Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In the Spotlight: Melissa Snark

Today in My Writing Corner I am spotlighting multi-published author Melissa Snark and her newest book, Battle Cry. Melissa is published with The Wild Rose Press and also has several independently published books. Her latest title is part of her Loki's Wolves series and it sounds like another great book that is going on my To Be Read list.  
Here's a blurb:

Survival demands sacrifice. Healing requires forgiveness.

After losing her lover and then her mate, Victoria Storm builds a new life in Sierra Pines, California. When the Norse Fates predict the she-wolf will destroy the world to save her unborn child, her duties as Freya’s priestess conflict with her responsibilities as Odin’s Valkyrie.

Sawyer Barrett has hunted Victoria so passionately, he doesn't know whether he loves or hates her. Desperate to end the fighting, he will take chances with everything—except his heart. This hunter harbors a deadly secret he can't reveal without risking the tentative ceasefire and his father’s continued disapproval.

Men revere him; monsters fear him. Jake Barrett—the notorious Hunter King—values loyalty to family above all else. When he believes his eldest son was murdered by a wolf ally, he releases a chain reaction of violent destruction that claims the lives of both wolves and hunters.

An ancient vampire plots the destruction of wolves and hunters alike. If the embittered rivalry doesn't end quickly, there is no hope for the Hunters, Victoria's pack, or the mortal world.

 
As you can see, the cover is great, done by artist Farah Evers. And if that isn't enough to get your attention, here's an excerpt to whet your interest:

           Shadows enshrouded Skuld, and her voice manifested upon the air, thick and oppressive, closing in from all sides. "Your daughter will not grow to adulthood in Midgard."
           Victoria's heart slammed against her breastbone. Her breath expelled in a horrified gust. The bowl dropped from her hands which flew to protect her abdomen. "What do you mean?"
          "Your daughter will be taken from you on the eve of her third birthday," Skuld said. "The one you trust most, a member of your own pack, will give the child over to your greatest enemy."
         A growl trembled in Victoria's throat, and her entire body shook under the dual assault of fear and rage. The suggestion of betrayal from within her own pack filled her with disbelief to the core of her being. It was unthinkable. Gritting her teeth, she sought a solution, refusing to dwell on it. "How am I to prevent this?"
         "We speak of what will come to pass," Verðandi said in a sympathetic tone.
         "Your predictions are not carved in stone," Victoria said. Arguing with Fate was a foolish endeavor, but she refused to accept their prophecy.
         The old woman, Urðr, smiled with a frightening gleam in her eyes. "Predictions, carved into the trunk of the World Tree, carved into the spiritual fabric of the world."
         Stubborn determination settled over Victoria like armor. Her mother had taught her there was no absolute fate, just as there was no absolute free will. Life consisted of a wide range of possibilities between the two extremes. She refused to allow her daughter to die at three years of age. She would move worlds, alter fate, slay gods.
        Whatever it took.
        "Do you wish to save your child?" Skuld asked.
         Victoria answered without thought. "Yes. I'll do anything. Tell me. Please."
         "The final days are upon us," Verðandi said.
         Skuld took over speaking. "To save your daughter, you will side with Loki against the Aesir. You will use your enchanted dagger to cut the binding of the great wolf Fenrir. You will be responsible for freeing the beast that kills Odin."
         Victoria's stomach turned. Her head shook in automatic denial. "When the gods imprisoned Fenrir, my people pledged fealty to the Aesir. We have served them loyally ever since. Even when we were driven from the homeland, almost a millennium ago, we remained faithful. I will never cut Fenrir's bonds. To do so would end the world we live in and doom us all."
         Skuld's gaze held steady. "You will."
         Victoria snarled her denial. "No. I will never become the servant of the Trickster or willingly take part in bringing about Odin's death."
Skuld turned her head and pinned Victoria with one black eye that rolled in its socket like a liquid marble. "To save your daughter, you will."

Battle Cry is available for purchase:

B&N
ARe
Kobo
iTunes
Google Play
Scribd.

Or Add it to your Goodreads Want-to-Read

Melissa is also well known for her satirical wit and her popular blog The Snarkology.  If you'd like to reach her, here is how to contact her.

Connect with Melissa Snark:
Email: melissasnark at gmail.com
Twitter: @MelissaSnark
Thanks, Melissa, for sharing your book with us today. Any comments or questions for Melissa?



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Meet Karilyn Bentley

My guest today is fantasy author, Karilyn Bentley. Welcome to My Writing Corner. Did you always want to be a writer?

I never thought about being a writer until about twelve years ago. That said, I always wrote as a child, just never thought of it as more than fun. <g> My first books were like Nancy Drew and after reading the Little House on the Prairie series I kept a running dialogue in my head so that I could write my life story in case anyone asked. Which is a clear sign I should be a writer. <g>

Your website says you write fantasy with a touch of humor. How did you decide to write that particular subgenre?
Well, I like the supernatural, be that paranormal or fantasy. And my books have some humor in them (my sense of humor, that is!). You can't be serious all the time. And I hope the brand helps the reader know that my books are a mostly lighthearted romp even if they appear a bit dark.
How did you get your first book published?

I won a contest at The Wild Rose Press for a werewolf novella in their Got Wolf anthology. I was one of the six winners. I kept hitting the refresh on the computer since winning seemed surreal. <g> After the anthology was published, I asked my editor to take a look at Magical Lover (the first book in my Draconia Tales series). She politely declined, so I countered with an offer of rewrites. After several more rewrites (yeah, it was that bad at first) she accepted it. I've been with TWRP ever since.

Tell us about your latest book, Demon Lore. The cover is fantastic.
I love this book! It's been my favorite book to write. It's an urban fantasy and features Gin Crawford, a messed up ER nurse who also happens to be an empath. She discovers a magical bracelet that gives her demon and minion fighting powers. She's not happy about this discovery. The series is her story of how she comes to accept her new gifts. Demon Lore is the first in the series.
What a great premise! What gave you the idea for this story?

Well, originally it started off as a different story entirely. I kept playing around with it and the idea popped into my head. Gin kept talking to me, so I made it her story.

Give us an idea of how you develop your characters.
They come into my head. I know all authors say that, but I really have no other way of explaining. I gain insights into their flaws and characters the more I write their story. There were several things about Gin I didn't realize until I completed the book.
Do you always know how your story is going to end?

Not always. I'm a pantser, i.e. writes by the seat of my pants. I know the opening, the characters and in general where I want the story to end. Then I write. Usually the endings change. <g>

What are you working on now?
The second book in the Demon Huntress series and edits for the fourth book in the Draconia Tales series, The Detective's Dragon.
What do you read when you are not writing?
 
Romance, fantasy or mysteries.
Tell us a little about your writing day – how do you make time?

I used to always write between 8-9PM. Then we got a puppy. Now I try to write whenever possible which is usually when the puppy is asleep. <g>

Give us a blurb from Demon Lore:
Gin Crawford has enough problems dealing with her empath abilities. Finding out she's the world's newest demon-slayer is the last thing she needs. Unfortunately, when she slips on a mysterious bracelet she is given no other choice. On the plus side, her new gig comes with Tall, Dark and Handsome, a mage who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Thrust into a power-play between good and evil, Gin must choose a side before she becomes the next victim in the ongoing battle.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

Website: www.karilynbentley.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarilynBentleyAuthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/karilynbentley1
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karilynbentley
Blog: http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00PKY3CC4

TWRP: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=244_235_209&products_id=5972

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/demon-lore-karilyn-bentley/1120908234?ean=2940150196629

Thanks, Karilyn for joining me today and good luck with Demon Lore and the series. Any questions or comments for Karilyn?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meet Louise Lyndon

 Joining me today in My Writing Corner is romance author, Louise Lyndon. Please share with us a little about your road to publication. How did you get published?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But, for a long while I didn’t actually write anything but was still calling myself a writer. I felt like a bit of a fraud. Then I turned the big FOUR OH and thought, “If I do not do this now, then I will never do it.” I pulled my finger out, finished a story I had in my head for a couple of years and submitted it. I signed a contract with TWRP a couple of weeks after my 41st birthday.
Your newest book is Of Love and Vengeance.  What a great title and what a great cover! What is it about?

It’s about a few things really. Firstly, it’s about prejudices, mainly about how we can tar an entire group by either misconceptions or by the behavior of a few. Both the hero and heroine are guilty of doing this, so we get to see how they deal with this. It’s also about acceptance, not just of each other, but of yourself as well. Laila, the heroine of, Of Love and Vengeance, has a birthmark that covers one side of her face, and she really struggles with loving herself because of it.
That is a wonderful premise. What gave you the idea for this story?

I spent 16 years living in the UK and while there I loved going to visit all the historical sites – in the UK, you’re not short on historical sites! It was while I was up in York and wondering around some medieval ruins I got to thinking about the people who walked before me all those years ago. I started thinking about their lives, what were they like…anyway, while strolling through the park in York a line of dialogue popped into my head, “Carac will be able to protect you and the babe…” That was it that was all I had. It developed from there.
How do you come up with your story ideas?

I tend to have snippets of scenes popping into my head that’ll get me thinking, ‘What happens if…” I’ll think about the scene for weeks, sometimes for months, just working stuff out in my head. Slowly, the story will develop from there.
What about your characters? How do you develop them?

Truthfully? I don’t do what is drummed in to perhaps most of us writers – that is, start off with a character sketch. I’ve tried doing them in the past and I just draw a blank. So I’ll just start writing a scene. Now, that scene could appear anywhere in the story, or nowhere at all. And the more I write, then the more I get to know the character. There is a lot of going back and forth when I write. As I discover something about the character I’ll go back and layer that in. I never start off with a totally blank character, I may know a couple of things about them, but it’s safe to say I develop them as I go along.
How do you research your stories?

I tend to research as I go along. For example, I have a birth scene in Of Love and Vengeance, so I asked myself, ‘what did they do for labor pain in medieval times?’ So I researched that snippet of information. I’m not someone that does the research first, I do the writing and then do the research to see if such and such could really happen/did happen/was possible in medieval times!
Do you always know how your story is going to end?

Yes, because I need to know where I am heading. I just don’t necessarily know what happens in the 300 plus pages prior to typing, The End!
What are you working on now?

I am working on a story tentatively titled, Of Love and Betrayal. It’s set in medieval times and takes place about fifty or so years after, Of Love and Vengeance. And it may, or may not, have some of the same characters in it!
On your website you mention falling in love with the books of Diana Gabaldon.  What touched you about them?

Oddly enough, I am not going to say Jamie Fraser! Although, after about book two he played a major role in keeping me reading the series. I like reading about strong, intelligent women who can take care of themselves, while at the same time not being so independently strong they don’t need anyone to look after them on occasion. At times, we all need a little help along the way. That doesn’t make us weak, that makes us sensible! And Claire, I feel, is all of those things. Also, I just love how DG weaves the history through her stories, without making it feel like a history lesson.
How about a blurb for Of Love and Vengeauce?

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephews survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves.  But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?
How can readers reach you or find you online?

Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press,
Amazon US,

Amazon AU,
All Romance eBooks,

Kobo,
Bookworld,

Social media

EMAIL:  louise_lyndon@yahoo.com
WEB:  www.LouiseLyndon.com
BLOG: www.LouiseLyndon.com/blog
FACEBOOK:  www.facebook.com/pages/Louise-Lyndon/1472910852955051
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LouiseLyndon1
PINTEREST: llyndon3513

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Louise-Lyndon/e/B00PTM785E/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9882316.Louise_Lyndon

 Thank you so much for being my guest, and good luck with Of Love and Vengeance. Questions or comments for Louise?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Meet Abigail Owen

Today's guest in My Writing Corner is Abigail Owen. Did you always want to be a fiction writer?

Always. I’ve been writing stories since childhood, but I didn’t finish my first book until about seven years ago. And I didn’t start seriously perusing the dream until about three years ago.
How did you first get published?

I started with self-publishing. My thinking was that if my first book – Blue Violet - didn’t get laughed off the face of the earth, I’d keep going. When I received positive feedback, and especially after won my first award, I decided to continue to self-publish and pursue traditional publication at the same time. The Wild Rose Press was my first YES! I happened to see an article in the RWA monthly magazine talking about new presses including TWRP. They sounded like a great fit and so I sent a query expecting yet another “no” and got a “yes” instead. I can’t begin describe how thrilling that was (as a writer, you’d think that would be easy, but nope)!
Tell us a little about your newest book, Andromeda’s Fall?

Andromeda’s Fall is centered on Andie Reynolds, a mountain lion shape shifter who has escaped her own dare (like a pride) and is seeking asylum with the Keller Dare. She has two problems though. The first is that she could still be extradited unless she marries someone in the Keller Dare. And the only person powerful enough to protect her would be Jaxon, the Alpha. Her second problem is A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors. He insists that he must vet her first before letting her anywhere near the Alpha. When sparks fly, Andie has to decide between her heart and her life.
That's a great cover. I understand this is the first in the Shadowcat Nation series. The series sounds fascinating. What gave you the idea for the Shadowcat nation?

Thanks! The initial idea came from a single scene. I pictured a mountain lion shifter on a cliff. She’s standing post, protecting her people. Above her is a male mountain lion, secretly observing. She has something to prove. That’s it. From there I had to figure out what she had to prove, why, what the world was like for them, and where they needed to go from there. The concept of the Shadowcat Nation world itself ended up coming from my research into mountain lions. I recently wrote a blog post about this if you want to find out more.
What are some of the stories you are working on for future Shadowcat books?

The 2nd book – Sarai’s Fortune – is in my editor’s hands now! I plan for this to be a 4-book series each with a different heroine/hero. They continue to fight the same villain(s) through the series, and to try to figure out how the Shadowcat Nation – which is a delicate and relatively new alliance of cougar shifters – works. With the books upcoming, I’ll bring other types of shifters into it more (on top of the cougars, wolves, and polar bears already in AF). I’ll also have more with the Kuharte – those few shifters who have additional supernatural powers. And we’ll continue to see the original characters throughout. Here’s to a fun ride!
How you develop your characters for this series and other books?

My characters are developed through two parts of a process. Before I write, I figure out my characters – I find a picture of an actor that fits what I’m thinking. I try to decide what personality they have. I recently did a great workshop on character development that suggested using astrological descriptions of personality to help discover your characters. I loved that idea and have started incorporating it.
So I do my “research” first. But my characters sometimes surprise me when I start writing. It’s that pantser part of me I guess. I recently had a character who I wanted to come across funny and carefree who turned out to be serious and closed off. I even tried to rewrite her scenes, but she was determined to be serious. And it worked better for the book I think.

Do you always know how your story is going to end?
I usually know exactly how it will end. The beginnings that are hardest for me. A full backstory develops in my head and I always have trouble figuring out where in that story to jump in with my readers. Then, getting my characters to the ending is always an adventure. I’m an odd mix of mostly pantser with a little bit of plotter (very high level) when I write, so the middle is where I’m most often surprised.

What would you tell writers who are just starting out that you wish you had known?
Don’t wait for praise, but do seek feedback from people you trust and use it. Don’t stop after the first try. Do keep writing, and writing, and writing. Don’t wait for that “perfect” idea before you start. Do take classes and workshops. Don’t assume someone else can tell you how to write – incorporate what works for you. Don’t think there’s only one way to do this. Do research editors/agents you’re querying. Do spend money on a good editor/beta reader. Do help other authors out – this is a great community of supportive folks!

What do you read when you are not writing?
I’m a very fast reader with lots of interests. Romance is probably 80% of what I read (paranormal and contemporary mostly but also historical) with the other 20% dividing out between fantasy, science fiction, classics, business, historical, and – these days – lots of self-help writing/publishing stuff.

How about a blurb about Andromeda’s Fall?
Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted. After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of a pack of wolf shifters, Andie has devoted her life to protecting her community of cougar shifters from a similar fate. But now, a greater threat lies within her own dare, and she must run. If she stays, Kyle Carstairs will force their mating, seeking the added political power their union would provide.

Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle. Though, knowing him, she won’t live long either way. Andie’s only hope of survival is to mate Jaxon Keller, the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors.
What Andie doesn’t realize is that A.J. has secrets of his own. All Andie knows is that the incredibly frustrating shifter insists on challenging her story, her skills, her trust… and her heart.

Get a peek into this new series now. Read Hannah’s Fate, my short story in the Here, Kitty Kitty anthology.
How can readers reach you or find you online?

Ah, the fun part! I love hearing from readers and other writers. I’m on most of the big social media – so it’s very easy to get in touch. Here are my links. I’d love to hear from you!
Website | Facebook Twitter Pinterest 

Thanks, Abigail and good luck with Andromeda's Fall and the Shadowcat Nation series.  

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winning NaNoWriMo

            On Saturday I hit the magic number – 50,000 words. That is what it takes to win at NaNoWriMo, National November Writing Month. Thousands of people around the world spend the entire month of November pounding away at their keyboards or sitting down with pen and tablet trying to write a novel of fifty thousand words.

 +           This year I won at NaNo for the fifth time. Hopefully it won’t be the last. The best part about doing a solid month of writing so much is that it means you have a good chunk of a novel done when you hit the last day of the month.  The bad part is that for me that is still only two thirds of the way and I still have a third to go to finish it, plus the editing process.

            But it can pay off. When I look back at my work over the five years I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo, I see one book that has been published and another that is scheduled to release soon. That doesn’t even take into account two others that I am in the process of completing. And that is one of the big benefits of NaNo. Here are some of the other benefits and reasons I do it every year:

1.      You have a novel nearly completed with only editing and some additions to make. The words as there, the plot just needs to wrap up.

2.      You’re not alone. You can look at the website and see all the places around the world where people are taking part. We also have an active group writing here in Denver and there are always write-ins or writing sessions where you can go and commiserate with fellow writing addicts even late into the night.

3.      You end up with a sense of accomplishment at the end. I like that feeling I get every day when I fill in my totals and see it rise either to the bar that means I am keeping up with the daily word count you need to finish on time or go above it to give me some breathing room when I knew I couldn’t write all day.

4.      It provides a good refresher in how to keep writing fast.  There are times when I don’t write as much but when NaNoWriMo comes along, I know I will be plugging away at getting my fifty thousand words written so I have everything prepared and ready to go and just sit down and write. That is good practice for the rest of the year.

5.      It also provides a nice sense of accomplishment at the end of the month when I see what I can do if I only set my mind to it. Some days I wrote up to 4500 words, and that shows me I can do that if I have a story to tell and the will to do it.

This year my project was called Return to Redfern. It’s a follow up to my book that came out two years ago, Shadows from the Past. The big house I used in that book, Redfern Manor was one of those places I just couldn’t get out of my head. I had to go back so while my original heroine has moved on, I have someone else who is haunted by that place, and just has to go back.

In a few days I’ll be starting my edits on it, something I know I wouldn’t be doing if I hadn’t taken part in NaNoWriMo!