Monday, March 10, 2014

My Writing Process

morguefile.com
Today’s my turn for the Writing Process Blog Tour. During this tour, writers and authors talk about how and why they write. My friend Laken Cane posted hers last week. You can check out her writing process here: Laken Cane

Ready? Let’s begin!  

1) What am I working on?
Serpent Fire, an angel urban fantasy/paranormal, and the second book in my Angels of Death series.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I twist notions of good and evil. During my research on angelology, I discovered there was a fine line between so-called “holy” and “fallen” angels, and this has opened an intriguing world of possibilities.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I write dark genre fiction because since I could read, I’ve always been interested in the preternatural world. I grew up watching Twilight Zone, Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, etc., and reading stories of suspense, horror, mystery, and fantasy. Authors who influenced me include Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King, Phyllis A. Whitney, Ray Bradbury, and Ida Chittum.

4) How does your writing process work?
It varies, but I typically start with a “What if” idea. Then I jot down the inciting incident, plot points, black moment, etc. I take this information, along with any character descriptions, motivations, and goals, and plug them into Dramatica Pro, a story development software. From there, I fine tune the plot, and then write a synopsis and/or an outline. I’ve started using Writer’s Blocks, another software, to help me plot my story. Once I get the information compiled, I start the first draft.

Stayed tuned, when next Monday, Amy McCorkle shares her writing process on her Letters to Daniel blog.

BIO:
Kate Lynd/Amy McCorkle is an award winning blogger and 2nd place finisher in the 2011 Preditors & Editors Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romance Short Story for No Ordinary Love. She also writes as Amy McCorkle. Her books include Another Way to Die, a 2012 Moondance International Film Festival Semi-Finalist, GLADIATOR (released August 2012), and Set Fire to the Rain. Her official website is http://AmyLMcCorkleKentuckyAuthor.webs.com, reviews, guest posts, and her popular blog http://Letters-toDaniel.blogspot.com has gone on the inspire both a bestselling memoir and short documentary by the same name. And she is peppered all over Facebook and Twitter under Amy Leigh McCorkle and @Kate_Lynd.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Haunted Wells and Ghostly Lovers: Tales of Terror by Ida Chittum

Cover of Tales of Terror
As authors, there are books that stay with us long after the final page is turned. These stories worm their way into our subconscious, influencing us, leading us to create our own stories.

Tales of Terror is one such book. A collection of supernatural stories set in the Ozarks, this collection has held a special place in my heart for nearly 30 years. And I was lucky enough to recently borrow a copy from the library and reread the stories I recalled from my childhood.

True, before I read the book again, I didn't remember every story. But Ida Chittum had a way of describing images that stayed in the mind, years, even decades later. Like the mother scolding her two-year old son for scattering the geese, only to regret it later ("Vision of Roses"), or the horrified Maralee watching her father murder her mother and sister in cold blood ("The Haunted Well"), or the nearly blind Ada befriending Geoffrey, a young man forced by an illness to walk on all fours ("The Twisting Wind").

Make no mistake, though. Despite being written for young people, Ida Chittum didn't shy away from the harsh realities of life... and death. "The House the Dovers Didn't Move Into" has the Dover children witnessing the ghostly reenactment of a particularly brutal murder. (And apparently the killing really did happen.) The tragedy befalling the Beldon family in "The Haunted Well" is especially gruesome, given the father's rage against his wife and daughters.

Ida Chittum also had a way of touching the heart. In "Vision of Roses," a young mother becomes selectively mute after yelling at her son, who drowns soon afterward. She blames herself for his death, and despite the efforts of her husband, refuses to speak. We see the impact this has on them, and how the husband deeply cares about her, but is also afraid he must institutionalize her, until he has a dream. A young mother, near death, asks him to come to the village. He does so, only to learn the woman has died and left a small son. He realizes this may be the last chance to reach his wife, and, with the local judge's permission, brings the boy home, hoping to break his wife's self-imposed silence.

Love is also the subject of "The Lovers," a tale of a young couple who become embroiled in the doomed affair between the ghost of a young man and his love, a young woman who died from tuberculosis.

The other story that has impacted me is "The Twisting Wind." I've always felt drawn to Geoffrey, a young man forced by a "rare malady" to walk on all fours and who is treated like an outsider and who is beaten by his stepfather. Perhaps it was because I'd also been abused, and I could empathize with him. The pain and horror he felt after being struck resonated with me. And it forces Geoffrey to make a decision, one Ada realizes will soon impact him as well.

It's been fun rereading these stories. My only regret is I no longer have my copy.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, New Opportunities

Courtesy of Morguefile.com
These are exciting times, filled with new opportunities. Many of you may already know this, but for those of you who don't, my publisher, Lyrical Press, is now an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp. You can read the press release here.

I'm excited for Lyrical's future and mine, too. :-) I'm working on focusing on my writing and not letting myself be distracted by other people's successes. It's hard to keep pursuing one's goal when it seems everyone else around you is more successful, but life isn't fair, right? The best thing is to keep persisting, never give up if it's something you really want. And sometimes it seems being patient pays off, although we're not always aware of the future. Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing? :-)

One of the ways I'm working to improve my art is doing the exercise in The Artist's Way (Julia Cameron) and surrounding myself with positive people.

Call them goals or resolutions, this year I'm not letting anyone impede mine. I'm not listening to the naysayers. One of my favorite authors is Sherrilyn Kenyon, and she's an inspiration to me because she never gave up. Maybe I've had a lot of setbacks, but that may be a good thing. (Although I'll admit it doesn't seem that way when it feels like you're getting kicked down on a regular basis. You can choose to lie there or you can get back up. Trust me, I've got the emotional scars and bruises from hitting the concrete on the proverbial school of hard knocks face first.)

So, here's to kicking 2013 out the door and making way for new friends, new opportunities, and having a damn good time along the way.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Many bloggers will probably talk about saying goodbye to 2013, and reminiscence on what they've accomplished or wanted to accomplish over the last twelve months.

I'm saying goodbye, too, but not for the same reason. This past week, I turned in what would be my final round of content edits for Exterminating Angel. Now all I'm waiting for are the line edits and the galley.

Non-writers may not understand what it's like to say goodbye to characters we've spent months or even years with. For over two years, Zaphkiel and Company were part of my life. I came to know their fears, desires, what made them angry, their regrets, and other nuances that make characters unique. I can't tell you how many different beginnings I wrote. Characters that appeared in one version were excised in the next. Certain scenes, even entire chapters, hit the chopping block. But through it all, the premise remained the same:

"An archangel who unwittingly unleashes a demon upon the city must enlist the help of  Lucifer to stop it."

For me, Zaphkiel is an archangel who truly believed in what he was doing, but didn't realize the repercussions of such actions. He isn't perfect. Hard-smoking and hard-drinking, he's lived with a lot of regrets over the centuries. His closest, perhaps only, friend, Raziel, a fellow Throne angel, does his best to support him, but understands there are some issues Zaphkiel needs to deal with alone, including the death of his lover, Caliel.

But is Caliel really dead? Or is he reincarnated in a young man, Sean, who not only looks like Caliel, but has many of his mannerisms?

It was fun writing Lucifer, who worked on a need-to-know basis, although he often drove the other characters crazy. The only character he confided in was Raziel, although he shared a sobering truth with Zaphkiel.

Even though I'm saying goodbye to these characters, there's still a chance they might appear in other stories, although I've no plans for a series. So I guess I'm not really saying "goodbye" but "later."

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013: A Retrospective


Can't say 2013 has been too shabby, writing wise. Didn't think I was very productive, but when I think about it, maybe my perception's a bit skewered.

I wrote three short stories and published one. I'm currently revising one of the short stories, and getting ready to submit it to a publisher. I also wrote a short novel, an angel urban fantasy, The Judas Dilemma. As for submissions, I submitted two short novels, and one, Exterminating Angel, was accepted by Lyrical Press. Sadly, I've yet to receive word on the other submission.

This was also the year I entered EPIC's E-Book Awards contest, and finaled in the Fiction Short Works category. The winners will be announced in March, so I'm trying not to obsess over it.

I'm also trying to not worry about winning the screenplay contests I've entered. Semi-finaling or finaling would be great. One contest in particular I stand no chance of winning, given the volume of entries. But I'm cool with that. If I can get my name out there, that's something.

One of my writing goals is to turn my screenplays into short novels, and vice versa, make them do double duty. Also have an idea for a couple of TV series, and I need to write the pilots. (These are part of my writing goals for 2014).

Not sure what next year will bring. I'll have a new book out and, hopefully, contracts for at least two books, hopefully more. I also want to focus on writing screenplays again.

Wishing you all a prosperous and happy 2014!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Guest Post: Tera Shanley

Title: Love in the Time of the Dead
Author: Tera Shanley
Genre: Zombie/Dystopian Romance
Available in paperback and e-book.

Blurb 
Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She's immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.
Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he's only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities.
Two honorable and alluring men - one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving...and living.


Excerpt
Do you think you’ll ever settle down?” Laney asked a silent Mitchell. The words fell out of her mouth and as soon as they did, she wished she could swallow them back down again. They were out though, hanging in the air between her and Mitchell, breaking an unspoken rule that forbade them from talking about a future they likely didn’t have a chance at.
Mitchell chucked. “What? You want to go steady with me, Landry?”
“No, not like that.” She searched for a way out. “I mean, do you ever think of picking a colony? I don’t know. Jarren was always the fighter. I wouldn’t have left him for anything, so I became one too. But now he’s gone.” She swallowed hard. “He’s gone and I don’t know where I fit anymore.”
He kept working silently. His face was thoughtful but his lack of immediate response had said he likely wouldn’t give one. She closed her eyes against the pain and waited for Mitchell to bandage her wound.
“If it were the right colony, I think I could eventually settle down. I don’t think I could work in the gardens or anything. I’d need more action. After the way we’ve lived I don’t think we could be satisfied with a boring existence. Maybe I could be a guard or something. I know the wise decision would be to cash our chips in now, you know? We’re pretty lucky to have survived all of the impossible situations we have. Guist talks about picking a colony, so it’s been on my mind lately too.”
That was news to her. She had never once heard Guist talk about slowing down. She assumed he would be a fighter until he died. How sad that she was just then learning of her team’s wants for their futures. She didn’t know how to respond to such a candid conversation with Mitchell. “Guess all of our wants don’t matter anyway.” She grinned in an effort to lighten the seriousness of their talk. “We’ll probably die tomorrow.”
He gave a short laugh and put the medical supplies into his pack, then reached out his hand to help her up. “Better live today then,” he said in a velvet soft voice. Gazing down at her, his light brown eyes were full of indecision and hesitation. It was impossible to ignore his dark haired perfection when he was so close. He leaned forward and opened his mouth as if to say something but shook his head slightly and did an about face instead. His abrupt exit left her flustered, her lips throbbing for something she couldn’t quite understand.


Author Bio
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors. For more information about Tera and her work, visit www.terashanley.com.


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Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm a Finalist!


When I submitted "Family Tradition" in the fiction short works category of  EPIC's EBook awards earlier this year, I'd no idea if my short dark suspense story would even make it past the first round.

Given there was nothing I could do about it, like my other fellow entrants, I played the waiting and hoping game. The story had received positive feedback from editors and reviewers, which inspired me to submit it to the EPIC contest. As someone who's entered contests before, even placed second in one, I know how nerve-wracking it can be to wait for the results, only to be disappointed. I don't even know if I'll win my category. Sure, it'd be nice, but I'm trying to be pragmatic about the whole thing.

That said, congratulations to the other finalists and good luck!

Family Tradition Back Cover:

Artist Rick Stanton needs a commission. He faces eviction from his apartment and his latest project is on hiatus. Worse, his muse refuses to cooperate. A recent letter may contain the inspiration he needs. Inside is the photograph of a mysterious woman, her face hidden by an umbrella. But there’s no identification, no way for him to contact her. A month later, another envelope arrives, this time with a phone number. Realizing this may be his last chance, Rick calls her. The woman introduces herself as Elizabeth and tells him she wants him to paint her portrait.

Rick agrees, only to learn there are conditions. Elizabeth is a recluse who lives with her two servants in a Victorian manor. She never allows her face to be seen. Not only must he stay at Elizabeth’s residence while painting her, he can’t leave, nor can he ever tell anyone about the portrait.

Sensing something isn’t right, Rick is even more disturbed by the sinister undercurrent beneath the household’s genteel fa├žade. It’s somehow connected to the family portraits hanging in Elizabeth’s living room. Could they be haunted? And why doesn’t Elizabeth’s housekeeper want Rick to finish the painting?

Available at:
MuseItUp Publishing
Amazon (Kindle)
B&N (Nook)