Thursday, September 30, 2010

Open Topic Thursday: Getting Ready for BIAM Writathon

First, thank you to F.D. Davis for being my guest blogger this past Tuesday. Hope you enjoyed her article on writing speculative fiction.


Yes, that's my cat with my husband. She likes me but she adores him.

On to today's topic: the Book in a Month Writathon. This is a twice yearly writing challenge via Anne Marie Novark's Yahoo group. In April I wrote a m/m contemporary romance. This October the goal is to write Cathedral Girl, a NaNoWriMo project I started but failed to finish. What I like about this particular challenge is there are no rules except one: Write and write a lot. If you're interested in checking out this invitation only group, go to http://annemarienovark.com/?p=151

I need to get ready for NaNoWriMo. I have Liquid Story Binder and I'd like to use it to prepare the third book in my Angels of Death series. I'm a software junkie. I admit it. I have Dramatica Pro, Power Writer, and Power Structure to help me plot my stories. I use Dramatica Pro the most because I'm used to it.

NaNoWriMo is about the only time I become a pantster. I usually start with a title, a vague sense of plot, and a well-intentioned plan. It goes something like this: I promise to start plotting my book on October 1, which gives me a whole month. But I don't. And October 15 rolls around. It's okay, I convince myself. Two weeks is plenty of time to create character GMCs and plot turning points. So I let a few days slip by... And suddenly it's October 30 and I haven't done a darn thing except think of a few names. November 1 arrives and I'm sitting with my fingers poised over the keyboard thinking, "What the hell do I do now?"

Armed with what little knowledge I have of my story, I write. After all, I know I'll be revising it. During November I'll plot the version of the story as it will be rewritten. The idea is to get it down. A little unorthodox, but it works for me. The original version of Death Sword is nowhere near the almost-final version. Names changed, character motivations were altered, etc. The essential plot remained, but I rewrote 99% of the book.

Cathedral Girl will be a little easier to write as I've already plotted it and done character GMCs. Like Death Sword, it probably fits in the category of urban fantasy. And yes, it involves angels.

I also need to revise my Zaphkiel short novel. I want to submit it to a small press that is on the approved publisher's list of the Horror Writers Association. (I plan to become a member but I need to meet certain criteria.) The question is whether I'm going to keep it at the current word count or expand it. Most likely, I'll expand the story, which seems to fall into two parts. So that's another project...

What about you? Anyone doing BIAM Writathon or NaNoWriMo this year?      

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Harvest of Souls"


A young woman as the personification of Death. The orbs are souls. The sickle and hourglass are, of course, recognizable symbols, the lily perhaps less so. Another version was exhibited in a local art show.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Guest Post: F. D. Davis

                                      MY TREK ACROSS THE DIFFERENT 
GENRES

                                                                             OR

        How I went from being a contemporary romance author to an author of Speculative Fiction


First I have to tell you that I had my blog post completely written but like most writers I work on more than one project at a time. I was in the midst of editing and trying to fill out the tip sheet for  a newly sold book. (YEAH)  Anyway I guess I had too many tabs opened and the one for the blog disappeared. So I did a universal search for the title of the blog, ‘‘’What’s In a Name?”’ which was what I was going to blog about, mainly the different labels placed on genre reading.

So why is it that you’re reading about how I went from writing contemporary romance to speculative fiction? Simple. The first document that came up wasn’t mine and I was taken aback. It  was a blog post a friend had sent me sometime ago to proof. Her blog was about authors using pseudonyms. Two entirely different subject matters, one title. As you know you can’t copyright a title and I could have gone with the already written blog. But…..I’m a nice person. And it goes to show that the title of anything is an unspoken promise between the writer and the reader that what they will get will have something to do with the title.

So how did I go from writing contemporary romances to… 


                                      


















Women’s Fiction? 








To Paranormal (vampire series) 


 



















To Demon 



  

To Speculative Fiction.

Here goes: As I lay in my bed this morning knowing I was going to have to start my post from scratch because of the title I couldn’t in good conscience use. Of course it would have been easier to come up with a different title instead of writing an entirely different post, but easy isn’t my style. Realizing what I was going to write instead, it occurred to me that I didn’t go from contemporary to speculative fiction but the transformation had happened the other way. I thought about the first novels I’d ever completed. Yes, you know the ones. They’re sitting under my bed gathering dust and in all likelihood will never be sold as they cross too many genres.  Hmmm. Does that sound a bit like speculative fiction to you? There was definitely a paranormal theme in my early writings as well as women’s fiction. A romance was thrown in just to spice things up, but it was a forbidden romance. So what happened? I asked myself.  Why did I change what I’d started out to write?  I’m laughing at this moment because I know the answer. I joined RWA and my local chapter, Windy City.

Before you get the wrong idea that this will turn into a rant against RWA, I have to tell you it’s the exact opposite. I served my chapter in every position imaginable, including vice-president and two terms as chapter president. There was nothing like reporting my first sale to the group who’d been there with me for rejection after rejection. Due in part to RWA, but in a larger part to Windy City, I learned the craft of writing. As a reader it had never occurred to me that in order to write I had to do a bit more than put pen to paper. I had to have a plot, goals, motivation for each character and my characters couldn’t head hop. It took me two years to finally get ‘POV’ how not to switch, and how to do it when I wanted by using well placed transitions.

As I think back to those early days when Susan Elizabeth Phillips asked me during a critique session what genre I wrote in and I looked at her with this confused daze and answered, “I haven’t decided.”  I now know the answer. I was writing speculative fiction.  I don’t believe the label had been used at that point. If it had, I never heard any one mention it at Windy City, nor on any of the RWA loops. Apparently if it wasn’t on those loops it didn’t exist.

So what we had was a writer who loved the security and comfort of belonging to a welcoming writer’s family and learning the do’s and don’ts.’ At that time it never occurred to me that I was a square peg attempting to fit into a round hole. Nor did a light bulb pop on when I was told repeatedly that I couldn’t write a scene a certain way. Even hearing that I loved to push the envelope with my characters didn’t give me a clue. What else could anyone have expected when a non-conformist as I like to think of myself was surrounded, loved and taught by a group of romance writers?  I was fighting a losing battle. I became a romance writer, sort of, or at least as much as the non-conformist that still lived inside of me could commit to.

But there came a time when there was a rumble that I was being allowed to get away with writing women’s fiction and passing it off as romance. HUH? Hey, I had learned from the best. I knew all of the romance rules.  I guess I just didn’t like them. Romance rule: A heroine couldn’t be sexually involved with two men in a romance. My very first book, The Color of Trouble, the heroine was involved with two men. I did win an Emma award from Romance Slam Jam for favorite new author but that’s besides the point. Let’s fast forward to another of my novels, Many Shades of Gray. The rule:  Heroines are likeable.  I didn’t want her to be likeable.  I made her a writer and had her state within the first two pages that she was a real “B” and knew it. I thought that I was being true to what I’d promised the reader by letting them know what kind of character she would be up front. LOL. Many readers complained that she was a real “B” Go figure. But the salve was the dozens of letters I received from readers who loved the story and got it.

Let’s take the terms hero and heroine. I HATE THOSE TERMS!!! I like to write about flawed realistic people doing dumb things that I see people doing everyday. I want readers to look at my work and go, ah ha that’s so and so, or even, that’s me. I don’t care about the, ‘Happily Ever After,’ I just want a satisfactory conclusion. And if the writer has to kill hero, heroine or both, it doesn’t much matter to me.

Finally a glimmer of light and ADAM OMEGA—VAMPIRE came into being.  He was perfect for me, the anti-hero.  I did everything with Adam that had been written vampires couldn’t do. I didn’t want the same old, same old.  Adam wears a cross, eats, including garlic, goes out into the sun, washes his hands in holy water, goes to church to pick up women and harass, reads the bible and quotes scripture to an almost religious zealot who wishes him dead. Did I mention that I even made him a priest before he was turned a thousand years ago? LOL.  My agent and the first editor had a problem with the religious angle. For the first time in my career I wasn’t budging. I was fighting for the integrity of my characters and willing to allow the series not to be published rather than dilute it. A very understanding acquisition editor who’d actually purchased the book but wasn’t doing the editing pleaded with my editor from a rival publishing house to edit my book on a freelance basis.  

I’ve refrained from name dropping until now. I know the day will come when I will work with an editor other than Sidney Rickman. Actually I already have and didn’t much care for it. So right here I’m going to send up a prayer. “Dear Lord, I pray that Sidney Rickman somehow will remain in my life and will be able to continue to edit my books, no matter who the publisher is. Amen.”  Big request I know, but hey, I write paranormal so why not.

I really was preparing for an uproar, to be driven out of the country when the first of my vampire series, In The Beginning hit the bookstore shelves. But what I found was a surge of love for Adam.  It was phenomenal. Of course it made me want to make him even more evil since women appeared to be falling in love with him. What was the deal? I didn’t write him for them to love but to hate, to be afraid.

Okay, NEXT. Speculative Fiction. This is where my trek gets really interesting. On Oct. 17th I have a new novel coming out with WDpublishing.  Again To Live.  It has a paranormal element and forbidden love. LOL.  Sound familiar? To date I have 17 published novels. To Live Again is the first in a trilogy. It’s done in first person which many readers hate, but which the story called for. It’s my first and only first person novel. At least let me put it to you like this, someone once said, a writer makes plans and the characters laugh. Neither Dyanne nor F.D. Davis has any plans for writing another first person novel. If it’s extremely emotional as, To Live Again; is it takes a toll and makes you cry.  I’d rather laugh when I write.

To Live Again is Michelle Powers’ story.  She’s a married woman, twenty-six years with five adult children. One day at an extremely low point in her life she meets a man, Chance Morgan and thus begins the unraveling of her life. Chance is her reincarnated husband. If you’d like to read an excerpt posted on authorsden. click the link here. Http://www.authorsden.com/


Until I began writing this post I had not given it much thought. But I’m now in the same place where I began my writing. Speculative Fiction appeals to me on so many levels.  I love the sound of it, the way it rolls off my tongue. For me it gives me the right to be free, to be me. Speculative fiction is me.  It’s exploratory, probing, inquisitive, interested in the possibility of what ifs.


Finally my friends telling me that I love to push the envelope, that I wasn’t really writing romances all makes sense. I was trying to get back to what was in my heart. I was— am an author of Speculative Fiction.  You never know what you will get will me, but you will know that it will be well researched, entertaining, probing, asking the hard questions. It will make you think. And it will be the best book that I am capable of turning out at that particular moment, because believe it or not, I’m not done yet. (P.S.—Speculative Fiction is in caps for emphasis.)



WDpublishing
978-0-9844348-1-7
Available through Amazon and Barnes and Nobel
Coming Oct. 17th 2010










Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday: Angel Profile (The Memitim)

Today’s angel post is shorter than usual. I’ll probably start profiling angels from other works-in-progress starting next Monday.

During my research on the various angels of death, I came across an interesting term: “memitim.” According to http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/ghosts/SaintDeath.php “The memitim are a type of angel from biblical lore associated with the mediation over the lives of the dying. The name is derived from the ancient Hebrew word, ‘memitim,’ and refers to angels that brought about the destruction of those whom the guardian angels no longer protected. While there may be some debate among religious scholars regarding the exact nature of the memitim, it is generally accepted that, as described in the Book of Job 33:22, they are killers of some sort.”

JewishEncyclopedia.com mentions memitim as “identified with ‘destroying angels’ (‘mal'ake abbalah’) (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." iii. 279, note 9), and Prov. xvi. 14 uses the term the ‘angels of death’ (‘mal'ake ha-mawet’).”

These angels are said to be Gabriel, Malak Almawt (Malaku ‘l-Maut?), an Islamic angel of death, Michael, Samael, and Sariel.

When I created my Angels of Death series I had no idea about the memitim and  found it rather ironic three of my angels – Xariel (Sariel), Samael, and Gabriel – should be the three listed along with Michael, a psychopomp. For a time, I debated calling the series The Memitim, but realized my story did not revolve around that particular theme of angelic assassination and decided to forego the idea.

Nevertheless, I find the concept intriguing and still plan to write a story about the memitim. Just what it’ll be about I’m not quite sure.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Open Topic Thursday: Being Your Own Cheerleader

One thing I like about the internet and social networking is the ability to connect with people who share similar interests. I follow a number of authors on Twitter, some who follow me back. Same for my Facebook author page and MySpace site. We congratulate each other upon hearing good news and commiserate over virtual chocolate when faced with the bad (i.e. rejections). Even though we may live thousands of miles apart, there's a sense of community.

Writers need this. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, my family didn't support my writing. Instead I was told to "get a real job." Well, I did. And guess what? My writing suffered because I listened to that negative advice. If not for my high school English teachers, who supported my writing, I might never have stepped back into the proverbial ring.

After graduating from college with a B.A. in English, I followed the path of many writers by holding a series of jobs, including telemarketer (which is why I have an aversion to telephones), fast food worker, secretary/receptionist, artist model (clothed), waitress, security guard, and sales person. It wasn't until several years later that I worked as a freelance magazine writer for a couple of local magazines, although in college I wrote reviews for a local arts association. So despite what my parents thought, I actually got paid for my writing and put my degree to use.

I suppose I can't be too hard on my parents, who are now both deceased. They were of a generation that believed in hard work and didn't see writing as being laborious. (Ha!) Plus they were trying to impart upon me that not every writer becomes successful or wealthy. However, my mother often pushed negativity to the point where she didn't believe one should have dreams at all.

So what do you do when you have no one to cheer you on? Are people even obligated to support your creative/artistic endeavors? Maybe not. As David Bayles and Ted Orland point out in Art & Fear, "In fact there's generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist's work." They continue, "But until your ship comes in, the only people who will really care about your work are those who care about you personally. Those close to you know that making the work is essential to your well being."

In other words, no one owes you just because you're a writer or artist. Tough to hear, isn't it? Writing is a lonely occupation and often we're competing with other authors for people's attention. We congratulate the writer who finaled in a contest or got her dream agent, but a part of us wishes we could have the same success. Jealousy is a demanding bed partner and often times one needs to show it the door.

We have to be our own cheerleaders. Not easy, though, especially for writers who suffer from depression. It's difficult enough getting motivated to get out of bed, much less write. Now we're expected to boost our mood with a little pep talk? No one expects you to cheer yourself on if you're not up to it. But when you are, it's important not to berate yourself or punish yourself for not being able to write. Trust me, I've been there and mental self-flagellation is counter productive.

But I digress. This is a post about being your own cheerleader. Because if you don't believe in your writing, who will? If you're not willing to go out there and promote yourself, why do you expect anyone else to? From what I understand, a lot of book sales are by word of mouth. I don't remember where I read it (possibly Zig Ziglar) but businesses seem to rely on customer referrals more than advertising. Why do you think they ask you to tell your friends and family about them?

You could hire a publicist. But you can't expect them to do all the work. The few writers I know who have publicists still do their own promotion. It's probably the same thing as having an agent. You don't write one book and expect the agent to plan your entire writing career on that. No, the agent wants to see more work. Remember, writing isn't easy. It's hard work and the sooner you understand that, the better off you'll be.  But it's also rewarding work. There's nothing more exhilarating than receiving that acceptance letter from a publisher.

Even with social networking, there will be days when no one responds to your posts. Doesn't mean no one cares or is ignoring you. I get more comments when I have guest bloggers, and I know it's because of them and not me. I'm happy when it happens, though, because I want their efforts to be worthwhile.

If you're positive about your career, others will be too. That's not to say you can't have days where you feel down or think you can't write. We have to be realistic and remember we're not super-humans. Whenever I get in a funk, I have a writer friend who assures me, "This, too, shall pass."

Guess what? It does.


Note: For anyone who's interested, here are my links for Twitter and Facebook. I usually follow and friend back.












 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Guest Post: Lynda K. Scott

Good morning, everyone! Before I forget, I want to thank Pam for letting me come and play in her corner of the blogiverse. It’s a pleasure to be here.

I’d been racking my brain trying to think of a subject for this blog post that you all would find interesting. I considered writing about a plot idea I’ve been mulling over, about how I began my writing career, about my inspiration... and realized I’d done those posts about a dozen times each.
Even my alien kitten, Wookie, was no help (Mostly because she wanted Greenies and petting and why was I wasting my time on writing when I could be doing something worthwhile? Mrrphh?) Obviously she was not going to help so I took a large swallow of burning hot, hazelnut flavored coffee. Large swallows of hot liquids are never good ideas and you’d think I’d know better by now. But as I swallowed and promised myself I wouldn’t do that again, I actually read my coffee mug.

I’d picked this mug up at a RWA conference a few years ago and I’ve used it as my primary travel mug/coffee mug ever since. This one is from Lake Country Romance Writers and reads ‘I kill off my enemies in my book. You’re on page 12!’

And I thought how many of us actually do that? Put people that we’re annoyed with in our novels and kill them off? I confess I’ve done it. ..but only to people who’ve frayed my very last nerve. I’ve sent them drifting in the vacuum of space never to be seen again. I’ve had alien carnivores consume them...slowly. I’ve stabbed them, electrocuted them, washed them away in a rushing river.

In fact, these ‘Page Twelvers’ are rather like the ‘Red Shirts’ on the old Star Trek series. You know the ones. Since you can’t kill a major character and you have to show how dangerous the situation is, you call in the young, expendable, good-looking Red Shirts or, in my case, the Page Twelvers. They die so that your major character may live.

Now...Many of the ‘Page Twelver’ death scenes were eventually cut because they pulled attention away from the main characters. In other words, they weren’t absolutely necessary to the plot which was a real shame since I’d had so much fun annihilating them in varied and bloodied ways. :-)

Which proves a point...All these scenes really did was act as a cathartic and that’s not a good enough reason to stay. I’ve included an excerpt that shows how bad I can be to the main characters. You can imagine what would happen if Eric had been a ‘Page Twelver’.

I’m sure that makes me sound like a blood thirsty, dangerous woman. I’m not. Really. I’m a pussycat. But, like all writers, I have a vivid imagination. You really don’t want to get on our ‘last nerve’.

As writers or readers, what do you do to the ‘Page Twelvers’ in your life?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Heartstone

Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves?

After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Excerpt: (Eric, the hero, is recovering from an attack by a giant lake creature called an oorgh. Keriam, the heroine, is trying to nurse him back to health. Froggy, the linlie, is a small, flying critter that took a liking to Eric while he was unconscious.)

Eric cranked his eyelids open over eyes that felt full of grit. The suns’ light filtered through the forest canopy, lending a hazy green glow to everything he could see. He could hear the muted roar of the waterfall and the linlies odd laughing song. Wood smoke and a sweet, hot odor filled his nose and made his mouth water. His stomach rolled, then grumbled and he would have laughed at the conflicting messages his body sent but he simply didn’t have the strength.

Then he tried to sit up and thought he was going to die. What had happened to him? Clearly, he’d been injured. Why was he in the woods? Why wasn’t he in a med-center? He turned his head to look around. But the least movement sent shafts of torment racing though his body. He moaned, shut his eyes again.

He heard movement. A cool hand touched his forehead.

“Eric?”

Keriam! The battle with the Gawan-spawn rushed back to him. Without opening his eyes, he rasped, “How long?”

“How long have you been unconscious? Two days.” Her voice faded as she moved away.

Two days
? “What happened?”

“We were attacked by Gawan-spawn, the big green guys. Remember?”

She sounded unnaturally loud. And far too cheerful. Had she no sympathy for a wounded man? He cleared his throat and whispered, “What happened to me?”

“You mean where are you hurt?” Her voice was close again. “You’ve got cuts and bruises over most of your body, particularly on your chest and left thigh. There’s a nasty bump on your head so you might have a concussion. I think you may have a bruised or broken rib. And you have a mild fever. All in all, Wolfgang, you’re a mess.”

He felt like a mess.

Struggling to get his mind past his injuries, he squinted through barely open eyes. “My sword?”

“Here,” she said, indicating its silver length on the ground. “And no. No sign of the Gawan-spawn. I think they all died in the lake.” She turned to glance away, toward the water, pensively. “There’s something in there, something big. I think it got them.”

“Oorgh,” he rasped, understanding her fear and wanting to warn her about the creature. “Dangerous. Don’t go in.”

“I know.” Her shuddery sigh was audible, then, briskly, she said, “I’ve made dakka soup. Do you think you can eat?”

Maybe it would ease his throat. “Please.”

She lifted his head, a movement that sent unbearable agony through his body. Voice filled with sympathy, she said, “Go ahead and growl, sweetheart. I know it hurts.”

Keriam sounded honestly contrite and, perversely, that made him feel better. She held a hollowed dakka gourd to his mouth. The soup, a thin broth, eased his throat but settled on his stomach like a rock. He hoped he could keep it down. Vomiting held no appeal at all.

He was perspiring heavily by the time he had swallowed half the contents of the gourd. He ground his teeth together to keep from crying as she gently lowered him. Fervently, he hoped the oorgh had killed all the Gawan-spawn. In his current condition, he would be hard pressed to battle an infant linlie.

A moment later, she wiped his face with a cool, wet cloth. It felt wonderful but he wondered where she had gotten a cloth. Curious, he opened his eyes in time to see her head toward the fire, her arms bare to the shoulders. Apparently, she had sacrificed her shirtsleeves for his benefit. He muzzily promised to buy her a new wardrobe when they got home. Something fit for a High Born female, for his mate.

His eyes closed and he drifted off to sleep.

When he awoke, the light was different. A different time or a different day? He didn’t know. He blinked, slowly. A whispery breeze tickled the hair on his chest, arms and legs.

Rottinghell. Was he naked?

There was a soft, warm weight on his stomach and that startled him. Lifting his head, he was surprised to see the purple linlie curled into a ball. Its wings were tucked around its body and covered its tiny head. His folded shirt covered his genitals, a very good thing considering the sharp linlie claws.

Where was Keriam? Had she left him at the mercy of the elements and the linlies? He wiggled his buttocks, trying to dislodge the small creature. It furled its wings, and then raised its head to glare balefully at him. “Get off.”

The linlie yawned hugely, eyes glinting with nearly human amusement, and put its head down.

If Eric had had any strength, he’d pitch the insolent creature against the nearest tree. Then he admitted that he wouldn’t do that. Not unless it decided to tromp across his bare flesh. This seemed unlikely given its obvious indolence. He lowered his own head, feeling rather indolent himself.

The next time he woke, Keriam was bathing him and arguing with the linlie. The air was marginally cooler and judging by the soft light dancing on his eyelids, he had the feeling that it was early morning. Keeping his eyes closed, he listened curiously.

“Find yourself another perch, frog face.”

Chuckle-cough-chirp-chirp
.

“Well, what are you going to do when Eric’s up and around, huh?”

Cough-chuckle-chuckle
.

“Yeah, I know. You’ll be on his shoulder like a parrot.”

Chuckle-chirp, chuckle-chirp
.

“You need to find other friends, Froggie.”

As she continued down his legs with her gentle ministration and her teasing banter with the linlie, Eric felt his penis stir. He must be feeling better. Experimentally, he tightened his muscles and discovered that he didn’t have nearly as much pain. He also discovered that Keriam had realized he was awake when she flicked cool water in his face. He opened his eyes to find her grinning at him.

“Playing possum?”

He blinked, not sure what a game of possum entailed but decided he felt good enough to tease. “I will if you tell me how.”

She snickered. “I think you’ve got a handle on it already, Wolfgang.” Her gaze drifted toward his groin. “And you’re feeling pretty optimistic, aren’t you?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HEARTSTONE is available in both print and ebook format from Mundania Press. You can find it here: http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=Heartstone

If you buy Heartstone through the Mundania site, you can use the code LSCOTT10 at checkout and receive a 10% discount on your total purchase)

Heartstone is also available in print from Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Heartstone-Lynda-K-Scott/dp/1606592335/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281979082&sr=1-1

To get or stay in touch with me:
* To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

* Be My Friend http://www.myspace.com/lyndakscott

* Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lyndakscott

* Bebo: http://www.bebo.com/lyndakscott

* My website: http://www.lyndakscott.com/

* My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com/

* Tweet: http://www.twitter.com/lyndakscott

* Email: lynda@lyndakscott.com

I’d love you to go to my website and check out the prologue for Heartstone. My editor and I decided that the novel was just fine without it but I thought readers might enjoy reading it for free.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday: Angel Profile (Seraphiel)

Seraphiel is chief of the order of Seraphim. (This title is also given to Jehoel and others.) Seraphiel also “ranks highest of the princes of the Merkabah as one of the judgment throne angels.”

Enoch 3 describes Seraphiel as an “enormous, brilliant angel as tall as the seven Heavens with a face like the face of angels and the body like the body of eagles. His is beautiful like lightning and the light of the morning star. His body is full of eyes like the limitless stars of heaven and each eye is like a morning star. He wears on his head a sapphire stone as big as the entire world. His radiant crown is the height of a journey of 502 years.”

Occult lore places him as a presiding spirit of the planet Mercury and a ruler of Tuesday. He’s invoked from the north.

Sources:

Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels.
New York: The Free Press, 1971, pp. 267

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Angels.
New York: Checkmark Books, 2004, pp. 325

###

In Serpent Fire, Seraphiel is the leader of the despotic trio of Seraphim which include Kemuel and Jehoel. Handsome, suave, and extremely dangerous, it is Seraphiel who cursed Xariel after discovering his relationship with Samael. When Uriel refuses to obey Seraphiel’s orders to assassinate Samael, he finds himself imprisoned by a gold torque which, if triggered, will explode, creating a nuclear holocaust.

While Metatron’s rank is equal to and even surpasses Seraphiel’s and the others’, he is aware of the awesome power Seraphiel and the others wield. Seraphiel invited Metatron to join them, but the king of angels refused each time. The fact that Seraphiel has not punished him yet for insubordination makes Metatron wonder what they really want with him.

For reasons no one can understand yet, the Seraphic trio seem concerned about Samael despite banishing him and stripping away his memories and preternatural abilities.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Guest Post: Deirdre O'Dare

Why Romance, Why Paranormal and Why GLBT?
By
Deirdre O’Dare

From my earliest memories I knew I wanted to be a writer. By early teens I was rewriting Nancy Drew and Zane Grey to tell the stories I wanted to tell. Later on as everything I wrote contained a love story, I turned to romance which was just becoming a recognized genre rapidly gaining popularity at the time.

Meanwhile I continued a life long reading addiction and discovered two other emerging genres, science fiction and fantasy. That’s not to say all three had not been around for some time but they were all coming into their own and emerging as public passions with distinct fandoms about that time. Wouldn’t you know it—I loved them all and of course wanted to mix them up and combine them in various ways. Or at least the story-people in my head seemed to draw on all three as they gave me their tales to transcribe. But to my sorrow I found out the New York publishers were so not ready for mixed genre fiction! They had to know where to shelve a book in the brick and mortar stores and exactly what segment of the reading public to target with their ads.

About this same time, the brand new idea of “e-books” began to emerge and new small publishers sprang up to pursue this manner of getting literature into reader’s hands. Like almost anything new, niche marketing is the best way to ‘break in’ and gain popularity. Guess what, there were some other odd folks like me who wanted more romance in their fantasy and even to mix aspects of science fiction, fantasy and maybe even mystery with romance! Hog heaven!!

In 2001 I finally contracted the first of my novels with a couple of new electronic publishers. Although they were all billed as romance, each one had a subtle element of otherness—be it what one might call paranormal or some other little taboo that kept it out of the Silhouette and Harlequin lines.

Not too much later, the idea of slipping around the long-existing flowery euphemisms and sly hints instead of explicit portrayals of physical love scenes began to emerge. Those of us writing the out-of-the-box romance slipped into this slowly, a toe in the water and then up to the knee and finally we all dove in head first. Readers loved it! Now there was yet another subset to blend into my fiction and I wasn’t shy about it.

I’ve been a questioner, an explorer, and a dreamer who marched to my own drummer all my life. By early teens I was sure reincarnation existed, and despite having learned the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were all fictitious, I knew there were otherly beings some kind and some where. I mean would J.R.R. Tolkein lie to us? Anne McCaffery? Marion Zimmer Bradley? Even older writers like William Morris and Lord Dunsany? Of course not! Somewhere there are elves and trolls, orcs and hobbits and people with a vast range of ‘magical’ and paranormal powers. We all dream of and wish for and fantasize about them!

Then came Harry Potter and Twilight and suddenly the whole phenom burst free with a supernova explosion and the pop culture devoured it all. Now vampires are everywhere. The “Goth” teens grew up a bit more and took in this notion. The tweenage Harry Potter fans were soon ready to add sex and rock n roll to their fantasies and the possibilities are now almost endless.

Yet another twist emerged. The idea that straight women who had gone about as far with romance and erotica on the heterosexual side as possible since there were still a few taboos no one felt they should break would suddenly develop a fascination with the love lives of gay men does not seem to have been anticipated by anyone. It just suddenly was. I had not planned or expected to be part of that but one morning I woke up with a story so urgent to get out of my head that I wrote several pages on a mini-steno pad while I ate breakfast!

I had once hand scribed things and then did my initial edit at I transcribed them through the keyboard but that was long ago. By now I was a professional writer and wrote daily, just sitting down at the computer and putting words on that clean white screen! So that gives you a clue as to how demanding the story was. It became Treading Dangerous Ground, my first real futuristic or sci-fi story and also my first gay romance!

Now most writers will admit there is some odd twisted portion of our brain that we call the “what if” lobe. It’s that dark closet where ideas lurk and where we twist the things we see, hear and experience around and they emerge in new shapes as fiction. By now I’d written a slew of Canine Cupids stories which had been very popular, all where a dog or dogs played a role in getting their masters hooked up with the right guy. I was running out of breeds and plots so I went back to the “what if” drawer.

Okay, so how can I pull something akin to law enforcement and current issues and some paranormal twists together to make a new and slightly different series of tales emerge? Hmmm. Living most of my life in Arizona and New Mexico the border issues are very familiar. I also know those folks in the dark green fatigue style uniforms who strive to hold the border and keep the escalating problems under control. Two things covered. Now for the what if? What if some of them had some paranormal abilities and what if not only regular human beings from other lands but some decidedly way-out-there type aliens were seeking to enter and wreak havoc?

The result is a continuing group of stories I call The Thin Green Line—because it is a very stretched band of men and women in green who are holding the line in the border areas. The first of these came out in April and featured a pair of guys of Celtic ancestry who’d been best friends since they were small boys. As rookie border patrol officers, they were working along the New Mexico border with Old Mexico and ran into a really wicked and certainly non-human foe. To beat it, they had to go back and draw on uncertain memories of a long-ago life they had shared in Great Britain a couple of millennia ago! In that time they were friends and became lovers. Could their friendship in this life survive such a shift? And so Beyond the Shadows came to be.

The next one took a different turn. For some reason I don’t do vampires and I don’t do werewolves. Not sure why, I just don’t but I got a picture of a man who could shape-shift into a bird of prey. Now that would be a handy skill to have for patrolling remote trackless wilderness along the border, no? Then lo and behold, it turned out there were two of them! Their backgrounds and cultures were totally different –one was Scots American and the other Native American from an old tribe in the borderlands of Arizona. That premise became Wings of Love, which was released in July.

The third one will be out in November and in this one I drew upon my old inspiration from The Lord of the Rings but gave it my own unique southwestern twist as an elf and a half human-half elf team up to fight some orc/troll type monsters in the Big Bend area of Texas. Runes of Revelation forces the halfling to come out both about his mixed blood and the fact he is gay. I visualize at least a couple yet to be written and perhaps more. Druid in Drag is in the idea stage right now and Runes of Redemption will finish the tale of Clay and Aron halted at the happy-for-now point in Runes of Revelation.

The whole shape shifter idea intrigues me. I have my horse-shifter stories, two currently available and others in the works. How about a rock-country band where all the musicians are were-horses? A were horse may even find a way to the Border Patrol, who knows. And in progress is the tale of how this long line began when a young woman in the ancient central European steppe region saves a mare and her new foal from wolves and wins the regard of the goddess Epona.

So back to my title question. Why romance? Because I believe in love, in real, wonderful, uplifting and eternal love to the bottom of my heart and I seek to glorify it and hold out its hope in everything I write! Why paranormal? Because as Robert Louis Stevenson put it: “The world is full of such wond’rous things that we should all be as happy as kings.” I’m not sure all kings are happy but the wonders are indisputable and to quote from Lord Dunsany, another old hero of mine, they do exist out there just “beyond the fields we know.” Last, why GLBT? Because love does not discriminate and cupid’s arrows can transfix anyone with no regard at all for gender or orientation and the wonder of two people finding in each other the missing part of their heart and spirit is one of the greatest wonders and blessings of all! I try to show the total universality and impartiality of love and my belief that no one is undeserving of it whenever or however it comes.

I still write hetero romance and some of it is paranormal and some is not—although there is at least a thin bright thread of something not-quite-worldly in nearly everything I write just as there is that blazing flame of love to draw couples together and make them greater than the sum of their parts. If one picks up anything written by Deirdre O’Dare or Gwynn Morgan, my two pseudonyms, both of those are guaranteed! That’s why I write what I write and actually just a reflection of who I am.

Closing Note: I do not twitter yet and Gwynn has a very dull Facebook page. My websites are www.deirdreodare.com and www.gwynnmorgan.com. My backlists can be found at www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/bio_ODare.html (GLBT) and www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/bio_ODare.html (Hetero) and Gwynn’s titles are at Amber Quill in the non-erotica side and with Mundania Press in their Awe-Struck division. Gwynn and Deirdre both have semi-inactive newsgroups and Deirdre is working on a blog, with more details to emerge soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday: Angel Profile (Uriel)

If the stories are to be believed, Uriel may be one of the most dangerous archangels. According to The Book of Angels, Uriel is the “most fanatical and pitiless” of God’s servants. A presider over Tartarus (the underworld), Uriel is said to have punished an escaping demon by impaling it on the gates then disemboweling it.

Other incidents of Uriel using force include allegedly wrestling with Jacob at Peniel and destroying the hosts of Sennacherib (II Kings 19:35, II Maccabees 15:22).

Uriel’s name means “fire of God,” and he is considered, according to A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels, as “one of the leading angels in noncanonical lore and ranks variously as a seraph, cherub, regent of the sun, flame of God, angel of the presence, preside over Tartarus, archangel of salvation, angel of repentance, archangel of salvation, prince of lights, angel of vengeance, angel of thunder and terror.” The Book of Angels mentions Uriel’s ability to control storms, including lightning and hail, and fire.

Although Uriel is “often identified as one of the four primary angels, along with Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael...He is not part of the official Catholic canon, but he is prominent in Jewish texts and apocryphal writings.” (The Encyclopedia of Angels). Uriel is credited with, among other things, giving man the cabala, although Metatron is said to have done so.

The second book of the Sibylline Oracles describes Uriel as one of the “immortal angels of the undying God” who will “break the monstrous bars framed of unyielding and unbroken adamant of the brazen gates of Hades and cast them down straightway, and bring forth the judgment all the sorrowful forms...”

According to A Dictionary of Angels, the “most recent appraisal of Uriel is the one offered by Walter Clyde Curry in Milton’s Ontology Cosmology and Physics, where, on p. 93, Professor Curry says of Uriel that he ‘seems to be largely a pious but not too perceptive physicist with inclinations towards atomistic philosophy.’”

One of the tallest angels, second only to Metatron, Uriel is said to carry a longbow and also a sword, which “he imbues with divine flame.” Abbot Anscar Vonier, in The Teaching of the Catholic Church, says of Uriel that he is “supposed to be the spirit who stood at the gate of the lost Eden with the fiery sword.”

Other names for Uriel include Nuriel, Uryan, Jeremiel, Vretil, Suriel, Puruel, Phanuel, Jehoel, and Israfel. According to Enoch I (Ethiopic Enoch), he is ruler over the following archangels: Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Zerachiel, Gabriel, and Remiel.

In 745 C.E., a church council in Rome reprobated Uriel. His status was reinstated and he is now St. Uriel, his symbol “an open hand holding a flame.”

Sources:

Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels.
New York: The Free Press, 1971, pp. 298-299

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Angels.
New York: Checkmark Books, 2004, pp. 360

Lewis, James R. and Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy. Angels A to Z.
Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1996, pp. 403-404

Thompson, Ruth; Williams, L.A.; Taylor, Renae. The Book of Angels.
New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006, pp. 86-93

###

Uriel first appears in Serpent Fire, the second book in the Angels of Death series. Originally sent by the Seraphim to kill Samael, Uriel instead rescues the former chief of satans. For disobeying a direct order, Uriel and Samael are targeted for assassination by the despotic Seraphic trio of Kemuel, Seraphiel, and Jehoel. The highest-ranking archangels, they rule through fear and severe punishment, even execution.

Determined to save Samael, Uriel seeks the help of Metatron, Gabriel, Xariel, and Karla (Azrael). Although no one knows why, the three Seraphim seem particularly concerned about Samael and want him dead, even though he has no angelic powers.

Uriel maintains a symbiotic relationship with a cobra tattoo on his back which can come to life. The cobra’s true form is of a Chalkydri, but if it transforms, Uriel will die.

Uriel’s eyes and hair are in contrast: (ice) cerulean blue and (fire) honey-blond. His wings are like fire and he wields a flaming sword. He first introduces himself to Samael as Brian Morant, an investigative reporter for Regional Aviation, a local magazine. Although Uriel tends to get drunk easily (or appears so), he has remarkable recuperative powers. His guilty pleasure is reading murder mysteries.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Open Topic Thursday: A Cover Contest

Shortly after I received my cover for Death Sword, an administrator from Embrace the Shadows notified me it was chosen as one of three book covers for their weekly "Clash of the Covers (9/6/10)."

I was surprised but delighted. The other covers were well done, which meant serious competition. If I wanted to win, I needed to put forth an effort and get votes.

And I did. I contacted people on my Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other sites. While I couldn't force people to vote for me, I could at least ask them to and thank them for their time.

For a while, one cover and mine were tied. The other pulled ahead. Although I put out a final plea for votes, I resigned myself to the fact I'd lost. Then I realized I hadn't failed because I gained the following:

1) Exposure. Even though Death Sword isn't slated to come out til Spring 2011, people already know of its existence. Since the cover on Embrace the Shadows links to my publisher, potential readers will know where to buy it.

2) Marketing/Promotional Opportunities. Today's authors need to be publicists as well. We need to make readers aware of our work. If I didn't ask for those votes, didn't take a proactive stance in my career, I would have watched my cover linger, probably in last place. It doesn't hurt to ask for something, as long as you're polite and not demanding.

3) The knowledge someone liked my cover enough to nominate it and others thought it was worthy to vote for.

Imagine my surprise when I went to the site on Tuesday and found the Death Sword cover had won. Maybe another author would consider this a small insignificant triumph, but for a soon-to-be published author like me, any success is significant.

So for those of you who voted for the cover, thank you for your support. I appreciate it more than you realize. :-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday Photo: Iron Gate

One of the things I love about Louisville is the variety of architecture and decoration. This gate drew my attention not only for its design but for its mystery. Where does it lead to? As writers, we're familiar with the idea of characters stepping over the threshold into another world. Often this entrance is guarded by a "gatekeeper" who challenges the protagonist's ability to pass through.

What do gates mean to you as a writer?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Guest Post: Stacey Kennedy


I’m so excited to join in on the fun over here at Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies. So, I ask...can darkness, action and mystery have humor as well? I say, hell yes!!

When I started my journey as an author, I always knew I wanted to write a novel that was intense and dramatic. But at the same time, I wanted a light edge that at times had you laughing. THE WILLOW, the first novel in THE MAGICAL SWORD series was a hoot to write. Not only did I find myself chuckling along, but was just as captivated by the romance, the danger and even the gloom.

The main character, Nexi, doesn’t have an easy life. She is alone, in a world she never felt like she belonged to. The beginning is emotional as Nexi gives up on life. The journey quickly sweeps you away as she finds herself not in Heaven, but in the Otherworld. It’s a tale of her discovering the secrets of her past, learning she is part Guardian/part Witch, and experiencing her life coming full circle while she finds love and kicks some serious ass along the way.

Nexi’s story grabbed me enough that I ended up writing four novels in THE MAGICAL SWORD series. The second novel, THE WICKED, was released in August and continues Nexi’s adventures focusing more on her magical abilities. The third, THE DEVIL’S KISS is scheduled for release later this month, and the fourth, THE FIRST AND THE LAST will be released in November.

READ AN EXCERPT - http://www.staceykennedy.com/the-willow-excerpt/



Website - www.staceykennedy.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=100000956942180
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3473046.Stacey_Kennedy
Twitter - http://twitter.com/Stacey_Kennedy

PRAISE FOR THE WILLOW

Night Owl Romance – TOP PICK!
“The Willow was an amazing read. I really loved it. Once I started the book I didn’t stop. The characters and action are awesome. There is always something going on and plenty of twists that are unexpected.” Tigger9

RT Book Reviews
“…Kennedy has created a world that readers will want to visit again and again!” Dawn Crowne

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday: Angel Profile (Azrael)

Azrael’s arrival might either cause elation or horror, depending on the person. Either way, the angel of death never wavers from his mission to separate the soul from the body.

There are supposedly two ways the archangel accomplishes this. According to one legend as described in A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels, Azrael lures the soul of a righteous person by “holding an apple from the Tree of Life to the nostril of the dying person.”

The other way is far less amicable. The Book of Angels states Azrael rips out the souls of the faithless before turning them over to Michael.

In Hebrew and Islamic lore, Azrael is the angel of death. A Dictionary of Angels recounts a Persian myth in which Azrael provided “seven handfuls of dirt for the creation of Adam...and because of this feat he was appointed to separate body from soul.”

His name means “Whom God helps” and he is the ruler of the Third Heaven (Shehaquim). According to Islamic angelology, Azrael is “another form of Raphael, and possesses 70,000 feet and 40,000 wings. He has as many eyes and tongues as there are people.” (The Encyclopedia of Angels). A variation on the apple legend has Azrael writing and erasing names in a book. The writing of a name indicates a birth; the erasing, a death.

Variations of his name include Azra’il (Islamic), Ashriel (Syriac), and Azaril (Aramaic).

Sources:

Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels.
New York: The Free Press, 1971, pp. 64

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Angels.
New York: Checkmark Books, 2004, pp. 62

Thompson, Ruth; Williams, L.A.; Taylor, Renae. The Book of Angels.
New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006, pp. 96, 98-99


####

In Death Sword, Azrael is the mysterious archangel of death who supposedly exiled himself and cut off communication with the other angels. However, he establishes contact with Karla Black, the half-human angel who will eventually take his place. Azrael is unconcerned about his fate, entrusting her to continue his duties.

Although Azrael can travel freely, he remains on his island of apple orchards. Each apple represents a soul and, when it falls, that person dies. Because Samael had threatened to overthrow Azrael and take command of his island if he ever left, the archangel of death chose to remain. While only the dead can access his domain, Karla is given special privilege to interact directly with Azrael. The only other angel who sets foot on the island is Samael, although no one knows how he accomplishes this.

Azrael shows Karla visions of Samael destroying Louisville, although she questions whether or not he can see these same images. His eyes are silver but there are no pupils. Nevertheless, he maneuvers about the island without any assistance.

When Karla incarnates as Azrael, she is imbued with his memories, intelligence, and experiences. This enables her to adapt quickly to the halberd which becomes her weapon, much like Xariel’s schiavona and Gabriel’s scythe. Like Xariel, her wings are black and her green eye turns blue, thus signifying completion of her angelic transformation. Like the other angels, she can disguise herself as human. Later in the series, she learns the truth about her parents and her destiny.