Website Troubles

Website Troubles

Life is full of strange set backs. Unexpected little things that we can’t quite plan for no matter how hard we try. For me, that latest little set back came in the form of a total website meltdown. I’m still not sure what happened and sadly, the only way to move forward was to purge the website completely and start fresh. So… that’s what I’ve done.  Unfortunately, that means that I had to lose one year’s worth of blog entries.  I’m going to try to replicate some of them but I think a lot of them are now gone forever. I’m sure there are some broken links here and there, but I’m trying to fix them as I find them.  If you seen anything that’s broken or missing, feel free to shoot me an email. In the meantime, my co-author Rinda Elliott and I are cooking up some promotional schemes as we inch closer to the release of our first book together.  We will have big news, dates, details, and cruel teases very soon. I’ve also got my first appearance of 2016 planned. Would you like to chat in person or get a book signed?  I’ll be out in the world, causing mischief just because I can. Stay tuned for more news.  I started the year with the release of Demon’s Vengeance and I’m planning to close out 2015 with lots more fun stuff....
Character Design: Take That First Step in Their Shoes

Character Design: Take That First Step in Their Shoes

I have started a new book.  Or rather, I’m planning to start a new book that could be the gateway to a new series.  But something so grand as a series of books tends to require some careful planning.  Well, at least it does require some planning when I am writing the first book in the series. But where do you begin when heading down such a road? I always start with the main character.  I need to know the main character — her voice, her quirks, her habits, her fears, her failures, and her successes. I need to be comfortable with this character walking through my head, chatting when me at the oddest moments. For me, the first step is the character sketch. There are a number of wonderful writing books focused on creating good, strong characters.  I begin with basic details: height, weight, hair color, eye color, scars, tattoos, style of clothes, job, education, family, and emotional hang-ups. And then once I’ve got all those details down … It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of this characters. I start writing from the main character’s point of view about random things. I get the character to start rambling about anything in the world. I let them talk about friends, people that piss them off, things they love, and things they hate.  I’ve found that by allowing a character to ramble, you learn about a person’s psychological hang-up as well as bits and pieces of the world.  Are there vampires?  Does this character know about the vampires, werewolves, witches and more?  Friends? Enemies? The important thing to remember...
What Makes a Romantic Hero

What Makes a Romantic Hero

Through my multiple flights as I crisscrossed the country, I read a historical romance novel by an author I hadn’t tried before.  I thought it was an okay book, not quite strong enough for me to recommend to other readers.  I thought the premise was an interesting twist, but what had me the most frustrated was that every character other than the heroine was absolutely despicable.  No one had any redeeming qualities.  They were greedy, manipulative, lazy, spineless, feckless liars.  Rather than get with the romantic hero, I wanted the heroine to flip them off and say, “Screw you all. I’ll take my chances on the street.”  But in the end, the romantic hero redeemed himself — sort of — and they lived happily ever after.  While I didn’t love the book, it did get me thinking.  What makes a romantic hero? When you open a romance novel, particularly a historical romance novel, you come to expect certain things.  Now, I’ll happily admit that there are some wonderful authors out there who are breaking this mold on a regular basis to surprise and titillate readers and that’s fantastic.  But even with all that mold breaking, there are things that we the reader come to expect.  Here’s a quick list of what I’ve come to expect. Recipe for a Romantic Hero Strong – I’m not talking physical strength like I’d expect this man to bench press a  Mini Cooper.  I’m talking about mental strength and a strong will.  Sure, people make mistakes and might get manipulated once, but I don’t want to see it on a repeated basis.  I want...
Vampires and Monsters: Quieting the Voices in My Head

Vampires and Monsters: Quieting the Voices in My Head

Let’s just get this out of the way.  I hear voices… in my head.  For some people who know me, this isn’t a massive shock.  For those who are afraid, stick with me a moment.  When I’m writing a book, and by that I mean that I’m working on the first draft, I hear (usually) one voice in my head.  That’s the voice of the main storyteller.  If I happen to be writing from third person or a dual first person, there might be a second voice, but typically there’s only one voice. And it’s nice.  By the time I’m deep in a book, this voice is familiar.  I know the cadence.  I know the personality, the sense of humor, their favorite ice cream, and more.  It’s like always having a friend close at hand.  For the Dark Days series, I usually had Mira whispering sarcastic comments about this or that.  Occasionally Danaus would chime in when he was feeling talkative, which wasn’t often.  While I was working on the Asylum Tales, Gage was always there with a quip or a bit of wisdom.  For some reason, there were never any other voices talking to me for that series while I was writing the first drafts. But there’s another one voice waiting in the wings.  Typically, she’s content to sit back, surf the web, watch a movie, play a video game, and take a bubble bath until I’m ready for her.  Unless I make one big mistake.  I call her in while I’m drafting. Voices: The Creator and the Editor You see, despite the varieties in personality, there  are...
Chess: A Writer’s Strategy for Great Storytelling

Chess: A Writer’s Strategy for Great Storytelling

My husband is teaching me chess … and it’s proving to be a slow process.  Oh, I’ve got all the piece moves down.  That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  I get that the bishop moves diagonally and the castle goes in a straight line.  The knight goes two spaces and then one.  And then queen goes wherever the hell she wants to go (which is pretty freaking awesome). But it’s the long-term planning and strategy that get me.  Panic consumes me as I make those first few moves, knowing that in my attempts to attack him, I’m creating vulnerabilities for myself.  It’s knowing that his experience had taught him to see things that I haven’t learned to see yet.  It’s about learning to see more than one step ahead to ten steps ahead … guessing at the ultimate endgame, the final attack as well as the small attacks that will come along the way. That and I just hate to lose.  I’m not an overly competitive person, except when it come to certain activities.  Trivia? Yes.  Baseball? No. Crossword? Yes. Volleyball? No. Scrabble? Yes.  Picking up a trend here?  I’m about as coordinated as a newborn fawn.  Oh… but games that strain the brain, those are my special love and I hate to lose. I’m wondering if learning chess will help my writing.  Will it help my long-term plotting?  Will it help me develop more twisted strategies that will shock and astound my readers?  And will it help me get into the head of other characters, the villains who are trying to destroy my hero...