Archive for the 'A Visitor Says…' Category


Charlene Teglia Talks To Us: Wicked Hot…Behind the Scenes

I was trying to figure out how to introduce Charli when I stumbled on this. So instead of an introduction, we’re all going to beg her to come back and guestblog in sonnet form next year. *g* The most creative beggar wins a signed copy of Wicked Hot!

It’s always hard to know what to say about a book. There’s the obvious: Here’s the cover!

Charlene Teglias new book!

Charlene Teglia's new book!

And the blurb!

The struggle between good and evil is about to get…Wicked Hot

Edana is a succubus—a breathtakingly beautiful demon who offers men their most decadent fantasy in exchange for their souls. No one can get close to her without being destroyed..until she meets Eli and Dal. Both men are Nephilim, immortal warriors who bind and banish demons. Edana’s mission is to arouse their lust and steal their souls before they can destroy her—she never expects to fall in love. Shared by two virile lovers and lost in a world of sensation, Edana begins to fall for one of the warriors, jeopardizing her mission. Only he has power to save her, but first she must give him power over her heart—and her destiny…

But while covers are shiny (and this one has a hot nekkid guy) and blurbs are designed to catch a browser’s attention and get them to pick up a book, it doesn’t say much.

So there’s the book trailer to convey more of the mood and tone:

But what about the story behind the story? Er, well, I wanted to write a book set on Washington’s remote and rugged Olympic Peninsula. I wanted to write about Nephilim because they’re fascinating. And writing about a succubus heroine posed a lot of challenges. Writing a ménage relationship that ends in a traditional hero/heroine happily ever after posed even more challenges. I mean, if she spends the book sleeping with both of them, how do you pull off the believable romantic resolution?

To be blunt, this book gave me fits. It forced me to rethink and reinvent my process and change the way I write. It stretched me. It frustrated me. It delighted me. And in the end, it was a book I could look back on and say with satisfaction, “I did good work.”

Wicked Hot is erotic and fun and romantic and hopefully will entertain readers as much as it entertains me. Unless they are Barry Manilow fans. In which case, er, sorry, but come on, they WOULD punish people with Barry in hell.

Charlene Teglia‘s latest releases are Wicked Hot and the Naughty Nights anthology, in which you can find her story ‘Wolf in Shining Armor.’ At least she doesn’t have a pink cover to embarrass me with this time. *g*

She’s also giving away a copy of Wicked Hot, which is, indeed, Wicked Hot. You guys know the drill, comment and one lucky winner gets a signed copy.


Shiloh Walker Talks to Us: How Writing is Like…

The Brat is back, this time with a new WIP. Wanna win a Bratty book? Details below.

Giving directions to your husband while going on a road trip…WITHOUT GPS.

You see, I know where I want to go. On the road trip. In the book.

On a road trip, it’s usually a bookstore, or a library, or a mall, in some town I haven’t visited before, or it’s been a long time since my last visit.

I know where I want to go. I just am not very sure on how to get there. It usually involves me scouring a map, looking for cross streets, checking on the printed directions from Google maps…and then me shouting at the last second, That’s where we gotta turn.

He acts like I do it on purpose. Hey, I can’t help the road doesn’t lead where I think it should.

Same with my story.

I know where I want to go. I’m just not sure how to get there. Even with outlines, notes, bouncing ideas off a friend’s head, I’m not too sure of the road I need to take. I think it’s this road, but this road doesn’t lead to that one after all and that one is the road I need to be on.

But my husband ought to consider himself lucky. Because in a story? Usually when I see the road I need, it’s always in hindsight. Like oh say… 30, 40, 50 pages past the turning point that I didn’t see until it was too late. Last minute is better than way after, right?

So in the story, I have to back track. And I realize there are other twists in the plot (roads) that I do need to keep, but I need to figure out how to work them in while still arriving where I need to be…when I need to be there…and without missing any of the other vital things.

My husband keeps telling me I need to learn to read a map. I think I’m just fine-we’ve got a GARMIN now. What I really need is some sort of GARMIN for authors-one that will spit out helpful little things like… Important plot turn in 5 pages, 4 pages, 3 pages, 2 pages…on the next page you need to work on a new plot development.

Somehow, I don’t see it happening.

Shiloh Walker’s latest release is Through The Veil. Excerpt coming up!

Contest: I’ll buy one lucky person a copy of any Bratty Book that you can find on Fictionwise up to 6USD.


Jes Battis, Tess Corday and Derrick Siegel Talk to Us

Want to get the inside track on the world of Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday, and the world of the Core? You’re in the right place. Details on the contest below.

Jes: Welcome to the studio. I’d like to introduce Tess Corday and Derrick Siegel, who both work for the Central Occult Regulation Enterprise, or CORE. Tess, can you describe your job for the readers?

Tess: I’m an Occult Special Investigator.

Derrick: Level One.

T: [glaring]. Yes. Level One. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

D: I can read minds. Some people might think that’s much cooler.

T: But I get better hours. And I have a gun.

D: So do I!

T: But you couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with it–

J: [interrupting] Maybe you could both talk about what the CORE does, exactly.

T: Sure. They’re a transnational blanket organization that investigates occult homicides. They use a mixture of forensic technology and mystical rituals to analyze paranormal crime scenes.

D: Like on CSI Las Vegas.

T: Not, not like on CSI Las Vegas. They don’t have demons and warlocks.

D: But they have Bill Petersen. He’s hot.

T: Of course. But he doesn’t have to analyze vampire DNA.

D: Also, we don’t wear fancy clothes like the people on CSI. There’s no point, since we’ll just get blood and demon guts on them anyways.

J: What’s the most difficult case you’ve ever been on?

T: In Night Child, we have to investigate a crime-scene with a dead vampire’s body (really dead, not just undead). It turns out to be a big vampire conspiracy. Things get pretty hot and heavy.

J: What’s a “night child?”

D: Didn’t you come up with it? You’re the writer.

J: I’m trying to be mysterious.

T: Well, then–everyone should read the book so they can find out.

J: What did you find particularly hard about the case in Night Child?

D: [giggling] I’ll tell you what she found ‘hard’–

T: Shut up.

D: His name is Lucian Agrado.

J: Is he a love interest, Tess?

T: He’s a big pain in my ass. Like a black hole.

D: Imagine if Gael Garcia Bernal was a necromancer. He’s that hot.

J: What does a necromancer do, exactly?

T: They can manipulate necroid materia, which is forbidden by the CORE.

J: And your specialty is earth materia?

T: Yeah. I’m good at channeling geothermic energy. Derrick’s telepathy comes from dendrite materia, but we’re not even sure if that exists.

D: My materia is just as good as yours.

T: Sure [inaudible] you’re invisible materia.

D: I heard that, betch.

J: Were you two ever an item?

T [snorting with laughter]. Derrick’s a homo.

D: [proudly] I am.

T: We made out once. It was funny.

D: I’m a good kisser.

T: [stage whisper] He’s really not.

D: That was back in college, though.

J: Is that how you two met?

T: We were both working for the CORE at the time, but that was the first time we met, yeah. They tend to enlist you early. I joined when I was 12.

J: How do you think that affected your life?

T: Um–made it a lot less predictable?

D: Luckily, they have full dental.

T [nodding]: The benefits are quite competitive.

J: What’s the scariest thing about Night Child?

D: There’s a butt plug.

T: He’s serious.

D: And a shark demon. Oh, and cursed house music.

T: And a bondage chamber, remember?

D: Oh yeah. And also, there’s a horrible scene with a gumball machine.

J: I don’t remember writing that.

D: You were probably high.

J [shrugs] Probably.

T: There’s also a lot of gruesome autopsies, bloody fingerprints, demon DNA, an eyeball, and second-hand couch that swallows people.

D: And Tess gets naked.

T: I do not!

D: Well, sort of.

T: OK, fine. Sort of.

D: Oh, and the black playdough. Don’t forget that.

T: [shivers] How could I?

J: Derrick, do you have a love interest in this book?

D: Well, Jes, you should know the answer to that. I’m just hoping that I get a lot more action in Hextacy.

J: That can be arranged.

D: Have I mentioned how awesome you are?

J: Yes. Many times. Anything else you want to add?

T: This book will scare the crap out of you. Seriously. Mo Hayder and Karin Slaughter and Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs all think so.

D: None of them have read it.

T: Not yet. But when they do, it’ll scare them. I promise.

D: The cover is also amazing. Tess doesn’t look that hot in real life.

T: You’re an ass.

D: I’m just being honest.

T: You’re just jealous because I got the whole cover.

D: I’m going to be on the next one. Tim Lantz promised to make me look just like Zachary Quinto.

T: No he didn’t.

D: Ok…he didn’t. But I do sort of—

J and T stare at him.

D: OK. Never mind. Just read Night Child. It costs the same as a venti mocha raspberry frappe with an extra shot. That’s a bargain.

Jes Battis debuts today with Night Child, the first book in the series starring Tess Corday. He has just finished writing the second book, so head on over to his blog to congratulate him!

Now, for the contest. Comment to enter, but the devil’s in the details, as they say:

You have to live in an area that has a locally-based (in other words, I won’t have to pay for international postage) online bookstore through which I can order Night Child for you, and if you win, you have to write a review of the book that I will post here on the blog.


CE Murphy Talks To Us

It was hard, and she tried to talk me out of one of my precious blogging ideas–she didn’t succeed–but CE Murphy is here at last.

“Blogging is hard,” I said to May while I was trying to come up with a topic for today’s guest blog. “Let’s go shopping!”

Inevitably, this led to a discussion of shoes. This is inevitable only because I accidentally turned May on to Duo Boots last year, and while I am not *generally* weak in the face of shoes, I turn out to be very weak in the face of boots that will fit my sturdy calves.

The truth is, actually, writing is hard, whether it’s blogging (me, I keep a journal, because blogging to my mind is more topical and focused than a journal) or writing books. It requires a certain discipline, ’cause at the end of the day nobody but you is making you do it.

That’s one of the hardest bits of being a professional writer. I took solitaire off my work computer (which is not hooked up to the internet) about six months ago, because when writing was hard going I
was spending hours and hours losing games instead of working my way through the hard bits. It’s soooo much easier to do anything other than write. Clean the kitchen, clean the kitty litter, go for a walk, aaaaanything at all.

But it has to be done. One way or another, if you want to be a professional writer, you must write. No way around that one, I’m afraid. You do whatever it takes to get yourself into the chair: word wars (a battle with someone else to see who can write the most words in 30 minutes!), a promise that you can quit “after 100 (or 200, or 300, or…) words”, a chocolate bar with your name on it (though you better put that at the end of a 3 mile walk, because writing is a sedentary job!), look at your looming deadlines, get up early, stay up late, write on the commute; a friend of mine says if you have time to watch TV, you have time to write. It’s a matter of making choices, and that’s more difficult than it seems. Even for me, who’s been writing full time for more than three years now, it’s not as easy as I think it should be. Many days I still have to drag myself to the keyboard to get any work done. I think that’s just part of any job, and has to be dealt with.

On the positive side, on days when the writing isn’t easy, I can always wear my knee-high, 3″ heel suede Duo Boots stilettos to work in, if I want. 🙂

CE Murphy is the author, most recently, of THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, in which she believes there is no mention at all of shoes. House of Cards was released in March, and the third book in the same series, Hands of Flame, will be released in September.


Caitlin Kittredge Talks To Us: 5 Reasons Not to Write a Fantasy Novel (And 2 Reasons Why You Should)

Caitlin Kittredge is a novelist and former game designer. She lives in Seattle, WA with 3,000 comic books and two pushy cats. Her favorite word is ubiquitous.

I’d never try to discourage anyone from writing fiction, but if you want to succeed as an author just starting out, being prepared for the worst goes a long way. With that caveat in mind, here are all the reasons you should go get a real job like your mother wanted:

  1. The market is tough—and tiny.

It’s hard to get a fantasy, particularly urban fantasy, noticed by agents. The market isn’t saturated, but it’s reached a point where agents and editors can be pretty darn picky and still have a list overflowing with urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Yours must be a standout to get noticed. Also, ALL fantasy, from epic sprawling sagas to vampire bounty hunters, has something like an 8% market share. Your chances are slightly better if you’re going to be marketed as paranormal romance, but it’s still a niche, and it’s still full.

  1. Unless your name is Stephen King, your advance isn’t going to pay for that private island.

I know, you say it’s not about the money, but guess what? Most fantasy authors don’t live on their writing, and those that do aren’t usually holed up in Malibu sipping on mimosas. If you want to make a living as a professional writer and only a writer, expect to be dirt-poor for a two to five years, because the pay scale just isn’t there in our genre except for the big guns and the breakouts. And if you keep a day job, you’re going to be working two full time jobs when your novel sells. Stock up on No-Doz, or marry someone who will pay the bills while you’re getting your income up to speed.

  1. Genre writing is not for the faint of heart.

Remember the look your college English professor gave you when you turned in a fantasy short story rather than a piece about your mother’s music box? Yeah, you’re gonna get a lot of that if you do this for a living. People ask me, “What’s you’re book about?”. I say, “Werewolves,” and get an entire range of reactions from “Oh, cool,” to “I thought you said you wrote real books. The good news is, fantasy is becoming a lot more accepted as other media like TV, comics and film mainstream the supernatural. Develop a thick skin—you’re going to need it to deal with snob critics who don’t accept that genre writing is valid expression anyway, and it helps when explaining to your great-aunt Mildred that yes, you write about elves having sex, and yes, you get paid for it.

  1. You won’t get the luxury of writing one novel every ten years.

Fantasy novelists are expected to produce more than literary writers. It’s a fact, and it’s both good and bad: good because our sales numbers tend to be a lot better, hence the demand, and bad, because of the implication that your demon-hunter novel required less effort than their middle-aged road trip novel. Well, get past that second one and get used to writing on deadline—usually every six months to a year. You think you can produce a novel in six months, no problem? What about your job, hobbies, family, pets? What if you only get one hour a day to write? You have to be able to make that hour count every single day whether you feel like it or not. And there will be days when you don’t, trust me.

  1. The work is hard, lonely, and largely without tangible result.

You work alone, probably thousands of miles from your agent or editor in New York City or London. You work when you’re sick, you don’t get government holidays and you work even when you feel wholly uninspired—because of the deadlines, remember? If you don’t produce, you don’t get paid, and if you’re a full-time writer…that’s all you have to live on. You only see the results of your labor about once a year, when the book goes to press, and the rest of the time is a slog of wordcounts, checking your Amazon rating and venturing out to bitch with other authors about the industry. But, I will say this: when you hold your book in your hands, every hour sacrificed to the writing of said book is worth it.

Made it this far? There’s hope for you yet. Here are two reasons why you should write fantasy anyway, even with everything I’ve said above.

1. You’ve got something to say.

Fantasy has traditionally been the genre used for social criticism of the particular writer’s world, and it continues to be one of the most fluid and versatile genres because literally anything goes. Fantasy lets you say what you need to say, artfully and imaginatively, and you can’t ask for more than that.

2. Fantasy needs new authors with new ideas.

Just because the market is full-ish now doesn’t mean there’s not room for you, if you write with passion, have a fresh take on the genre and police your commas. Chin up. Shoulders back. Type on.

Caitlin Kittredge

Lucky readers, Caitlin’s giving away a signed copy of Night Life! You know you want it, so tell us, are you a night person or a day person, and why should the rest of the world be like you?


Linda Wisdom Talks To Us

50waystohex72.jpgIf Linda Wisdom is half as fun as her book is, then her guestblog today is going to be plenty of fun!

How do you brew up a hexy book?

You start with a full measure of sexy witch

Add essence of a sexy vampire

A pinch of a cranky 1950s era ghost

Stir in zest of magickal bunny slippers to add that extra boost along with a hint of elf, ghoul and even a bare bit of were and you have an energetic brew filled with a witch we’d all want to hang out with.

As long as she doesn’t conjure up some witchflame, that is!

That’s exactly what I did including the witchflame.

A snarky witch popped up in my head and introduced herself as Jasmine “Jazz” Tremaine and did she have a story for me, which is appropriately titled 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover. And the meaning of the book title is even explained in the book.

She’s a witch with an addiction to cotton candy and funnel cakes, loves to shop and pays her bills, hey, even witches have Visa and MasterCard, by working as a curse eliminator and a driver for All Creatures Car Service. Life should be good for her, but her ex has shown up. And said ex is one hot guy, been off and on in her life for the past 600 years. Wait a minute did I say 600 years? Yep. Easy to do when you’re a vampire. And Nick’s a vampire to be reckoned with. As a former member of vampire law enforcement, which doesn’t happen to have an appeal process, and now working as a private detective for the supernatural community, Nick’s trying to now bring down a serial killer of vampires. A creature from his and Jazz’s past and someone Jazz doesn’t care to confront again because that would mean confronting a horror she’d kept buried for 70 years.

Writing this book was sheer joy for me. I had characters that are downright fun and so surprising even I wasn’t sure what would happen next. Along with being so believable I check my bunny slippers every so often to make sure they’re not trying to take off with the dog.

I hope those of you who read the book will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope that reading it will have you believing in the unbelievable. Because, for me, that’s the most fun. The idea pretty much anything could be out there.

50 Ways to Hex Your Lover is out in the bookstores now and Hex Appeal, the next book in the series, will be out this fall.

Linda Wisdom

There will be prizes. Who would you have Fluff and Puff, the magickal, be-fanged bunny slippers, bite?


Sylvia Kelso Talks To Us: Under Two Hats…Or Is That Three?

We, referring to my multiple identities, present Sylvia Kelso, author of Amberlight, with an interesting look into SFF academia. Kinsale fans, meet your match!

When people ask what I do nowadays, I instantly recall an old novel by a 19th century popular writer, Ouida: she did “romantic” action with lots of angst, and the title was Under Two Flags. Nowadays I seem to work under two hats: as an academic who’s specialised in “popular fiction” – including SF, fantasy, horror, and what used to be Gothics – and as a long-term writer and now aspiring author OF popular fiction, newly embarked on the precipitous learning curve to discover how you (hopefully) stay out there.

Under those hats, though, is the person who acquired both – or maybe the third, original hat. That person is what I call an overflower, or active enthusiast. Overflowers, to me, share a common impulse: not just to enjoy reading a book, but to actively, in some deeper way, make it their own. The collector version wants not just this but all the author’s books. The fan collects the books and maybe writes fanfic. The academic wants to write an article or study about the text and/or writer.

For academics, this means translating, I just love this book! into acceptable academic form. First, you need something about the work that snags your critical eye – unusual, complex, striking in some way. Then the enthusiasm has to be strong enough to support your work. An academic article is quite an undertaking. The first and simplest step is to find a critical approach that will “open” the text for you. Then you have to apply the approach to the text and put the result analysis into academic format, complete with references, bibliography, etc.

I did this a couple of years ago with a Laura Kinsale novel, For My Lady’s Heart. As a reader I consider her pretty neat. Especially, she has a very good ear for non-contemporary dialogue– and I *hate* tin-ear dialogue, which is why I don’t read many historical novels. More, she researches well enough to catch the sensibility of the period. Heart is a variant of a very famous medieval romance, “Gawain and the Green Knight,” and Kinsale gets closer than almost any other modern author to the “authentic” Middle English idiom, and sometimes, even the correct usages of “thou” and “you.”

That is very seldom done correctly nowadays, because it varies very subtly according to relative rank of speakers, closeness of relationship, current emotional temperature, and intent. In The Lord of the Rings, a classic case is Aragorn and Eowyn – she addresses him as “you” – correct formal usage to somebody of higher rank – until she pops her chocks at Dunharrow, and breaks into “thou” and “thee.” HE never addresses her as anything but “you” – proper courtesy to a woman, even if of lower rank – until at the very last, when she’s safely married off to Faramir, and he can honestly and “lovingly” say, “It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.”

Kinsale’s nearly as good. I just love (there’s the enthusiast) the scene where Ruck and Melanthe are making their makeshift marriage vows. She has “thee’d” him from square one, as a social inferior, even before she fell in love. Ruck, who has steadfastly avoided “thee-ing” her despite x days of trauma and flight together, starts off very formal “Princess of Monteverde, Countess of Bowland – my lady – I humbly take you – take thee – ah, God forgive me, but I take thee with my whole heart, though I be nought worthy …” There’s a shift that isn’t just careless writing or ignorant line-editing. The whole weight of the Middle Ages, rank and status and the outbreak of irresistible personal feeling, is in that one small change.

Those comments, though, are too enthusiastic for academe. In fact, I couldn’t even get them into the paper. Instead I had to find a critical text on “Romance” – which goes far beyond our modern genre, back to the imperial romances like King Solomon’s Mines, to the medieval romances like “Gawain,” and on to the Hellenistic Greek sagas of the late centuries BC. – and then apply its ideas to Heart. Discovering, for instance, that it works on the same principal as the theorist says fits all romance –its interest is not in going Straight There, like an action novel. And the core of Heart is indeed the long “detour” in the wastes of the Wirral, where Ruck and Melanthe really discover each other.

I spent a considerable time, too, working out comparisons with “Gawain and the Green Knight,” and learning about that work in the process. But the whole project, which ended with an academic paper and a reason to go from Australia to Glasgow for a convention where I could deliver it, came from the wellspring of reader’s enthusiasm: I just had to translate my delight in Kinsale’s ability to transport herself and her characters into the Middle Ages so well.

In the opposing hat, academic theory filters into my writing life. The latest novel I’ve published, Amberlight, began from a series of imagined images: a city in moonlight. Massive, smooth granite boulders on a local mountain range. But the next level came from my PhD, on feminism and Science Fiction, where I’d reached the SF theory chapter. And I was trying to figure what distinguished SF and Fantasy. Next thing, I was writing a novel whose intent was to balance it so closely on the border of SF and fantasy, no-one cd. decide which it was. I was quite delighted when I sent it to one of my very well read mates who really didn’t know which label to use on it. But again, the wellspring for all the effort was enthusiasm. Whichever hat I wear, it seems I should really extend the number to three, because the enthusiast has to bubble underneath them all.

Sylvia Kelso‘s current release is Amberlight, to be followed by Riversend in 2008, both out from Juno Books. She blogs at Fiction Beyond The Ordinary, with other Juno authors.