Friday, April 15, 2016

Feeding the Imagination through Research

Research isn't just about fact finding. It’s about discovering the perfect little detail to weave into a novel or some obscure tidbit of information that can add a unique twist to characters, places or plot. Research feeds the imagination, and that’s a good thing no matter what you’re writing.

For better or worse, a lot of my web browsing is on the paranormal: witchcraft, demons, angels, faeries, you get the picture. If someone were to look at my browser history, they’d think I’m working on a way to break through the delicate fabric of the veil to be able to open a door to another realm or that I’m trying to raise the dead. I assure you, I’m not. But my characters are and have.

Photo Credit
I often scour the internet or search through books to find little known nuggets of information that I can add to my novels. Like tricks to seeing faeries or that cinnamon helps with concentration. And did you know the hierarchy of demons is as complex as the one for angels?

Once I know the lore, I add my own unique and intriguing twists. The magic in my paranormal romance/thriller, EMBRACE, has a taste and a feel that those who possess the Powers recognize. The taste of chocolate covered strawberries kiss Madison Riley’s tongue when she draws upon positive emotions to fuel her magic. Whereas she feels as if she sucked on a mouthful of dirty pennies when her powers are fueled with negative emotions. The scent of vanilla and spearmint fill the air when Isaac Addington draws upon hope and courage to cast a spell, and the strong stench of metal saturates the air if he draws upon jealousy or anger.  The witches in the Embrace Series also have to worry about their powers colliding, causing a shock much like static electricity. Not a good thing when you’re new to the Powers and very much wish to get close to your witch boyfriend.

Witchcraft isn’t the only lore I’ve shaped to my needs. The demons in my books are often good and bad. Most have once been human and no matter how many centuries they’ve spent in Hell, the remnants of what it means to be human remains with them. My angels are as loving and understanding as they are fierce and a force to be reckoned with. Both creatures from Heaven and Hell have complicated pasts that lead them to make difficult and often surprising decisions.

That’s the thing about the supernatural—there are so many ways to add your own twists to known myths and lore to come up with original stories. Done right you’ll keep readers turning the page, guessing who to trust, and trying to unravel the mystery right along with your protagonist.  

Photo Credit

For those who are curious about how to see faeries, there are spells a witch can cast to grant you faerie sight. If you’re short a witch, then you’ll need a stone that has a natural hole in it. One hollowed by a river or spring works best. Looking through the center will grant you faerie sight. But beware: faeries can be mischievous, vindictive, and evil.



Do you enjoy research? What fun facts or tiny detail have you found that added to your character or plot?


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Out with the old, #IWSG


Hi everyone! 


It's time to share our thoughts, insecurities, and encouraging words. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and our co-hosts for keeping IWSG going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group.

I'm feeling pretty good this month, mostly because at some point in March things clicked. I'm more of a panster than an outliner. Most of the time, an idea will percolate in my head for several months before I start writing. By this time I know the characters and what they'll face, and I've usually mentally plotted out several scenes. I've found being a pantser more challenging now that I'm re-writing my middle grade novel. I think this is because I know the old plot intimately and like many of the scenes. Talk about killing your babies, I took a match and set fire to an entire novel. 

(Give me a moment, sometimes I still can't believe I did it.)

Okay, I'm better. So I tossed out the original plot (a.k.a filed the novel in a safe place on my laptop, because one day I may recycle a scene or two) and I started fresh. After a few false starts, some bumps and bruise, wine, chocolate, hair pulling, and binge-watching Charmed, I'm in a nice flow. I just checked my word-count meter and I'm 80% done with the first draft. This past weekend I mapped out the rest of the book. (I might even be able to call what I have an outline!) I'm hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of April. Wish me luck.   :) 

How's your writing coming? Are you a pantser or outliner? Are you participating in the A-Z Challenge? (I'm not, but I'll still hop around the blog-shere to visit friends.)

Happy April, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Music Behind What the Clocks Know by Rumer Haven

Congratulations to Rumer Haven on the release of What the Clocks Know!

I'm very excited to have Rumer with me here today. But first, lets get a look at the lovely cover....

Released March 18, 2016
Paranormal Women's Fiction

About What the Clocks Know: Finding a ghost isn't what Margot had in mind when she went ‘soul searching’, but somehow her future may depend on Charlotte's past. Woven between 21st-century and Victorian London, What the Clocks Know is a haunting story of love and identity. A paranormal women's fiction, this title is available as of March 18, 2016 from Crooked Cat Publishing.

 "A unique tale of the paranormal – as beautiful as it is haunting." ~ Shani Struthers, author of Jessamine and the Psychic Surveys series
~ * ~
Please help me welcome Rumer Haven!


Thanks so much for hosting me, Cherie!

I don't typically listen to music while I write, yet it's a constant influence on what I write. Being a film buff as much as I'm bookish, I can't help but "hear" a soundtrack play through my stories, so I like to compile an actual one to rally me through the later revisions. And as long as I've done that, why not share it with my readers, too! So I've got a YouTube channel for my tunes and trailers: www.youtube.com/+rumerhaven.

In this cozy corner of cyberspace, though, I'd like to share a few songs from my What the Clocks Know playlist that actually appear in the story. So let's get our Goth on!

1. "Charlotte Sometimes" - The Cure
I've been a Cure fan since childhood, but little did I know until adulthood that one of my favorite songs by them was inspired by a book of same name--the 1969 children's classic, Charlotte Sometimes, by Penelope Farmer. So I eagerly read the book and, sure enough, recognized song lyrics in the passages (which is a whole separate, cute story of copyright infringement between Robert and Penelope, which you can find at her blog here: http://grannyp.blogspot.co.uk/2007/06/cured.html). The music and its muse are beautifully haunting and set the right tone and theme for my story, so I made a point to reference both in the first chapter. "All the faces all the voices blur / Change to one face / Change to one voice..."

2. "10:15 Saturday Night" - The Cure
My protagonist, Margot, has a lot of quirks, one of them being a fascination with coincidence. With an eye for detail, she notices even the tiniest instances of synchronicity. In Chapter 4, for example, this song starts playing at the same time Margot notices the computer clock switch from 10:14 to 10:15pm. No cause for alarm, of course, but it's her nature to read into it somehow. And you know what? She gets that from me. Not only the trait but this incident! "And I'm crying / For yesterday / And the tap drips / Drip drip drip..."

3. "Cemetry Gates" - The Smiths
First of all, nooo, I did not misspell cemetery. That's how the The Smiths spell it on their The Queen is Dead Album (which, along with my Cure albums, has been one of my favorites since grade school...I was a dark little lass. Blame my older sister.). The cemetery that Margot visits in the book is the same one that I frequent--an overgrown, chipped, and gorgeous Victorian graveyard--and I can't help but get this song in my head whenever I'm there. "So we go inside and gravely read the stones / All those people, all those lives / Where are they now?"

4. "Untitled" - The Cure
I'm cheating a bit with this one, as this specific song isn't mentioned in the story (which is just as well since it's untitled anyway), but Margot does listen to the Disintegration album that it's on. And this is the particular song in my head when I envision the scene. She's about to experiment with self-hypnosis so tries to lull herself into a relaxed state. And I don't know, it's just one of those songs I used to listen to on repeat in high school when feeling a bit chill and melancholy. "Hopelessly drift in the eyes of the ghost again..."  

5. "Ordinary World" - Duran Duran
This one plays in a pub during the final chapter. Margot has undergone an epiphany that she's trying to process and find peace from so she can move on. This mournful yet determined melody suits the mood and motivation so well. "But I won't cry for yesterday / There's an ordinary world / Somehow I have to find..."
Well, the record has hit a scratch, so it's time for DJ Haven to pack up her turntables. Thanks for tuning in, though, and may you read and rock on!

~ * ~

 

** Click here to add it to your TBR list! **

** Read it today! **
~ * ~



Author Bio:
Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (in which a Jazz Age tragedy haunts a modern woman’s love life), and her award-winning short story “Four Somethings & a Sixpence” (about a bride who gets a little something she didn’t register for) was released in 2015. What the Clocks Know is her second novel.
Learn more about Rumer at: Website -  Facebook - Twitter -

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spotlight: Magnetic Shift by Lucy D Briand

Congratulation to Lucy D. Briand on the release of her novel MAGNETIC SHIFT! 

MAGNETIC SHIFT
 PIT PASS TO DISASTER

The ability to magnetize and manipulate metal with the flick of her wrist makes seventeen-year-old Lexi Adams a crack mechanic, but it’s a disaster in the making when her stepdad trades her skills to NASCAR team owner Dean Grant for an entire season’s worth of sponsorship ads.

Now Lexi has no other choice but to suck it up and hope she can keep her magnetic impulses under control—that is, until she runs into NASCAR’s hot new rookie, Colton Tayler.


When Carl Stacy, the ruthless team owner of the defending Cup Champion, discovers Lexi’s secret and plots to use it to ruin Dean’s race team for good, Lexi must either expose her ability to save Colton, risking Dean’s career and her own freedom in the process, or watch the only guy she’s ever fallen for race to his death.

Get MAGNETIC SHIFT today



About the author:
Lucy D. Briand lives in Ottawa, Canada with her comic book fanatic husband and her nonchalant Siamese cat. By day she works full time as a public servant for the Government of Canada, but by night her creative mind takes over and conjures up young adult gearhead romance stories with supernatural twists.

When not working, reading, writing, or watching way too much TV, Lucy likes to cosplay, attend ComicCons, go on road trips to Walt Disney World, and play ridiculous amounts of board games. She’s a geek to the core but is also a huge NASCAR Cup fan.

Lucy is represented by Brittany Booker Carter of The Booker Albert Literary Agency.

Keep in touch with Lucy


Friday, March 11, 2016

Basic Tips for Social Media and What to Share

Last September I had the pleasure of co-hosting a program on social media with authors Kym Brunner and Katie Sparks. While putting together our workshop, I had shared my list of basic tips and ideas of what to share. Together we streamlined that list. So if you've been reluctant to Tweet, Instagram, Facebook, blog, and so on, or if you just need some fresh ideas on what to share, this post is for you!

If you missed my short video on Do's and Dont's, check it out. (I put it together for Twitter, but the suggestions apply to other social media platforms as well.)






Basic Tips for social media:
  • Share more than links.
  • Look at authors in your genre and see what they are doing.
  • Don’t thank everyone for everything they do. A great way to thank someone for retweeting or sharing something you posted is to retweet/share something from their page that you found interesting.
  • Engage in conversation. The idea of social is to connect with others.
  • Start small and don’t over share.

Ideas of what to share:
  • A picture of your writing workspace.
  • Where you get your inspiration.
  • A picture of something that catches your eye: a funny sign, stunning sunset, a wandering path.
  • What you’re reading.
  • A quote that resonates with you or your brand.
  • A quote from the book you are reading.
  • A quote from the book you are writing.
  • A quote from your favorite author.
  • Fun facts about the things you’ve learned while researching your current WIP.
  • Fun facts about books/movies/TV shows.
  • Facts about publishing.
  • Tips on writing for aspiring writers.
  • New about upcoming events aspiring writers.
  • Good news about new releases. (Promote a fellow author and they will promote you when your book comes out.)

Ask your readers:
  • What they are reading.
  • To help you name a character in your next book.
  • For suggestions of places to set a scene or your book.
  • For character trait suggestions (flaws, quirks, hobbies, etc.)
  • What their favorite movie, book, hobby or TV show is.
  • Random questions like “Do you like thunderstorms?”

Remember!  Don’t forget to share updates about your everyday life. (These updates show readers you’re a person just like them!)


I hope you'll keep in touch! Check out my sidebar for links to my social media sites.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sharing that new WIP can be a scary thing


Hi everyone! 


It's time to share our thoughts, insecurities, and encouraging words. Thanks to Alex and our co-hosts for keeping IWSG going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group.

This isn't so much an insecurity, but something that can be scary for any writer. It's that moment you share your story with someone else and you anxiously await his or her feedback.

You see, I finally got into a nice flow with my MG fantasy, and I reached a point that I felt it was time to share the first five pages with my critique group. This usually means I've hit or passed the halfway point and I'm pretty sure (let's say eight-two percent sure) that these pages aren't going to be cut. Anyway, this group meets in person. We read our work out loud and have a short discussion about the pages, what works, what doesn't, and so on. I find it can be scary to share the first draft of a novel. Will others like it or hate it? Is the voice strong? Does the hook come through? Will they laugh or gasp in the right places? Is anyone yawning or does anyone have a look on his or her face that clearly says WTF? I'm happy to say I didn't notice the latter, so if anyone was thinking this sucks I couldn't tell. The feedback I received was helpful and encouraging, and interestingly divided on if I started the story in the right place. Now that I think about it, I should have asked for a show of hands to see how many people felt that way or if it was just one or two. I have given this some consideration, and I believe I began the story exactly where it should begin. The beginning introduces the world and what's to come in less than three pages. It's not backstory. It's the event that sets everything else in motion. So for now, I'm keeping it as is with several tweaks that tighten things up.



In news: Author Kat Ross is celebrating the upcoming release of her latest novel, The Midnight Sea, with a giveaway. Check it out here. But hurry, time's running out to enter the giveaway!



How's your writing coming? Are you a part of a critique group? At what point do you share your work?

Thanks for stopping by!