Category Archives: writing process

For Oct 22: A Book by Any Other Title

RoundRobinBlogTour

One of the first things any reader knows about a book is the title — and the author and the cover image, but for now let’s stick to the title. We all want a catchy title for our books, one that will stop a potential reader in their tracks and make them open it up (or click on it) to discover what it’s really about. And we all want a title that’s going to pop up when readers are searching on Amazon for books in our genre.

So, when I go to my local library or bookstore and search for something to read, I start by browsing through the shelf of new books, checking out the titles and, if it looks interesting, plucking it off the shelf, opening it up, and reading the blurb. Then maybe I’ll check out the first couple of pages.

I’m staring at my latest collection of library books, one of which is “Little Beach Street Bakery,” a book I chose in just such a manner. It sounds satisfying — not disturbing, not likely to give me nightmares, which is what I was in the mood for at the time.

So, hmm — what attracts me to a title depends on my mood, and therefore what I want in a book at the time: romance, mystery, adventure, horror, or whatever.

I wish I could say that I have a wonderful method for choosing titles for my books, but I don’t. Sometimes they just come to me, and sometimes I have to work at it.

The title of  Relocated,   just came to me. It’s about a teenage boy who ends up on an alien planet when his father is sent there to help root out some terrorists.  The title of Geek Games   and Broken Bonds took more work, as did my latest novel, Rob’s Rebellion. Its working title was “Rob’s Book,” after the main character, Colonel Robert Walker, a colonel in the Terran Federation Guard who is posted to the alien planet Aleyne with orders to arrest the current, very popular, commander of the military base there on charges of treason. I eventually ended up soliciting suggestions from my reading group.

What attracts you to a particular title? Leave a comment and let us know, and do check out the thoughts of my fellow posters:

“Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-MI
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Poetic Forms: Sestina

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The sestina is a poetic form consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. It is attributed to twelfth century French troubadour Arnaut Daniel.The six end words of the first stanza cycle in a pattern thusly:

B  E/ D C/ F A
or
F  A/D  C/B  E

There are several online “Sestina Generators” that will spit out the correct pattern given the six end words of the first stanza, for example:

http://www.renajmosteirin.com/sestina.html

Here is a link to another sestina generator

dilute.net/sestinas

How to choose your end words

There are many ways to choose end words. One is to write the first stanza and then lay out the pattern for the rest. The other, the one I often use, is to pick six words, generate the skeleton, and start writing. I try to choose words with more than one meaning and that can be used as more than one part of speech.

Before writing your own, check out some of these:

Here is a link to  sestina by Elizabeth Bishop:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sestina/

Here are the first two stanzas:

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September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child

Here is a  link to sestina by Ezra Pound:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15423

Here is one of mine, one that rhymes:

Gone Shopping

Now, sit and listen to my tale
of a beautiful flyer that came in the mail
with pictures of roses and posies on sale.
It looked so alluring, I ran to catch the rail.
The train was pulling out, and I turned rather pale,
but spotted a taxi I was able to hail.

My heart was pounding. I had to inhale
many deep breaths, then told the driver my tale
I started a list: flowers, rake, shovel, pail
but became distracted by a handsome male
beside the road, leaning on a rail,
holding a small boat with a red sail.

Despite my eagerness to get to the sale,
I stopped the taxi in order to hail
the handsome stranger leaning on the rail.
I wondered if he would turn tail,
but I decided he was such a stunning male,
to take a chance. He glared at me, casting a pall

over my joy in the day. I turned quite pale
when he told me he intended to sail
his small boat on the pond, and only a female
would be so stupid as to hale
a stranger with such a sorry tale.
He went on and on, continued to rail

at me. I was completely unable to derail
his ranting. I told him to stick his head in a pail
then stick the hole thing up his tail
and exactly what he could do with his sail.
Then it started to hail.
I shook loose from the demented male.

jumped back in the taxi to ponder my mail,
told the driver to take to the trail.
I let out my breath with a big exhale.
The whole incident left me shaky and pale,
but I was determined to get to that sale,
even though it meant turning tail.

I left the handsome male. I did buy the flowers, rake, and pail.
But I took the rail when I returned from the sale,
still whole, hearty and hale. I hope you enjoyed my tale.

Go ahead, give it a try for yourself, and, if you like, post yours in the comments.

September Round Robin: Strange writing practices

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This month’s theme ism what writing practices do you have that you think are eccentric or at least never mentioned but you find helpful?

Of course, I firmly believe that all my writing practices are entirely normal, natural, and average {grin}.

Hmmm

Well, maybe there are one or two things.

I never listen to music when I write, which I gather is somewhat unusual. I’m a fairly serious amateur musician — I play the flute and the piccolo — and in addition,  I’m very auditory. When I turn on the music, I listen to it to the exclusion of anything else. I do, however, find myself whistling (no particular song) when I’m concentrating. I also talk to myself. This morning my spouse asked me if I found my responses enlightening. I answered yes.

I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan. My mother was very fond of classical music. She and her friends had subscriptions to the New York Philharmonic, and when one of the group couldn’t make it, she would sometimes take me.  I would try to pick out the voices of the individual instruments from the sound of the orchestra as I listened to the music. I got pretty good at it, too. But it did leave me unable to ignore most music when it’s playing.

Another habit of mine that may be unusual is that I put *** FIXME **  with a comment into the text of whatever I’m working on whenever there’s something that I need to come back to. This makes it easy to search for whatever it was that I wanted to deal with later.

** NERD ALERT ** I earn my living as a computer software engineer, and I picked up this particular habit from some open source software that I was porting to a proprietary operating system. The debugging information involved a then-new scheme, and the code (not all of which would work with our software in any case) was peppered with the original coder’s comments, prefaced with — you guessed it — FIXME.

The other thing I’d like to mention is something *everyone* should be doing: backing up your work. I keep copies  of my work in a cloud — I use Google drive — which not only backs it up, but also makes it accessible on any computer. This has saved my ass more than once, most especially the time where my now happily former computer suffered a head crash. The computer wouldn’t boot up, and I was forced to restore the original copy of the OS, minus all the software I’d installed and, most importantly, any documents I’d saved on my computer.

 

Check out the posts of my fellow bloggers:
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/is-my-writing-right-for-you
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

 

Meet P J MacLayne

pjmaclayneTell us something about your yourself? I’m a computer geek by day and a writer by night. I never expected to write a shifter book, let alone a series, but here I am. I guess it’s okay to listen to the voices in my head.

Tell us something about your new book? I fell in love with my main character, Tasha Roeper, as I was writing this book. She’s a strong woman, and willing to set aside her needs and desires to help others. She’s devoted to her friends and loyal to her packmates. I was so glad I was able to write her a happy ending.

You have a new book out, the second in The Free Wolve’s series. How did you come to write the series? I didn’t plan for it to be a series. I thought the first book, Wolves’ Pawn, would be a stand-alone. But one of the characters from that book, Tasha, kept bugging me to tell her story and Wolves’ Knight is the result. I’ve already got ideas for a novelette and a third book as soon as I have time to write them!

Shape shifters appear to be very popular right now. What makes yours different from everyone else’s? The Fairwood pack, a pack of wolf shifters, runs a software company, based out of a business office in the middle of a privately owned Victorian-era village. And the Free Wolves, a loose collective of a variety of shifters, despite the name, are run more like a commune. Yet somehow they manage to get along with each other.

What is your writing process? I usually have a beginning of a story and the end. Everything that happens in between I discover along the way. My characters frequently surprise me as I tell their stories.

What do you find most difficult as a writer? Finding my mistakes when I’m editing. It’s so hard to see what I’ve messed up since I’m so close to the story. Thank heavens for good beta readers who identify plot holes inconsistencies.

How would you describe your writing style? I say I write action with a touch of romance, rather than pure romance. My books are story-driven vs character driven. Although the characters are telling me their stories, sometimes it feels as if they are just along for the ride.

What and who are your greatest influences as a writer? Since I started writing, I’ve run into so many talented authors I almost hate to call any of them out. But I would like to mention Jesse V. Coffey. Before I made the switch from poetry to novels, I read some old stories of hers on-line, and it sparked a creative bug in me that hasn’t gone away yet.

Who are some of your favorite authors in your genre? Melissa Snark is doing some great writing in the shifter genre. And I’m a big fan of L.J. Charles with her “Touch ” series and of Jenna Bennett and her Savannah Martin mystery series.

What do you want readers to take away from your book? There’s always hope. No matter how bad a situation seems, don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even when things are going badly, there are people who are willing to work to make it better.

What are you working on now? I’m working on the third book in another series, The Oak Grove Mysteries. My main character, Harmony Duprie, can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I have fun getting her out of the situations she gets herself into. There are no shifters in those books, although I write subtle references to the shifter books in them. (Unnoticed by most readers, I suspect.)

Any last words? Thanks for hosting me today. I appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers.

Book Blurb for Wolves’ KnightCover_Wolves_knight

Tasha Roeper knows what it means to protect your own. So when her friend, Dot Lapahie, CEO of Lapahie Enterprises, suspects that the Free Wolves are under attack, Tasha immediately signs on to lead the investigation and guard Dot.

But Tasha’s not convinced it’s the Free Wolves that are the target. She fears that her own pack—the Fairwood Pack—are the actual quarry and Dot is only a decoy.

The deeper Tasha digs, the more puzzles she uncovers.

Torn between tradition and a changing world, will Tasha risk everything to save a friend—including her own life—when old enemies arise?

Excerpt

She lay on the ground, wiggled her belly a few times to work away the pebbles under it, and put her nose between her forepaws. Even close up, with her eyes open only a crack, an unwary observer might think she slept. From the distance, she might look like a large rock.

It was a technique she’d learned to snag game. Find a spot along a trail, settle in and slow her breathing, wait, pounce when an unsuspecting animal happened by. She could stay in the same position for hours if need be. But the game she hunted tonight wasn’t meant to end up as her supper, and she didn’t have hours to wait.

The wind picked up and a gust almost covered the sound. Tasha’s ears pricked forward at the shuffle of footsteps. A figure inched along the side of the building, stopping at a window. Tasha tightened her muscles, but didn’t move.

Then he went on. Tasha was positive it was a male although the wind blew the wrong direction for her to catch his scent. Not even her tail twitched as he stopped at another window. Her ears caught the sound of him tapping on the glass. He moved again.

The third window sat in a pool of darkness. But Tasha’s eyes watched as he raised the window. He grasped the window frame and started to lift himself inside.

And Tasha exploded into a snarling mass of muscle and fangs.

Buy links

http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Knight-Free-Book-ebook/dp/B0199BC6YI/

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/wolves-knight

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolves-knight-pj-maclayne/1123127673

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1066865102

Five Ways to Cut the Distractions and Start Writing Now.

Five Ways to Cut the Distractions and Start Writing Now, guest post by Alexis MacDonald

Anyone who has ever written anything significant, whether a term paper, a blog or the Great American Novel, has had to deal, now and again, with some of the usual writers’ bugaboos, like having one’s brain turn from a rich pasture of literary abundance to a whiteboard without a second’s notice. Right up there with the empty brain issue would be the wandering mind; one minute racing along on a shiny, well-organized train of thought and then floating aimlessly like a leaf on the wind the very next, or, suddenly mesmerized by one of the gadgets on your tool bar that you had somehow never noticed until this very second.

These things happen to just about everyone, and usually aren’t totally disastrous, unless you’re on deadline, in which case they can definitely throw a huge monkey wrench into the wheels of progress. So taking the distraction issue as a start, and beginning with the assumption that there is no such thing as a totally distraction-free working environment, how can a writer control and at least minimize distractions when work is where your wandering mind needs to be at that very moment?

Some would definitely argue that it is not only possible, but mandatory to create a distraction-free writing environment. Look, if you have the kind of creative mind we’re discussing here, and there are no distractions in the environment, your brain will create some for you, so whether they’re external or internal, distractions will happen, but they can be dealt with. Here are a few things that may be helpful in keeping some measure of focus when you need to get something coherent down on paper.

1. Try to pick topics that really interest you. If the material is interesting to you, then there is a greater likelihood that you will be able to maintain your attention span on point and organize your material in a sufficiently logical progression to make it interesting to your reader.

2. Do your homework and work from notes, especially if it’s a topic on which you aren’t naturally well-informed. You can get a lot of the mind-wandering out of your system while you’re putting together your notes and doing your research, so when it’s time to put the actual piece together, the material is familiar to you and you’re not as likely to be tempted to Google yourself off a cliff.

3. Closely related to this is organization. Do not write notes on scraps of paper, folded up dinner napkins or post-its strewn across your monitor and wall. When you’re doing research for an article create a folder in your computer and put everything there. If you absolutely must write something on the back of your day-timer while you’re thinking of it, then transfer it to your computer immediately when you get home, otherwise, distractions will be the least of your worries as you’re digging for critical pieces of information that have fallen into a black hole of post-it hell.

4. If you find yourself starting to wander, stop right there and take a break. Walk around, get a cold drink, stretch a little and then come back to the issue at hand with a refreshed perspective. Sometimes the best way to save time is to take a couple of minutes away from what you’re doing. This puts up a roadblock on that winding little path your mind was about to start heading down and brings you back to the place you need to be.

5. Finally, while there are applications out there that offer a variety of ways to get you to focus on the writing task at hand, if you really need to get an app to do this you may be beyond hope. You’re a writer. You are creative. You can do this.

Alexis is a freelance writer who specializes in pregnancy topics. She is currently writing on pregnancy symptoms and putting together a period calculator that she hopes will be useful to moms-to-be!

The State of Black Sci F week 4: Giveaway and something about my novel

Back in 2010 I decided to participate in Nano for the first time. National Novel Writing Month, Nano for short, happens every November, and participants attempt to write 50,000 words in a month. I decided to write a sci fi novel, because I love the genre, have read it for years — many — but had a phobia about writing it.

Being, perhaps, terminally crazed, I decided I would participate in Robert Lee Brewer’s November Chapbook challenge as well, and to produce 30 poems which would form a chapbook.

I decided to make the poet part of the universe of the novel. That way I could include the poems in the 50,000 word line count and use some of the poems in the book.

I did far more world building than I did plotting — I had an outline with about a page of notes and a fifteen point plot line. Many of the specifics went right out the window when I started writing, but my world building remained.

My aliens form relationships involving four people (or three, or, very occasionally, two), and they’re all lovers. I choose what I hoped would be alien sounding names, made their society based on personal responsibility, lack of coercion, respect for the environment, rather than rules and laws. I made up stuff about their art (my mother was an artist who specialized in portraits in oils), and, later, a bit about their music (I play the flute and the piccolo).

And because I (warning, spoiler alert) wanted my 14-year old main character to be a “cross” — part human and part alien — and be believable, in terms of appearance, I wanted to choose among the naturally occurring human skin tones for my aliens, and I needed my aliens to look distinctive, but not too, too alien.

I made them Black. Very, very dark skinned. And why? Because I didn’t want them to be white. First of all, white is too, well, bland and predictable. And by making them Black, I added a source of conflict to my story, and stories are all about conflict. And, face it, too many of the good guys, in my opinion, are white. I wanted to play against type, so the good guys in my novel are dark skinned.

I’d be thrilled to learn I’ve made my readers squirm, to twist in their seats as they come up against their prejudices and unconscious assumptions. Hopefully, I’ll find I’ve succeeded.

And here are a couple of poems from my imaginary poet, Raketh Namar, the namesake of my main character, Raketh Frey. Because the poet was a revered spiritual leader, and his poems are one of the Aleyni’s sacred texts, I found myself writing in a way that I, as myself, would not have, and writing a good number of what might be taken as poem-prayers.

Poems of this type, written in a voice other than that of the author, are called persona poems. You can learn more about persona poems here
//poetic-muselings.net/2012/01/11/persona-poems/

Here are a couple of Raketh Namar’s poems that don’t appear in the book

Looking For My Fears

Muted buzzing in my ears
resonates to hidden fears.
Drag fears forward into light.
Exposed to air, see them take flight.

Fear’s seeds sprout best deep in dark
so let cleansing sunlight mark
paths for spirit’s shining light
to cleanse my mind, root out fear’s blight.

Who Will Play Music?

Who remains to play the music, now musician’s dead?
Which lips set bright brasses blowing? The man’s cold in his bed.
Whose hand renders strings a strumming now the fiddler’s gone?
Whose hand genders drums a drumming as night turns to dawn?

Our hands start the drums a drumming as dawn turns to day,
ours the fingers on strings, strumming,. We’ll sit down to play.
Our lips put to brasses blowing, knowing he will hear.
We will keep his music going, from us to his ear.

And now, {drum roll}, for the winner of a copy of the Poetic Muselings’s, (of whom I am one) poetry anthology, Lifelines:

Kathryn Scannell. Kathryn, I’ll be emailing you. Congratulations.

Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/
or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.


Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author
—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: www.renpetscifi.com or on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RenpetSciFiNovel or on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Khonsugo .

Margaret Fieland, Author— lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/


Thaddeus Howze, Author-
– is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com


Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

Interview with author Kristin Battestella


Tell us about yourself.

Oh this is always the tough part! I always feel pretentious when talking about myself or my books- and that’s half of all the promotion! There’s not much to tell really. I’d still say I’m a newlywed over 3 years on. I’m currently watching Bob Ross. I collect records, and need more bookcases. That is all.

How long have you been writing?

Fore-eva! Professionally, it has probably been 10 or 12 years, but I started seriously writing in high school, submitting to contests, and looking at writing as a grown up. As a child, however, I had the basics of storytelling, even if the stories were complete crap. I was always acting something out and writing plays to go along with them. I suppose people define ‘writer’ or ‘author’ or the professional or success by things like how much money you make or books you sell, but for me, I’ve always been a storyteller, and will always write whether it is expressly for publication or not.

You write horror novels. How did you get started?

Simply put, the ones I was reading were crap! I love scary movies of course as well, science fiction, and genre. I like the crazy possibilities and wonder why it is that we have such connections with adrenaline, flight or fight, and being scared as entertainment. I kept watching dumb shoes and reading books that just seemed so simplistic, plain, not asking the big psychological questions of fear and torment. I simply said to myself one day that my ideas were better, or at least I could entertain myself with the things I wrote. When the kids at school began passing around my work and students I didn’t even know were coming to me and asking me for more, I realized there might be something special for other readers.


What’s different about your vampires?

I’m old school. I know everyone says ‘vampire family’ like it is nothing these days, but when I began my world, there was Anne Rice and Lauren K. Hamilton and Forever Knight and Dark Shadows. I liked when vamps were niche, underground, scary, and reflective of ourselves. The Welshire are a family by blood and by vampirism, and neither is easy for them through the centuries. Why are some happy to be creatures of the night? How can others crumble under damnation? Can one born of evil be good? I like the dark questions. To be a vampire is to question! I don’t know how this new boy vamps are just about girls and high school. That seems so boring and mundane to me, and a bit pedophile! Who wants to be in high school forever? That is so instant of the moment. My vamps are about far more lasting fate, fangs, and consequences.

Wow are your favorite writers in your genre?

I actually have more sf and fantasy influences than horror, perhaps. I grew up on classics, Dickens, Tolkien, Asimov. Early on I was in a total Arthurian phase, Malory, Tennyson, I loved Howard Pyle and Robert Louis Stevenson, too. Robin Hood, comic books, too, and Poe! Then I switched at some point to hard SF and all the 50s pulps and Tarzan. I love historicals like Hornblower, too, and Sharpe I’m reading now. I had my Anne Rice phase, too, but I don’t like Stephen King. While it is critical to know what has been done in your genre, I don’t like to be pigeonholed or get into routine with my writing, and my reading tastes are so varied anyway. I think one should read outside of their genre more perhaps, gain ideas and trends and bring them back to your work. I tend to alternate my books and reads, and don’t read and write in the same genre at the same time. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop. I love non fiction and spiritual material, too. Really, what’s not to read?

What do you do in your spare time?

I have nothing but spare time! Not. Well, I work at home now so sometimes my fun time and work time do blur. When I need to get stuff done or things get crazy and interfere, that isn’t good. But when the writing is going magical and you do what you love, it’s easy to consider your work your fun. But I sleep a lot and do love me some sleep. I have to be in a streak to sew, but when I do, it’s pretty amazing stuff. And I like to Wii and pretend like I can play ice hockey again like in my younger glorious days. My husband and I do get on movie marathon streaks as well, and do little weekend travel trips when we can.


What’s the best writing advice you ever got? The worst?

The worst is easy, simply because it is relative. What works for some will be disasterous with others. The Best advice is to just write, and be true to the material. If you took in every piece of what another author, editor, book, or publisher said, you’d probably find a lot of contradictions and never get anything done. We have such a rushed society, and at the seminars I’ve done with the New Jersey Authors Network, sometimes I’ve met aspiring writers who want to know about publishing and marketing but they haven’t completed a work yet. First and foremost, you have to write. The business research and all the bells and whistles can come later. Just sit down and tell the tale you have to tell. Fuck everything else. To thine own self be true! Then again, am I Stephenie Meyer, no, so maybe my advice tips should be taken with a grain of salt, hehe. The advice that works for you depends on what kind of writer you want to be. Not, do this for short fiction or this for non fiction, but are you going to write from your soul or sell out? So many people want to put the cart before the horse these days. Love your art, warts and all!

Do you have a writing routine?

In theory. Now, my little spot where I usually sit with my exercise ball is being taken up by my Christmas tree, so I’m a little squashed with all my stuff piled up by my usual recliner. I’m a night owl. I’d like to be normal and write in the day time, and be tan and do those things that sunshiney people do, but I enjoy the productivity that comes overnight. I have certain days and times when regular writing work needs to get done, but when edits or the muse takes over, it takes over! I’ll handwrite a first draft, then get a double session of fleshing out and editing as I type it at the keyboard, then there will be a dozen edits and read throughs before I go through my work by reading it out loud. That is my last touch where I get to hear how things sound, know if the rhythm matches the people or the place or where the plot lags.

How do you go about planning a new novel?

It depends. Sometimes ideas stew in my head or lie in my notebook for years, other times I have to immediately get a rough outline or draft done. Sometimes a great snip of dialogue will come to me, and once I start writing down, I find myself adding tags, descriptions, and I’m off. I also have to do goofy charts and side character materials. I will cut out photos or save entire folders of what a character would wear, jewelry, furniture. I’ll draw things, graph intersecting appearances and storylines. I do outline, sometimes just what happens from one seen to another, other times, completely finite stuff that takes up entire walls. Mainly, though, I don’t limit myself in any planning or composition. No, I have to adhere to this photo or the outline says this- forget that! You go where the story takes you then worry about the trimming next time around.

What are you working on now?

I’m trying to satisfy myself with the next two full length novels following Fate and Fangs: Tales from the Vampire Family 7 book series with Muse It Up Publishing. I’ve been off and on this vampire material for years. I think some folks might think I’m always hawking the same thing! But I just wrote a lot of stuff over a long period of time. The 7 novellas in Fate and Fangs are comprised of earlier material as well as more recent events. Requiem for the Vampire Family will pick up where the final tale in Fate and Fangs- Resurrection, due out in February- leaves off, and now it is going to be split in two with the final act being The Vampire Family Forever. I do write more than horror, well, not just vampires at least! I have big space operas that just keep getting bigger, but those need a lot of work! I did step aside and do an edit with another local author Leigh Wood. Again it is important to step outside your comfort zone. I did a read through on her new fantasy erotica Horns of Myleness. Way out of my zone- unicorns and medieval love triangles! It was totally mature even with such high fantasy romps, serious, deep. I love the world building. I enjoy being able to move through time with my vampires, immerse myself in their world for a little while. You get sick of it, and I go slow with the hand writing and you write and read again and again and think you are sick of your story! But then you leave it for something else and find you miss it. It keeps you coming back for more! Whew!

What do you want readers to take away from your books?

I’d like a reader to think about what they read after it’s done. I adore books that change you. I love to read and be a different person from whom I was at the start on Page One. I like questions, conversations, examinations. What does my opinion of this book say about me? Who am I in comparison to the villain of this piece? I like literature that informs, inspires, and entertains, showcasing a mirror of who we are and what we can do! Yes I get all philosophical and lofty and would die of happiness of someone ever said something I wrote was life changing! On my review blog I Think, Therefore I Review, a gentleman commented on a article I wrote for Highlander: The Series last year. He said he had worked overnights many years ago and the highlight of the night was watching the show. Finding my review brought back some great memories and he said, ‘and I thank you for that.’ It was the greatest thing ever!! I never want a reader to feel shy. Come to me, talk to me, discuss. To me my book, any book, is not set in stone, it is a dialogue, a conversation on the human condition that should be shared. I don’t think you can get that from a 140 character limit. Thank you. I love you! Read me! Authors are needed people with something to say.

Any last words?

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

teehee!

You can find Kristin at http://vampfam.blogspot.com/

and check out Humanity, her latest book
http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=307&category_id=64&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1