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! 


  1. Zombie apocalyptica morphing into Lovecraftian horror...I think you hit the nail on the head with how that came about when you said "strange angles"..muahahaha!

  2. You are a busy, busy lady. I've started the early rising to right ritual and it's been good so far. What a role model you are.

  3. I think both your vampire and wolf stories are urban fantasy, just like Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. She has love interests, but the books aren't romance, you know? You have a lot more freedom with that genre than you do with paranormal romance. I wish you luck!! :)