Monday, August 25, 2014

Blood Gate - Meet the Characters - Parker!

I was tagged for this meme by the talented and wonderful Sonya Clark. I’m a little late posting this, but shh, we won’t tell! 

I’ve just this month released the second novel in The Circle series. These novels are very close to my heart and my vampires are like family by this point after years and years of writing and obsessing over them.

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of the two heroes of the book – Parker. Although Greek God gorgeous, he’s certainly not perfect. He’s conflicted, sarcastic, and has emotionally walled himself away from all of his Circle mates – especially his apprentice, Claire.

While it deals with other darker themes, tearing down Parker’s wall is one of the main plots.

      1What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Parker is vampire who is a master in the London Circle.  He was Turned approximately seventy years ago just after World War II. He was an American in London where he met the enigmatic and charismatic Master of London, Oliver, who Turned him.  Although Parker can’t see it, he’s always been a favorite of Oliver’s.

2) When and where is the story set?

Blood Gate is set in modern day England. It starts and finishes at a country estate called Edgewood which Oliver owns, but a good chunk of the story also takes place in London.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Parker’s outwardly a very confident, sarcastic guy who takes charge and holds no prisoners, but inside he’s not quite as sardonically amused as he would like everyone to think.

He’s also intensely loyal and honorable. He would give up his life for his apprentice, and the worst thing that ever happened to him was the death of his first apprentice by sunlight. He’s never gotten over the fact he let her down, and it has colored everything he’s done in the forty years since she died.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Parker had successfully alienated the entire Circle, including convincing Oliver to take Claire away and give her to his arch rival, Andre.  The story starts with him preparing to commit suicide by sunlight. Only Claire is Enhanced and can read minds, so she foils his plans when she overhears his thoughts.  She is given back to him as his apprentice in a sort of last ditch effort to save him. He, Claire, her Trigger (the vampire who has a connection with Claire and guides her psychic powers) are sent to Edgewood to work out their differences.  The only problems are Claire’s Trigger is, Andre, and once at Edgewood Claire and Andre enter into a dark game of bondage gone wrong that Parker has to somehow try to fix.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

To make sure Claire is safe.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title, Blood Gate, refers to the transition point between life on the London/real world side of the Circle, and what happens after vampiric death.  The book is out and you can find it:


Kobo


Monday, June 9, 2014

Nerine Dorman and the Guardian's Wyrd




Today I have author Nerine Dorman visiting.  She's got a new book out called The Guardian's Wyrd and I've asked her a few questions about it.  You know you want to read this! And then go buy the book!

Ready, set, go!


Me: Most YA features a female protagonist, yet you went with a male? Why?

Nerine: I know it might come off a bit weird, but I feel more comfortable writing male characters. When I was a kid, I always got on better with guys, and this seems to have carried through to my adult years. I don’t really think of myself in female terms, and some of my closest friends are all male, and the women I get on with tend to be similar in outlook. I don’t like stereotypically “girlish” things. I was the girl who fell out of trees, went fishing, rode bikes and played in bands. Not much has changed, except perhaps that I don’t own a bike anymore.

From time to time I will write female characters, when the story calls for it, but a female lead wouldn’t have felt right for the context for The Guardian’s Wyrd, because I was looking to play up the idea of a bromance, and also my feeling that there’s a plethora of wonderful YA stories out there with strong female characters. I wanted to play with the boys for a bit.
Me: You write in several different genres and excel in them all. Why do you write YA and where does it rank against the other genres you publish in as far as personal preference?

Nerine: I don’t really distinguish between whether a book is YA or adult. It’s merely the age of the protagonists that differs, and even that is subject to whim. What is right for the story I want to tell? When I was a kid, loads of the fantasy books (for adults) that I read, had protagonists that started out young, and I followed their progress as they learned to swing swords and slay dragons. Reading is a lot about escapism. What would you do if you could have your life over again? To a degree, that’s exactly what we do when we read certain books – to have those experiences that are impossible for us to have in real life.
Me: Do the characters' names in The Guardian's Wyrd have any special significance?

Nerine: I agonise over naming my characters. Jay is kinda named after a friend of mine, and his surname actually comes from my next-door-neighbour in Hout Bay. Yes, here in South Africa, some folks’ surnames match the months of the year. It’s explained in the story. It’s very much a South African thing, I suspect. I really just liked Rowan’s name. It kinda stuck. If anything, I allow my imagination free rein when names pop up.
Me: I know you are South African, but is that the only reason you set this novel in South Africa?

Nerine: Technically only *half* the novel’s set in South Africa [laughs]. My main motivator was that I wanted to write a story about where I grew up, and that was Hout Bay, which is situated on the Atlantic seaboard on the Cape Peninsula. It used to be a charming fishing village when I was a wee sprog. No one much wanted to live there, as it was very isolated. Then in the 1990s all the yuppies moved in, and housing developments went up, so the entire demographic shifted, especially when a township sprang up after the old Group Areas Act was scrapped.
Me: What does "Wyrd" in the title mean?

Nerine: Not “weird”! [laughs] I look at the older meaning in use by the old European concept of wyrd, which roughly translates as “fate” or that which must “come to pass”. It’s about honour and destiny, and very much ties up to Jay’s journey as he uncovers his path.
Me: Who did the cover art and why did you chose that particular image to represent the novel?

Nerine: I didn’t have much choice in the cover art for the ebook version, but I would like to share a little bit about the cover art of the print version, which will be released soon. This is a bit of a teaser, but I did get to work with my favourite illustrator extraordinaire, DaniĆ«l Hugo, who totally captured the essence of the key characters in his deft hand. The ebook artwork, chosen by Wordsmack, who brought out that edition, I feel, is more conceptual, and no less striking. Very different from how I would have envisioned, but I’m nonetheless pleased with the effect as it is very eye-catching.

Follow Nerine on Twitter and sign up for her newsletter Add The Guardian's Wyrd to your Goodreads list and purchase at Amazon or Kobo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Am I Up To Right Now?

I've been tagged for a What Are You Working On meme by my friend and fellow author, Sonya Clark.  It’s been ages since I updated my blog, so here it goes.  

What am I working on?

Just this week I submitted the sequel to Blood Gift from my vampire series, The Circle, to my Loose Id editor.  The novel is called Blood Gate and features the London Circle of vampires as seen through the eyes of my protagonist, Claire. This one was a roller coaster to write because in addition to being an erotica/bondage novel, I decided to explore it through the lens of possession.  Not owning something, but being possessed by something (or someone) and the fall out that occurs. I’m anxiously awaiting my editor’s reaction, but if all goes well the book should come out this summer.

I’m editing the seventh Wolf Within novel from my shifter series.  This is like coming home again after a long vacation with vampires. I haven’t been in my protagonist, Stanzie’s, world in quite some time. The series is taking an exciting shift because it’s no longer with Lyrical Press. Instead I've taken it to author-run Dark Continents where I have more creative and artistic control over which direction to take the series.  Instead of straddling the paranormal romance/urban fantasy line, it’s going to go to straight ahead urban fantasy. Stanzie is giddy with joy over this because now she can go on adventures for Councilor Jason Allerton without having to be caught up in a love story of her own. She and Murphy are solid and strong as a couple these days. Of course, she’ll likely be instrumental in helping other lovers out, but that can happen organically now instead of being forced into the story.

Here’s the scariest thing I’m doing right now. I am about to plunge into my first contemporary romance sans any sort of paranormal spin. This is challenging to me because I’m a cynic as far as love is concerned. I don’t believe in love at first sight, and I’m pretty sure that love lasts at most seven years before people get bored and move on unless they care enough to really work at reconnecting.  In my experience, there’s more of the former and none of the latter, so working on this sort of novel will make me confront a lot of my issues.  

What good is writing if it doesn't shake you up a little, right? And no matter the fact there will be no paranormal creatures in this one, my readers can rest assured they will not be replaced by cardboard characters labeled Hero, Heroine, Bitchy Ex Girlfriend, Smart Ass Sidekick.  Instead, I am going to take a grieving young woman who misses her grandmother on a trip to Ireland to explore her roots where she’ll meet a gorgeous young Irishman trying desperately to save the pub his family has run for generations.

Side project number 1 is a lesbian sci-fi erotic romance set on a planet based on ancient Greece. This is my friend Kimberly Murphy’s brainchild, and she’s asked me to write the priestess character. We’re going to explore gender roles and techno-magical gizmos that grant wishes, and I’m super excited about this.

Side project number 2 started off as a zombie apocalypse story and has since morphed into a more Old Ones Lovecraftian modern horror tale. Do not even ask how we got here from there because I can’t tell you. It just involved lots of strange angles and Skype conversations.  I’m collaborating with Nerine Dorman, the woman who shoved me screaming from writing on my blog to writing for publication.  She’s edited the Wolf Within novels in the past and is editing them again and I’m pretty damned excited to be working on a story with her. 

These writing endeavors should keep me busy for the next several months, shouldn't they?

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Let’s take this by series.

My vampire novels, The Circle, differ in that my vampires are more human than supernatural creature.  They live in a sort of closed vacuum without much connection to the human/mortal world save for doing business and for sucking blood once a week.  They are far more interested in each other and in what to do with their immortality than scaring humans or seducing them or even much noticing them.  It’s erotica so there’s plenty of sex, but it’s with each other. 

I’m not much good at coloring within the genre lines, so I know that this series straddles erotica and paranormal urban fantasy, so it differs there too. It’s told from first person POV, so you only ever get to see the world through Claire’s eyes, and she’s sometimes not the most reliable narrator and sees what she wants to instead of what’s really there.

The Wolf Within series – wow. Does it have a genre?  I know I said I was making it urban fantasy going forward, but I’m seven books in now, and I haven’t had a real genre since the beginning.  I think the first book was the most paranormal romance than any of the others, but even then I didn't end it with Stanzie and Murphy living happily ever after. They weren't even in love yet! 

This series is the story of one woman coming back from losing everything. It’s also the story of the Pack and the crossroads the species is coming to.  As of now mankind has no idea there are shifters among them, but many members of the Pack want to change that. Just as many want to keep the status quo.  Who will win?  Jeez, I don’t know myself and I just write the books!

Where I bend the rules in the Circle series, I shatter them in the Wolf Within.  Paranormal romance should have a different couple each book and center around their romance/drama. But I have Stanzie and Murphy.  Their courtship bounced up and down over the course of the first five books. Book four even sees them separated.  So there’s that. 

 Even when I tried to shift to urban fantasy, I still had their romance center stage.  I pretty much ignored the rules because I didn't know the rules.  I started out writing what I wanted to read and never cared about things like genre rules. I've since tried to be more mindful, but the Wolf Within will most likely always be an unruly child who balks at rules.  So be it.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

Hope laced with lots of cynicism. Okay, that’s part of it. I write the worlds I wish existed so I could live in them. I manifest my fantasies and make them breathe. I write because I have to.  At first I wrote only what pleased me and then wondered why I wasn't more of a commercial success.

These days I am trying to write with an eye towards commercial success because I desperately want to make a living writing. I don’t want to work in Corporate America much longer. So I will gladly write the things that people want to read.  However, I won’t ever write something I don’t want to read.  I will try my hardest to work within the guidelines of the genre and promote and market my heart out for my stories because I believe in them.

I want to balance commercial success with artistic joy. Some say this can’t be done, but I’m going to make it work.

4. How does my writing process work?

My writing process is an ever-evolving thing.  At the moment I get my ass out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. and sit myself in front of my computer with a cup of tea.  I write for at least an hour and a half.  This allows me to finish a 200 plus page novel in two and a half to three months.  I do this every weekday. I hate mornings. I am a grouch.  But funny thing, now I mostly can’t wait to get out of bed so I can visit my latest world and my characters.

I’m about to start juggling three writing projects at the same time.  This is terrifying for me. I get so wrapped up in one world; I am wondering if I can switch between them.  Can I juggle more than one set of characters at a time?  I guess I’ll find out.


Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tap two people to continue this. So I’m tapping Nerine Dorman and Alyssa Breck.  You two can kill..I mean thank me later! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Release Week for Blood Gift!

Have you seen this?  I can't stop happy dancing to think my book has been mentioned in USA Today!

It's been a wonderful release week for Blood Gift and thank you to everyone who stopped by Release Party on Facebook and who has bought and/or started to read my book!

Please do me a huge favor and review it on Amazon and Goodreads and Loose Id.  I'd really like to build momentum for this one!

My blog tour continues through January, so please stop by at the various blogs and leave me comments.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway. You could win a copy of the book and a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or B&N!

I'll be on Blog Radio in January talking about my vampires and I'm busy on the sequel which has a working title of Blood Bondage.

Thank you so much for your continued support and Happy Holidays!

Oh, and I'm trying to figure out a new name (and look) for this blog.  I welcome suggestions in the comments below!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vampires on Parade!

I'm embarking on a blog tour with Blood Gift!

The schedule can be found here  You can also enter to win a e-copy of the book and a $25 giftcard from Amazon or B&N.

Today I'm visiting For Whom the Book Tolls where I discuss (among other things) the hardest scene to write and why.

Hope you'll join me!



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cover Reveal and Countdown to Release of The Circle: Blood Gift

On December 10th, something personally momentous is going to happen.  My vampire novel, The Circle: Blood Gift will be released by Loose Id.  Some of you might know I began writing the first rendition of this novel back in 2006, post-Katrina.  Writing was the major way I dealt with losing my home in New Orleans and the abrupt upheaval of my life.

The first three or four years after Katrina were hard ones for me. I had to give up my home in a city I adored and try to make myself like Houston (something I still struggle with eight years later). I lost all four of my beloved cats to old age and various illnesses. My marriage broke up which left me without a best friend for a while, and it seemed like the whole world conspired against me.

Writing saved my sanity and characters like Anabel, Andre, Parker, Oliver, Gareth, Neal, Harry and Denis  helped me make it day to day.

I got through my crisis years and moved on. I published my debut novel, Beneath the Skin and began to write a series around the two main characters, Stanzie and Murphy.

But I never forgot my vampires.

About a year ago I dug them up from dusty old files and gave them a new spin. Some of the original cast didn't make the cut, and one major character, Anabel, became Claire, someone completely new, yet with some of Anabel's core characteristics.

I came up with what I thought was a pretty damn good novel. I sent it out for submission.  The first publisher sent me a generic rejection letter. The second sent me a personalized one telling me I *just missed*. The third publisher sent me a revise and resubmit letter.  Could I make these changes? If  I could, they would love to see my novel again.

Three months and buckets of tears later*, I resubmitted and the day I received the acceptance letter, I nearly burst with joy.

On December 10th, this novel, now titled The Circle: Blood Gift (does that give you  a hint this means the book is the first in a series?  Well, maybe it should!) will be released. I hope you will come with upon my journey as the book tours with Buy The Book Tours.  If you are a blogger and want to host me on this tour, you can sign up here.

For now I will leave you to sink your fangs..err.. feast your eyes upon the cover.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Mina Carter at Loose Id did a fabulous job, didn't she?   See you on December 10th!
* This book is so personal to me, revising it dredged up a lot of personal issues and angst. But it was all worth it. I think this final version is better than any of the versions that came before it. So get ready for an adventure!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Autumn Activity

Right this moment I am sunk deep into editing my latest novel. Yes, my vampire novel, The Circle, got a contract!  With Loose Id no less!  I have no cover reveal yet, but the novel is out December 10th and when I get more info, I will update here.

Other news - The Wolf Within series is moving!  The first six novels have been published by (and will continue to reside with) Lyrical Press. However, moving forward Stanzie and Murphy will be investigating mysteries in the Great Pack at Dark Continents Publishing.  I'm extremely excited because now I get to work with the talented Nerine Dorman again as my editor.  She edited the first three Stanzie novels so it is like full circle going back to work with her.

I've also completed a paranormal romance about gargoyle shifters called Heart of Stone. I am sending it out on submission next month to a variety of agents and publishing houses to see where it will land.  Wish me luck!

The Wolf Within series is on  tour currently. Check out the schedule and drop by to visit if you can. Don't forget to enter the drawing for all six of the series novels and a $15 giftcard!

Now I must fly back to my edits. I am in the middle of crafting a fantasy scene between the heroine, Claire, and her vampire lover, Andre. EEK!

Before you go, check out my Pinterest boards. They'll give you a glimpse into my wolf shifters, vampires and gargoyle worlds.

Happy Autumn and I'll talk to you all soon!