Failure : a temporary option

20160920_192629

This is hard. I don’t mean writing. Everybody knows that writing is hard. I think that I’ve seen at least three memes illustrating that on Twitter this week. What’s really hard is sticking to arbitrary self-imposed deadlines. I have accomplished some things that I meant to. I typed up a bunch that I’ve written in “Frogsong”. I joined a beta-test group for a new online story publishing format. I’ll tell you more about that as I learn more. I may have found a beta reading partner too.  I think that “Frogsong” will be perfect for both.

But it’s not enough. It’s not my original plan. While I did post more on Twitter and Facebook, I keep chided myself that I could have done so much more. I have considered it an accomplishment that I posted something on Twitter once a day. I want to develop a “presence” or whatever, but that’s not going to do that.  I need to do more. Sometimes I participate in a writing game like #MuseMon or #1lineWed. Sometimes I comment on my progress on editing “Vibrancy” which has me the most down in the dumps right now.

I had found a VERY talented editor and she convinced me that the story had real potential but I have to make the changes. So I dove right in.  That was the one big thing I had put on my goals. Make the changes and submit the story to a journal or magazine for publication. Within the first steps into editing I began to drown myself in self-defeating questions. How long ago did I write this? Why did I think this was any good at all? If I make all of these cuts, will there be anything left?

I keep telling myself that other writers have these doubts, other people who try to create things but while I make myself do the work, I feel like I’m so out of my depth. Seeing my work through someone else’s eyes can be really painful. I thought about posting some of the sentences that my lovely editor had marked for deletion but looking at them from her perspective I am just ashamed. I wanted to show you how pretentious my writing had been but to reveal that to you now that I know the truth makes me feel so exposed. I might as well strip naked and run down the middle of my very public street.

So I thought about quitting. Being a writer is not all that I am. I’m a wife and mother. I drive to work every weekday as a professional librarian, where I catalog a multitude of books that somehow found their way to publication, despite their level of writing. It’s easy to go to work and earn my paycheck and bury myself in the odd minutia of cataloguing rules and formulas. I’m actually proud of my ability to navigate the complexities of that world and I get paid to do it. Maybe I should just pack up my writing journals and my self-imposed goals and let go. Just be what I already am.  It would be so easy.

Honestly, I only entertain that thought for just fleeting moments. The point of living is to not be stagnant, keep moving forward, keep improving.  “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” So what if I didn’t fulfil my goal for this experiment. Failure should be treated as a temporary condition. Sure, I’m disappointed in myself but I’m not out of the running yet. (Brace yourself for a platitude…)

I can only truly fail when I stop trying.

So, I’ll be back next week with new goals and hopefully a couple of updates.  For now, let’s celebrate my cat of the week. The picture above is of Oreo. She came from the same irresponsible people that left us Friday. We found her gasping for breath in our backyard and took her to the vet. She had a lung infection causing her lungs to fill with fluid. The vet at the time told us that we should put her down because the chances of fixing her were too slim. Her owners at the time said that they couldn’t even afford to pay to have her put to sleep. My wonderful husband decided that this vet was an idiot and took Oreo to a different vet who cured her condition without a hitch. We took over ownership of Oreo and she has lived with us for the past five years.

20160813_172217

She is a sweet cat that is shaped like a miniature black bear, with bugged out eyes like the actor Steve Buscemi. She is actually Friday’s aunt. She had nursed him with her kittens when his mother tragically died. About five seconds after this picture was taken, the two of them were beating the crap out of each other.

Selfie deficient–should I seek professional help?

20160825_172654

Have you ever seen anyone who was so beautiful that you could just stare at them for hours? I’m not talking about celebrities. I mean people that you can see in real life. For me, one of those people is my daughter. She is unbelievable beautiful. I understand how DNA works. I saw that classic episode of Cosmos with Carl Sagan when I was a kid and it really made an impression. I know that part of what makes her beautiful had to come from me. (The rest from my wonderful husband, of course, but I believe she got a lot more valuable gifts from him.) People have even told me that she looks like me, but, and I know I’m soundly overly self-critical here, it has to be only the good parts.

I have always had deathly pale skin. When I was a kid, I was bullied relentlessly for it. Shocking, right? Tormented for the shade of my skin and Irish genes. The popular girls would always make a bee-line for me when they came back from spring break on some sunny beach, all so that they could compare their tans to my white skin. (Skin cancer was really not much of a concern back then.) To this day I still can’t wear shorts because I’m embarrassed of my pale skin. I thank God that my daughter loves her pale skin, striking red hair and she can wear shorts just fine.

One thing she can do that I can’t do, even if my life depended on it, is take a selfie. She recently got her hair cut short and I asked to see it. She sent me three selfies that could have been ads in a fashion magazine. The lighting was perfect and she was perfectly placed in each of the shots and as always she looked so beautiful. Is taking a selfie a self-taught skill or a talent that people are just born with?

I’ve seen other people who are not my children who can take selfies. I see them on Twitter and Facebook. They’re usually writers who are trying to promote themselves (because that’s usually who I follow and I guess that’s what I am). These are decent looking human beings, sometimes beautiful, sometimes just incredibly human but very capable of taking good selfies. Each time I have tried, I think I look like a paranoid, freaked out human candle that is in the early stages of melting.

While my pale skin has kept the wrinkles to a minimum, gravity has not been kind. I recognize that I’m hyper-critical of everything to do with myself but I do have moments when I can look in the mirror and be more than a little okay with what I see. I can have good hair days and sometimes I wear the right colors to make me look as good as it gets. Sometimes the lighting in my bathroom is just perfect. Why can’t I translate this to a picture that I take of myself?  My face is never where it should be. My eyes are never looking in the right place and I just look weird.

I’ll keep trying and if I get one that doesn’t repulse me, I’ll share it with the world. Until then, I will represent myself with pictures of my husband’s art or pictures of my cats. Today’s picture is of Friday. He is probably the most photogenic of my herd. We ended up with him when our previous neighbors moved away and didn’t take their cats with them. I never knew what they called him. I called him “Friday” because I was reading the Thursday Next series of books and I thought the name suited him. He is extremely affectionate to people but plays a little too rough with the other cats, so we usually put him in his own room at night.20170806_111111

He is such a ham for a close-up.

As for reaching my writing goals, I still have a week to go. I have begun to make changes to “Vibrancy” and have found a couple of journals/magazines to submit to when I have it ready. I have typed up some of my longhand writing for a speculative fiction novella called “Frogsong” and I’ve written some dialogue for a scene in my YA fantasy novel temporarily titled “Boxes”. (I’m sure a better title will come along.) I have also been working on promoting myself more on Twitter. You can find me @vg_acorngirl .

I wouldn’t be here without believing you are here for me also.  I thank everyone who has liked my blog so far and shown me your support. Next week, we’ll see if I met my goals.

Accountability–careful, it’ll bite

20170729_123420

Something is wrong with me. I’ve lost my mojo, whatever that is. I had it once, maybe a couple of times. I think it comes in spurts.

I wrote a book once. I even had two publishers who wanted to sign me to publish it. I picked one and began the long process of – I’m not even sure what. My book was put on the schedule to hit the stores more than 18 months later. I didn’t know any better. I thought this was normal. What I didn’t know was that this was a blazing sign of a publisher that had over-reached and would eventually implode under the pressure of their good intentions.

But I’m not here to whine about how they went out of business and my book remains unpublished. This isn’t about them. This is about me. I called this post “Accountability” for a reason.

I could blame the publisher’s demise for my unpublished status but if I look at the facts, I just can’t. While I was signed, I was so active. I wrote short stories that were destined for anthologies and web-exclusives.  I started new novels. I began to develop a strong web presence on social media.

Then I stopped.

The weird thing is, I really want to be a writer. It’s something I still can do, even though I’m rapidly approaching 50. I just need to get off my ass and put in the work. I think I am inherently lazy. I’ll cocoon myself in excuses to not do the work. I’d rather sit in silence and do nothing with a wheezing cat on my lap. (The wheezing cat is Odin and he is pictured above. He was having a bad day. ) I have even done housework to avoid writing. But to accomplish what I want I have to stop making excuses and being lazy.

This is my first step in being accountable. Without a publisher checking up on me, and encouraging me and making me do my work, I’m asking for you to fill in. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to do anything.  If I believe you’re out there and believe that you’re reading this and are aware of my goals, that should be enough motivation. I don’t know for sure. Let’s just call it an experiment for now or me grasping at straws.

Now comes the point where I state my goals. I’ve written a lot of stuff.  99.9% has never seen print. I have a short story. For now let’s call it “Vibrancy”, mostly because I can’t find a better name. I believe it’s an excellent story. I just don’t know if I executed it well.  I sent it to an editor and paid her $20 to tell me what was wrong with it. The pages came back bleeding with comments. Goal #1: Make the revisions to “Vibrancy” and submit it somewhere for publication. From this day forward I’m giving myself two weeks to do this. During that time I’m going to type out as much of the writing I’ve accumulated in long-hand.

Next week, I will post another blog and report to you what I’ve accomplished. If this works, I’ll keep posting and keep adding goals as I get closer to getting my mojo back. I answer to you now and this is where I’ll do it.

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

linkedincompanybanner

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.

quotethreeofswords

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

3d

Meet Unknown Suspense Author Nicole Wilson

dmg-profile-pic-small

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. 🙂

image

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

billy-and-melinda-2-6

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!

Electric Guitar in fire Isolated on Black Background

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

ranma

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

12140795_1078858768822480_3394203595438884903_n

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.

DBM Promo 5

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.

DBM Promo 8

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

240904-117591-emma-frost

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