cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

It’s all about the classics

It’s all about the classics…

When I decided Keira’s livelihood would come from owning a classic car shop, it was, in a sense, a way for me to live vicariously through her. I love classic cars. The way they looked, the simplicity of their designs before everything became electronic based. Functionality and beauty combined to work harmoniously in a package that was created to be a work horse, and last its owners years, even generations before having to be replaced.  Classic car and truck builders were artists and craftsmen whose reputations were on the line. In today’s throw it away every few years mentality, that’s just not so.

KNB Classics, Keira’s shop for those who don’t know, is my virtual playground since I can’t afford to own a bunch of old cars and trucks. I get to find old gems online through research, sometimes through my husband, and post what car or truck Keira has in the shop during different parts of the different books of the series. Some of that research involves finding and downloading pictures so I can see and almost feel the curves and soul of the car or truck I’m having Keira work on at that time.  It’s made my love of the old beauties even stronger than it already was.

And I’ve found, it isn’t just old cars. One of the things I love about Leo is that he has the refined tastes and money to own some very rare and exotic cars himself. In my current book I’m writing, he drives a Morgan Aero 8 roadster, which I had never heard of until I told my car guru husband I needed a cool car for Leo, and boy does it deliver. If you don’t know what one looks like, here’s a sneak peak.  What a gorgeous car, and one I can definitely see Leo driving.

Well that’s all for now, I better get back to writing.

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

Where have I been?

I realized yesterday that it’s been a while since I last wrote something, and for that I apologize.  It’s been really busy. My editor told me she’s so busy she is booking into August (which is really awesome!), so I had her pencil me in for mid-October so I wouldn’t miss her editing services by the end of the year since I plan to have Blood for Blood out early next year. This means I have six months to complete and turn in my rough draft (yikes!). Plus, I’m still marketing Blood Cure, which makes it a very busy time around here…oh, and did I mention I have a full-time job?

Anyway, I’m loving my new writing program, though I’m still figuring it out, and Blood for Blood is coming along very well. I plan on buckling down for the next six months so I’ll be ready for edits, so I may not be on here as often as I’d like, but I’ll blog as often as I can. Thanks for hanging with me, and I hope you enjoy the ride!

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

A Little Writing Advice

woman writingAdvice for anyone who wants to write a book, but doesn’t know where to start.

If you’re like I was back in 2011 and have an idea for a book, but haven’t the faintest clue how to go about it, trust me, you are not alone. I, and so many others, have been in your shoes.

My biggest advice to you would be to do your research. These days it just isn’t enough to want to write a book because there’s so much competition.  I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to how-to books centered around writing and learning the craft: everything from developing good dialogue, learning the secrets of plot and subplot, to finding your unique voice, and so forth. I even took an online class from a local university about writing fiction.

The other thing I recommend is reading. Lots of it. Find books by authors you like and read them. It may sound silly, but a lot of the things I learned in my how-to books I was already mostly doing because reading so many good authors had given me an ear for what sounded right. If I hadn’t been such an avid reader, I would have had a lot further to go in my learning.

Lastly, find the best editor you can afford (I’m speaking from the self-published point of view, if you go the traditional route and pick up an agent, they will provide the editor – but you still need to edit it to within an inch of its life before you ever submit it). Don’t think that using the spell checker in word, or your best friend’s cousin who was good in English, is going to be enough. If you want to be successful and put out something that people will love and enjoy, it has to be edited properly.

Remember, after doing all these things…write! Nothing will happen if you don’t write. You can’t publish a book until you’ve written it. No matter how busy you are, how many times you start and stop, keep writing. If you did your research, and wrote the best book you could, (with a little luck!) you’ll have something people want to read and you’ll be able to stop saying, “I’m trying to become an author,” and instead will say, “I am an author.”

 

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

Death Maiden Teaser

I wanted to give everyone a small taste of what I’m currently working on (this is part of the rough draft, so it may change some when revised and published). This is from my first Death Maiden Novel. I’m very excited about where this story is going, and I love the characters (don’t worry, I’ve also begun book 2 of Keira’s story). Let me know what you think:

Jarko Knox shoved open the door of The Cauldron and stepped into the warm Oklahoma darkness that greeted him. The heavy steel door clanged against a Dumpster situated a little too close behind it, then swung shut, drowning out the laughter, yelling, and loud music that had become The Cauldron’s hallmark.

“Idiots,” he mumbled half-drunkenly. Hadn’t they learned by now only fools played flaming quarters with him? Jarko knew how to manipulate his craft better than any of the other witches, wizards, or warlocks that frequented the bar. He’d been there when they invented the game as a way to settle disputes peacefully, so he knew the rules intimately. Nowadays, they used it more as a way to flex their metaphysical muscles than anything else. A drunken bar game he had yet to lose. He loved it.

He kicked an empty beer can on the sidewalk with the toe of his boot and listened as it clinked and rolled off the concrete into the gutter. The street was empty this time of night, except for the two women that passed him on their way to The Cauldron. Witches perhaps, he couldn’t tell. Judging by the leather they wore and the twinkle in their eyes, they craved a little after work fun. Jarko smiled and tipped an imaginary hat to them, causing the two ladies to quicken their pace. Whether they guessed he was a warlock or not, they knew to avoid his kind: tall, dark, and menacing.

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

What I’m Up To…

WritingThe reviews of Blood Cure since its release have been wonderful. It’s so exciting to see something I have loved for six years, be loved by others. For everyone who has bought a copy and left a review, I say thank you.

As for what I’m doing now – I am prepping for my book launch tomorrow. Everything appears to be in order, but I will double check one more time this evening just in case. I have also been in contact with several independent bookstores in an effort to get Blood Cure into as many of them as possible. So far I have three for certain, and one I am waiting for them to get back with me. I am also hard at work on my first Death Maiden novel. I ran up against a wall on a certain part, but I think I have the kinks worked out now because the words are once again flowing. Once I get past this initial rush of release stuff with Blood Cure, I will post a little more about it.

For those of you who are following my blog, you will always be the first ones to get updates and see what’s new and exciting, as well as getting to read things I don’t post anywhere else. That’s it for now, enjoy whatever you’re reading!!

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

Writing

Throughout the entire writing process my family has been very supportive. I think in the beginning, some of them thought it was a passing faze, but when I announced a few months ago that it would actually be published, they all cheered and asked when could they buy it. My father, who I was afraid to tell what kind of books I wrote, has turned out to be one of my biggest fans.

When Keira first popped into my head, I knew she would be a human living in a world full of amazing creatures. I just had to figure out where she fit into everything. I knew I didn’t want her to be a damsel in distress, but could mostly take care of herself. And I knew I wanted her to have an animal that was her tattoo, but could also become real and fight by her side and be her closest friend and confidant. I achieved that with Rya, and I must say she is probably my favorite character. She’s smart, snarky, and loves Keira unconditionally. What more could you ask for in a partner? Then Sally and Sam came into the picture and I knew I had everything Keira needed to accomplish her ultimate goal, even though at the time, I wasn’t sure what that was. Now I do. Throw a vampire named Léonce Trevelyan into the mix, and well…you’ll have to read it to find out.

With Blood Cure’s official release day fast approaching, the thrill and excitement of it all makes me want it even more than I already did. I hope everyone who decides to purchase a copy loves reading about Keira, Sam, Sally, Rya and Leo as much as I have loved writing about them. The second Keira book, Blood for Blood is already started. I hope you enjoy!

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

Quick Hello!

quill and inkI just wanted to say a quick hello to everyone, and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I love the holiday season, and look forward to it every year, but I’m always so glad when it’s finally over. The presents have been given, dinners have been cooked and eaten until we’re all so stuffed we can’t see our shoes! The family members have all gone home, and now it’s time to get back into writing. There never seems to be enough time to do it all! See you soon!

 

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

Book Reviews

To review, or not to review…that is the question.

writing As someone who has read books for years, I’ll admit I didn’t always leave a review. Sometimes I’d think I was too busy, and sometimes I just didn’t think about it at all. I figured, I purchased and read this author’s book, surely that’s enough. What else do they want from me?

But now that I am on the other side of the fence and will be published soon, I realize my mistake. Authors live and die so to speak by the words written in a review. A great review will most likely lead to other people purchasing the book and reading it, and a bad review can deter a lot of potential readers. Every book I read now gets a review from me.

I try to be honest and fair. I have to really dislike it to give it below a 4 star rating (I don’t think I’ve ever given a 1 or 2 star rating), and I never give away spoilers – if someone is reading my review to see if they want to read this particular book, why would I put in the major plot points or even the ending of the story as I’ve seen some people do…I just don’t get it.

A few things to keep in mind: If there was something you really didn’t like about the book, don’t rant it out in the review like you’re having a fight with your mother-in-law. Politely state what it is, and then maybe point out something you did like about the book. Remember, this author more than likely has spent years (I know I have) writing this book and getting it ready for publication, so it means an awful lot to them. Words really can cut like a knife. Put yourself in their shoes for the five or so minutes it takes you to leave a review. And if you just absolutely hate a book, perhaps it’s best not to leave a review at all. Remember, it’s called the Golden Rule for a reason.

So I say to you, please take the time to rate and review any books that you read, and do your best to be fair. Have a wonderful day, and enjoy whatever book you’re reading today!

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

Plotter or Pantser?

When it comes to writing, most authors are either plotters, or pantsers…

PlotterA plotter is someone who plots out their story from beginning to end. They have journals, story boards, or notes galore where they jot down their story’s beginning, middle, and end. They know exactly what will happen and when, before they ever sit down and type out the first words. It is normally very organized and well thought out.

A pantser writes by the seat of their pants so to speak. They have a general idea of what will happen, but they figure out all the details and the sequence they will happen after they start writing. This is sometimes also called organic writing because it happens naturally, and can be less restraining than the plotting method, if a little more messy.

What am I you might ask…well, I’m more of a plantser. I live somewhere between the two. My process starts by taking the idea I have, and writing down the major points. Then I take my major points and break them down: why the main character needs to do this or that, what drives the story, who the bad guys are and why, and so forth. Then I start writing, and the rest of the story fills in as I go. I can’t tell you how many times where I thought I was going in a story took a completely different path and ended up somewhere unexpected. But how is that possible? I’m the one writing the story, I should know exactly where each part of the story is headed and every detail right?

Yes, and no…as a writer, there are times when I think, “the next logical step is…” and I try to take the story in that direction, but I hit the dreaded brick wall that is writer’s block. For whatever reason, the story just doesn’t come to me any more. After fighting with it for a while, I’ve learned to sit back, reread it and write down the first thing that comes to mind, even if it isn’t necessarily the next logical step of the story. Nine times out of ten, whatever I jotted down will spark my creativity and get me rolling again, and it’ll be in a different direction from where I was initially trying to go.

If I try to follow a plotting strategy too closely, it’s as though my mind gets bogged down and the creativity stalls out. If I try to be a complete pantser, my story seems to unravel in spots and fall apart. It needs that structure plotting provides without the restriction. So I happily live in the middle of these two worlds as a plantser…and I’m proud of it. It’s what works for me. Are you a plotter or pantser, or are you a plantser like me? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Happy plotting, pantsing, or plantsing!!

cropped-Banner_Final_1280x426.jpg

The Blank Page

The terror of the blank page…

If you’re an author, few things are more terrifying than a blank page. You have all these ideas, and even though you have the general outline written down or floating around in your head, when you sit down at your computer, get everything ready (set margins, double space, etc.), and prepare to put down the very first words of what you hope is a great novel, the expanse of white that stares back at you from your monitor can become almost paralyzing.

I’m not sure if it’s because the whiteness of it is just so big, or if it’s because, as authors, we want every word to be perfect so figuring out the very first ones becomes extremely daunting. Whatever the reason, it’s something that I, and probably most authors, have experienced more than once. I don’t know how others get past the blank page syndrome, but for me, I’ve learned to write whatever I have in my head – good, bad, or jumbled – as quickly as possible without much thought to structure, proper grammar, or anything else. I just type until the white on the page isn’t nearly as big as it was before. It seems that once I do this, and have at least a small paragraph to work with, the terror the blank page caused begins to ease and go away, paragraph by paragraph.

Now, that first paragraph will almost undoubtedly have to be edited, or maybe even completely rewritten, but that’s okay, because it now has a whole lot of other paragraphs surrounding it and supporting it that it didn’t have in the beginning. Like I said, I don’t know how others do it, but for me this works. Better get back to it.