Monday, July 30, 2012

What's What: Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

A conversation at Saturday’s chapter meeting (waves at Mary) led to some lost brain cells last night as I considered the genre dilemma of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, two siblings that, although not identical twins, are often mistaken for one another.

(Although I should say here I stand by my contention that if a book has a woman [usually half-naked] as the primary image on the cover it’s UF and if it has a [usually half-naked] man or a couple, it’s PNR.)

But suppose you’re writing a book and don’t have a handy cover image to consult? I write both urban fantasy with romantic elements and paranormal romance with urban fantasy elements. What makes them different? I took out the print copies of Royal Street (urban fantasy) and Redemption (paranormal romance) and did a few comparisons.

Beginnings. In my urban fantasy, my heroine has a couple of potential love interests. DJ doesn’t meet Alex until page 73; Jake doesn’t show up until page 101, fully a third of the way into the book. In my paranormal romance, hero Aidan meets heroine Krys on page 9. In a PNR, it’s important to get face time between the couple as early in the book as possible. In urban fantasy, where the romance plays a backseat, it doesn’t matter—they meet whenever it works with the plot, because the plot doesn’t revolve around them (see below).

Page Time. In my urban fantasy, there is one point-of-view character, DJ, who filters everything in the book through her consciousness. She’s on literally every one of 336 pages. Even though the PNR has six point-of-view characters. Aidan and Krys each have 22 POV scenes; the reader spends a roughly equal amount of time in each of their heads. (The other POV characters have eight scenes between them—many of which revolve around Aidan or Krys.)

Plot vs. Relationship. In an urban fantasy, plot always trumps relationship. It carries the bulk of the page time. The plot’s resolution is the book’s resolution, regardless of where the romance happens to be. In a paranormal romance—even one with a very strong UF plot line—the romance is the book’s resolution, no matter where the urban fantasy plot happens to be.

In my UF, the book ends when the bad guy who’s been causing trouble for 300 pages gets put down. The romantic relationships remain unresolved. There’s not even a hint of a happily-ever-anything. In my PNR, the book ends when the hero and heroine find their happily-for-now, even though the urban fantasy plot—the driving drama of the book—is not only unresolved, but in worse shape than it was when the book began. (That’s what series are for!)

Immortality. No, I don’t mean like vampires. I mean immortality from a writing standpoint. Who in your book is unkillable? In my UF, the heroine DJ is the only unkillable character. If she dies, there is no series. I love Alex and Jake and Jean Lafitte, but if any of them kicks off, the series can go on. They are not unkillable, in a literary sense.

By contrast, if Aidan or Krys dies a final death (because there’s always that “final death” thing to consider with vampires), there is no book. It’s over. In a paranormal romance, both the hero and heroine are unkillable, at least in any conventional sense of the word.

So, that’s what my late-night rumination on these genres produced. Other ideas on how these genres differ? Do you agree with these ideas?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Meet Author Lorna Suzuki

Lorna T. Suzuki, Author of Imago series.
Publishing is changing daily, but well written fascinating stories will always be  in demand. The opportunities we encounter as writers sometimes are by chance, others by design, but no matter how it comes about--as a writer you must seize the opportunity when and where it occurs.

I met Lorna, by chance. I caught one of her tweets, and read an interview with her and I knew I had to talk to her myself. She is self-published and her first book is being made into a movie (how utterly cool is that?!). I wanted to know how she did it, why she started writing--and what made her who she is. I couldn't fit all of that in this interview--but believe me, I fully intend to have her back. She is a fascinating, gracious woman and I am truly pleased to have her here to day.

Welcome to Romance Magicians Lorna!  Like I said I have so much to ask, its hard to decide where to start...so, lets start at the beginning:

Tell us a bit about your series--Imago. How many books are in the series?
The Imago Chronicles consists of seven novels, plus two more books, Imago Prophecy and Legacy, forming the prequels leading up to Imago Chronicles: Book One, A Warrior’s Tale. With an ensemble cast of characters, it features a female protagonist, Nayla Treeborn. Half human and half elf, she is denied by one race and shunned by the other, and to make matters worse, she immerses herself in the male-dominated arena of warriorship. Each novel is a very different story of her trials and tribulations trying to fit into a world that is rather intolerant of a halfling. You totally had me intrigued by her--just by her lineage and having to face adversity.

I was told what makes her unique amongst fantasy heroines is that she has no supernatural powers or superhuman strength. Instead, she is an ordinary woman faced with extraordinary circumstances, using her skills and smarts to defeat her opponents. This is fascinating--because I am guilty of writing heroines who have an ability--but this is very different. I like that.

The book soon to be a major motion picture!
While Nayla is a very intelligent, capable warrior, she is far from being infallible. There are events in this fantasy series that push her to the physical and mental breaking point, so readers are exposed to her vulnerable side, too. Which I think is important--because how you deal with it, survive it is just as important in how you fight it. I have this book and only just begun to read it. :)

Did you self publish it, go with an epublisher, or one of the big six? (and if you ePub'd it or self pubbed it--why?)   I initially chose to self-publish because it never occurred to me to publish through a traditional publisher. I was interested in doing nothing more than create a lasting gift for my daughter when she grows up. And that spoke to me on a very visceral level, because I have two daughters and what a legacy you have created.

I originally published in 2002 via Trafford, but I’ve basically pulled all my titles from this POD company, opting to go totally indie. I now make my print books available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, even through Coutts Library Services here in Canada via Lightning Source (they are partnered with book distributor, Ingrams). I make my ebooks available on Amazon and Smashwords, while the deluxe pdf version (looks just like the print books, complete with graphics, maps, pronunciation key, etc.) is available for purchase via my website. I bought this book on Amazon. I love your world building--that is what totally grabs me as reader and writer.

Since 2002, I’ve had couple nice multi-book deals offered by traditional publishing companies, but I turned them down. One came from Jessie Finkelstein who was an editor with Raincoast (the publisher of the Harry Potter series in Canada), but she asked if I’d be willing to rewrite the Imago series for a YA audience. I declined. This is what really, truly impresses---that you know yourself, your writing and you stand firm. I admire this. I think it can be easy to sacrifice this for that road to get published by a big traditional firm.  

Do you have an agent? if so who? If not, why? (I ask this because there are so many roads to publication)  I did have agents in the past. The last one was Jenoyne Adams of Bliss Literary Agency. She was a bestselling author and respected agent making some very impressive multi-book deals with some of the largest publishing companies in the USA. Eventually, we parted company when she dropped out of the literary/publishing scene. I used a wonderful entertainment attorney, Kim Roberts of Roberts & Stahl to negotiate my film deal. What made this work out so well for me is that Mr. Roberts is also a producer with Sepia Films so he has first hand knowledge when it comes to optioning moving rights. I like knowing that it is possible to move forward with or without an agent--but it is important to have someone who knows the business, especially a lawyer. I have more questions about this--but I will save this for a later interview. (See my diabolical plan to bring you back here?) 

What was the hardest thing for you to write? The easiest?  Hardest thing to write is great poetry. This, I dare not attempt! The easiest? I’d say writing epic fantasies are easier than poetry or writing a great short story or novella. I'm going to agree with you there. :) 

You are in the process of having the first in your series made into a movie--tell us a bit about this--did you have to shop it around?  Yes, my first three epic adult fantasy novels have been optioned for a major motion picture trilogy. A Warrior’s Tale is in development now! As for shopping it around? No, I wasn’t even seriously considering publishing on the traditional front when I started writing fantasy. I had a number of producers interested in optioning rights to this series, but for the executive producer, Michy Gustavia (she eventually negotiated rights), it was quite by accident she discovered my novels. Luck and destiny conspired, working in my favour when she happened to see an interview I did on MTV. I was doing a martial arts demo and talking about this novel. I suppose using my book as a weapon stuck in her mind. She bought the books and fell in love with the characters and stories. See, I call this chance! And I am intrigued about your martial arts (another thing I want to explore in another interview) and how it is incorporated into your stories.

With her connections to those in the film industry, Michy Gustavia brought on her friend, producer Ari Lantos of Serendipity Point Films (best known for the Oscar nominated Eastern Promises starring Viggo Mortensen and Golden Globe winners Barney’s Version and Being Julia). With these two young, dynamic producers at the helm, I’m confident A Warrior’s Tale is in good hands! You totally had me at "Eastern Promises" I *love* that movie. Viggo inspired my current hero...so I am even doubly excited about this movie of yours. This is truly phenomenal.  

Are you writing the screenplay or assisting?  I’ve been hired as the creative consultant. As for writing the screenplay? I left that to the professionals. Initially, the executive producer asked if I wanted a crack at writing the first draft of the movie adaptation, but I said ‘Thank you, but no.” It was a huge responsibility, one I was not prepared to take on. Writing a novel is very different from creating a screenplay and when you have people investing millions of dollars in this production, I’d rather not make my screenwriting debut on a major motion picture. Instead, the producer gave me the names of 5 A-List Hollywood screenwriters to choose from. It was a very impressive list as they were all Oscar winning or Oscar nominated for their works. However, I had another writer I wanted to recommend. I told her about a lesser known, but award winning Canadian screenwriter by the name of Michael Bruce Adams. When I explained that I love his style of storytelling and I knew he had read my novels and was as passionate about the characters and stories as she was, he was hired to write the first draft of the screenplay. What fascinates me and has me more than a little awed--is that they *listen* to what you are saying. You have done your homework on writers and you know what you are willing to take on.

I trusted Michael and we discussed key elements about the story and the characters. From there, he was set loose to create. I was asked to review the screenplay and offer feedback. Overall, it was awesome! Oh, now I am dying to see this movie! ;) 

You are part of this whole process of your book being made into a movie, what are your responsibilities?  According my entertainment lawyer Mr. Kim Roberts, many authors are excluded from the creative process for a number of reasons. I’ve been very fortunate in that the executive producer felt the best way to remain as true to the stories and characters was to have me involved in the big screen adaptation, so I was hired as the creative consultant. To date, I’ve reviewed the screenplay, offered feedback and reviewed over 1000 actors’ photo/resumes to compile a list of actors I felt was most suitable for the various roles. It’d be lovely if the casting director could sign on my entire list of dream actors, but this was done more so to narrow down the candidates for the principle and supporting roles. It was to make it easier for the casting director to select actors knowing right from the start whom I envision in terms of age, height, that certain look that made them believable as the character, etc. That is fascinating--and it shows how well you work with others. That you trust the people who have taken what you have created to make it into something visual--this is impressive. I think many writers fear what will happen when their books are in hands of others--this sounds like such a rich and positive experience.

Another responsibility in my contract is to make an appearance at the red carpet movie premiers.Ok, that's just plain cool. :)  

(For fun) Tea or coffee? Which do you prefer? I can’t  say I prefer one or the other. I like to have my daily ration of mocha latte in the morning to get my brain working, and then I’ll drink organic Silk Dragon Jasmine Green Tea or Chai tea. I love Mochas...but Jasmine tea is lovely. My family loves Chai. I'll remember that for future reference. ;)

Thank you so much for coming here today Lorna, it has been fun and a true pleasure to talk to you. I have many more questions--so know that I will be asking you to come back here again. I hope that everything continues to run smoothly with the movie. I hope to hear updates on it.

Instant Messaging: Twitter @LornaSuzuki

Author Bio: A fan of swashbuckling adventure novels by Alexandre Dumas of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo fame, Lorna Suzuki had noticed that it was always the men going off on great adventures and enjoying the camaraderie of a brotherhood. Most often, the women were portrayed as the damsels-in-distress.

In writing the Imago fantasy series, by adding a female protagonist, one that is reluctantly accepted into this brotherhood, the author drew on some of her own experiences as a woman in a once male-dominated field of law enforcement and martial arts to bring Nayla Treeborn the female warrior to life.

With over twenty-five years experience in various forms of martial arts, Suzuki is a 5th-dan practitioner and instructor of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, a martial arts system incorporating six traditional samurai schools and three schools of ninjutsu under Japanese Soke, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. Although Budo Taijutsu has a very long and rich history in Japan and is steeped in tradition, is only now growing in popularity. Practitioners of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu do not compete in the sports arena as the techniques incorporated into this system are used strictly for self-defense, never as a sport. To learn more about Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, please visit Shihan Phillip Legare's website @ www.shinkentaijutsu.com 

When Suzuki is not writing the next instalment of the Imago series or her new Young Adult Fantasy Series, The Dream Merchant Saga, she is a scriptwriter specializing in biographic documentaries for TV. Suzuki is also currently a consultant/scriptwriter on the PBS TV series ‘West Coast Adventures’.

In early 2011, the first three novels of the Imago Chronicles series were optioned for a major motion picture trilogy. Book One A Warrior’s Tale is now in development and full production is slated for 2012. 

She resides in the suburbs outside of Vancouver, BC with her husband Scott White, a talented videographer and Bujinkan Shidoshi, and her charming, young daughter Nia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet Melissa Keir, Author and Editor.


Melissa Keir
Today I am introducing to you a writer I met recently--on all places Facebook. I am beginning to find that writing is indeed a small world. I wanted to introduce her to everyone and hope you find her as delightful as I do!

Thank you for having me visit with you and your readers today. I’m so glad that I get to share my books with you.  They all have a special place in my heart, not unlike children. I understand that completely. Our books become family.
Since I am a curious sort, I have a few questions to ask:
Tell us about yourself--where do you live, kids? Day job?My life is a lot like the Brady Bunch.  We are a blended family with four children (two his and two mine) and two dogs. Unfortunately there isn’t an Alice in sight so I’m stuck doing all the cleaning and cooking!  At least I won’t be putting too much laundry detergent in the washing machine. J  Too funny!
We live in Michigan so we get to experience the beautiful four seasons and the construction season.  Michigan roads are always being worked on.  Many of the side roads are dirt roads.  Today the UPS man told me that we have a lake in our road because of the rain and a deep drop off in the road.  But it is one of the things you get used to here.  I used to live in Minnesota, so I completely understand. I do not miss the sub-zero winters at all.
I don’t believe in downtime.  I am a full-time elementary school teacher who teaches children to love reading and writing as well as an editor, published author and book reviewer.  I believe that you should never stop learning which is why I always remind my students that someday I will be that racecar driver, I’ve always dreamed of being! Ah, I like that you strive to do things--and experience life, that is important. I wish I had your energy.  :)
What genre do you write? Why?My books are currently contemporary romance.  I like writing about people who could be my best friend or my next door neighbor.  I would eventually like to branch out into different genres like paranormal but with my favorite authors being there (Laurell K. Hamilton, Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon), it is easier for me to not try to copy them but be myself.  I understand that. I wish I could write contemporary--I always have to throw in something strange in my stories...LOL. But I admire those who can.
Do you have an agent--why or why not? (I am seeing many people ask that question and I know the road to publication is different for everyone.) I don’t have an agent.  I think my story is one of luck.  I was working with a publishing house as an editor part time when the owner suggested that I write my own novel.  She read it and offered me a contract.  Yep, it was that easy.  But the publishing house went under.  The owner was having some medical family issues and had to close.  My heart was broken but I didn’t give up.  I ended up submitting my story to other publishers and they loved it.  I’ve kept writing since then and have found many wonderful publishers who are excited about my stories.  That is wonderful--success sometimes is by chance and tenacity. I really think its neat that you are an editor--I bet that helps with your writing (I am not very good at editing...lol)
All of my publishers are small independent publishing companies and I haven’t really thought about getting an agent yet because my profits are not there for my books yet. Eventually I would love to break into the big publishing houses and an agent would be helpful but for now, I’m doing what I love. I think that is the most important thing--you are writing and you love it. Bravo!
Speaking of, can you tell us a bit about your current book?
Protecting His Wolfe:
A lovely cover!
Betsie Wolfe was a small town girl who left her cozy little life for a job in the big city. She never expected to become a witness to a murder or face vicious threats. Detective Jonah Pigg was immediately attracted to Betsie’s lavender eyes and small frame huddled in the gray wool blanket when he arrived on the scene of the murder.
When threats on Betsie's life surface, Jonah takes her into his home under the protection of the three Pigg’s who own the Pigg Agency. It will take all of his detective work to keep her safe. Passion has a way of igniting when people are in stressful situations and lust leads Betsie and Jonah into each other’s arms. But is their relationship only a matter of desire or is it something more?
EXCERPT:
Finally fed up with the tension, she left her desk, shut down the lights in the office, and locked the door. With her small clutch purse in one hand, she started the lonely walk to her apartment, six blocks over from the employee parking garage. Someday, I’ll have enough money for a car of my own. She thought with envy. Maybe something in a green color but with good gas mileage.
So focused on the noises around her, Betsie tripped over a patch of broken concrete and went sprawling on the floor, her purse hit the concrete and one lipstick tube rolled across the garage floor. Crawling on her hands and knees, Betsie yelled at herself in her head for her accident. Oh no. Isn’t that my luck! Everything has gone wrong today! Where is my purse? What fell out?
Suddenly a car appeared around the back of the garage and screeches to a halt. The sounds of yelling and gunfire erupted in the silence of the parking garage. Diving flat on the ground, Betsie begins to say all the prayers she remembered from the past twenty-three years of Catholic Mass. As a body crashed to the ground, the black sports car with the silver trim drove away.
Betsie hid on the ground near the edge of a large blue sedan, praying no one could hear her. The silence after such a deafening noise grated on Betsie’s nerves. Without thought for herself, she rushed over to the body to see if they needed help.
“Oh, my, gosh, it’s Johnny from the warehouse. Johnny, Johnny, are you okay?” She placed her hands on his chest to see if he was still breathing, only to pull away abruptly when she felt the wetness of his shirt.
Looking down at her hands, “Oh no. Blood! Johnny!” But his death was as evident as the large hole in the front of his shirt gushing blood on the pavement.
“I can’t be caught here.” Betsie realized with the dead body beside her that the garage wasn’t a safe place.
After a long argument with her conscience over what was right and what might happen, Betsie found her purse with the office keys inside and went back into the office to call the police.

What is the hardest thing for you to write? What is the easiest?I think that the hardest thing for me to write is the sex scenes.  I want them to be realistic and romantic but sometimes I struggle with how to do that and when enough is enough. I love writing about the worlds and the characters.  Those are my easiest things to write about. Ah, I understand that about the sex scenes. Not the easiest at all--and I'm with you world building is one of my favorite things to do.
What genres do you read? or do you stick to the genre you write?I love to read just about any genre.  I’ve read everything from historical to futuristic, from erotica to inspirational.  But currently my favorite genre is the paranormal romance.  I love stories that feature strong characters and werewolves, shape shifters, witches, demons, angels, or vampires.  I love the idea that there is more out there in the world than we know. So do I. I adore reading that genre as well, because rules can change or there are no rules. I like that.
Do you have a favorite show or movie that inspires you?  I don’t have any movie or show that inspires me.  I love to watch movies but with the cost, we don’t go out much. I also don’t watch a lot of television.  Hawaii 50 is my new favorite show, along with the Big Bang Theory.  Hmm, I've watched bits of Hawaii 5-0, I particularly like the actors.... and Big Bang Theory--one show that does make me laugh. :)
Now the fun questions---coffee or tea?(I always ask that) I’m a once in a great while coffee drinker. It has to be that mocha coffee that has so much steamed milk and whipped cream in it that it doesn’t really taste like coffee.  Borders used to have a white chocolate raspberry kiss that was to die for.  I miss their coffee drink almost more than I miss their books!  But if you gave me a choice of anything that I wanted to drink, I am a soda drinker and I will chose that for breakfast even.  Although I’ve cut down to only one soda a day now.  J  That Chocolate Raspberry Kiss  coffee sounds divine for a cold day!
I appreciate your coming on today, it's been a pleasure, Melissa. :)
Thank you for having me on your blog MV.  I hope that your readers will check out my website and blog at www.melissakeir.com.  I have some wonderful upcoming contests and information that they won’t want to miss out on!
Author Bio: Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver.  Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines.  In middle school and high school, Melissa used to write sappy love poems and shared them with her friends and still has those poems today! In college her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.  
Melissa doesn’t believe in down time.  She’s always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer, an editor for a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Chat with Paranormal Romance Author, Lexi George

The lovely and gracious Lexi George
This week is RWA nationals. There are many writers that are packing up and getting ready to go to this major conference of epic proportions. As for me, I am not. But instead of languishing with envy, I decided to interview some very interesting Authors. If I can't go to Nationals, I can bring some very cool writers here to talk to.

The 2nd book coming out July 31, 2012
Today I managed to lure Lexi George to come and talk with me. She is one busy woman and I admire her  so much. Her second book is due out "Demon Hunting in the Deep South" out July 31, 2012 and I had to find out more about her series.

You've just wrapped up series about Demon Hunting in the south--tell us about the third book! Book three is called Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar.  The heroine, Rebekah Damian, runs a bar for supernaturals in Hannah, and falls in love with Conall, the captain of the Dalvahni warriors.  Here’s the blurb:
Rebekah Damian runs a bar for demonoids.  Shifters, werewolves, you name it—Beck has seen it all.

Or so she thinks.  

And then he walks into her place:  Conall Dalvahni, six feet plus inches of pure, hard, mean and macho male, a guy with an attitude and an ego to match.  Beck knows how to handle herself in a fight, but she can’t fight her attraction to Conall.  Captain Grim really pushes her buttons, in all the right ways.  But, fight it she must, because Conall is a demon hunter and Beck is half demon.  Talk about a match made in hell. 

Besides, Beck has her hands full running a bar for supernaturals.  On top of keeping the regulars happy and the norms out, she’s got a vegetarian zombie, a temperamental bear of a cook, and an upper crust snooty toot ghost who wants to turn her dive into an upscale piano bar. 

Oh, yeah, and a death knelling feline harbinger of doom known as the Wampus Kitty scaring the bejesus out of her customers.  She doesn’t have time for a condescending jerk of a demon hunter, even if he is the hottest guy she’s ever seen and she wants to climb him like kudzu.   

No good demon but a dead demon.  Some truths are immutable, as far as Conall is concerned.  Until he meets demonoid Beck Damian, the raven haired, violet eyed offspring of his age-old enemy, and she rocks his world.  The demons have discovered a weapon to defeat Conall and his brother demon hunters, a threat to the Dalvahni race and the worlds they protect.  Conall suspects some of the demonoids may be in league with the demons, a number that includes Rebekah’s twin brother. 

What about Rebekah?  Can he trust her?  Dare he trust her? 

Experience and logic tell him no.  But his newly awakened heart urges him to risk all, body and soul, for love. 

No due date yet for Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar, but it should be out sometime in 2013.  Can’t wait to see the cover for it.  Kensington has done a wonderful job with the first two books.  Oooh neither can I! (You'll see some of those covers posted below). This books sounds fabulous and I can hardly wait. I am sorta wicked to entice the readers even before the second book is out. :) Ahh, I like being wicked...
The 1st book in the series came out in 2011
What was your favorite thing about this series?  Everything!  I love the juxtaposition of the humorless, immortal demon hunters with our larger than life, zany Southern culture.  I also love the fact that just about anything can happen in Hannah, Alabama (and does!), which makes for fun writing.  Shifters?  Check.  Werewolves?  Yep.  A demigod who takes on the form of a giant white stag—when he’s not in human form streaking naked through the woods?  Yep again.  Vegetarian zombie?  Coming right up.  Crazed vet turned Chihuahua serial killer?  Uh huh.  The possibilities are endless.  You had me demigod and Vegetarian Zombie--Oh this sounds like too much fun. (and I snorted water through my nose when I saw a Chihuahua serial killer....)
What was the easiest thing to write? Believe it or not, the warriors are the easiest for me to write.  They’re alpha male demon hunters, extremely logical and no nonsense.  I can identify with that--and they're fun. :)
What is the hardest thing to write?  Sex scenes, without a doubt!  I want them to be emotionally satisfying and, and the same time, sensual and romantic.  Not an easy thing to do!  I agree with that too. They make me nervous to write.
What's on your burner for the future in writing?  More paranormal?  I have ideas for at least three more books in the demon hunter series, I’ve got a fantasy romance I would love to see published, and I’ve got several more paranormal ideas kicking around. That's fabulous--I want to see more of your writing out there.
What is on your TBR pile? (I'd love to know!)  The Hunger Games—haven’t had time to read it.  And books 3, 4, and 5 in George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series.  I’ve read books 1 and 2 and really enjoyed them, which is sort of weird, because I usually avoid dark stuff and Mr. Martin is definitely NOT sunshine and lollipops.  But, the books are so well-written and compelling I can’t resist. Oooh, George R.R. Martin's books are on my TBR. In fact I think the whole pile is now swaying. If you don't hear from me, then realize that the pile of books did fall and crush me. (Lets face it, for a reader/writer--awesome way to go). But I find it fascinating what you are reading.
Attending any conferences this year? Where?  Couldn’t make it to RWA this year, but I’m hoping to make it to Moonlight and Magnolias.  I am going to M&M, and I think its a great conference when you can't get to Nationals. I am looking forward to seeing you there. It will be festive!
Her novella came out in 2011
What is  your favorite fruit? (I like asking random questions like this)  I love all kinds of fruit, but if I had to pick one, I would have to say strawberries.  I can eat them until my head falls off.  ;-)Yum! I love strawberries, and blueberries...but my favorite is raspberries. There is something about berries--of all sorts that I adore.
Thank you so much for coming by and I hope to have you back again to talk more about this third book.
Author Bio: Lexi George is an appellate lawyer by day and a romance writer by night.  She started her writing career in the third grade penning bad poetry about hydrangea bushes and Erik the Red.  Ironically, she ended up marrying a Viking, a Northern boy who came to Alabama with the Air Force and stayed. 
She wrote poetry all through high school and college.  And then she decided to go to law school and the muse left in a huff.  The muse hated law school. 
The muse returned when Lexi’s oldest child was a toddler and Lexi has been writing ever since.  After piling up an impressive number of rejections on her first book, a fantasy romance that she worked on for more than ten years, Lexi decided to try her hand at something else.  The result was Demon Hunting in Dixie, a paranormal romance about demon hunters in the Deep South

The second book in the series Demon Hunting in the Deep South, come out July 31st.  Lexi has a novella in the Kensington anthology, So I Married A Demon Slayer.  Book three, Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar, comes out some time in 2013.

The muse is very happy, and so is Lexi.

Visit Lexi on Facebook and Twitter and check out her website at www.lexigeorge.com
Lexi’s books are available from:  Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BooksaMillion.com, indieBound.org, borders.com, or your favorite retailer.




Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 25, 2012 - BOOK SIGNING


Almost 500 romance authors will be there signing books on July 25 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Click on the picture and you can see the chart with all the names and where they're located.

The following Southern Magic members will be there!

Jennifer Echols
Debby Giusti
Lynn Raye Harris
Laura Hayden
Debbie Kaufman
Kimberly Lang
Carla Swafford

Come and visit us!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting it right

I just hate it when I'm proofing a manuscript, just about ready to hit the "send" button, and spot an incorrectly used word. Or worse -- I spot it after I hit the send button.

There are a few pretty common words that I have to look up every time I want to use them. They taunt me. I don't know why my brain refuses to admit them to my vocabulary.

Here are a few of the little tormentors:

accept, except: Accept is a verb, meaning "receive." Except is usually a preposition or conjunction meaning "but for" or "other than;" when it is used as a verb, it means to "leave out."

anxious, eager: Anxious means "nervous" or "worried" and is usually followed by about. Eager means "looking forward" and is usually followed by to.

farther, further: Farther refers to additional distance, and further refers to additional time, amount, or other abstract matters.

its, it's: Its is the pronoun it in the possessive case; it's is a contraction for "it is."

lose, loose: Lose means "mislay;" loose means "unrestrained" and "not tight."

sensual, senuous: Sensual suggests sexuality; sensuous means "pleasing to the senses."

your, you're: Your is the possessive form of you; you're is the contraction of you are.

How about you? Are there any annoying little words that like to trip you up?

(Examples and definitions are from The Little, Brown Handbook -- a fabulous albeit expensive -- grammar and usage resource.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

That All Important One Line

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Can't Take It With You

My father was fond of saying "I've never seen a Brinks truck in a funeral procession yet."

It was his way of saying "You can't take it with you."

He was a very sensible man about money, far more than his only daughter has ever been. He was one of the hardest working men I have ever known and his mission in life was to provide for his family. We were never rich, but there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads.

That being said, he often splurged on things - trips, jewelry for Mom, antiques or one of a kind experiences - and when he was questioned about the expense he'd say "They can steal your money. Put the things you want to keep in the places they can't get to - your heart, your memories, your soul."



I'll confess I had forgotten those particular words of wisdom over the years. One of my Mom's funny encounters brought them back to my mind. Her dry cleaner is a philosophical Hindu gentleman with whom she discusses religion every time she visits his business. The image of my Holiness raised strict Methodist mother discussing religion with a devout Hindu always makes me smile. Recently he told her the story of an ancient king who after a long reign lay dying. He told his ministers to place him in his ornate casket with his hands hanging open outside the lid. He wanted his people to know that in death you leave as you came into the world - empty handed.



 Writers are well-acquainted with the concept of EMPTY! Empty pages, empty hours staring at a blank page, empty pages. And those of us who go the extra mile and attend workshops or conferences or do any number of other things to pursue our dreams are more than well-acquainted with the concept of empty bank accounts.





Want to know a secret? As writers we have more treasure than King Tut's tomb and the most important thing we need to realize is - we can't take it with us. What treasure? Our stories! Our stories are gifts - given to us by a muse, or God, or a guardian angel or whatever creature you believe puts those scenes and chapters and tales into your head. Some of them spring up and demand to be told. Some of them lie in a treasure chest waiting for us to find the key and bring them out into the light. Some of them are stuck in a deep, dark hole filled with quicksand and we know we'll need a backhoe and a mule team to get them onto paper.



The world of publishing is changing. It gets tougher every day. Many of us have files and files of story ideas - books we want to write, books we want to sell. And sometimes when things get tough we decide those stories will just have to stay unwritten in those little boxes because it is just too hard, or nobody will ever buy them anyway, or there are just too many stories out there how will anyone notice mine? I have had days like that, trust me. I have had whole weeks and months like that, especially lately. Not anymore.

Thanks to a little Hindu man and the almost forgotten words of my father I have come to realize something. My stories have value. When I am gone, they may well be the only thing I leave behind worth anything. And even if that value is only enjoyed by one person or a dozen people I owe it to the giver of gifts to be sure I don't take those stories with me.

Every bit of talent and desire I have ever had to create, whether in my musical career or in my writing career, came from somewhere. It was a gift. I didn't earn it. I got lucky. What I choose to do with those gifts is up to me. And I think to waste them might just be a sin. I came into this world empty-handed. When it comes to my stories that's how I intend to go out. I'll leave them all here and trust they will find their purpose.

Nothing will get in my way - not the ever changing business, not the weariness born of a soul-sucking day job, not the negativity of other writers worn down by the rough road writing puts us on, not rejection or my own limitations. I can't take them with me. I'll leave them all here. As many as I can until I'm too old and senile to remember what POV or internal conflict are. My treasures won't be a fancy house, a fancy car or the things in which people put so much store.

What I take with me will be those things I can store in my memory, my heart and my soul. Things like the help of my fellow writers, my memories of RWA National Conferences, nice things said by people I respect about my writing, the things I've learned and seen along the way. What I leave behind will be the stories I have been blessed with and the knowledge that somewhere someone will learn something or get enjoyment from the stories I've told. Isn't that what stories are for? To be told?    




Monday, July 16, 2012

Introducing Harlequin Desire Author Andrea Laurence


Hey everyone. Thank you for having me here today. I'm very excited to get the word out about my latest release – More Than He Expected.

Today, we're going to talk about fears. Yes, fears. Everyone has them. Sometimes they are a rational, self-preserving fear, like the fear of fire or snakes. Sometimes, they're not so rational. Personally, I have a strange list of fears. I'm not bothered by snakes, spiders or rats. Obviously, I'd rather avoid poisonous ones and getting bitten, but they don't bother me as a whole. I had a friend with a red-tailed boa constrictor when I was in high school. Her name was Lily. She was six foot long and liked to curl up next to you on the couch and watch TV. Creeped out yet? Sorry. That's stuff doesn't bother me.

My fears fall solidly in the irrational category for the most part. I read Stephen King far too young, so I have a basic fear of clowns and storm drains. In the clown category, you can add dolls that talk or have googly-eyes, puppets and marionettes. Nope. Don't do them. I'm probably the only kid that broke out into hysterics during the goat puppet scene in the Sound of Music. Googly-eyed marionette! "Yo-da-lay-hee-hoo." Ugh.

I have two other fears that I feel are rational, but most folks would disagree. The first is squid. The fear developed in my freshman zoology lab where we dissected one and I discovered it had a large, parrot-like beak. And that those 'suction cups' are actually lined with little teeth that sink into the skin of its prey and hold it in place. Squid are aggressive, mean, and are thought to grow more than 20 feet long. I had a panic attack in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum when I ran across their preserved juvenile squid that ran along an entire corridor. No thank you. My answer to this issue, of course, is to stay out of the ocean. That has worked well for me so far, aside from mean friends sending me squid videos, squid pictures and threatening me with squid toys.

My other fear is harder to avoid. Flying. I really hate to fly. I do it 3-4 times a year without fail, but I don't like it. The slightest turbulence gets me saying the Our Father. If we actually hit an air pocket, I'm screaming. It's really embarrassing. I try to read, put in headphones, try to focus on anything but the fact that I'm zooming through the air in a tin can at 30,000 feet.

In my debut, What Lies Beneath, my heroine faces one of my fears. No, not squid - a plane crash. That was so hard to write. I cut off the scene early for my own self-preservation. Personally, I just couldn't write the emotional and mental upheaval of a person facing death like that. Since squid are a little hard to work into a book, in More Than He Expected, I played on my character's fears instead — Alex is a dedicated playboy with no interest in ever starting a family. So of course, I confront him with a pregnant ex-lover and his world turns upside down.

What are your fears? Irrational or otherwise? I find I'm usually not alone in the clown/puppet camp.

Andrea

MORE THAN HE EXPECTED
July 2012, Harlequin Desire

The Exception to the Rule

Playboy Alex Stanton likes his relationships short and without strings.  But his fiery fling with Gwen Wright left him craving more.  So when a holiday weekend getaway provides an opportunity for another taste of the tantalizing woman, he grabs it.  Only, things have changed since their last encounter…. 

Besides being noticeably pregnant, Gwen insists she’s sworn off men.  As if the challenge weren’t tempting enough, Gwen’s enticing new curves have made the sexy spitfire even more appealing.  But how can the footloose bachelor hang on to his heart when he can’t stop longing for the soon-to-be mama?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July Release


Demon Hunting in the Deep SouthThe warrior and the wallflower . . .

Shy, self-conscious Evie Douglass tries to stay under the radar, especially when her nemesis Meredith Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is anywhere around. Meredith and her bitch posse of skinny girlfriends have tormented Evie since the seventh grade, calling her names like The Whale and Thunder Thighs.

Evie tries to stay invisible, but that’s not an easy thing for a plus-sized gal to do in a small town like Hannah, Alabama. She finds it doubly hard to avoid Meredith’s wrath once she takes a job at the lumber mill. You see, Meredith’s husband is Evie’s new boss. Translation: more torture time for The Death Starr.
Evie thinks things couldn’t get much worse until the morning she finds Meredith’s bloody body sprawled across her desk. Typical Meredith, she gets herself dead mere days after a very public scene in which Meredith accuses Evie of having an affair with her husband. Worse, the murder weapon is found in Evie’s car.

Suddenly, Evie is the Number One suspect in a sensational murder case. But she’s got bigger problems. Hannah is infested with demons—soul sucking, body snatching creatures of evil—and, for some reason, they want Evie. The only thing standing between Evie and death or possible possession is a hunky blond demon slayer named Ansgar.
Ansgar is a Dalvahni warrior, a supernaturally gorgeous race whose sole purpose is to hunt down and capture rogue demons.

Evie could almost swear that Ansgar is interested in more than demons. He seems interested in her. Ridiculous, of course, because he’s sex on two legs and she’s…
Well, she’s Whaley Douglass.

To add to Evie’s troubles, Meredith doesn’t even have the decency to stay dead. She shows back up as a ghost and she’s more of a beyotch than ever. Meredith has deathnesia—she can’t remember who killed her—leaving Evie to solve the mystery herself, or go to jail for a murder she didn’t commit.


Friday, July 13, 2012

The Emotional Stages of Writing a Novel

A little Friday fun to inspire you over the weekend!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Do you or don't you?

If you want to be a writer, keep a journal. 
Of all the pieces of advice I’ve been offered, this particular gem was the easiest to discard. Possibly because no one ever told me why it was so important. 
I’ve tried, off and on. 
I started journaling because I was told I could mine the depths of my imagination that way. 
Attempt #1. Morning notes. 
First thing in the morning, grab your preferred writing tools and jot down whatever comes to mind. 
What I learned was that, though I do not consider myself musical, rarely listen to the radio, and do not use a clock radio--I wake every morning with a song in my head. Mostly Top 40. Sometimes Broadway.
I stopped journaling because I bore me. 

* * *
I started journaling again because I’m supposed to. 
Attempt #2. Random writing. 
Sit down and write out your thoughts as a warm-up to the real work of writing a story. 
I write a pretty good rant. I can complain about my [redacted.] Before I’ve transitioned into the WIP of the day--oops. I’ve run out of time. 
I stopped journaling because I didn’t see any good in it.  

* * * 
I started journaling again--and maybe this time I’ll keep it up--because finally, I may have discovered a solid reason for it. 
Attempt #3. Data gathering. 
Record raw facts about the ordinary tedium of the day. 
I’ve already learned that navel-gazing is boring and that a rant is not and never will be a story. 
This time, I’m looking for life lessons. I can’t assign meaning to today’s crazy-making event. But in a year or ten, I hope to look at my notes and spot a character arc. 
I wonder, if I had a record of what I was thinking when I was 25, whether it would be easier now to create well-rounded characters. I remember some stuff, but I think we all revise history because things we do and say are reshaped by the filter of all that has happened since. I want the raw material. 
When I write a story, I need a character who starts out with set of one opinions, and through a course of challenging events, changes and grows. At the end of the story, I want my reader to understand what happened. I don’t think the reader will ever get it if I don’t. So for now, I’m journaling in a quest for the truth.
What about you? Did anyone ever advise you to journal? Did they say why? Did I miss the point because, once again, I was too stubborn to listen? 
Do you journal? Why or why not? Please share!