Monday, November 30, 2009

Keep it pure!

This week’s topic is another tough one for me since I’m a bit of a purest. I like my mysteries to be more mystery than romance and my romance to be character driven then action oriented.

I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret. I’m not big on romance. Not in my reading, or my movies, or my real life. Don’t get me wrong! I would love my husband to surprise me with a trip or a night out, but I’m more for the adventure than the romance. I like the new experience, not the romantic feelings involved. Sorry, but feelings come and go based on the person and the experience.

So I enjoy my entertainment more character oriented. Is cross-genre a good thing? Yes, I think so. Because people aren’t just romantic or mysterious. They aren’t just good or evil. Even the villain is the hero of his or her own story, right?

Even though my mysteries don’t have much to do with romance (heck, I can’t write a scene with Cerri kissing her husband, Matt, without thinking it sounds dumb!), I don’t not read something because it crosses a genre line. I like all types of books and movies.

It all boils down to one simple fact. People are multi-facetted.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Topic of the Week

Cross-genre blending. Is it a good idea?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I just love weres of all kinds, but the werewolf has to be my favorite.  Completely feral uncontrolled and powerful but still human.  I like to think they are the worst and best of the human race magnified to unimaginable levels.  And since wolfies are my favorite, I took my girls to watch New Moon Thanksgiving night.

About the only thing in Haleyville that didn't roll up the sidewalks was the Dixie Theatre.  After spending the day cooking and eating tons of good food, everyone scattered, my husband to the woods to deer hunt, my son to a Christmas auction.  This left a rare girls night out for my daughters and I.  One loves Edward, the other Jacob and so a "team" war ensued on the drive there.  Personally, I'm on team Jacob and not just for the werewolf in him. lol.  He's a nice guy, devoted and loving to Bella in a non obsessive way.  The more I read the series, the more I wish Bella's story had ended differently.  Anyway, the movie was well presented, even if I hate the way the series ended.  We had a great time, just me and my girls.  Hope you're holiday was a good one!
Be blessed,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ware Oh Ware Are You Tonight...

I'm going to admit, when I read the topic of this week, I totally didn't think it said "shifter". Had to do a little double take on that one.

I'm a Ware Wolf girl. There is no shifter better, stronger, and yes... sexier than the good ole ware wolf. And I'm betting there is a corner of your gnarled little soul that thinks the same thing. The ware wolf breaks all taboos. He's all about instinct and primal desires. There is nothing that the ware wolf can't do. There is nothing that he WON'T do. And there is a little part of everyone that is envious.

As a society we have to follow the rules. They are there for a reason after all. The rules keep us and those around us safe. They are a system of control that lets everyone function with the maximum amount of freedom. But the ware wolf is all about no control. he allows all primal instincts to take over.

And it's result is madness.

Imagine for an instant, just an instant, that you can let loose. Allow all control and rigid societal rules to fly out the window. Imagine the freedom. The sweet, sweet freedom. But then... imagine how frightening it would be, to have no control. To allow your instincts to take over, allowing you to do something that you know is wrong. Even the ultimate wrong... murder. It's a horrible trade off.

I suppose that if you lived long enough, you could create a balance. Maximum freedom, minimum madness. I just don't think ware wolves would live long enough to strike that balance.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Moxyland: The world of Lauren Beukes

I've know Lauren Beukes for a while now. I first encountered her short fiction in Something Wicked magazine and often read her articles. She has recently had great success with a speculative fiction tale—Moxyland—in a South African setting, painting a rather grim, distopian view of Cape Town a few years from now. She has kindly spared me some time from her busy schedule to chat about her writing.

Where did the idea for Moxyland spring from?

The original short story which became the novel was inspired by the hush-hush underground Lucky Strike parties and how brands were finding more devious ways to connect to consumers and creating a generation of sponsor babies.

But when I started writing the novel, it veered into neo-apartheid, cool advances in bio-tech, graffiti culture, AIDS, the art scene, virtual lives, alternate-reality gaming, soccer, the schism of poverty, corporate interference in government, apartheid’s insidious Special Branch police unit and their double-agent askaris, Wouter Basson’s dodgy medical experiments and issues of identity. Basically, I took everything I’m interested in and squeezed it in wherever I could.

Was it difficult finding a publisher for such obvious speculative fiction in South Africa?

I was very lucky, although it had a rocky start. A maverick young publisher Michelle Matthews wanted to start a new cult contemporary lit imprint for Struik and had already laid claim to Moxyland when the imprint fell through.

So, I took the manuscript to Jacana, who publish the most interesting books in South Africa: smart, playful, experimental fiction and hard-hitting non-fiction. The publishing director, Maggie Davey read the manuscript on the plane on the way to the Frankfurt Book Fair and by the time she landed, I had a book deal!

Tell us more about this deal with Angry Robot.

My agent was shopping the book around to literary imprints (we had some awesome rejection letters) when my friend and author Sarah Lotz got wind of HarperCollins’ new SF/F and WTF imprint about to launch. We contacted Angry Robot and they got back to us in record time and Moxyland became one of their launch titles. They’re an amazing, passionate bunch. Great to work with and excellent drinking companions.

How was the Moxyland ebook with its soundtrack received?

It was the first time anyone had released an ebook with an embedded soundtrack (and player) so there was a lot of great publicity. I’m hugely indebted to Electric Bookworks who figured out how to do it and to African Dope for helping me put together an official future-sound-of-Cape-Town soundtrack with their exceptionally talented artists.

Who was your favourite character in Moxyland, and why?

I had the most fun with Toby. He’s such a charismatic, amoral dodgy bastard, like the spirit of Long Street personified.

What is it about a South African setting that appeals to you and what do you think will appeal to foreign readers?

That old adage, write what you know? I know Cape Town, maybe better than a lot of people because journalism has given me an all-access pass from six-star guest houses frequented by topshelf politicos through to the the most desperate poverty and violence-stricken areas in the townships.

South Africa is a remarkable place, especially considering all we’ve come through. We like to live like our history never happened, but those roots are deep and treacherous and they’re still gonna trip us up for years to come. It’s an inspiring (and often devastating) place to live, with the mash of culture and identity.

We’re a country in the process of becoming. Becoming quite what, I don’t know, but I hope to hell it’s not Moxyland. I think foreign readers will find the strangeness appeals, the uncomfortable mix of first world and third world. It’s a place we haven’t seen represented that often in science fiction (District 9 aside).

Do you think local publishers will be more receptive to genre fiction any time soon?

I really don’t know. There’s a proven dedicated market for genre fiction, so I’d like to hope there will be. It depends on how open-minded publishers are and if it makes good business sense. But considering the top sellers of the moment are all high fantasy (Twilight, Harry Potter, Dan Brown), there’s certainly the possibility.

Useful links:
twitter: @laurenbeukes

Monday, November 23, 2009

My favorite shifters are ...


Let me explain. I don't really read shifters. In fact, I can't think of a book or story I've read that features them. Well, I do like the story about the woman who was turned to a hawk by night and her lover who was a dog by day. They were able to be together only for a few moments during sunset and sunrise.

Anyway, if we aren't counting the shift of my sweet daughter into an angst-filled teenager, then my favorite is a yet-unpublished work that a woman in my local writer's group is working on. Her mythical race is immortal and manages to have thoughts and opinions on the various times they find themselves. Maybe it's because I know the author, or maybe it's my love of history, but those are the shifters I find myself enjoying the most.

I hope she gets them published. I wish her all the luck in that respect!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Topic of the Week

What's your favorite kind of shifter?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kickin' the muse into high gear...

I apologize to everyone for the lateness of this post and the abscence of it last Saturday.  I've been sick with some sort of crud that has me knocked out.  Doc has me taking antibiotics, but they aren't helping much. 

My muse is definitely a fickle female terror to this writer.  Her mood is directly tied to my emotions.  If I have all the time in the world to write, she has nothing to say.  No time?  I can't keep her quiet, especially at work.  Like now, for instance, I just finally worked out the next scene in To Take Up the Sword, its in a cheesy motel room and the bad guys are about to bust in on the hero & heroine. (platonic scene at this point)
And... I'm at work. Can't write it out, and I'm afraid I'll lose it.  Any ideas on how to kick her into high gear, because (drum roll please) I just signed a contract for the remaining books in my Elemental Magic Series with Lyrical Press. 
Be blessed,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dynamiting the Muse

Sure, we all have days when things just don't go according to plan. take for instance today, I had every intention of working on my female/female paranormal romance The Relation Chip but Monique and Honor just did NOT want to cooperate. In fact in one scene, a planned love scene they started bickering. So I had my revenge.

How? I pictured them as teenagers then opened my trusty dictionary at random and plucked five words from various pages: immune, questioning, sewer, kick, and medieval. Now, onto the challenge! Use all five of those words - and my characters as teenagers - in a social setting where they'd meet for the first time, and one would leave an imprint on the other. That spark of 'true love' we've all yearned for as angst ridden teens, while leaving the other seemingly clueless, you know, the stereotypical 'guy' response.

"Oh God, please just let someone kick my puddly ass into the sewer," Monique Monet hiccuped a fresh round of tears into her sleeve. "Isn't it enough, Lord, to make me fat, but to set that hag-witch, Lanette on me today, too?"

"Well, well, if it isn't Mo-Mo the Homo. So this is where you hid yourself," Lanette's tart voice stung the very air. "I didn't know such a big, fat-ass could hide behind such small, widdle bushes." Not only was the Barbie-thin girl immune to the suffering of others, she seemed to feed off of it like some kind of sick insect, her and her posse of hussies. "Did you know that girls?" Her question was answered with a chorus of noes, whistles, and lip-smacking sounds that made Monique try to curl up into a tighter ball.

"What the hell is going on back here?" Monique nearly moaned. If Lanette realized who this was, her humiliation would be complete. Honor Fidelis was the person she crushed over every single year, she was the reason Monique hustled all year selling candy bars and junk raising the money for the annual City to Woods Summer Camp. And it was all in her journal -- the same journal Lanette took and started reading aloud when everyone was supposed to be getting ready for bed.

"Oh, now, Mo-Mo you may be a lesbo, but at least you went butch with some taste." Monique risked a look up, Lanette was clearly enjoying this. Her plush lips were pursed as if considering the trim athletic build of the older Honor. "Baby girl, I can see the attraction, really I can. Maybe you dream of eating her up, like a chicken leg." For once, Monique was glad of her dark chocolate complexion, hopefully it hid the tear stains, blotches, red nose and embarrassed flush, then too it was getting dark.

"Monique? What are you doing out here?" Honor completely ignored Lanette and the hussy posse, score one point for humanity.

"You want to know what your little chocolate love bunny is doin' out here?" Lanette's tone was anything but questioning as she pulled the tattered journal from Jessica's hands, opened it to a marked page and began to read, "today I watched -- Hey!"

Honor reached out and plucked it from Lanette's hands. "This isn't yours."

"Spoils of war," she sneered signaling for the posse to surround Honor.

"You really don't want to do this." Steady blue-grey eyes tracked the sniggering teens as they spread out, flanking her.

"I'm not gonna do nothin', rank has its privileges an all that, but I will have it back." As Lanette paced backwards towards the showers the others closed ranks almost on cue. Even though she'd watched her train for the last two summers, Monique had never seen anything like the speed and violence Honor unleashed. When Jessica reached for the wrist-thick braid of blue-black hair, it was suddenly gone as Honor ducked, spun and kicked out tripping her and Daniele, tangling them together. Eyes wide, Monique barely had time to see the wicked teeth of the metal comb in Cherise's hand before Honor's swept in with a numbing chop and a vicious thrust that made the other girl's shoulder give a wet sounding pop.

In shock, Monique sat on the mossy ground and considered the still hunched form of her heroine, as she watched the squealing, squalling shapes trip and race off into the growing dark. "You totally went medieval on their asses," she blurted out. In reply, Honor simply turned and gave her a questioning look.

"I'm about to get in a lot of trouble, you want your diary back?" Oh shit! What to do with it? If she took it back to the tent, Lanette would just take it away, either in the middle of the night or on the long bus ride back to Baltimore. But letting Honor keep it would be beyond mortifying, she felt heat creep up the back of her neck. Those clear eyes studied her quizzically. "Why are you ashamed? Because they read your words?" Well, there was that and a whole lot more. Hoping to keep it simple, Monique nodded miserably. "I can mail it to your home."

"You know where I live?" Pathetically, her heart turned over at the thought of Honor maybe being a little interested in her too.

"No," she smiled, "I work security this year, I have access to camper files. If I can get to them before the director comes looking to kill me." Suddenly she winced, looking in askance for a sound only Honor could hear.

"Makes no never mind," Monique babbled, "my address is inside the front cover, I trust you." Standing so fast her legs nearly gave way, she staggered and was caught smoothly by Honor. She wanted to blame the tingles in her body on the traitorous thing having fallen asleep while on the ground, but couldn't, not the way her heart galloped being held so close to the lithe form before her. Strong hands slid from her arms to supporting her waist, it was a snug embrace, one that robbed her of words. Gaping like a fish she simply stared up at Honor.

"Monique, you are not fat. Not fat at all. I'd say you're just right." Before her brain could conjure up something stupid to say, Honor's lips covered hers in a kiss that promised to go on forever but ended in a matter of heartbeats.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Release of Exiles from Christmas

I know, it doesn't fit with the topic this week, but I'm excited that this book released from Lyrical Press on Monday and I wanted to share :-) And at 2.50, why not pick it up for a little holiday cheer?

The inspiration behind this book was a fascination with Santa. It’s not what you think. It amazes me that the Santa myth still holds strong today and I find it amusing that sentiments are so strong regarding the issue: does he or does he not exist?

So, I decided to turn the jolly old man on his ear and Exiles from Christmas is the result. It’s my take, or explanation on the Santa scene. What’s more, I didn’t just stop with the jolly elf. I’ve taken a lot of the myths and childhood stories and created a sort of “what if” scenario in my Holiday Magic Series.

Here’s a blurb and excerpt for Exiles for Christmas:

Blurb: Santa’s nephews have come to Crystal Falls to run a cookie business. If they fail, they’ll have to go back to the North Pole and fill their uncle’s black boots when he retires. But sick of toys, elves, and the North Pole’s influence, that’s the last thing Landon and Aaron want. They’re looking for love.

Jayne isn’t much for sentimental family holidays and she certainly doesn’t believe in magic. Working in the Crystal Falls post office, she is mystified when she handles mail bearing a North Pole postal mark.

When Landon and Jayne meet, their attraction for each other is undeniable, but will the truth about Landon’s life make Jayne a believer, or will it be his love that finally melts her heart?

Excerpt #4:

Landon was glad when Peg finally walked away. “Tell me why you hate Christmas.” Pleasure snaked through his gut when Jayne’s cheeks infused with a rosy stain. He had the insane desire to see her smile. He wondered if the back of her wrist was ticklish. “Or is it just the commercialism of the holiday that turns you into Scrooge?”

Her lips twitched but she didn’t follow through with a full grin. “Why don’t you tell me why I should like this holiday?” She dipped a triangle of her golden sandwich into her orange-red soup then took a delicate bite.

“Everyone likes Christmas.” He floundered for words. “It’s... It’s...magical.” He broke open the flaky crust of his chicken pot pie to let the steam escape.

“What’s so magical about the whole population of the world succumbing to avarice and greed?” She pointed her spoon at him. “And don’t get me started about that jolly old fat man in the red suit.”

“How do you know Santa is old or fat? Have you seen him?” Her abhorrence to Christmas fascinated him, but the information he was about to tell her would make or break the new friendship.

“Have you?”

It was now or never. For some reason, he trusted her. “Actually, yes. In fact, I know him pretty well.” He kept his gaze glued to her face, alert for any outward signs of derision or ridicule. Prior relationships usually broke down at this point. Some had even ended with drinks to his face or upended dinners in his lap. When Jayne did nothing more dramatic than blink, he released his held breath. Maybe it’d be different this time.

“How can you possibly know him? He’s a make-believe character from story books.” She narrowed her eyes. “Unless he’s an invisible friend of yours.”

Very witty, Jayne. Funny and sexy. A great combination. He fought a smile. “He’s definitely not invisible.” No longer hungry, Landon pushed his mostly untouched plate away. “You never believed in Santa when you were a kid?” He watched as hope briefly flitted across her face but that moment of vulnerability vanished as quickly as it had come.


“Why?” He wasn’t about to give up. He felt a tiny seed of belief buried beneath her protests and he wanted to draw it out. He needed to draw it out, if only to justify his own determination to remove himself from his own issues.

Jayne busied herself by crumbling little bits of her sandwich into her soup bowl. “Santa has always been a disappointment to me.” She captured her bottom lip between her teeth. “When I was eleven, I desperately wanted a microscope. I loved science and thought it would be fun to look inside living things.”

“And you didn’t get it, I assume?” He wrenched his gaze from her invitingly wet lips to focus on her face.

“Of course not.” Bitterness crept into the confirmation. “Not only that, a few months after that, I found all the letters I’d written to Santa in my mom’s underwear drawer. She never mailed them. I understood why later—there was nowhere to mail them to. Santa’s a fake.” She shrugged. “I found all but one letter. She must have lost it.”

“I’m sorry you had a bad childhood. What about now? You’re older and wiser. Do you believe in Santa now?”

“Are you kidding me?” She gaped at him as if he were a car wreck. “Why should I believe now? What’s the point?”

“Because.” Landon cleared his throat. “Santa Claus is my uncle.”

Book video:

Promo video for Crystal Falls:

Buy link:
Or visit my website for more information:

Keep your eyes open for more books in this series.

Thanks again for having me here. I love to hear from readers and other authors so look me up on Facebook or email me at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ah, geez.... what happens next???

First let me apologize for this post being late. It's been crazy around here!

Now for the topic of the week: writer's block.

I'm not sure such a thing exists. Let me tell you why. As a reporter, the excuse didn't fly. I know. I tried it! I've never met an editor who said "You don't know what to write about that community function? No problem." Space had to be filled, and reporters fill it. Period. End of discussion.

Now as I dwell in the realm of fiction, I find an entirely new problem. No longer am I reporting what someone did or said, I'm coming up with the day-to-day activities of a fictional set of people. I can't ask them to give me a quote to fill up a few more lines of copy. It's a little (okay, a LOT) more difficult.

But not impossible.

So what do I do when I'm not sure what's going to happen next? I skip it.

Seriously. I skip that part and move on to the next thing I know is going to happen. For example, in my current work in progress Cerri and her spirit guide have just visited the Black Hills National Cemetery. Cerri goes home and... I have no idea!

But she needs to get some more information about the murder victim. She needs to find a direction to head. As a freelance journalist, maybe Cerri will get the chance to do a story on Bear Butte, where the murder took place. Maybe she'll get a call from her mother, a "wise woman" of the old tradition. Maybe she'll receive an e-mail from her sister, who also embraces the traditions of their mother.

So I'll write those scenes and worry about connecting the dots later. Either way, I'm actively working on the manuscript.

And writing is much like bodybuilding. If you don't exercise the muscles (or the brain, or the fingers on the keyboard), you won't make any progress! Don't you agree?


Meet Sheryl Nantus

Through my work as a copy editor at Lyrical Press, Inc. I've had the pleasure of working with author Sheryl Nantus, whose novel, What God and Cats Know is releasing early next year. It would appear that her star is on the up and up, because she's also been offered a contract with Samhain Publishing for another novel.

What sparked the idea for What God and Cats Know?

I've always loved to read about shapeshifters and cat people, but wondered about problems within the family unit. What if you fell in love with a human? What would your children have to deal with? How would other "cat people" deal with a half-human, half-cat person? And what if you had to leave the family unit for some reason—how do you fit in a world that isn't yours?

Did the novel take a long time to write and did you face any obstacles?

To be honest, What God and Cats Know originated as a NaNoWriMo novel—2007 to be specific. I ploughed through the first 50 000 words in the month allowed then finished it up and let it sit for a few weeks until going back to edit, edit, edit! The toughest thing I had to do was walk away from the novel and let it age for a time before going back with a clear head and able to look at it with a relatively unbiased eye. It's hard to hurt your babies, but it's a necessary evil if you want to produce good work.

Tell us about the cats in your life.

Ah, now... I have known many wonderful fuzzaloids and loved them all dearly. The one in the book, Jazz, was a real cat who was given to me by my sister, who found the kitten pressed against her basement window in the middle of a roaring rainstorm. She moved in with me and lived a long, and I hope, happy life. She passed on three years ago and I still get weepy thinking about her. A white puffball, she had a lot of attitude and loved to snuggle.

Razzmatazz was around at the same time as Jazz and was a tortoiseshell street cat who ripped the screen door open the first night she stayed in my apartment and went out. Came back the next morning with the usual demands for food and we reached an agreement. The two of them were a very interesting pair, with their "cat fu", which consisted of lying on the ground facing each other, swatting with their paws. Lazy, yes.

Right now I'm living with Mitchell, a shelter cat who has to be the biggest cat I've ever seen. Well over twenty pounds, he's a tabby who won't shut up and merps for everything, and is the biggest baby and coward in the world. But he's a sweetie and always demands lap time, especially when I'm working on a book. Go figure.

Describe What God and Cats Know in three words.

Cat. People. Sex.

Who are some of your favourite authors, and why?

First, I have to give a shout out to Rudyard Kipling—yes, he's an oldie, but I still love to curl up with a copy of The Jungle Book and enjoy the stories. There's so much in Rikki Tikki Tavi and The White Seal that I keep finding on each reading.

Present-day, I love Patricia Briggs and her Mercy Thompson series. I like the way she puts a different spin on the werewolf myth and really creates a world you can see happening. And the woman can write!

Julia Spencer-Fleming's one of my favorite authors with her Miller's Kill series, involving a priest and a policeman who are in love, but can't act on it—at least not for the first few books. It's a really good series if you love mysteries and well-developed characters who tug at your heart.

Care to tell us about some of your existing and/or forthcoming projects?

Right now I'm launching into the production of Blaze of Glory, coming out from Samhain Publishing in April, 2010!

Here's the story!

Saving the world is easy for a superhero—unless you’re a fraud.

Jo Tanis is a superhero, fighting evil on the city streets, using her ability to feed off electromagnetic energy and fire off charges—and it’s all just a show. The Agency captures her and others like her when their powers begin to manifest, pitting them against each other in staged, gladiatorial fights. An explosive implant on the back of her neck assures she’ll keep right on smiling for the camera and beating up the bad guys.

When Earth comes under attack, suddenly the show becomes deadly real. Unable to deal with a real alien, the “supers” are falling in droves. Millions of innocent civilians are going to die…unless Jo can cobble together a team from among the fake heroes and villains the Agency enslaved. Including Hunter, who not only promises to show her how to deactivate the implants, but seems to know more than he should about how the mysterious Agency operates.

Forcing a rag-tag bunch of former enemies to work together is the least of Jo’s problems. The trick is determining if Hunter is friend or foe—and becoming the hero everyone thought she was before the world is destroyed for real.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Do not be a snob about different genres, get out there and read a mystery, a romance, a fantasy book, nonfiction books, read everything. You'll learn so much by varying your reading than if you keep to the same old, same old.

Any useful links?

The Absolute Write Forums—here you'll find agents, publishers and authors giving tips and advice about the industry. You can check on possible frauds and get good information. Don't leave home without it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Topic of the Week

"Help! I'm stuck!" --- and how I fix it

Friday, November 13, 2009

Taming the shrew

If we've learned anything from the immortal bard, it's that everyone loves the hated character. We all come to love the prickly, irascible shrew. In the end, we all hope for redemption, growth and a happy ending for the most unusual characters, were that not the case, then Dickens's Christmas Carol would never have reached such towering acclaim. Nor would America's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker, the man everyone loved to hate.

With all of this in mind, I try to flaw my characters either physically, emotionally or psychologically. There needs to be room to grow and improve, room for the reader to take a liking but also fall in love as well as the hero, too. All a part of "keepin' it real" because what could be more real than having flaws?

It's harder to embrace a cranky heroine notably when you are in a good mood - even more difficult, it's harder to put yourself in the mind of one who is truly alien, a chimera in every aspect, if you will, such as the character Havoc, in my science fiction trilogy. Havoc is the end result of hundreds of years of careful select breeding with few added layers of genetic manipulation resulting in "dogs". Why are they called dogs? The lead scientist had a warped sense of humor and an utter disdain for religion. Just as man was made in God's image, these new human were made in "dog's". Only once the military application of their training kicked in, did one older, sadly poetic man quietly recited, "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial." as the dogs were unleashed on the warring factions of an Earth gone mad... But that event is in the past, many years before Havoc's birth. Her penultimate ancestress was hard enough to identify with, being only just human, it was very much like dealing with Saka Ishkuzi from Festival of Lights, but Havoc, she's so alien it gives me shivers to walk in her skin for an afternoon.

Hopefully, in the end, it will be all the more worth it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who the heck are you?

Do I like my heroine in my current WIP?

Hmm, that's a loaded question. She's a space pirate. Strong. Stubborn. Doesn't show alot of emotion and doesn't take a whole lot of crap from anyone.

So far, this book is different from anything I've ever written and it's a bit hard to write in places. But, I will tell you I'm very excited about this book and now that it's 2/3's done and the excitement level is still there, I consider it a good sign.

How does my hero feel about this gal? Well, he's intrigued and a bit intimidated by her and he might be a glutton for punishment. Trouble is, he'll have to really bring it to get them out of a tight situation.

Long story short? Yes, I like my heroine--mostly LOL Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meet Liz Strange

Liz was born in Kingston, Ontario where she still resides with her four children and a menagerie of pets. She enjoys scary movies, reading, spicy food, rainy days and is a huge Star Trek fan. She has long had a fascination with Easter Island and ancient Greece, and hopes to visit both. Though she writes about all manner of dark subjects, vampires are always nearest and dearest to her heart.

Liz's novel, My Love Eternal, will be released by Lyrical Press, Inc. next year, and I've so far had the pleasure of editing this work of fiction.

Thank you Liz, for your time, and for joining us on Frightening Journeys today.

What scares you?

I am good with any scary movies involving monsters, ghosts, demons, serial killers and all that kind of stuff. But anything with clowns or aliens and I’m outta there. The movies that have scared me the most are Fire in the Sky, Communion and IT. I also have a phobia of water – things in the water, drowning and more, and of being buried alive.

What got you writing in the first place?

I was creating stories as a very young child, before I could even physically write. I would dictate stories to my mom, who would write them down and then I would illustrate. She has a whole series about this bird family that I created at about age three. After that, there was no stopping me. I always excelled in English and creative writing all through school, and would read just about anything.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

I enjoy horror, dark fiction, fantasy and crime/forensic stories. I read Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Sue Grafton, Anne Rice, Stephen King, PN Elrod and Tanya Huff. Oh, there’s so many., and I love books about vampires, whether the stories are fun or very dark. One of my very favourite authors is Michael Slade, and I enjoy his books because they involve the Canadian legal system, and are brilliantly written.

Care to share any strange/paranormal encounters?

As a child I grew up in a very old farm house. It even had a name – Horizon House. I swear it was haunted. There were lots of strange sounds, and cold spots and things never seemed to be in the same placed that I left them in my bedroom. Very spooky. My friends and I liked to play the Ouija board there and scare ourselves silly.

Tell us about your upcoming LPI release in one sentence.

My Love Eternal is a vampire love story with all the good stuff – scares, blood, sex and an unexpected twist.

Why vampires? What do you like about them?

Vampires are like the ultimate bad boys or girls. They’re dangerous and can seduce you like nobody’s business. I have been fascinated (some might say obsessed) with them since childhood, when I first read Salem’s Lot. I love the idea of being powerful, immortal and forever young.

You can connect with Liz at her website: or on

Monday, November 9, 2009

I like her, I like her not

We've heard it said before, an author puts some of himself/herself into each character. I can't imagine that is more true then with the main character.

I like my main character, Cerri. She's a little sarcastic and highly independent. She enjoys her family and tries to make sense of the things going on around her. She has a strong sense of right and wrong, but doesn't care to be told what to do.

To those who know me, those characteristics may sound fairly familiar.

In Cerri, however, they are helpful and positive traits. In me, they can be annoying and sometimes negative. Or at least that's how I see them.

There's a lot of me in my main character. I hope she's a nicer, more understand, less stressed individual than I am, but she's there. Or I'm there. Something like that.

Does she get on my nerves? A little. When Cerri is being snippy, I know where she gets it. I think, at least in my case, my main character takes the best of me and tries to make it better.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Topic of the Week

Do you LIKE your main character? Why or Why not?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just like to go Back in Time

Sorry to say, but this will be brief. I've only one time travel tale in the works, and it hasn't been released yet. The only quandaries I had with it was keeping the time-line bland and nondescript so s not to have any anachronisms. Being a nitpicker, I didn't want to give my fellow pluckers any plums, just good reading material - and Song of the Nighthawk is that, especially if you like tranquil tales with the ability to reach out and scare the crap out of you.

On the other hand, I'd love to go back in time, unorder the wonderful medical test I had on Monday (one that landed me back in doctor-land all day Friday), which is why I wasn't able to post on my proper day.

But to get back to the original topic, I do look forward to tackling time travel gain - this time with more concrete events beyond harvest fairs, slaves, and abuses of slaves. Maybe something around the Peloponnese War...

"Where am I?" or "When am I?"...

I apologize for the delay of the post.  I've been in and out of the doctor's office all week for a bad shoulder, bronchitis and a nasty gash on my arm from working on the house.  Such is the general day to day in my world.

Time travel has always fascinated me.  Regardless of the nature of the traveling.  Isn't there something you've always regretted and would like to do differently?  No?  Well consider yourself fortunate.  I for one can think of several things I would change if I could, so the idea of creating a story around the abilty to travel through time is captivating to me.  Back in high school, I wrote my very first (very very rough draft) book ever.  I can remember being so proud that I'd actually finished an entire story.  I didn't know how rough it was, or how many mistakes I'd have to correct when I laid eyes on Cassidy's Emerald seventeen years later.  All I knew was it was my very first time travel story and I loved it.  Now that I'm going back and typing in the words on the computer, altering pov switches, rambling sentences and outright catastrophes, I'm amazed at the growth between that writer and this one.  I still love Nick and Katherine's story.

Story-wise time travel happens many different ways, by machine, ancient portals to where ever, and sorcery, so I had the idea to do something outside the box.  I gave my hero Nick Cassidy, a family fortune, a professor's degree in etymology- Not sure if that's right, but he studied ancient Eygpt.- and an old house with a ghostly portrait of a beautiful woman named Katherine.  He becomes obsessed with reaching her time to the point he is willing to try anything.  He has in his possesion a large emerald discovered while in Eygpt in a merchant bazaar.  Legend has it, an Egyptian princess and her guard were trapped in the stone because they refused to let rules tear apart their love.  Now being who he is, he researches and buys up old money, clothes etc.  For the purpose of this story, how accurate do I have to be with the Ancient Egyptian culture?  Good question.  I'm still working that out.

Have a blessed week, all!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not enough time

Since Saturday, I've been stuck in the clutches of a cold, flu, whatever it is and haven't gotten much done. Time travel? Right about now it sounds good. I'd launch myself forward about a week.

I've always wanted to write a time travel book. My problem is trying to figure out what exactly will catapult the character back and if it is indeed back, how to get them to return to their life--if at all.

It boggles my brain and I'll let it simmer in the back burner of my mind for awhile yet until the time comes that I can understand.

Meantime, everyone who does write in that genre, you have my respect.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm running out of time

Time travel is tricky business. There are so many ways to do it, how do you choose? You want it to be fantastical but convincing. 'Out there', but believable. And honestly, I just don't think it can be done. H.G. Wells not withstanding, I think it's just too difficult to crate a reliable time travel scenario. They all seem "fakey" to me. Kind of like the Dr. Who time tunnel.

Though personally if I were to write on time travel, I'd make it like the warp drive on Space Balls.... I'd go to plaid.


Monday, November 2, 2009

SA-based horror team stab out with another scare

It’s not often that one has the opportunity to see the organic process in which indie horror movies are made, taking storytelling from a purely verbal medium to something that is so much more. This is something many authors dream of seeing as a reality for their fiction. From conception to execution, it’s a time-consuming, expensive yet artistically rewarding experience that is very organic. Here's a peek into the lives of two very talented artists and filmmakers who’re definitely onto a good thing in Cape Town, South Africa.

Meet Ronnie Belcher and Thomas Dorman

So far, both your film collaborations have been horror-orientated. Why horror? What do you love about the genre?

Ronnie: I grew up with horror movies, so it’s a genre that has been a part of me for many years. I love all the elements that make a good horror film, from the gore and guts, to the suspense and fear, to the hidden message. It is an extreme art form.

Thomas: I consider horror as an extremely underrated genre of movie. It normally deals with aspects of humanity most people refuse to face, often with a strong moral message. Almost anything can happen in a horror movie... Unlike other genres, you don’t have to have a happy ending or hold back on intense emotional content. Besides that, I’ve been watching horror since I was very young. I’ve found that horror movies have taught me a lot, morally and emotionally. I find the the genre covers a large ground of possibilities ... From early 1920s European movies, 1970s shockers... To beautiful Japanese ghost stories.

What were the influences of your soon-to-be-released short horror film, Emma-Õ?

Ronnie: The dominant influence was Asian horror, from film to theatre—which are some of the oldest in the world. We put a lot of research into this project, from Japanese to Chinese superstition, ghosts and mythology. The culture and superstition is fascinating.

Thomas: Japanese and Chinese ghost stories, movies and Japanese kabuki. Our tale is based both on a Chinese type of ghost called a Nǚ Guǐ and the Japanese Onryō, which are very similar and are both linked to water and tend to be women in white with long black hair and blueish faces (Indigo paint is used to depict her using Kumadori for Kabuki, as well as in Chinese theatre).

Japanese Onryō movies are a big inspiration. The 1960s Kwadian and its modern counterparts such as The Ring are all based on these stories. We have looked back to the original stories and also the modern adaptations for inspiration. Our story is a tradition tale. Like the traditional vampire story, it’s not totally original but we have put a South Africa spin on it.

Why did you decide to go with a predominantly Asian theme when the film is based in South Africa?

Ronnie: It suits our character back story completely: Asian husband and wife move to Cape Town, South Africa… We also wanted to juxtapose the two elements, which is always a good thing to do when writing horror.

Thomas: We have a massive, fast-growing Asian population and their myths are being imported with them at an extremely fast rate. Both Ronnie and myself have a growing interest in Eastern culture and, with it, eastern religion, myths and ghost stories. American filmmakers are adapting Eastern horror movies every year... And the style is growing in popularity.

What was the most challenging part of putting this film together?

Ronnie: The limited time we had. From “Action!” on day one to the final product render was only three weeks. No one believed we could shoot and post-produce a film in such a short space of time, but we managed to pull it off, thanks to everyone involved.

Thomas: Working within budget and the time restraints.

Are there any amusing anecdotes from the film you'd like to share?

Ronnie: Erin Wu (our main actress) informed us that we had to perform a ceremony before filming had to start. We had to ask for the permission and guidance of the ghosts in the other dimension prior to filming. We all stood around a table filled with fruit and incense (their offering) and I (as director) had to communicate with them and ask for their blessing. By the time the incense was burnt out, we could film.

Thomas: Well, where do I start? So much happened. I guess I could tell you about the fact that we filmed it during this years Chinese Hungry Ghost festival time period, without planning it. The movie is named after the statue in the movie. It is based on the Chinese Buddhist god of the underworld, Yan Wang. The God is known as Emma-ō in Japan. In typical horror movie fashion, we do have a little “extra” after the credits... So keep watching.

What is your advice to aspiring filmmakers?

Ronnie: Write a good script. The story is everything. Get good people to help you.

Thomas: It’s early days for me and this is just a short, so I really have no advice.

Useful links

Thomas Dorman
SA Horrofest:

Ronnie Belcher
Skype: ronnie.belcher

Emma-O Facebook group:

Black Milk Productions Facebook group:

A year already?

It doesn't seem like we've been online a whole year, but what a year its been.  We lost two of our original bloggers (We still miss you Barb and J.K.) and gained three new friends to share our blog with.  We started out as unpublished writers (mostly) and now I've got two books contracted, one out and one due in December.  Nichole sold Ghost Mountain.  Heather is expecting a baby and writing up a storm.  Sandra is multipublished and working on more. Melissa and Nerine are hard at work on their own projects and keep popping up all over the net. 

Personally, its been a growing year for me.  I've learned to do things I never thought I could or would want too.  I've practically rebuilt a house by myself, sold two books and laid out the foundations for the Elemental Magic Series and a new vampire one.  I've met tons of new authors and readers through reviewing, judging, and blogging.  It makes me wonder where the new year will take us, as a group and individually.  Wherever it does, I'm sure there will be great books, rejection letters, new projects and contracts, and celebrations of new releases.  That's the writer's life. 

Have a Happy Halloween everyone and watch out for those little spooks running around your neighborhood.  Keep safe!
Be blessed,

Who has time?

I don't write time travelers. Well, I don't think I do, but I could be wrong.

Allow me to explain myself.

I've never considered myself a big sci-fi fan, although I've probably seen every Star Trek show ever made (the original, thank you very much) and the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. Oh, and Star Wars in the theaters. And, I owned a light saber.

But, really, I'm not a sci-fi fan and could do without time travel. Mostly.

Then I started doing the edits for Ghost Mountain. There is a Lakota Shaman and a Celtic Goddess. Both are Divine entities, each timeless in their existence. My novel, however, takes place in the now.

As I struggled with the question of WHY I chose the present day, it occurred to me that my love of history wouldn't allow me to play with the facts. I can't read a book that plays too loosely with actual events. If women were considered chattel at the time, I can't get into a book where a woman owns a company. Yes, I understand there are exceptions to every rule, but I like my history to be believable. I just can't imagine a queen or princess solving murders in a time where a woman of "reputation" would have to be escorted everywhere!

So, I write in the now in order not to mess with history.

Geography, however, is another story!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Topic of the Week

Time traveling characters... Avoiding conflicting facts, when is it okay to blur the lines?