liu fairly recently, though, again via email, and in a CLASSIC MANUEVER, I sent it to THE  WHOLE MAILING LIST instead of just her. *dies in a pit*).

                                         Yes, they are, much like the graceful patience you showed me as I demonstrated my best airheadedness (yes, it’s a word) when you *gasp* spoke to me! *squeeee*

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

Of course I did. 🙂 Some of the most lingering ones–ones who’ve spun off their own stories that I might tell someday–were from the Highlander tv show universe and, well, from the breadth and width of Marvel comics. My online moniker, Miz Kit, comes from that. 🙂

                                          Oooohhh, Highlander, loved that show!  Marvel universe…Wolverine, Gambit…’nuff said!

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 attempt at a novel was when I was 8. Sadly, I don’t have it anymore, but it featured red-headed twin girls and their 3 best friends, all of whom together were a mystery-solving cadre a la Trixie Belden or the Happy Hollisters. It was intended to be a long, on-going series like those books. Even at age 8 I grasped how success in writing worked. 🙂

My first full novel I wrote when I was 19, and I’m afraid to look at it again. 🙂

OMG, Trixie Belden, that was a great series and sadly not many recognize it nowdays! Can’t forget Lloyd Alexander’s Book of Three or Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising though…


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?

*snorts* It happens all the time. I’m suffering from a bad bout of it right now, in fact, which is why I’m enthusiastically answering interview questions instead of stabbing a knife through the heart of the book I should be working on.

The fastest I’ve ever gotten through that is about seven minutes, when I once wrote Joanne Walker into a corner from which she could not be extricated. Like, if the scene happened the way I wrote it, that was the end of the series. No, she didn’t die, but somebody else did (no, nobody you’re thinking of), and there was *no way* the book or the series could continue with that person’s death. So I had to reverse, throw things out, and start again. Usually it takes a lot longer than 7 minutes, but being on deadline helps.

Seriously, though, you escape by gritting your teeth and accepting it and going back to fix it. It’s the only way you can escape. It sucks, but it’s all you can do.

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

I’ve had some utterly lovely commentary over the years. My favorite is always when people email to say they stayed up too late reading one of my books. I love that one particularly because I know just what that’s like, so from my perspective it’s the greatest compliment ever. 🙂

But there was one guy–this was quite wonderful–who was standing in line for the 6th, I think, Harry Potter novel, at, y’know, 11:30 at night at all, and as he wound his way through the SF/F section, he picked up URBAN SHAMAN and started reading it. And kept reading. And bought it along with the Potter book. And went home and started reading Harry Potter, but then couldn’t take it and had to put it down and finish reading URBAN SHAMAN first because he JUST HAD to find out what happened!

It’s the only time in my life I’ll ever trump JK Rowling, so I’ll totally take it. 🙂

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

Straight-up industry romance, not because I disdain it, but because I have tried it and I flat-out don’t have the skill set to write it. People belittle industry romance, but honestly, it takes real knowledge of how that style of romance works in order to tell a story that way.

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

About writing? Get the character’s motivation on the page. It makes them much more relatable and much less cardboard. In general? Forgive me for going all -Galaxy Quest- on you, but “Never give up! Never surrender!” I think it’s a good mindset. 🙂

What is the best advice you can share with others?

You can’t get what you don’t ask for. Always let the other guy say no.

Blades, guns, fists or feet? 

Feet! Run away! Run away!

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Beauty and the Beast.

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

UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan, THE GODS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and AGATHA RAISIN & THE VICIOUS VET by MC Beaton.

Greatest one liner of all time?

Ron Perlman, Aliens 4, “I am not the man with whom to fuck.” I get a lot of mileage out of that one, anyway. 🙂

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Depends on what’s called for. 🙂

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

…there is nothing in here I would consider strange, but perhaps from another’s POV the 15+ Rogue and Gambit figurines would be a little odd…

                         I wouldn’t call that odd, Catie, but if some of your Gambits went missing, I have no idea where they could have gone….

Favorite supernatural creature?

Oh, Dean Winchester, definitely. No doubt abo…that’s not what you meant, was it…

                          Yummm….Dean…what? Oh no, that’s okay we’ll take that answer!

Huge THANK YOU to the lovely C.E. Murphy for taking time out of her busy day and spending some fun filled moments with us!  Want to see what makes her such a great writer? Come over to Amazon and check out her Author Page:


or feel free to stop by her place for a visit!

CE Murphy.net

Today’s SwampGuest…Adriana Ryan!

Welcome back everyone! Nice to see you all here. Today’s guest is the fabulous Adriana Ryan, so stop snickering and singing over there, Muses and focus. Put those damn flowers down, you all are embarrassing me.

Swamp Thing stop handing out those stupid plants! Mischievous, go drag Eerie away from that Venus Flytrap, it’s not his friend. Prankster Duo, release the Piranha Hummingbird and sit!

Adriana traveled all this way, you motley crew, so the least you can do is give her your attention.

*chaos drops to muted rumblings*

Thank you. Now, without further ado I give you Adriana Ryan, the most awesome author of Enlightened Book 1 of The Awakened Series and Her Heart’s Desire.

Pinterest for Spooky Inspiration!

By Adriana Ryan

Unless you’ve been trapped in a wormhole (or are a writer on deadline), you’ve heard of the internet sensation that is Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool for filmmakers, photographers and others in the visual arts, of course, because it lets you advertise your wares. However, it can also be a great visual dose of inspiration for those of us who pen fiction.

The creepy pictures you see in this post are all courtesy of Pinterest. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a board full of spooky pictures? Imagine all the monstrous tales you could create!

I’m currently working on book two of my Awakened series. I can’t go into details because I don’t want to list any spoilers, but I needed to look up female demons for inspiration for one of my scenes. I just scrolled through Pinterest one evening, and within five minutes, I had scads of material to base my scenes on (and also for nightmares to last me through the century).

Another great use for Pinterest? A visual story prompt. Scroll through the front page until you find an eye-catching picture. Then, using a thousand words or less, challenge yourself to create a story worthy of it. What is happening in the picture? To whom? Why?

Now, the only caveat is: Pinterest in addictive! Use at your own risk. 😉

Adriana Ryan writes spunky supernatural fiction in beautiful Charleston, SC. She is currently at work on an urban fantasy series. A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, she enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards.

         You can find her at: http://adrianaryan.com                                                     

On Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAdrianaRyan

On Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/adrianaryansc

On Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/adrianaryansc/



The official release day for Shadow’s Soul is JUNE 23rd!  The exciting follow-up to Shadow’s Edge by moi, Jami Gray!

Even though I’m out roughing it with the other Evil 7, without electronic interruptions so my Muse can focus, I had to share the exciting news!

So drop everything and go pick it up!

Okay, fine, put it on your to do list if you don’t have time to wait!

Here, I’ll even give you the links!

Black Opal Books


But before I do, remember next week we have another visitor: Adriana Ryan! So make sure you pick up any body parts so she doesn’t trip on her way in!

Just so you have an idea of what you’re getting…here’s a teaser (because yes, I’m cruel that way!)…may it whet your appetite for more!


Blood dripped into her eyes. Raine McCord raised a hand to brush it away, smearing the warm wetness across her face. The world shimmered feverishly around her, sunlight glinting off the snow draped forest. She stumbled over a fallen log. Pain screamed through tattered nerve endings and down her right leg before the overload caused it to go limp. Collapsing to her side, she tried to protect her right shoulder, which was singing its own chorus of agonies. With a groan, she used her left hand to push herself up to her knees.

She knelt, head down, eyes closed, trying to breathe through the never-ending dizziness. She had to keep moving. Struggling to lift her heavy head, she forced her eyes open so she could focus on the ground ahead of her. You’re dead if you don’t move, Raine! her mind screamed. Faint whimpers and the sound of ragged breathing filled her ears as she dug her bloodied hands into the wet, cold dirt. Dead leaves and fallen twigs scraped against her tender palms. The chill from the patches of snow still clinging to the forest floor under the white barked trees barely made a dint in the pain.

Inadvertent sounds fell like whispers on the icy air as she pulled her battered body along the ground. Somewhere a branch cracked, jerking her attention behind her. Only drag marks denoted her path, looking as if they’d been made with scarlet paint. Forcing her attention forward, she blinked. Her vision wavered between gray and bright white. She aimed for the large, dark shape looming just out of reach.

Inch by agonizing inch, she made her way forward. The indistinct shape came into focus. It was the remains of a large tree, large enough to hide behind. Reaching the dubious protection, she managed to crawl behind it before her arms and knees gave out, sending her face first into the cold, wet earth. The winter forest was strangely silent. Each slow movement torture, she pulled her knees to her chest and curled into a ball.

Quiet. She had to be quiet. Stuffing her fist against her bruised lips, she muted the soft pain-filled noises coming from her abused throat. The rattling shivers from earlier had been replaced by a bone deep weariness. She might freeze to death, but she couldn’t find the strength to care. Closing her eyes, she let the swirling darkness and cold drag her under.


Her dreams included strangely soothing chants and curiously subdued drumming. It was a new experience. Generally, her nightmares involved cages, mad scientists, and monsters. At least the forest motif remained familiar. Rough edges dug into her spine. Trying not to be obvious, Raine reached behind her and found—tree bark? Slitting her eyes open, she was met with a curtain of dark, matted hair. Hazy light filtered through the strands. She rolled over. Her hair slid away to reveal a lattice work of branches above her with leaves dancing in the soft green light. Something was off. Something beside the fact she was lying at the foot of a freaking huge tree. The towering branches swayed hypnotically. There was no wind. How did leaves dance without wind?

Gingerly she sat up, brushing her hair out of her face and snagged her hand on a twig. Pulling the tangled mass forward, she found crushed sticks and leaves snared in the inky strands. Flowing white sleeves fell back from her arms as she pushed the mess back.

White? Flowing? What the hell? She didn’t own a white, flowing anything. Jeans, leather and steel, that’s what she was comfortable in.

The crackling of dried leaves heralded the arrival of a new player. All thoughts of the weird clothing disappeared as she instinctively moved into a crouch, reaching for her weapons. A streak of panic hit when she found nothing.

All she could do was wait. It didn’t take long before a wolf emerged from the shifting shadows. Its amber gaze was strangely calm as it padded forward then sat, like a dog. Not once did its attention waver. No dog she knew had fur blending from white to gray to black. She slowly eased back until the great oak pressed against her spine, not once breaking eye contact with the waiting animal.

Unsure of where she was, she dropped the mental barrier she held for protection between herself and the everyday world. Her senses flared to life. Thanks to her Fey heritage she could feel the presence of the natural magic in the fauna around her, a steady ebb and flow of life. If she really wanted, she could dig a little deeper and paint that energy with a visible palette of colors. A recently discovered talent which had nothing to do with her bloodlines and everything to do with her time spent as a lab rat.

She reached for her magic, only to have it slip through her psychic fingers like mist. Startled, she tried again while the strange wolf continued to watch her. The result was frustratingly the same. “What the hell?” she muttered.

Feeling behind her she dug her physical fingers into the rough edges of the tree bark. That was definitely real. She eyed the wolf, possible options cascading through her mind. Escape or confront?

As if reading her mind, the wolf gave her a canine grin full of very pointed teeth. The taunt was clear.

She snorted. “Yeah right, Mr. Big Bad Wolf. Do I look like I’m wearing a little red hood?” She was surprised at how hoarse her voice was. Only one thing had ever made her throat this raw. Problem was she couldn’t remember anything requiring that much screaming.

“Red would not be your color, Raine,” a female voice mocked. Raine jerked her head up so fast everything did a slow, stomach-churning spin. Once her vision settled, she was able to refocus on her surroundings. Other than the wolf and the tree behind her, everything else was shrouded in shadows and mists.

“You need to come back.” A woman stepped out of the shadows. Moving to stand beside the wolf, she scratched behind one gray ear. The woman was tall, taller than Raine’s own five-foot-five frame by a good couple of inches. Various shades of blonde were drawn into a simple braid. Deep brown eyes sparkled with some inner amusement. “You can’t stay here.”

“I don’t know where here is.”

The blonde tilted her head in a strange bird-like manner. “Here is where you go to heal, to get away from the rest of the world. Think of it as your own personal garden of Eden.”

Raine couldn’t stop the snort of disbelief or the bitter twist of her mouth. “This is the first time my Eden doesn’t look like hell, so I’m not so sure this is all my doing.”

Impatience passed over the strong-boned face. “Regardless, you need to go back now.”

The snappy tone didn’t sit well with Raine. Rising from her crouch, she hid the shakiness of her legs with a sneer. “How am I supposed to get back?”

This place set her teeth on edge and getting out of here was priority number one.

Frustration tightened the woman’s lips. “Don’t you know how to do this?” Her voice was sharp, impatient. “It’s your spirit you’ve trapped here. You have to make the decision to come back to yourself. If you don’t, you’re going to die.” Her braid slid over her shoulder when she crossed her arms. A flash of comprehension passed over her face. “Ah. Perhaps that’s what you want then?”

Raine found her hands clenching into fists at her sides. Her instincts were screaming that danger was barreling toward her. “If this is my Eden, who the hell are you?”

“Tala Whiteriver, and you, Raine McCord, are dying.” Tala’s voice was melodic, yet there was something in the undertones which sent shivers down Raine’s spine.

The woman turned, her voice floating back to Raine. “Follow then, if you have the courage.”

The last was a challenge. Rising to its feet, the wolf stood, its tongue lolling out in obvious canine laughter. Tala’s figure disappeared into the thick surrounding shadows. The wolf began to follow his mistress into the haze.

Not one to ever back down, Raine stepped away from the sheltering tree. As she moved near the gray shifting shadows, the drums and chanting came back. At the edges of the glade, they became insistent, driving. A few more steps and she was in the mist of dark shadows

Give a Great Swamp Welcome to Alison Stone…

Okay everyone, settle down and take a seat. 

Eerie, one of your Zombie’s is munching on the Hellhound’s tail.  Mischevious and Adile, if you two don’t knock it off, I’m tying a boulder to your tails and dropping you in Dreamer’s moat.  Smokey, you’re creating a haze even Snarky can’t cut through.  Quirky, could you open that window behind my Knight? Let’s get some Swamp Gas in here.  Prankster Duo, for the love of Pete would you please stop trying to get Angel Boy to launch from the ceiling beams!

Finally! Are you all ready?

Great, so be good and give it up for our guest-the most awesome Alison Stone!  Her debut novel, Random Acts, is now available so afterwards, we’re doing a trip to the bookstore!

  Listen up and find out how she got sucked into the crazy world of writing…

Why do I write?

I ask myself this question every so often. Like when I’m stuck on a plot point or when I’d rather be reading or watching TV or cleaning the toilet… Yes, some days it seems like I’d rather be doing anything other than writing. So, why do I do it?

Is it for the money? (Okay, you over there, stop laughing.) Even if they don’t admit it, I think most writers hope their book will be the next big thing. But who can actually predict these things?  I’d settle for a nice income, never mind a seven-figure income. Yet, if it’s income I’m truly after, why write? I could go back to my former career as an engineer and make far more money than I do as a writer. However, an office job wouldn’t give me the flexibility I have as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I work long hours crafting my stories, but I’m home if my kids need me for something—like a ride or dinner. J

But why write? Is it because I have the burning desire to tell a story? I can’t say I have one particular story that needs to be told. Rather I have a lot of ideas bouncing around my head. Once the idea to try writing took hold, I couldn’t let go. There is something about the challenge of writing and fitting all the pieces of the story puzzle together (I write romantic suspense) that intrigues me. It occupies my mind.

The other night my husband and I went out for dinner and we discussed my new career. My debut novel, Random Acts, had just been released. I told him how I really hoped this new career would provide income to help send our children to college. Then, like usual, I started to doubt myself. Wouldn’t my time be better spent working at a job that paid me an hourly rate or one that paid a salary? My awesome husband equated my budding writing career to starting a business. My husband, an engineer, told me one of his co-workers quit to start a machine shop. He has the expense of a new building, machines and salaries. My writing career is also a new venture, but my overhead is low. I have the expense of my laptop and my time. I love the analogy. I have worked hard over the years to build a solid foundation. From here, I need to continue to produce quality books and build my readership. I am excited my second book, Too Close to Home, is coming out on August 7th. I also have other books in the works. From here, I will grow my business.

Writing is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. A few years ago, shortly after I signed with my wonderful agent, I received a crushing rejection from a New York publishing house.  This was not the first time my work had been passed up to the senior editor for possible acquisition only to be rejected, albeit with a “good rejection.”

The editor raved about my “clean writing style” and she was “eager to get Alison under contract and happy to read anything she submits.”  But this was the third time I had come so close, but yet so far. I was ready to throw in the towel, when my wonderful friend and critique partner—who always gave it to me straight— sent me his e-mail:

If an editor said “I’m eager to get her under contract” I would have swooned. Do people still swoon? You’ve got it, kid. Don’t give up. At the very least, what a model for your kids on what it takes to succeed. Am I blowing smoke up your derriere? Nope. Close only counts when people use it as an excuse to bow out. Look at the many writers who struggled. I’m talking good writers who managed to believe in themselves no matter what. There are too many fools out there who make it because they are blind to their own BS. You just need to find your own unique voice, blend it to the “smooth, clean writing style.”

This e-mail is over three years old, but it still sits in my inbox. I write because I enjoy it. I write because I hope to have a solid career. I continue to write even when the mountain seem insurmountable because I want to show my kids that sometimes you have to work hard—very hard—to achieve your dreams.

Much thanks to Alison for braving our Swamp and visiting with us!

Alison Stone graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech. After working in Corporate America for a number of years, she retired to raise her young family. Soon the writing bug bit. After years of conferences, critique groups and writing, Alison sold two manuscripts that will be released in 2012. She claims it was easier to earn her engineering degree. Random Acts is her debut novel. To learn more about Alison Stone please visit www.AlisonStone.com.

Check out Random Acts

Second chances can have a terrible sense of timing.

As a child, watching her mother always pick the wrong man left Danielle Carson wary of opening her heart to anyone—except Patrick Kingsley. But circumstances came between them and left Danielle with a broken heart. Now she buries the pain of what might have been by channeling all her energy into her career. When a family crisis brings her back to her hometown, she is forced to face the past—and the disturbing fact that her sister’s car accident was staged to mask a brutal beating.

A police officer and widower, Patrick guards his heart as fiercely as he guards his beloved daughter. Seeing Danielle again unexpectedly reignites their old flame, but no way will he introduce a woman into his daughter’s life. Certainly not one whose values on faith and family are so different from his own.

Despite their best intentions, they are drawn together—until Danielle learns Patrick had a hand in putting her sister in harm’s way. Her fragile trust is crushed, but Patrick is the only man who can help her stop the villain before everything they both love is destroyed. Faith, family…and their second chance at forever.

Run, don’t walk, and get your copy now!  Available at:

Samhain Publishing: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/alison-stone-pa-1705.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Random-Acts-ebook/dp/B00795G1X4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334076604&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/random-acts-alison-stone/1108890294?ean=9781609288242&itm=1&usri=alison+stone

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Random-Acts/book-OSXUgDoMQ0aVm-JoFxmVXg/page1.html?s=QoeSfSCRk0m4in6w2_-prQ&r=1

Also available at Sony and iTunes.

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