Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Wednesday Snippet - Blood Witch

I need more creative titles for these posts...Anyway, here's another snippet from the definitely-not-going-to-be-finished-by-the-end-of-January Blood Witch! It might be a tiny bit spoilery.

Lola slept fitfully, as if in the grip of a fever. Confused, broken images tormented her when she was asleep, and when she was awake the world spun and fractured around her. Once she woke up screaming for Tristesse, and the demon was there, her warm body curled around Lola's like a comfort blanket.

“I'm here. You're safe,” Tristesse whispered, stroking Lola's sweat-soaked hair and kissing her cheek. Lola shook and burrowed against her, desperate for her heat, before passing out again.

Monday, 26 January 2015

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

AA Milne

As a writer, I am a classic and incurable pantser, meaning I make it all up as I go along and hope it looks like a story at the end. Planning ahead is something I've never been able to do - it kills my interest in writing the story. Usually, as far as an outline goes, I know where I want to start and where I want to finish. Everything in between is a surprise.

That means I do a lot of research on the fly, because I have no idea what I might need to know ahead of time. This is why I would probably never be a published author without the internet. I think you can get away with a fair bit of  "winging it" in urban fantasy (it's fiction, after all), but I like to refer back to real-world sources when necessary, as a starting point for all the crazy fantasy.

In Blood Witch, I'm doing a lot of on-the-fly world-building, creating a magic system that relies a lot on my imagination (blood magic), which is fun and allows for some real freedom. But I want to keep in some real-world elements, so I'm also working in magic systems and spells that draw on Wiccan practices, but that aren't meant to reflect real-world Wicca. To round it out, I'm also including a touch of aura reading and magical crystals.

Aura-reading is a particular ability of my heroine, Lola, and I've tried to stick close to traditional aura colour interpretations so far. I'm sure I'll start taking liberties as the series story progresses, but it's nice having ground rules in place to mess around with. For magical crystals, I'm looking more at the traditional properties associated with stones like amber and amethyst, and then working those into my world's magic system. Amber, for example, is considered to be a favoured stone of witches with great protective qualities, which makes it a perfect tool for my rebel witch, Lola.

I'm also adding in a dash of demonology, necromancy, ley lines, and vampirism for good measure...But I don't want to give too much away at this point, so that's all I'll say about that right now. Hopefully it will all come together smoothly by the end of the book...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Snippet Day - Blood Witch

You know when you introduce a bunch of side characters and they threaten to take over the book? Yeah, that.

Monday, 19 January 2015

All we see or seem...

So I've been working hard on Blood Witch since mid-December, really getting into it, really enjoying it, and really spending a lot of time mentally plotting sequels...And yet I'm dreaming about Scarlett from Nightmare Moon, and another character from that series who won't crop up until Book 2. Vivid, intense dreams, the kind you wake up from and can't really believe that was all just in your head.

I've always believed (and it's always been true for me) that the more you write, the more you want to write. For the first time in quite a long time, I've been writing daily since I decided to knuckle down on Blood Witch, even if it's just a couple of hundred words a day. So it's probably not surprising that my characters are starting to invade my dreams. It's annoying that it's characters from a book I'm not currently writing, because my attention is a fickle thing and I am determined to finish Blood Witch before going back to anything else. I'm not usually one for the whole "my characters are so alive to me!" schtick, but with Scarlett and her crew, that's definitely true. Mostly just because they've all been with me since I was a teenager, and I know them and their world and stories better than I know anyone or anything else. It's exciting to feel like my imagination is working so hard on their books behind the scenes, but it's frustrating having to slap it down like an over-eager puppy because, dammit, I made a commitment elsewhere!

Pictured: my imagination
Still, I am definitely keeping note of all these dreams for future story fuel, and it's good motivation to stick with the daily writing. And they're definitely better than the dreams where I do a whole day of work and then the alarm goes off and I have to do it all over again. Ugh.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wednesday Snippet - Blood Witch

This is Tristesse, my tricky demon
So I decided, post Anti-Nano, that I'd quite like to keep sharing snippets every Wednesday. I didn't do it in December because life just got in the way and I didn't actually do much writing until I finished work for the Christmas break. And then I decided I'd write this quick little novella, Blood Witch, over that two-week period because it would be a fast, fun project.

Well, it's not that little any more and it's definitely not getting finished up fast, but it is fun, so that's what I'm working on right now. I know, I know. There was a list. This isn't on it. I don't care. It's fun! It's got demons and witches and murder and it's just super. So before I tackle the list, I'm going to finish Blood Witch.

Anyway, here's a taster. Read on!

Monday, 12 January 2015

The Naming of Years

I probably don't have to explain by now why 2012 was a bad year for me. I wanted to go into 2013 with an attitude that would combat the sadness of 2012, a manta I could use to remind myself that things change, they get better, and that I can do things to make them change and get better.

I can't remember now why I decided it, but somewhere along the line 2013 became Year of the Unicorn. The reasoning was simple: I love unicorns and they're magical. Magic was definitely what I needed in 2013, a personal magic to light up the personal darkness and keep me moving forwards.

And, although 2013 wasn't a perfect year, I did make some magic. I opened Common Brimstone, for one thing. I got the rights to my Urban Wolf series back and I found the books a new home. SILVER KISS won another award. Did those things happen because I named the year? No, but the idea and the mantra helped me, and that was what counted.

So I figured I'd keep it up. 2014 was the Year of the Kraken. It was a year about going balls-to-the-wall, grabbing at things I wanted and pushing myself forward. I started writing again after a year-long hiatus. I got UNDERTOW published, something I'd thought I would never do for various reasons. I polished up and republished some Ethan Banning short stories, works I'd pulled previously when I was pretty sure my writing career was worthless and pointless. I also republished WILD, a book that I can categorically say has made me both the happiest and saddest I've ever been as a writer. I started working on Nightmare Moon, a book I've wanted to write all my life and had been too afraid to.

Common Brimstone got bigger and, I believe, better and became an important part of mine and Kyle's life. On a personal front, Kyle and I moved house after years of having to put up with a crappy house and a crappier letting agency. Did I achieve everything I wanted in the Year of the Kraken? No, but I achieved a hell of a lot more than I'd expected.

2015 is going to be the Year of the Basilisk. Why basilisks? Look 'em up and you'll learn that the basilisk is the king of the serpents, with a lethal glance and a venom so potent, it leaves trails of destruction in it's wake. I'm basically translating that as "crush your enemies, dammit," and my enemies in 2015 are fear and self-doubt. I want to do things I've been putting off because of self-doubt. Some of them are writing-related, some of them are more personal. I want to stop saying, "I can't" or "I should" to myself and just start doing things. Take a few chances, make a few leaps of faith.

I've got plans for the Year of the Basilisk. It's probably too early to predict anything, but I've got a good feeling about all of them.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Guest blog - Michaela Rhua

I just want to take a moment first to thank everyone who joined in the Evernight Holiday Hangover Blog Hop and commented here! I've chosen my winner and I hope Susan enjoys her prizes!

Now, to business! I'm delighted to welcome Michaela Rhua here today with her new Romance on the Go, MOON DANCE. How beautiful is this cover?

Over to Michaela to hear a bit more about her paranormal romance.

Instant Attraction or Slow Burn?

Thank you for having me on your blog.

How does it work for you? Are you the instant attraction type or do you need to take your time? My girls Raya and Amari both have their reasons for wanting to take it slow and easy but the thing with attraction is that when it hits – it hits! So what do you do? Be sensible and step back or jump in with both feet? The girls decide to jump in and enjoy the moment. The only problem is a discovery related to Raya’s past puts their fledgling relationship at risk. What happens next? Well they…. Not going to tell you! But I will leave you with a teaser.

A quick pick up and a night of sex was just what Raya was looking for. Only meeting Amari set her insides on fire and she had to have more of this Indian beauty. Witches and shifters aren’t meant to bond, only Raya and Amari can’t ignore the chemistry flowing between them. Trouble strikes the lovers when a past trauma hits Raya and Amari’s mother could be to blame. Finally Raya has a chance to get even with the old witch, who destroyed her life. When that revenge reveals that Raya’s past holds secrets she wasn’t aware of, it throws into question everything she believes in. Can the lovers unite to help Raya find her true self or is it all too late?

Read on for an excerpt!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year with Evernight!

Visit the Evernight blog!

Happy New Year from Evernight!

Now that the Christmas cookies are gone, gifts unwrapped, and your holiday visitors have left, you’ve earned some well-deserved TLC. Evernight authors not only have the cure for your holiday hangover, they have fantastic new books for your 2015 reading list, too!

Be sure to visit every stop on the hop and answer each question. The more you blogs you hop, the more chances to win the GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini sponsored by Evernight Publishing (one entry per blog). Plus, hop each blog for a host of other fabulous prizes.

So sink into your favorite chair and enjoy your holiday hangover!

Welcome to 2015! It's going to be a big year; I feel it in my gut. I saw 2014 as my re-entry into the writing world, after taking most of 2013 off for personal reasons. So I want 2015 to be the year that I really just throw myself back into it all, step up the pace, push myself, and write the projects that I'm passionate about.

What does that mean for Evernight readers? First and foremost, it means a return to the URBAN WOLF series. Last year saw the release of my Free Read, PHANTOM FEARS, and whilst I don't rule out writing more short stories set in the Urban Wolf world, my main focus for 2015 is going to be another full-length novel and a spin-off novella. The novel (working title Black Dog) will take us back to Ayla's point of view and open up the world even further than BLOOD HUNT did. I have a ton of fun ideas for this book, drawing on my love of folklore and werewolf myth, and I already have about 8k written.

The spin-off novella (working title In Cold Blood) will introduce two new characters and explore a part of werewolf society that Ayla is (as yet) unaware of. It should be really good fun, a challenge to me, and exciting for fans of the series too. I'm so looking forward to getting back into this series and bringing all new characters, plots, and adventures to the readers who've enjoyed Ayla and Shannon's adventures so far. I hope you'll be excited to meet Jaya and Aisling when you meet them! 

Want a sneak preview? Okay! Here's a little glimpse into In Cold Blood.

He leaned back in his chair, eyeing her suspiciously. “My nan used to talk about brownies and hobgoblins,” he said, “the Good People, she called them. Used to leave a saucer of cream and stale bread out for them every night, to keep away bad luck. And that was after you people came out of the closet, so to speak.”

“What’s your point?” she asked. “You think a brownie killed Marie Hendry?”

“No, but something that isn’t human did. When you wolves showed up, my nan thought it was just a matter of time before the Sidhe and the dragons appeared too.” He sounded faintly amused now. “Me, I thought that was bollocks, but here we are. Werewolves are real and dead girls with no blood are filling up the North of Britain.”

Enter for a chance to win Evernight’s GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini and my blog prize by answering this question (be sure to include your email address to be eligible to win):

My question for you is simple: what are you most looking forward to in 2015? 

I'll pick one winner from the comments who will receive any title of their choice from my Evernight backlist, as well as a £10 Evernight gift certificate!

Your Holiday Hangover continues here: