The release party for Wanton by Lynn Michaels is coming April 16! For more details – go to the FaceBook Community Library page (link below) – LIKE the page and click on the pinned invite! Love to see you there – for games/prizes, excerpts and fun!
The release party for Wanton by Lynn Michaels is coming April 16! For more details – go to the FaceBook Community Library page (link below) – LIKE the page and click on the pinned invite! Love to see you there – for games/prizes, excerpts and fun!
I like writing characters that are both strong and vulnerable. I like the juxtaposition of frailty and strength within the human psyche. A super strong main character (MC) can fight the battle and kick serious ass, then afterwards fall down and cry – not broken, but nearly. That makes them feel more real to me, more human (even if they aren’t completely).
We all know one of my fav’s is Gwin. As a vampire she had both qualities in spades… along with a little psycho. Since becoming human, she’s lost some of her psycho and straddled that line between strength and fragility. She wants desperately to be loved and cared for, but she has a momentous need to be seen as the tough, invincible bass ass that she is. I tried to show this in her history in Blood Pact (The prequels – out in September). Where she comes from and why she has these two conflicting characteristics are, hopefully, evident.
As much as I love to see this in a strong female role, I love it even more when the guys have it. The man is supposed to be all strength… maybe the females are supposed to be all vulnerable. But, crossing these lines is intriguing. I’m working on a new story line about a psychic demon-hunting detective and her male handler. These two MCs have the strength/vulnerability paradigm in spades. Pepper is a hardened ex-prostitute that has been trained to use her abilities to find and fight supernatural bad guys (a.k.a. demons). She is 95% bad ass. She’ll kill you and take your name afterward… but that extra 5% is ready to crumble at the tender touch of a compassionate lover. Her handler Brad is the son of a high ranking official in “The Company,” which is the organization they work for that is committed to keeping the earth dimension free of baddies – or are they? Brad is a softy… well 80% lovable and gentle… but he’s got some strength in the other 20% and that strength keeps him from going all gooey around Pepper. He learns quickly to put up his walls, because even though he loves her, he knows she’ll break his heart. Yes, I’m having a lot of fun with these two and hope you’ll be seeing them by year end! (Watch for the Adventures of Pepper Chance!)
I’ve seen a lot of this in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. She writes the biggest, hard-hitting, dangerous vampires that melt to nothing with horrible insecurity in the face of their women (shellans in BDB-speak). It’s inspiring, truly! If you haven’t read any this series – oh, you really should!! Here’s the link to Amazon (Dark Lover is the first book):
I mention J.R. Ward’s books because one of the best ways to learn about writing is to study the work of writers that you admire. I think I’ve learned a lot about foiling these characteristics from this book series. I also enjoyed reading them – some of them twice! My favorite MC from this series is Quinn. He has a lot of contradictory characteristics. His bravery and strength is commendable, yet he finds it impossible to show his true feelings to the point of making his life miserable. It isn’t until he finally allows himself that vulnerability that he finds he can have his HEA (Happy-ever-after). So – redemption through frailty, yet he never loses his strength (and bad-assidness) for a minute. That makes him so interesting to me.
I’m having fun with these ever shifting paradigms! Now back to work…
It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about inspiration! Since I’m moving into a more production-centric period in my writing journey, perhaps it is a good time to dwell on the topic once again. I’ve recently released the second book of my vampire series, Fire Blood. I admit I really wrote this novel fast, and I feel it is very good – 10 times better than the first book – I think the reason for the quality and speed of writing was the inspiration.
I really felt compelled to write this book. The characters, especially Matthew, really came alive in my head. It still sounds weird, even to me, but they really talked to me and told me their story and I just wrote it down… The first book, Summer Blood, went a long way to introduce these guys and gals and give me a basis to work with. The second book really took it to the next level. There was a lot going on, from kidnappings, to fighting, to sex… yeah, they were a busy bunch! Tobia and Gwin focused on taking down what was left of the vampire network, and Matthew got his band Carolina Sky together for a tour. Myranta put herself forward as Matthew’s personal body guard, and Cytosha… well, she kind of went crazy! It was fun and exciting… but what was the inspiration?
Music was a huge factor. I had to hear Carolina Sky playing in my head. I listened to a lot of music… I made a huge play list (Kato’s playlist on Spotify if you’re interested – follow me!). Kato even wrote some new music and I included lyrics in the back of the book! That is a big inspiration for the next book as well. Kato and Wayne felt a bit left out and will be making a bigger splash in the next book of the series. They both have rock-star personalities and are very “in-your-face” so their minimal presence in the first two books has come to an end. They want front row billing in #3.
Another inspiration was other vampire books/tv/movies… especially True Blood. Not that my vampires are the same in any way (other than being vampires), but just getting to that vicious single mindedness they sometimes have was easier after being a little exposed to other vampire media. And photos! I’ve found and shared plenty of vamp-pics on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/summerbloodvampires)!
So, Gwin is another character that really came alive for me. She started out very snotty and spoiled, but eventually, she grew as a character and by the end of Fire Blood, she really has a lot of depth. I think that Matthew and Tobia both influenced her a lot. She’s still fun loving and mischievous, though. In September I’m releasing the prequel book, Blood Pact. Her story in this one is compelling and really gives the reader an even better sense of who she is. Sometimes, it felt like she was sitting beside me at the keyboard and pointing out where to make changes and what to add! She’s so pushy! I think she is that aggressive side of me that never gets to really come out, in part at least.
The beach was obviously an inspiration point. I have always loved the beach and every time I’m there I seem to have characters talking to me about what they’re doing at the beach or what they want to be doing. Particularly, for Summer Blood this was a serious kick off. My husband and I went to Flagler Beach on the East Coast of Florida for my birthday. We went to a cool bar and walked on the beach at night and at sunrise. I took tons of notes while we were there. The bar and the beach both stuck with me so much that when I got home, those parts begged to be written and that’s when I truly started focusing on Summer Blood… and came up with the name! The name of the bar in Summer Blood is Shark Fins, it shows up at the end of Chapter 2 when Tobia and Gwin are getting to know each other… if you want to see the real place. I did tell you exactly where it is… corner of A1A and 100 in Flagler.
Cytosha is another vivid character. This is a psychic motorcycle riding vampire hellion! She’s front and center in both books. I originally meant for her to be a minor character used just for Tetrick to find Gwin and Tobia. She had other plans. She not only stuck around in Summer Blood, she became the main Vamp in Fire Blood, and you will be able to find out more about her – where she came from – and where she’s going in Blood Pact. Of course, she’ll have a role in the #3 as well. I wanted her to be a tough-guy. She owned her vampire status. Unlike Tobia and Gwin, she loved being a vampire (more than she ever loved being human). She’s a modern girl and she likes to just kick ass and boss everyone around. I have no idea where she came from. When I started writing her, she just took over. I’m glad she did because I’ve had a ton of fun writing her!
I’m working on a lot of other projects outside of the vampire world. The inspirations have come from many different places. Perhaps one of my biggest influences is what I read. Whatever I’m reading at the time tends to make its way on to my page…. don’t misunderstand. I do not EVER copy… but tone and genre and the feel of a novel can be influential. Or smaller things. Sometimes I do put tiny tidbits in my writing as a homage to another author that I admire, though. Like, I might name a street something out of another book. Some of my biggest influences, particularly for vampires and demons, are Kim Harrison and the Hollows series, Laurel Hamilton and the Anita Blake series, and Kristie Haigwood’s Eternal Island (Reviewed this in an earlier blog – check my archives) series. Kristie is an independent author and worth checking out! I like her Save My Soul series as well.
I’m writing a new series called Adventures of Pepper Chance. She is a psychic detective charged with keeping demon activity under control. She started developing as I was reading the Hollows, but also the Dresden series and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. I wanted a hardnosed detective who had a troubled past. She’s been a very bad girl, but wants to make a decent life for herself. She’s not afraid to fall in love or kick demon ass or step up to whatever challenges I throw at her. You’ll see two short stories about her in my upcoming anthology, Brink. That’s due to go to the editors soon.
Some of the stories from Brink came from what I was writing during my Master’s degree. Inspiration for those stories came from specific assignments. They are very different than what I’ve put out there so far, yet still twisted and fun. One of the stories was featured in a vampire anthology:
I had to stories featured. Only one of them will be in Brink, so get the one above for the other…
Ultimately, I guess I have to say that inspiration comes from so many places… from media and real life to my own wild imaginations and even things inside me that I don’t want people to see. It all gets blended up in this strange thing called my brain… and tossed out like a salad onto the paper. Then, I just hope everyone likes my veggies!
So, I released the second book of my series!! We did a launch on FaceBook May 30th and it went so well! I have to thank all the fans that participated, my family and friends for being supportive, and my team… Kathy Wright, Troy Howell, Doris Greer, and Mitzy Page! You have all been just lovely!!
So, if you haven’t bought the book yet… you should… The links to both Summer Blood and Fire Blood are on this page. Or you can just go here:
Here’s the “promo-blurb” for Fire Blood:
Up-and-coming rocker, Matthew Calloway, is getting ready to start touring with his band, Carolina Sky, but being a Muse means attracting vampires. Matthew must rely on his new friends to help protect him, but is he ready to face his fears and make the ultimate sacrifice?
If you love vampires, rockers, and hot action this is for you! Feel free to share with your friends!!
I feel blessed to be living in one of the freest flowing times in history. What do I mean by that? Well, honestly, I mean that writers can pretty much write about anything they want. There was a time when sex and violence were taboo, but today it’s almost expected. Not that everything I write is sex and violence, but I have the freedom to write it, publish it, and expect that I’ll have some readers that want to read it. Hell, I want to read it! As long as it’s couched within the plot and is true to the characters – my caveat.
It is a fabulous thing, but it once wasn’t, and I hope that it isn’t taken for granted, especially by those of us who chose to write it. In the Victorian era, sexuality was, if not taboo, than at least a questionable topic. The 1960’s started to change people’s ideas about sex, but really it hasn’t been until the 80’s and 90’s that we’ve seen a rise in sexuality in print, and only in the past decade have people started reading stories that border on pornographic. Perhaps what is considered acceptable pornography in print has changed? We all know that 50 Shades of Gray would not have been printed, let alone a best seller in earlier years. That success was all about timing and what the public was willing to accept.
But, I submit that 50 Shades was not a breakthrough novel in our sexual genre, but that society was finally willing to let this degree of sexuality hit the mainstream. Surely, BDSM erotic had been building in the world of print (Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Siren, and Hot Ink Press) for years. Beyond mainstream romance, we all know sex sells.
The point of all this is that in today’s market where eBooks, Amazon, and the Internet thrive and allow people anonymity of purchase, authors can expect their sex books to sell. Oh, and violence isn’t any different. In fact, violence is less taboo than sex (unless it’s violent sex). As a society, we want to see violence in our movies, and we want to read about it in our books. The only thing more tantalizing than good sex, is good violence. Don’t deny it. I’m sure you’ve watched Rocky or an MMA fight or just a scene where someone gets the shit beat out of them or someone is killed violently (CSI much?).
That brings me back around to the freedom of writing and authors taking it or granted. I don’t know if they do and I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that 100 years ago, 50 Shades of Gray would not have been published. Hell, 9 1/2 weeks wouldn’t have been a movie and neither would Scent of a Woman. What is available today in print and in movies is phenomenal compared to that. Of course, we would expect evolution. Yet, we often don’t stop and appreciate it.
What’s on Kindle for .99? Tons of great paranormal fiction, that’s what! After spending time searching through Kindle options and not finding much I felt like reading, I thought… but I KNOW there are a ton of awesome titles for only .99… Because I’ve bought them. So, I figured I would help some of you out and point you in right direction with my list of Rockin’ .99 Paranormal Picks!
Obviously, I have to start with my own… SUMMER BLOOD is only .99 on Kindle! If you dig vampires, hot rockers, and tons of action and romance, this is for you! With tons of twist and turns in the plot, you should really get into this!
S.M. Reine has many titles that are normally priced in the $3 range, but when they go on sale… get them! Death’s Hand is the first in her Descent Series and it, along with the others in the series, are phenomenal! They are worth picking up even at a higher price, but I think Death’s Hand is on sale right now… She has a strong warrior woman in the lead role, one who kicks demon butt, and has a witch side-kick, who is HOT! Action is packed in here from cover to cover. She also has a series on werewolves Six Moon Summer (right now it is FREE!) is the first and this is also a “can’t put it down” title. Eventually, she merges the two series as well, so you will have plenty to read from Reine for a long time!
Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan was a great surprise! I bought it because who wouldn’t want to read about music and the fae! It is more of a teen book, but very well written and highly entertaining! For .99 it is totally worth it!
Another one is How to Date A Werewolf by Rose Pressey. This one has the feel of a good romance and it’s funny! Her character, Rylie Cruz is a werewolf match-maker. You have to buy this one to see how being a werewolf can really mess up your world! All of her titles are well worth the purchase. Most are in the $3-$4 range, sometimes they go on sale, but even at $4 they’re worth it. Pressey has a fabulous sense of humor and a great voice for paranormal shenanigans.
The Emerald Talisman is the first in the series by Brenda Pandos. It is a different twist on the vampire mythology and filled with trials for her characters to get through. It’s definitely a YA read. I love YA because they take the romance on the light side and fill in the gaps with tons of action! If you like that too, this one’s a must read.
My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis is another YA title that is very good. This one is actually FREE and the sequel is .99… so that’s a two-fer in my book! I have not read the sequel yet, but the first book is great. The title is the first clue… yes it has Merlin in it, but in this version, he’s the reluctant leader of a band of “magical” teens. Yes on the light romance and yes on the tons of action! A great one to check out.
The last one I’m adding to my list is Save My Soul by K.S. Haigwood. It is FREE right now, but I’ve seen it also for $ .99 or $2.99. It would be worth it at $9.99. Get it while it is free, and then you can get the next in the series Hell’s Gift, too. They are both fabulous. If you like the idea of a soul-mate, someone that is THE person for you here and in the ever-after, then you’ll love this series. The romance is a heavier in this one, but the action, adventure, and intrigue will keep you reading, whether or not you like romance.
Hope you’ll check out these picks, and if you have any of your own, feel free to leave a comment, because I always have my eye out for great books at low prices!
I’ve been thinking about genre classifications. I used to think paranormal meant ghosts and poltergeists, and supernatural meant creatures that were super… vampires, werewolves, zombies and such. I’m not so sure about that anymore. It seems like the market is using these terms interchangeably. Sometimes they are accompanied by other adjectives like dark and urban. So, what does it all mean? And do I need to care?
As an author, I think I do need to care. I need to understand how my readers are going to find my work. It is important to label the work in a manner that truthfully describes the work. If it is a vampire love story, it’s paranormal romance right? Wrong? Maybe it’s dark urban supernatural? What?
A search on Amazon for paranormal romance (kindle store only) gives us a Dark Wolf, Dark Angel, vampire, and Immortals in the first 4 books. Book #5 has shifters and witches, and then there is a demon slayer who is a biker witch (this one is in my queue!) No ghosts or poltergeists here. So, paranormal has all kinds of “monsters” and beings that are supernatural in nature. So, what’s supernatural?
That same search done with “supernatural” gave me a couple of books based on the TV series of the same name, and one empathy book. Still no ghosts.
Dark Urban Fantasy gives similar results, but there is a slightly different flavor to these. Check out S.M. Reine’s Descent Series for an example:
The Descent Series has paranormal creatures: angels, demons, and more. The primary setting is urban. There is some romance, but it is secondary. Reine’s series is one of the best written examples of Dark Urban Fiction out there.
Kim Harrison’s Hallows series with Rachel Morgan is another example.
The main thing that seems to differentiate these genres is romance as a primary element or not. If it is primary, it is paranormal romance; otherwise, it is dark urban fantasy, supernatural, or just paranormal. You could just search for whichever flavor your want in your moster: angel, demon, vampire, werewolf, or whatever…
So, where does my book fit in? It is definitely closer to Dark Urban Fantasy. Romance is a secondary element and it has vampires in it (and more…) So, check it out with these others:
Whether you dig vampires, werewolves, or bears… romance or not… urban or whatever…. you can find tons of great books out there that will satisfy your paranormal/supernatural urges!
I was surprised to see how long it has been since I posted a blog! I knew it had been a while, but 6 months? Wow! Why so long? I’ve been wrapped up doing other things like writing, writing, and more writing. My classes have been more and more challenging, which is great, because I’m honing my skills! The drawback is that I have little time for other things. I have managed to finally publish Summer Blood to Kindle:
So, check it out – only .99!!
I’m working on the cover for the paperback to put that out also. I’d like to finish it before my next classes start at the end of September. I start the first part of my thesis then… Woo-hoo… as they say, “What a long strange trip it’s been!”
So, look for more posts soon friends!
This is one of the screenplays I wrote for class this term. I got an A so it can’t be too bad. Some of it is a bit vague, but I’m working on it. I’m thinking about turning this into a regular short story. What do ya’ll think?
The format is off for this because I’m copying out of a pdf… but you should get the jist of it:
EXT. CASTLE NIGHT
A massive castle reaches up into the darkening sky.
INT. KITCHEN NIGHT
A huge old fashioned kitchen is empty in the dark. The
floors and counters are stone and a huge chandelier hangs
above. There is a doorway on one side and an old wooden door
on the other. The door creaks open to a descending stair
case. PENELOPE slowly walks up the stairs to the kitchen and
looks around. She is wearing a long dress with a tight
bodice. Her hair is blond curls. She looks like a doll.
James? James? Where is my
CAMERON appears as a dark figure in the opposite doorway.
Then, his figure solidifies as he steps into the kitchen. He
is wearing riding boots that end at his knees and a buttoned
up shirt, open at the collar, tucked in to leather pants.
His eyes and hair are dark, and the look on his face is
angry and heated.
Cameron! How did you get here.
As Cameron becomes more visible and steps closer to
Penelope, blood can be seen on his face and hands.
Bastard! What did you to to James?
I’ve come for you, sister.
Penelope grabs a knife from a counter and lunges toward
Cameron. He dodges out of her way easily and grabs her.
Penelope fights him, but he throws her to the stone floor.
He is on top of her and then he leans up, baring fangs as if
he is going to bight her.
Penelope looks over his shoulder to the chandelier above. It
starts to shake, and then crashes on them. Penelope
immediately shoves Cameron off of her, the chandelier pieces
shatter on the floor. She struggles to her feet and runs
through the doorway he had come through.
Cameron stands up, brushing glass from his clothing and then
chases after her with a wicked smile on his face.
INT. BALL ROOM NIGHT
Penelope races into the ballroom. It is lit only with a few
candles posted around the room and in wall sconces. The
light of the moon shines in through windows at the top of
tall walls that stretch into an arching dome overhead. The
center of the room is a wooden dance floor. Along the edges
of the room, carpeted areas wrap around the floor. Chairs
line the outer edges of the room.
Penelope grabs one of the chairs and turns to slam it into
Cameron just as he is grabbing for her. Cameron barely
flinches, but the chair crumbles, leaving pieces of it in
her hands that now resemble stakes. Cameron steps back from
her, as Penelope swings the wildly at Cameron.
You are going to hurt yourself with
No, I’m going to kill you.
Penelope lunges in with a stake, stabbing at Cameron. She
manages to hit him with the stake, but it is far from a
crippling blow. Cameron grabs the stakes, throwing them away
and back hands Penelope. She flies across the room and into
This house and everything in it are
mine. That includes you, and you
know it. Why keep fighting it?
She shakes herself off and runs down another hallway.
Cameron again follows after her.
EXT. A LONG BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO SECTIONS OF THE CASTLE
The drop off from the bridge is massive. The moon is high
over head. Penelope is running across the bridge.
Stop. I mean it. The more you fight
me the harder this is going to
be… on you.
Penelope stops and turns to face Cameron. They are on either
side of the bridge.
Brother, evil posses you. Have you
no heart left? Why can’t you just
leave me alone. I’ll never serve
My heart? Evil? Morals and laws are
meant for lessor beings, sister.
The do not apply to me.
Penelope runs toward Cameron, faster than before, she’s
almost a blur. She slams her shoulder into him and he falls
back. She grabs him and shoves him over the side of the
bridge. The railing crumbles as she watches him fall. Her
shoulders and body visibly relax.
That’s way too much evil for one
Beneath the bridge, there is movement. Something dark is
swirling around. A massive cloud of bats flies up out of the
darkness. They have Cameron at their center. They swirl
around him, and he rises into the air, higher than the
bridge. Penelope watches, astonished, as Cameron and the
bats become one. His laughter rings out in the night, and
then he lands on the bridge, Penelope turns and watches. The
bats fly toward the moon and disappear into the night sky.
He is taller than before and his eyes are glowing red.
I am not so easily killed. I have
more power than you can imagine,
Penelope falls to her knees, her skirt wrapping around her
legs. She puts her hands on her lap, palms up.
I give up.
I knew you would. I knew you would
give in when you saw just how
powerful I am. You can’t run. You
can’t fight this. You’re mine now,
Yes. Yes, Cameron. I’m yours. You
Penelope lifts her arms slightly, inviting him to her.
Cameron takes the few steps to close the distance and grabs
her, lifting her to her feet. He leans in and kisses her. He
kisses down her neck, touching her hair. He is lost in her
for the moment.
Penelope bares fangs and sinks them into Cameron’s neck. He
screams, but she has a strong hold on him. As she drains
him, she becomes stronger and he becomes weaker until she is
holding him up. Blood is squirting out and down her dress.
She finally pulls back and looks at him. Cameron is now just
Yes. That is too much power for
someone as weak as you. You can’t
(barely able to speak)
I can handle it, because I know
that with that kind of power comes
responsibility. It is morals and laws that
keep us sane.
Penelope reaches out a hand and a long piece of wood appears
in it. She stabs Cameron in the chest. This time her aim is
perfect and he dissolves to dust.
Penelope slides back to the ground. Blood and tears cover