J.D. Bretton, one amazing paranormal romance author…

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This week, we get to see the inner workings of paranormal romance writer and poet J.D. Bretton. You can see why I find her so fascinating if you check out her website at http://jdbrettonwriter.weebly.com/

Question–I see that your current book, Three of Swords, (in fact the whole trilogy) is based on the tarot. Which came first, your desire to write or your attraction to the tarot? Tell me how you came to both of them and how you decided to combine them?

J.D.– For as long as I can remember I have always loved reading, words, and writing, so that definitely came first. Poetry is actually my first love when it comes to writing. Three of Swords is my first book in the paranormal romance genre.

Along with Book 2 of The Tarot Trilogy, I’m also currently working on a collection of love poems called The Drunken Bell. Here’s a link: https://tablo.io/jd-bretton/the-drunken-bell-love-poems

 

I also recently tried my hand at flash fiction and have a piece (a twelve word story) coming out at Haunted Waters Press in the fall.

 

When I completed the very first draft of Three of Swords, tarot was not even a part of it! The book had an entirely different name-Flutter. When I started researching the name, I saw that a whole slew of books already had that name, so I knew I needed to come up with something different. I also felt that there was something missing from the story. One day while struggling with revising, I picked up my tarot cards, shuffled my deck, pulled out a card, and it was the Three of Swords. I immediately felt the connection to the main character and knew it was the perfect title. I was able to weave the elements of tarot seamlessly into the story, and had the next two book titles right away. It was meant to be! For me, tarot is a tool to help you tune in and listen to your own intuition which I think we all possess, but often ignore when our minds are cluttered with the noise of everyday life.

 

Question– I also found that tarot is an excellent tool for meditation and finding mental focus. I can see how it was used for inspiration for your Tarot Trilogy but have you used it for your other writing? Do you find other inspiration for your poetry? Does your writing come to you as images, sounds or words?

J.D.– The Tarot Trilogy is the only piece of work so far that has been directly influenced by the tarot. I am most inspired by words, followed closely by images. I am completely addicted to writing prompts on Twitter because of my fascination with language. I love to see how everyone can use the same words and interpret them in a completely different way. Inspiration can strike at any time triggered by something I see, overhear, or read. To be a writer, I think you have to be a keen observer, and a professional eavesdropper! Sound impacts my writing in another way as I almost always write with my headphones on and music playing. Listening to music helps set the tone for my writing, and tunes out other distractions. I usually listen to the same music if I’m working on something in particular; it’s like a soundtrack to my writing. For example, for Three of Swords I had Mumford and Sons, Ryan Adams and Halsey on shuffle with a little Miguel thrown in for the steamy scenes.

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Question– I’ve also made “soundtracks” to listen to when I write. Does the music differ much between writing projects or can you only use those sounds for that one project? As far as writing prompts go, how often do you use them? Do you share what you write from a writing prompt and is it from your current WIP or something new just for the prompt?

  1. D.– I find that each writing project needs a different “soundtrack” because each project will have a different feeling and tone. The music I choose reflects the mood of the story.

Depending on how much time I have, I probably write new poems as a result of a poetry prompts once a week and share those on Twitter, my website, and Tablo. I must give a shout out to @MadQueenStorm, @WrittenRiver, and @fieryverse for posting some fabulous prompts!

 

I also periodically share from my current WIP on Twitter with #1linewed, #musmon, and #2bitTues.

 

Question– Besides the tarot influence, is there anything that makes your Tarot Trilogy unique, something to set it apart from other books of its type and make readers flock to it?

J.D.– I think that my book has a unique storyline that develops over the course of the three books. It has been called a true twist on the paranormal which I think is an apt description. It crosses several genres with elements of erotica and paranormal; but above all, at its core, it is really a classic love story which I think everyone can identify with. I also think being a poet, my writing style is a bit different as I am used to distilling ideas down to their essence. My preference to write with an economy of words probably contributed to it being novelette length.

Be sure to check out J.D.’s novel Three of Swords.  It’s only 99 cents on amazpn.com until November 1st.

https://www.amazon.com/Three-Swords-Tarot-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B01F0BQTOO/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1476402410&sr=8-1&keywords=three+of+swords+the+tarot+trilogy

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Meet Unknown Suspense Author Nicole Wilson

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This week I want you to meet a fresh, new upcoming author of thrillers and suspense, Nicole Wilson. I learned a lot of interesting things about Nicole from her website, www.nicolewilsonauthor.com , so if you want to know where some of my questions come from…see for yourself.

Question– I’m not sure how a love for spreadsheets can go hand in hand with a desire to be a writer but you can convince me. I see that you have family support in becoming a writer. Do you think you would still want to be a writer if you didn’t have that support? What would become of Nicole without it?

Nicole–Spreadsheets DEFINITELY go hand in hand with writing! My Excel-loving heart would actually be lost without it. I use it to help me plan out my requirements for each week’s writing goals, and it helps me plot out my stories.

It would be a huge struggle for me if I didn’t have the support of my husband in my writing career. Honestly, I’m not even sure I’d be here today without his encouragement. I’d grown up thinking that writing could be a hobby, but being a full time author was just a pipe dream, and I’ve had some people try to take me away from writing. But my husband saw potential in me, saw how much I loved writing, and told me to go for it. Since he’s also a writer, he helped me along the way. I’ve also had some other family members offer encouragement along the way. Without “author Nicole”, I think my personality would be different. I’ve grown much more open to views that are not my own because I have truly lived inside a character’s head–that’s not me–for a year or so at a time.

Question–Who is “author Nicole” and how is she different from the Nicole you would be without her?

Nicole–Author Nicole has been beautifully woven with regular Nicole, so it’s hard to identify what she does, but she brings a lot of empathy. I’m able to focus into other people’s lives and understand how they feel. It also makes my life more interesting – I’m always on the lookout for how to make a story out of regular circumstances. It’s a lot of fun.

Question–Tell me what project you have been most dedicated to recently and tell us how you plan to share this with the world?

Nicole– I have been busy on three projects. One (The Grudge) is in the editing stage after I got some great feedback from an agent and the pitchwars mentors. One (Captured) is in the early editing stages and is almost ready for beta readers. And the last is my latest WIP (By Blood Alone) that I’m currently about 40K into. It’s about a homicide detective that investigates a serial killer who turns out to be closer than she thought.

All of these will at some point be sent out to agents, so after they get through the agent, editing, and publishing processes, I WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD. *ahem* I mean, the world will get to see my books. 🙂

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Question 4: So your current WIP is a thriller.  Tell us about the two that are in editing stages.  What are they about and are these the typical genres that you are drawn to?

Nicole–The Grudge and Captured are also both thrillers. Thriller is my favorite genre, both to read and write. I love the fast-paced action and the small details about weaponry and combat.

The Grudge is actually intended to be part of a series I’m writing, though each book should stand alone. The only things that carry over are the characters and the central focus on emerging technologies. I love technology. I’ve been in the IT field for seven years, so it holds a special place in my heart, which is why I wanted to write books that included them. Also, everything in my books is actual, existing technology, not science fiction. But I try my hardest to make all the technology very accessible, because I don’t want people who aren’t techy to shy away from it. This book in particular is about a homicide detective who investigates robotic snipers attacking US infrastructure while struggling to lead a new team.

Captured is a standalone book, and it has stretched my writing techniques (in a good way). The two main protagonists are four hundred miles apart, so there is a lot of internal dialogue, rather than dialogue between characters, which I’m used to. But this book is about an Army veteran who runs into his supposedly dead best friend and must stop him before he leads an attack the Peruvian government.

Question–Since you write thrillers, is there a particular author whose style you hope to emulate, like Iris Johansen, J. D. Robb, or Nevada Barr? What future books are there on the horizon from author Nicole?

Nicole–I don’t have a style I try to emulate, but I have a few influences. James Rollins has been the biggest for my series. He writes science thrillers, and my series is heavily based in technology. Lee Child also drove my love of thrillers, and Joseph Finder showed me how ordinary men do extraordinary things.

For future books, I’ve got the synopsis for the third book in my series already drafted. I also have several other ideas for books, but I’m still writing my fourth, so I try not to look too far ahead.

Meet Hot Romance Author Cherie Summers

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This week on my blog I’m talking with the romance author Cherie Summers, whose “Love on Fire” series takes us through a romance spanning decades.

 

Question: I saw on your website, (you  can see it too  www.cheriesummers.com.) that you began to make up stories in your head when you were a kid.  Did you ever share your stories?

 

Cherie–The stories I made up were for the most part locked away in my mind. It may have begun because of my rocky childhood.  Maybe I daydreamed to get away from what the real world was dishing out.

 

I could read for hours and I also loved television and movies. The stories I created in my mind involved me being on some television show or in a movie. I was the girl, playing Starsky’s girlfriend or Luke Skywalker’s REAL sister and I acted out the screenplays in my mind. I remember clearly in 4th grade being asked to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said a singer (I cannot sing). When the teacher read this out loud, everyone  laughed out loud. I was mortified and it destroyed something in me that thought I could grow up and actually be Starksy’s girlfriend or Luke Skywalker’s REAL sister.  So, I never shared my stories or imaginings with anyone for a long time.

 

In junior and senior high, my “fan fiction” stories began to turn from actors to musicians But no obsession has matched the one for Billy Idol.  I discovered him when I got MTV for the first time, and have been hooked since.  My first novel, A Melody for Adrian came to me in a dream and I wrote it all down.  I was eighteen at the time and most of the characters were inspired by people I went to high school with and other 80’s music icons.

 

It amazes me now that “fan fiction” is a thing.  I imagine Billy Idol playing Adrian “Bolt” Hall in a movie of my novel.

 

Question : I love that your story hints at a fanfiction. If Billy Idol is a dead ringer for Adrian, what other real people do you picture when you think of your characters? Do you adopt their voice and mannerisms as well?

Cherie–In some ways my characters do mimic their more famous muse, but then again, not really, such as….

Keith “Kat” Williams – inspired by John Taylor of Duran Duran.

Anthony “Ringo” Barber – Jon Farriss of INXS.

Douglas “Dagger”Meyers – inspired by Brian Setzer and has the looks.

John “Buzzy” Thomas – inspired by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.

I imagine the female lead as a Jessica Simpson type, very down to earth but sexy and curvy.

 

So I’d say I mostly copy their looks, not mannerisms.  Although Adrian Hall has the sneer, pout, fist pump, swagger, that Billy Idol does as well as the spiked hair and blue eyes.  (When I met Billy, I wasn’t given a lot of time, but let him know he inspired me to write and my first novel was being published).

Me now, this really happened. Photographic proof at top!

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Question : Since so many of your characters find their origins in the faces of musicians, does music itself play a part in how you create your world? Are there any songs or pieces of music that you find to be creatively influential?

 

Cherie–Definitely.  For my “Love on Fire” Series, I’m always playing Generation X, the punk rock band Billy Idol fronted back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, as I write.  The songs just capture the youthful exuberance that I see in my characters.  And since it is about a punk rock band, all the more reason it makes sense.  I also listen to Billy’s solo songs as well.

Question: tell us about your “Love on Fire” series. What makes it different from other novels in its genre? What about the plot and its characters make it unique?

Cherie–The “Love on Fire” series will span a few decades.  It begins in 1981 as Melody and Adrian meet as seniors in high school.  In book 3, the year is 1996.  I plan to continue to follow the couple and any offspring they and their friends have for as long as possible.

When I wrote the first book, I looked at it as Melody’s story of falling in love with this badass punk rocker who was completely opposite of her. But as the story grew and changed with rewrites, it really became Adrian’s journey. He has the most emotional baggage from his childhood and all that is confronted over the course of the series.  Melody stays the same wonderful person but she learns to help Adrian through emotionally charged times when his anger gets the better of him. As I finish up with book 3, I’m quite impressed with how he has changed and grown as a man.

For me, even though this is erotic romance and is filled with explicit scenes, the sex only enhances the story, it is not THE story. You do have two people very deeply in love AND lust with one another, but you also have people working toward their dreams and working through their drama. I put these characters through emotional hell and so not only will they bring the heat, but they’ll make you laugh and cry as well.

Question : What have you planned for writing after “Love on Fire”? What are your long term plans? Anything beyond romance?

I want to stay in the romance genre. I have a few partially finished things I started in the past I could move on with.  Romance was always something I loved reading growing up and as an adult.  I think it’s what I’m best suited to write.  It’s funny that my favorite author is Johnathan Kellerman and I love criminal psychology, but I don’t see myself going in that direction at all. While the subject fascinates me it’s not something I plan on writing. But, then again you never know.

(Me again) You can find Cherie’s books on Amazon.com and on her website, www.cheriesummers.com. Her second novel  A Melody for Adrian, was released recently yesterday on publisher’s site  (eXtasy Books) and is available for pre-order on amazon.

Next week, I’ll be talking with another great author.  Just come back and see.

My first love

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I’d like to say that my great love affair with Japanese anime and manga began when I was a kid. That would make sense. You’re supposed to like them then because of cartoons. Maybe I just decided to do things backwards. I started with soap operas as a child. Maybe it makes sense that I would wait until I was by definition a grown up, to find anime.

Okay, okay, minor confession here. My husband, Sam, did try to convert me to them when we dated in college but my instant and complete hatred for Minmei in Robotech had me hold the genre at arms-length.  To this day, I don’t get the point of her singing.

The tipping point occurred several weeks before my wedding to Sam when a friend left us a book of manga. It was the first volume of Ranma ½.

I was understandably stressed out, a state in which I spend a majority of my life. I was getting married. I had to plan all of the little bits and pieces of that. I had just gotten my first real librarian job. In West Virginia.  So we had to move from what was in my opinion, the best apartment ever. So, yeah, lots and lots of stress.

Ranma ½, volume one just sat there on my coffee table, so one day I picked it up and began to read.

It took me a little bit to get used to its brand of storytelling but once I did, I fell absolutely in love.

It’s story is simple. Ranma Saotome is a young martial artist who fell into a cursed spring so that when he gets hit with cold water, her turns into a girl. Hot water returns him to his previous form. The story is touted as a romantic comedy focused around Ranma and his reluctant fiancé, Akane Tendo. There are various obstacles to their union, in the form of romantic rivals, meddling parents and of course stubborn feelings.

Its creator, Rumiko Takahashi is a master of unrequited love. That point in any serialized romance where the boy and the girl get together is the point where we as an audience lose interest. Takahashi has found a way to keep us forever interested in the relationship between Ranma and Akane.

Each story she tells brings us to the edge of a declaration of love and then stops. She showed me that the most delicious part of romance is the anticipation. Strangely enough another thing she showed me was that to be a reliable storyteller you have to be predictable.

Predictability is comforting. I always know that no matter where the story is going to go, it will end up where it’s supposed to be. Ranma and Akane will always love each other.  They will never say it but one will always be there for the other. No matter what. That’s what you need when your own world is in chaos and it’s just what I needed at that point in time.

When you find something that you need at just the point when you need it, it makes an impression on you. That’s what Ranma ½ did for me then and it opened my mind for other anime.

While Ranma ½ brought me predictability and the perfect unrequited love, other stories have brought strong themes not expressed as well in Western styled stories, unique characters, overcoming inner demons and the strength of familial bonds.

As I continue to discuss the effect of anime of the next few weeks, I’ll show more stories that have gotten to me just as much as Ranma ½.

Replacements….

 

When I had planned what to put in my blog this week, I thought about talking about my long term love affair with anime. Unfortunately, life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into small plans. Sometimes more than one.  My first monkey wrench happened at my day job. I work as a cataloguer at a public library. Two of my faithful staff are retiring and I have to begin the process of hiring their replacements.

Replacements. Sometimes, that word is not the best but it has been a recurring theme in my life lately. That brings me to my second monkey wrench and the general subject of my blog this week. The publisher, RRPI,  that I had signed with to publish my novel, Executioner’s Road has decided to close.  My book, a short story that was to appear in their anthology, as well as three in progress projects, all reverted back to me. Apparently, I have more that needs to be replaced.

As I looked at my current situation, I wasn’t as thrown as I could have been. Instead of crying, I just sort of sighed and made plans to participate in the next twitter pitch party to find a replacement publisher. I kept thinking of that stupid platitude “when one door closes, another opens”. Except I kept thinking it was a window that opened. Whatever. I’m going to be fine. The only thing that I lost to this venture was time.

What I didn’t understand was that I had fared better than others. When RRPI closed down, they closed everything. Their website is closed, their contests cancelled and the books that they represented on amazon had their links shut down. Kayla Krantz, author of Dead by Morning, whom I interviewed here not that long ago, lost her book’s ranking as well as some very good reviews. She had to resort to putting her old (and I assume self-published) listing, just to keep selling. Look everyone, another replacement.

Hearing about how this event had effected a gifted author, I had to do what I could and it was relatively simple.  I installed kindle on my phone and bought her book. It was only $2 and what’s $2 when you’re helping a friend. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t care for ebooks and it takes a lot to get me hooked but to my surprise, I got hooked and quickly. Knowing what I know from interviewing Kayla, I’m anxious to see what’s going to happen and see how this story takes shape. I’m reading her book and enjoying it and when I finish, I will leave her a review. That is all any author asks. That’s all we want and honestly, I think that’s all we need. I mean, that’s why I write fanfiction, for people to read my work and tell me about it.

Of course, selling millions of copies of our work and becoming rich and famous would be a major destination in our lives but right now, it’s about the journey. Right?

Let’s be honest, small publishers don’t have healthy life expectancies. It’s easy to blame them for building up our hopes, but you can’t say that they duped us without recognizing that they duped themselves. They had hopes too and I believe that they lost a whole more than I did in this process.  I’m going to bounce back and so will Kayla Krantz, Julie Burns, Kade Cook, Terra Beilman and Jason Pere.  RRPI is gone.  They aren’t bouncing back from this one.

Below are links so that you can support these wonderful creators.

Kayla Krantz : https://www.amazon.com//dp/B00XZCYSYE/  to buy her book

https://www.facebook.com/kaylakrantzwriter  to follow her on twitter

And remember, her book is nominated #SIBA, the Summer #IndieBookAwards  If you want to vote for it click here   http://goo.gl/tIBe9M

Julie Burns https://www.amazon.com/Purse-Julie-Burns/dp/057817703X/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=VZR48JBZJQBZ3F7FHGDJ

Kade Cook https://www.amazon.com/Grey-Covenant-Shadows-Kade-Cook/dp/1945392932/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QS1XN37HMG0Z9JKTH2X8

Terra Beilman https://www.wattpad.com/user/TerraBeilman

Jason Pere https://www.amazon.com/Calling-Reaper-First-Book-Purgatory/dp/0692632980/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_5?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QS1XN37HMG0Z9JKTH2X8

Next week, I’ll finally get to talk about anime and then I’m going back to interviewing some wonderful authors.

Meet Author Kayla Krantz

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Today, I’m taking a moment away from my babbling about comics to introduce new suspense and horror novelist, Kayla Krantz. Her book, Dead by Morning, the first in her Rituals of Night series, is already available for purchase. I don’t know about you guys, but I think she’s pretty cool.

Q–Describe the moment when you first wanted to be a writer. How old were you? What pushed you in this direction?

Kayla–I never chose to be a writer; I think it chose me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always written something down. I wrote my first short story when I was four years old, and I’d write pieces all throughout elementary school that my principal always wanted to read. As I got older, my stories just got more elaborate. I think it was around middle school that I realized just how much joy it brought me.

Q—I’ve seen you mention that you are a fan of horror and the darker side of storytelling.  While that might show in your writing now, has it always? Or was this a genre that you grew into? I can’t imagine that 4 year old Kayla was writing a scary story but with kids these days, you never know.

Kayla–As far as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in horror and creepy things. My stories weren’t as gory as they are now, of course, but I liked the paranormal element at the very least. When I first started writing, I wrote about eerie things such as haunted houses and mummies.

Q–Alot of people like being scared. Have you always enjoyed trying to frighten your readers? Have you ever created anything that you were able to scare yourself?

Kayla–I always thought it was an interesting concept to explore the idea of fear, and the fact that everyone’s range of fear is different. Even during our lifetime, our fears may change or progress. I think the thing that’s scared me the most with my writing is how evil my antagonist, Chance, really turned out. When I originally drafted him, he was evil of course, but nowhere near as malicious as he is now.

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Q–Speaking of Chance, how did you come up with him? Which came first, the creation of Chance, or the plot of your story?

Kayla–Chance definitely came first. The whole story focuses around him. It’s hard to say what exactly inspired him, but I think it was a mix of things. After doing research for serial killers for some projects I worked on for school, I wanted to try my hand at creating a character that could embody all the traits I had read about; someone who was cunning, dangerous, and of course unstable. A lot of his traits he seemed to create himself. The addition of the dagger, for example, seemed to sprout along with the story.

Q–Now that you’ve told us about Chance, tell us more about Dead by Morning. What do you think will set this story apart from others in its genre? Something drew you to write it so that same thing should draw us to read it.

Kayla–I think my series is unique because it’s such a blend of so many different genres. I would call it contemporary except it doesn’t quite meet the criteria for it. Dead by Morning is new adult, psychological, horror, and thriller novel with hints of paranormal though some could argue that the unrequited love/obsession element could also give it themes of romance.

My story shows the mindset not only of a killer but of a victim of stalking to give the story a unique realistic perspective in midst of all the crazy.

Q–With Dead by Morning being the first in a series, can you give us an idea what will be in the rest of the series? How many books and what will be different about each? Besides this series, what other works have you got up your sleeve?

Kayla–The rest of the series will basically involve the relationship between Luna and Chance, eventually moving on to other characters that’ll be introduced later on in the series. I’m planning to have about nine books in total, in which I’m currently working on the fifth. Each book will have their own sort of overlapping theme and tone such as love, insanity, friendship, and freedom. On the side, I’m working on a trilogy about witches known as The Witch’s Ambitions. A few weeks ago, I completed the first book, The Council.

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Recently, Dead by Morning was nominated in the horror category for the Summer Indie Book Awards ‪#‎SIBA‬. If you can, give her your vote.

https://www.facebook.com/kaylakrantzwriter/?pnref=lhc

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945392983/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Infidelity Crisis

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Soap operas have had a long standing tradition of infidelity. From the very beginning homebound housewives were the targeted audience. Well, housewives and my dad on his lunchbreak. In the beginning, soap opera producers believed that women only wanted one thing in their stories : a good romance. A boy and a girl. Will they or won’t they? Seduction and love followed by a beautiful wedding. That was the point where interest in the couple usually drops off dramatically. Once a couple gets together, nobody cares anymore. The excitement was all in the anticipation so they needed to find a plot device to bring back that thrill of waiting to see what would happen. Hence, the affair.

Like the original boy meets girl, they met and there was attraction, connection and the return of ‘will they or won’t they?’ but now you had the added edge of ‘will they get caught?’

This is usually the point in my ramblings where I point out a particular love triangle but infidelity has practically become the norm with even the most steady couple falling victim to it. I’ll just refer to my very first encounter. General Hospital taught me about infidelity before anything else in the world. At an early age, I witnessed Monica Quartermaine trying to lure Rick Weber away from his wife Leslie. I remembered liking Rick and even at my single digit age I had seen that Monica’s husband Alan was a douche, but I wanted Rick to stay with Leslie. Why? Not because I valued their marriage. No, I was eight. I just thought Leslie was prettier.

When comic books utilized infidelity, it wasn’t for the same purpose as soaps. Soaps used it to bring interest to a couple. Comics actually used it for the story. Sometimes there were extenuating circumstances, like possession, or mind control, or even just a general means to an end. Comics tried to add an actual reason for the break in the relationship, instead of just to spice things up.

DC comics tended to have a great deal of unfaithfulness in marriage. Though I have had trouble finding documented evidence, I have had many DC comics readers tell me of affairs in the unions of Adam and Alanna Strange and even in Ralph and Sue Dibny.  (Here, I must remind my readers that my knowledge of DC comics is limited and I have spent hours trying to find proof but haven’t found any.)  I did find it interesting to note that both of these rumored dalliances occurred just prior to the deaths of the offended wife. Sue Dibny’s death was the centerpiece in the title spanning story “Identity Crisis”. She was supposedly murdered as a targeted loved one of a superhero.

One case of infidelity in comics that I did know very well also occurred just before the wife’s death. In the latest death of Jean Grey, her conflicted husband Scott Summers had psychically cheated on her with Emma Frost. Leave it to Marvel comics to find a way to cheat without actually touching. After Jean’s death, Scott immediately fell into the White Queen’s arms and the new couple seemed actually a bit more realistic and supportive to each other.

Next week, I will be interviewing the talented writer, Kayla Krantz whose new book Dead by Morning is sending chills down readers’ spines. Here’s a link to her Facebook author’s page.

https://www.facebook.com/kaylakrantzwriter/?pnref=lhc

Meet Dana Provo

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For today’s blog, I’m going to try something new. My wonderful writing friend Dana Provo is debuting her first novel Bleeding Hearts with Clean Reads Publishing. To promote Dana and her great book, I wanted to share a little about what makes her tick.

Q–When did you first want to be a writer?

Dana– Honestly, I only started writing about 4 years ago. I had always wanted to write a story growing up, but I never thought I was smart enough or talented enough. Then after I started writing around the age of 23, I knew I loved it. It wasn’t until after I finished my first book, Under The Willow Tree, (not yet published) that I wanted to publish something. After I started writing Bleeding Hearts, I knew I found the genre I wanted to write in and knew this book would be a hit. So, that’s when I wanted to be a writer.

Q–Tell me a little bit about Under the Willow Tree and how you moved from that to Bleeding Hearts. What is this genre that you’ve called home, and what makes it home to you?

Dana– Under The Willow Tree is a young adult, fantasy. Willow, a 17 year old empath, is banished to the Islands of Cadeaux because she is ‘Special’. She molds her new life around helping other Specials adapt to island life. With the World Challenge on the horizon, she and her best friend, Basil prepare to compete.  Only 100 will enter and four will remain. The Olendeae World Challenge is a race around the world that tests six attributes of the inhabitants of the Islands Of Cadeaux. This book is complete, but I am in the process of rewriting it.
I have always read YA growing up so I thought that was the way to go as far as starting to write, but I really wanted to write a romance with two different story lines. So, when I moved into my current apartment, I immediately came up with the idea for Bleeding Hearts.

I am such a romantic. I love reading romance, and writing it. All of my stories will have a romantic element because I truly think that’s what I’m meant to write and share with my readers.

Q–When you say you “came up with the idea” for Bleeding Hearts, how did that happen and tell me what is unique about it that will help it stand out.

Dana–I moved into my current apartment in April of 2015 and we have a state trooper in the building and I thought to myself, “if I were to ever get in trouble, I can go to him for help” then I met his fiancé and we are good friends. So my main character, Cami Lucks is based off of my friend and somewhat myself. I wanted to create a dark romance between a young woman who falls in love with the man who tries to kill her. I talked it over with my sister about writing a unique story line with two different plots; the present story after the attack and the past story of how she met her attacker.

Q–Are you telling the story in a nonlinear way, where you show the end and then go back and show how she ended up there? Why so dark? Will this be a pattern for future work?

Dana–Yes, the first chapter of Bleeding Hearts is considered the present and each following chapter Cami has a flashback of how she got there. They are both chronological, present runs from March to June and the flashbacks run from January to March. It’s very cool to read and experience both times in Cami’s life. At least I think so.

Q– Does your friend know that you are basing the character off of her?

Dana–I have mentioned Cami to my friend Stef and how I came to create her and she thinks it’s pretty cool.

Q– Why so dark? Will this be a pattern for future work?

Dana–Not every romance has a happy ending. There are people in the world that are not very nice and treat their girlfriends terribly. I wanted to show what that relationship looks like. Cami accepts a ride from a stranger. It was the biggest mistake she’s ever made in her life. What she does can happen in reality. So next time someone offers you a ride, make sure you know who they are.

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In the sequel, Silent Hearts, there will be three POVs and two of those characters will have some sort of flashback story that will be written. I won’t tell you which characters I’m writing though.

Q–So you’ve mentioned a sequel, Silent Hearts, do you have any plans for anything else coming down the bend? Like, what’s your five year plan?

Dana–My five year plan has lots in store. There are actually two more books in the Bleeding Hearts series. Book two is now called Bleeding Alone and the last book will be called Bleeding Silence. I hope to have those out within the next two years. I also have another series I’m working on. The first book is called WHISPER and it’s a young adult SciFi which will be published by RRPI. I’m hoping that will be out by the end of 2018 but we will see.

Oh and there’s a few other projects I want to work on that are spin offs from Bleeding Hearts, but right now, they are just plans. I haven’t worked on them yet.

Me now—I’m so glad the Dana let me interview her and I hope that you will give her book a view and visit her release party and give her a like https://www.facebook.com/events/1233414473358329/

 

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Family Power

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Soap operas wrap emotion around scandal and plotlines and at the very core of these are families. Mention a soap and usually a family name is the center of its gravitational pull. For years Days of Our Lives couldn’t have a storyline that didn’t revolve around a Brady. The two brothers, Roman and Bo were like the main members of a superhero team. Adding an extra feminine emotional level to their dimensions were their sisters, Kimberly and Kayla. With the romantic tension and suspense that follows them around and the near immortality of this particular soap, the Brady family can only just continue to grow for generations.

Although it suffered cancellation a few years ago, One Life to Live also had anchor families. The focus shifted from the Lord family as Viki married into the Buchanans. Once this regime changed, it seemed like the Buchanans were connected to everything. Once again, like a superhero team, this family is filled with men, from the patriarch, Asa, to his headstrong sons, Clint and Bo. (Another Bo? Really?) These men dominate.

In dramatic fashion, these families take over their respective soaps and continue to grow in surprising ways. Siblings show up, sometimes from out of time, sometimes by the results of a clarifying paternity test. Family members coming out of the woodwork happen so often in soap operas, I can’t pick a particular instance.

Comic books aren’t restricted by aging actors having to continue the genetic legacy to subsequent generations. These fictional characters are truly timeless.

(Sometimes. Yes, I know. Marvel killed off Wolverine and now his cloned daughter X-23 has taken on his namesake and matching costume. But really? These are comic books. How long do you think he’s going to stay dead.)

Comic book family names can carry the same strength as soap opera families. Look at the Flash, for instance. Readers could see the inevitability of Barry Allen and Iris West getting married for years. Now it seems that anyone with the last name Allen or West has had more than their fair share of exposure to the Speed Force. Even Bruce Wayne was surprised with a son named Damien whom he later took as his latest Robin. (But like Jason Todd, Damien also died. Robins are so hard to keep.) (Yes, I know! Jason Todd didn’t really die! He came back like everybody else does and probably so will Damien.)

In Marvel, the X-men have the Summers family, Scott (aka Cyclops) and his brother Alex (aka Havok) and Scott’s various romantic dalliances. With the tragic Madelyne Pryor (I’ve told her story before in this blog) he fathered the boy who would later return from the future as the mutant hero Cable.  In an alternate future with Jean Grey, he had a daughter named Rachel (shown above), who like her brother, also came from the future and took on her mother’s mantle of Phoenix and then Marvel Girl. In this alternate future, Rachel had loved Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four. Imagine, if not for the apocalyptic nature of this future, they could have made one hell of a family dynasty.

The X-men tried to make another powerful mutant family with Sam Guthrie (aka Cannonball) and his sister, Paige (aka Husk), but no matter how well written their characters were, the Guthries just didn’t have the staying power of the Summers.

When next I talk about soaps and comics, I will talk about marriage and infidelity, the making a breaking of family.

Next week, I’m going to feature new romance writer Dana Provo and we’re going to talk about her new book Bleeding Hearts and why you should read it when it comes out August 27th. Take a look at the festivities she has planned : https://www.facebook.com/events/1233414473358329/

Multiple Personality Disorder as a Plot Crutch

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I observed a while back while I was deep in my soap opera fandom that when a character has lost their luster and has become dull, secret familial connections had begun to surface. A surprise offspring, a long lost sibling, an estranged parent or spouse often appeared out of nowhere to juice up the plotline. On the rare occasion that a wayward family member wasn’t enough, soaps had gone the extra mile to give the lackluster character an extra personality.

Multiple personality disorder has made appearances on General Hospital, Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives, Another World and One Life to Live. The one that had the longest staying power and I’m most familiar with is from One Life to Live. The character of Viki Lord Buchanan had lasted as long as the soap itself and while she had been there, lurking in her subconscious had been her alter ego Niki. Where Viki was rich and refined, prim and proper, Niki was a loose, barhopping, cheap tramp, complete with a very convincing wig of long red-hair. After several appearances, intense therapy revealed that Niki was a product not just of Viki’s extremely strict upbringing under her father Victor Lord but long hidden sexual abuse that happened during her childhood. Her multiple personality haunted Viki even after she died as she had to confront Niki herself while she travelled on the spaceship to heaven. (Yeah, One Life to Live got REALLY weird.) Viki also managed to pass on her disorder to her daughter, Jessica, whose alter egos were Tess, Bess, and Wes.

Geez, what was I thinking? Not too long after I began thinking about stopping my daily ritual of soap watching, I was introduced to the comic book world. There, I found the best story of multiple personality disorder in the character of Rogue of the X-men.

Rogue’s mutant power was to absorb another person’s power and psyche at the touch of her skin, an odd power to understand until you can truly see it in action. Before she joined the X-men, she was a part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (I kid you not). On one of their terroristic exploits, Rogue attacks Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel, and holds on a little bit too long. When Rogue absorbed Carol Danvers, she did it permanently. All of Ms. Marvel’s Kree powers along with Carol Danvers’ consciousness had transferred to Rogue. It was great that she now possessed super strength and the ability to fly but she also had a different personality inside her head just itching to take over.

Unable to deal with the aftermath of her powers and the guilt of what she had done to Ms. Marvel, Rogue turned to Professor Xavier and the X-men for help. After proving herself as a good team player, she was taken in by the team. Occasionally, when the situation grew out of Rogue’s comfort zone, Carol Danvers’ personality asserted itself and took over. It wasn’t always a bad thing but it did tend to drag out the guilt for poor Rogue, who began to wonder if she deserved to live her life when she had taken away Carol’s.

Eventually, through a divine mechanism called the Siege Perilous, (I might explain that someday. That was definitely a plot device.) Rogue and Ms. Marvel are separated, but there is only enough life force for one of them to survive. (See above picture.) As Rogue begins to sacrifice herself to let Carol win, the decision was taken out of her hands by Magneto. Rogue lived and Ms. Marvel was no more.

Until, the “House of M” storyline brought Carol Danvers back into existence without so much as an explanation. One day she didn’t exist and the next, it was like she had never been gone.  I do wonder though, if Rogue remembers what it was like to fly.

Next time, I’ll talk about odd family relations.