Saturday, July 28, 2012

Writers Round Table


What is one of your favorite resources for research?

Cate Masters:  I’d love to be able to visit every setting in my stories! Unfortunately I can’t, so I mainly rely on either the library or the Internet, but I love to come across books specific to my needs that I’ll keep on my shelf for reference. For instance, I’ve relied on The Dictionary of Angels to supply not only names but background information for the angels in my Christmas fantasy, Ground Rules, and my dark paranormal, Dancing With the Devil. When I was lucky enough to visit Key West, Florida, I bought about six books about the local area because the history intrigued me so much, and I spent a few days in the library there while my family went parasailing and snorkeling. They had a fun time, but I felt like I found a lost treasure chest!
For more about Cate visit her blog: Cate Masters: http://catemasters.blogspot.com


Regina Duke:   I love Google and Wikipedia.
This sounds simplistic, but as a career academic (retired), it is such a joy to be able to type in a question and see a variety of answers. Some of the informants may not know exactly what they are talking about, but after perusing several sites with information, I can glean a huge amount of information without leaving my writing space.
Unlike the research I had to do for academic books. Every source had to be paper published (although this is changing), either a monograph or a journal article (refereed, of course). And the topics were very dry as well. Instead of reading foreign language articles about the ergative marker (linguistics), I can type in “What do bounty hunters really do?” or “What are buckyballs?” and spend half a day reading the fun stuff! LOL!
For more about Regina Duke visit her at http://www.reginaduke.com

Mariposa Cruz:  My favorite starting point for research is the children’s section of the library.  Children’s books are designed to be user friendly—I’ve found them to be a quick source for concise information.  Another wonderful resource is The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, a compendium of paranormal from folklore to pop culture.  My only complaint is that I have a hard time putting it down!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Author Interview-Christine M. Fairchild


About Christine: Originally a journalist, I've been working as a writer/editor ever since (about 25 years), from tech to marketing to exec communications to entertainment. So I have an extremely varied background, which has informed my writing style and my tactical editing approach.
Currently, I'm focused on writing fiction, though teaching is my other love ("The Editor Devil's Guide to CHARACTERS" and "The Editor Devil's Guide to DIALOGUE"). I'm indie publishing my debut novel, "An Eye For Danger", to Amazon for Kindle July 30th, 2012.
What inspired you to become a writer?
All my manuscripts originated in dreams. So that's another major influencer. But the roots of my author side have been there a very long time. Honestly, I grew up psychic and was the kid of a psychic. (I used to give life-path/archetype readings.) So I knew 2 things about my own future from a very young age: that I would be a published author and that I would meet the man I was going to marry around 30. Try telling an adult that when you're 10 years old! Anyway, those have both come true. And, funny enough, both my parents told me in my twenties the SAME intuitions about me (they don't speak, so there was no colluding on the subject). I must have been born with an instruction manual for us all to be on the same page like that.
Anyway, when I was in 3rd grade, I kept getting "best essay" in class and got to read my stories aloud. I fell in love with storytelling and the look on the audience's faces. From there, I angled toward animal stories, like Black Beauty and Where the Red Fern Grows. Of course, these were standard reading material in grade school. But something in me understood story structure, how to build invisible worlds and characters (especially when they were animals), and the power of the imagination to give you something to hope for in the world.
Then in high school I got into journalism, which is all about fast storytelling, and I focused on the short story masters. That carried me into college and studying James Joyce (needless to say "Dubliners" is my favorite collection). Frankly, till the day I graduated college, I thought I'd be a short story writer, not a novelist.
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
Easy question. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Rochester. There's so much complexity and sexual tension in the very few conversations they hold. That's brilliant writing. I tend toward darker romances and deeply flawed characters. I also love Darcy and Elizabeth for their dance around social obligations and objections, and for their need to transcend their family dramas to individualize and achieve their own happiness. And both stories offer a tempered and yet realistic happily ever after (HEA) ending.
Frankly, I'm not a traditional romance reader. I came to the romance genre late and with a lot of stereotypes about it, especially since I came from not just a literary degree background at UC Berkeley, which I realized post-degree was a rather snobbish department (always battling for the #1 spot with Yale), but also from a journalism background. So I grew up with the attitude of "hard news and hard truths." And yet I can't stand reading Wuthering Heights. It's too dark to me. There's no joy, no hope.
So when I finally saw the light with romance books--that they offer hope and joy and the experience of falling in love again and again--I was nearly 40. I was burned out on reading literary fiction stories with tear-jerker endings. I burned out on sadness and finally learned to value happiness in my fiction. I love a good HEA!
Tell me what inspired this story.
Like I said, all my stories evolve out of dreams. Which are probably influenced by all the crime fiction movies and TV shows I watch. Currently, Castle and Person of Interest have my attention. I like the charm and self-effacing wit of Castle's characters (I'm a huge Nathan Fillion fan) and the sleuthing of gritty, self-sacrificing Reece in POI. I'm a big fan of the hero and heroine fighting for a cause larger than themselves, while fighting for their own redemption.
I also like puzzle stories, i.e. mysteries. And I like stories of corruption and bad guys getting their comeuppance. You'll probably never find me writing a serial killer story. There's plenty of those already. What interests me more are the psychopaths and narcissists living normal lives and abusing the power and trust of the people. (Let's just say I used to work in politics.)
In my book, "An Eye for Danger", my dream comprised the opening scene to the book: the dilemma of an undercover cop (FBI Agent Sam Fields) breaking protocol and taking a woman (former war photographer, Jules Larson) hostage to get away from the one of the detectives (Stone McCarthy) he's investigating for corruption. Basically, the book opens with the bad guy looking good and the good guy looking bad. I think it's important to allow your heroes and villains to switch places. In this case, there are other key bad guys who go down. Stone is an ongoing rival throughout the series, a personal nemesis to both Sam and Jules. Like Sherlock Holmes' Moriarty, he keeps rising from the shadows.
How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?
Wow, you could not have asked a harder question. I'm not good at balance, frankly. In the past, I wrote at night after work till I couldn't keep my eyes open. So I burned the candle at both ends.
Now, I swing wildly, and I'm very all or nothing. I can go for 15 hours a day for weeks at a time without sleeping or eating or showering--just writing my brains out. I wrote the first draft of An Eye For Danger (120k words) in less than 4 weeks. A bit manic, I know. My hubby doesn't like this mode so much. Maybe it's the greasy hair. But it only happens once a year, so I try to roll with the inspiration. And shower more often.
Right now, I'm so bogged down in reading materials for other people and finishing edits on my novel, that I'm not writing. So I'm taking 2 months off to write this summer. Fortunately, I have a husband who is the major breadwinner, so I no longer have to work a day job, which gives me freedom to be in the art studio. That being said, he's also looking forward to my sales coming in. That's only fair, right?
But I'm not one to say you have to get up at 5am and write for 2 hours or 2 pages if you're a real writer. I always think that kind of talk is silly. Everyone's different. Find your own rhythm. You'll be more productive that way.
 Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I'd like to offer your readers a bunch of amazing advice they can use forever: Write, write, write. You'll never be happier than when you're manifesting your story in physical form and breathing life into your characters. Even if your writing sucks! The nay saying/ers be damned. Just write. It's like oxygen.
Also, I'd like to offer a free copy of one of my Editor Devil Guides to your readers. They can email me (ChristineFairchild@ yahoo.com) and get either the book on Dialogue or Character Development, depending on their needs. For more information to help them choose, they can visit my blog (http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com) or the Amazon pages with reviews and descriptions of the books:
The Editor Devil's Guide to DIALOGUE (http://amzn.com/B007K1PZZC)
The Editor Devil's Guide to CHARACTERS (http://amzn.com/B007PTQKXA)
*An Eye For Danger will be published July 30th to Amazon for Kindle.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Author Interview-Nicolette Reed


Tell me about yourself.  How long have you been writing?
My mother first encouraged me to start writing stories as a way to express my feelings after my parents divorced when I was seven years old.  I wrote a story about a haunted house. Later I made up stories about creatures that lived behind the tattered tiles of the first apartment my mother and I shared alone by the beach. My imagination provided me an escape. As life evened out and as writing instructors all told me to “write what you know” I fell off the fantasy path. My early 20s were full of angst and poetry, some of which were published.  After I was married and life evened out I focused on my career and my infertility. My pen ran dry. Six years ago, after my son was born, my mother told me about NaNoWriMo, the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I had never stopped writing stories in my head. I wanted to be an inspiration to my son to always follow your dreams and also to live the last words my Grandfather spoke to me, “I want you to be happy.”
What inspired this story?
I have always loved stories with strong heroines since I believe that no one can give you the strength to make it through hard times, it has to come from within. Valora is a fae at an immediate disadvantage in her society, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She has some self-doubt, which clouds her judgment at times, but she plows ahead despite her blind spots to seek out the truth. Truth and justice are a big theme in my life working in the legal field during the day, which sometimes bleeds into my stories. I have a strong moral compass and so does Valora. I created a world which has a lot of the same moral rules as ours does, but has the added complication of questionable magic, hot guys, and being on the brink of destruction. When you add those things into the mix it makes it hard for Valora to know what is right or wrong and her definition of that changes as she experiences things she had only ever been told stories about.
Who is your favorite shifter/vampire character (besides your own)?
Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles brought vampires into a whole new light. Her creatures of the dark had complicated pasts which influenced how they acted once they became the monster. Each one either embraced the beast or was fed by guilt. Both Lestat and Louis are vampires, but they are also very different. Anne Rice showed me that monsters are not born, they are created, and I enjoy creating them.
How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?
I work full time as a litigation paralegal, I am a wife, and I am the mother of a 6 year old. My time to write is on my lunch hour at work and in the evenings. On the weekends I get a few more hours, but not much.  It is surprising how many words you can write in an hour if you focus on the scene and push it through. You don’t need hours on end to complete a novel. You need chunks of time and a lot of perseverance. It also doesn’t hurt to have a very supportive spouse.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 
Link to video trailer: http://youtu.be/km-oHgOHCtI
Goodreads Giveaway (which closes July 21st): http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27756-fae-hunter
Fae Hunter is as much a fantasy romance as it is a fast-paced story full of action. There are several scenes which put this book firmly in the adult paranormal category and I would not recommend it for younger readers.
Buy Links
Website: www.nicolettereed.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nicolettereed
Twitter: @Nicolette_Reed
Blurb
Valora Delos is a Hunter, charged with tracking the treacherous Soulstealers and bringing them to justice. Unlike the other fae of her kind, Valora was born with stunted wings that render her flightless, driving her to prove herself in the eyes of King Aric, with whom she has been infatuated since she first set eyes on him as a young prince.

She descends to Earth and finds herself trapped in suburban Seattle after the portal to her world closes. With the help of a sexy half-fae named Dooley, Valora must find her way back to save Dell’Aria. Dooley uses his own brand of magic to help Valora discover memories buried deep within her, which produce more questions than answers- questions about her growing attraction to Dooley and her devotion to her King. Uncovering who the Soulstealers are and who is behind the destruction of Dell’Aria brings Valora a truth she may not be able to handle.