Tag Archives: writing

Jeffe Kennedy: The Future of Fantasy Romance

Jeffe Kennedy’s third book in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy releases today. She’s here to chat about the fantasy romance genre and share a bit about her new book, Rogue’s Paradise. Welcome, Jeffe!

“It’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in”

Thanks to Jill for hosting me today, on the release day of Rogue’s Paradise!

Jill and I are both members of RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special interest chapter (FFP). We’ve been having a lively discussion on our chapter loop lately about genre and how to categorize our own books.

This kind of question comes up fairly frequently, particularly from newer writers wondering how to describe their books in query letters or in choosing genre categories in self-publishing. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in. We generally write the stories and THEN figure out what to call it. Jill also writes what she calls “genre-bending fantasy.”

That said, it’s interesting to me to have this trilogy culminate at a time when the genre, Fantasy Romance, is considered “hot.” At the risk of sounding like I’m groaning out an old, sad tale about walking to school in hip-deep snow, uphill, both ways , when I wrote the first book, Rogue’s Pawn, Fantasy Romance wasn’t really a genre. Certainly not one I was aware of.

I know this because for a long time, I shopped that book as Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. And it was politely explained to me (sometimes less so, as one agent sent me away in tears) that it was neither. When Carina Press bought the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, they called it Fantasy Romance. I swear that was the first time I was aware of the genre, though I had been reading other books classified that way. Rogue’s Pawn was only the tenth book at Carina to be published in that genre, in July of 2012, just over two years after Carina launched their first books.

Now, with Rogue’s Possession, the second book in the trilogy, finaling in FFP’s PRISM contest (though as Fantasy – even WE don’t recognize Fantasy Romance as a separate category yet!), and Rogue’s Paradise coming out today, I often hear my Covenant of Thorns trilogy cited as “classic” fantasy romance. Or, at least, as a solid example of the genre.

In our discussions on the FFP loop, I described myself as an interdimensional being who straddles genres, (we get to talk that way in FFP) especially since my other current trilogy is called Fantasy. One of our other members suggested the term “interstitial genres” – which, if you know biology, is a great choice. It would be interesting to trace the history of which books were first dubbed “Fantasy Romance.” Amusingly the Wikipedia link for Fantasy Romance redirects to Romantic Fantasy (last updated August 2014) – not the same thing at all.

At any rate, it’s so fun to have this trilogy culminate at this time, with so many wonderful writers doing great things with fantasy stories in all types of settings and romantic flavors.

It feels like a big party.

~throws confetti~

~twirls~

Jill’s Thoughts:

Every time these discussions come up about subgenre definition, I think of the last scene from Back to the Future when Doc says, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” lol.

Ah, if only it were that simple.

 I’m always tempted to call the Noon Onyx books “Fantasy” (which is what the spine says they are) and be done with it, but I also know it’s important to give readers information to help them decide if they want to read a book. And the fewer words a writer uses to do that, the better. So labels and genre definitions can be helpful. But they can also be limiting and misleading.

My books are genre mutts, full of fantasy (they’re set in an imaginary world), urban fantasy (the focus of the stories is the main character, a magic-wielding woman), and romance elements (there are several suitors and lots of emotion and inner conflict regarding Noon’s relationships). And, because the stories are written in the youthful, first person voice of a twenty-something postgrad, I even played around with the New Adult label. Plus each book in the series has drawn from the well of these other genres: mystery, adventure/quest, and legal thriller. Gah! See why I want to call up Doc and borrow his DeLorean?

Jeffe mentioned these discussions regarding subgenre definition come up fairly frequently among writers. Yep, too true. But, even though I joke about calling up Doc, I love discussing this stuff. In fact, just last week I was swapping emails with some of the writers who will be doing the Dark Fantasy Panel with me at the upcoming Baltimore Book Fest. Betcha can guess what one of the things we were discussing was. Yep, the future of dark fantasy and what the heck that label is supposed to mean. :-D

More About Rogue’s Paradise

Rogue's ParadisePregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.

The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?

Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

 More About Jeffe

Jeffe KennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

What sort of stories do you think of when you hear the term “fantasy romance”? Have you read any books that would fit that description? In addition to Jeffe’s Covenant of Thorns trilogy, two authors to try might be C.L. Wilson and Amy Raby.

Congratulations and best wishes, Jeffe. Thank you for guest blogging today!

Rogues Paradise Banner


#Writing #Workshops for September

Below are the online workshops being offered in September by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop in 2015, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines.

Novel Perspectives

09/01/2014 to 10/01/2014

Examine your storytelling process from start to finish.  Whether you are a total “newbie” or an author of 30 novels, you can find tricks and processes that will challenge and freshen your productivity.  No one wants to be a forgettable copycat.  A change of approach to every aspect of your fiction writing may just be the spark you need at this moment in time.  Take the journey will multi-published Sally Walker in ten steps to creating a novel.

About the Presenter, Sally J. Walker

Born to poor farm folk in the little rural community of Exira, Iowa, Sally attended many schools in western Iowa and the Omaha, Nebraska, area.  She eventually graduated from Papillion (NE) High School then nursing school at the University of Albuquerque and, eventually received a BFA in Creative Writing back at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  That degree was accomplished while working full-time as a Critical Care/ER nurse and raising a very active family of three daughters with her engineer husband.  Adeptly juggling family, nursing, civic and Episcopal church responsibilities, Sally founded in 1985 and has conducted the weekly meetings of the eclectic Nebraska Writers Workshop www.nebraskawritersworkshop.info  to feed her own hunger for in-depth knowledge and skills. The Workshop has grown from a few tentative to over 50 confidently publishing and produced writers. Her own goal-oriented writing ethic has resulted in a vitae packed with novels, short stories, poetry, magazine articles, stage plays, screenplays and a variety of writing seminars.  In 2000 she was hired as part-time Editorial Director at The Fiction Works www.fictionworks.com and Script Superviser for the affiliated Misty Mountain Productions www.mistymtnproductions.com . After retiring from her nursing career of over 30 years, she was elected President of the prestigious Nebraska Writers Guild www.nebraskawriters.org, serving 2007-2011.

Cost: FFP Members:$30.00/Non-Members: $35.00

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

So you want to self-publish…

09/07/2014 to 09/21/2014

Book publishing is an ever-changing proposition. As a professional formatter and author, I’m always looking to make my books and the books I format look their best, while taking as little time as possible to do so (otherwise there just wouldn’t be enough hours in the day to get everything done). To that end, I use a combination of techniques to format—a mix of old and new, if you will (the old being all of six months old!).

In this class you’re going to learn how to format a book and publish it.

What many new authors (or authors new to self-publishing) don’t realize is the number of steps and details involved in this process. Each day of the course we’re going to explore one piece of the puzzle. Beginning with exactly what goes into a book and how to prep it for publication, moving through cleaning your document and coding it into HTML (for maximum control and the creation of a well-designed book), to converting it into an epub and mobi file for e-publishing, how to create a Word document for Smashwords publication, and a PDF for print on demand through CreateSpace. From there we’ll talk about actually publishing your book to the various retailers, ISBNS, copyrighting your work and I’ll even touch briefly on marketing. By the end of the course you will have worksheets and checklists to guide you through the process today and every time you have a book ready.

Are you ready to publish? Then you need to take this class to find out exactly how to tackle this project with ease.

About the Presenter, Meredith Bond

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart”, Meredith’s paranormal romances include Magic In The Storm, Storm on the Horizon, and the short story “In A Beginning”. Her traditional Regencies include The Merry Men Quartet of which An Exotic Heir and A Dandy In Disguise have recently been republished. Meredith also teaches writing at her local community college. If you want a taste of her class in book form, Chapter One is available at your favorite e-retailer.

Want to know more? Come visit Meredith at her website, http://www.meredithbond.com or chat with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meredithbondauthor) or Twitter (@merrybond). If you’d like to be one of the first to know of Meredith’s new releases, join her no-spamming email list here http://meredithbond.com/blog/newsletter-sign-up/.​

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Enchanted England during the Dark Ages

09/08/2014 to 09/21/2014

Fantasy writers, this workshop is for you. MM Pollard will bring enchanted England to you through her lively lectures on four topics: Forest Magic, Plant Magic, Wells of Wisdom, and Spirit Nights.

MM uses information on Celtics and Anglo-Saxons as the basis for this workshop because these people believed magic could be found everywhere. They looked no farther than the forest, plants, and wells and found magic in all three. Nights were especially filled with magical beings and magical occurrences.

At the end of the workshop, MM hopes students will feel the same sense of the magical world around them that the Celts and Anglo-Saxons experienced more than a millennium ago. With the knowledge her students will gain in this workshop, they will be able to add touches of the magical to their fantasy characters and worlds.

About the Presenter, MM Pollard

MM Pollard puts her teaching skills as English teacher extraordinaire and her experience as editor with Black Velvet Seductions to good use in presenting workshops for writers. She has helped many writers improve their language and writing skills through her fun workshops sponsored by Savvy Authors, Writers Online Classes, many RWA chapters, and in her own virtual classroom. MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of English.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


#Writing: Buildingbuilding – Overwhelmed by Worldbuilding? Try a more focused approach…

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately worldbuilding. Or rather, buildingbuilding. One of the projects I’ve had waiting in the wings needed to be taken to the next step. And the main setting for this story is a building, not a world. Since the Noon Onyx novels have such a sprawling setting, designing a smaller set that’s interesting enough to serve as the backdrop for two novels (the intended length of the project) is challenging, but one I’ve taken on happily. Since I haven’t posted in a while, I figured I’d share some thoughts about my buildingbuilding process. It’s too early, however, to share the building from my WIP, so I’m going to use my somewhat silly water tower as the building example for this post.

Here are some of the things I consider as I build a building that will serve as a significant set for one of my stories:

Name

Not all buildings need names, but if your building is going to be a big part of your story, consider giving it a proper name. The first thing I did when trying to think of a name for my MC’s home was a search for “famous water towers.” I wasn’t sure what I’d find. Maybe nothing. But the internet instantly delivered inspirational info. This link takes you to a list of the 10 Coolest Water Towers. (Who knew, right? Some of you may be in the business of constructing water towers, but for the rest of us, lists like this are a nice surprise). So I glanced through the pics. They looked neat. Whimsical. Interesting.

But I don’t want to use any of these water towers exactly. I want to build a water tower for my story that’s unique. So I decided the water tower should look like a light bulb. And it should be painted yellow – as in, American cheese colored yellow. (If you’re wondering why a light bulb or American cheese, see my Unspiration post where this cockamamie story idea first originated).

I decided to name the water tower The Edison.

Purpose

The water tower in my sample story isn’t going to store water. It’s going to be the main character’s home. Its purpose is to serve as living space. So I searched the internet for water towers that had been converted to residential use. Again, wasn’t sure what I’d find. But this link from i09 (People Who Live Inside Water Towers) popped up as the first result when I searched “converted water towers.” I’ll admit, I was both excited and disappointed. The post is terrific; the pictures are awesomely cool. But my water tower as personal residence idea wasn’t as original as I’d thought.

Writers (and readers who are interested in this sort of thing), this happens all the time. You think your ideas are amazing and unique… but they aren’t. This is only one of a gazillion places where your story idea will be tested. You have two choices: ditch your idea in favor of finding something more original that still suits your story purposes or continue using your not-as-fresh-as-you-thought idea. I decided that living in a water tower is still a pretty cool idea even if I’m not the first person to have thought of it. I’m going to stick with it.

History

My water tower isn’t being used to store water anymore. Why not? Here is where the building’s history becomes backstory. Some of this work may show up in your final manuscript, but a lot of it won’t. I started out researching why a town might abandon its water tower. I learned that the main purpose of a water tower is to maintain a constant pressure in the town’s water supply rather than supply the water directly. Interesting, but a distraction. I could have been sucked into researching how water towers work for the next half-hour or more.

But I didn’t want to get side tracked so I decided on an easy answer: the water tower was abandoned after a new one was built. (This idea also generated a possible plot idea. Maybe The Edison is scheduled for demolition. Maybe – a la Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – the main character has to find a way to save her home by moving it somewhere else.)

Façade

What does the building look like on the outside? Since it’s fairly easy to imagine a water tower that looks like a light bulb, I’m not going to spend too much time describing The Edison.  It’s worth noting here that, even though my stories focus on characters, I more often print out pictures of places when I’m writing, which I then tack up in my office to convey a particular tone or mood. The more easily I can imagine the environment that my character exists in, the more easily I can imagine what that character is thinking, feeling, and doing inside of it.

The Edison (Beware of Nutria)

Floor plan

What does your building look like on the inside? For me, this stage is driven by two considerations: the story’s needs and verisimilitude. I need the interior of my building to provide whatever rooms, hidden caches, darkened alcoves – whatever – that are required for the plot. And I want my buildings grounded in reality. The best fantasy feels like it could be real but for the fantasy elements.

So for my water tower I searched “water tower residence floor plans.” The results were interesting enough but not as inspiring as I wanted. So I searched “tree house floor plans.” That yielded all sorts of fascinating shapes and ideas to build on. I started with three basic areas (eating, sleeping, bathing) and then considered a few others based on my (albeit completely silly) story idea: a playroom for the nutria, a library for a collection of books on Varmit Crimes and Misdemeanors, a zip line hung between two old telephone poles…

I’m not going to share my rough floor plan drawing because it’s horrible. But my buildingbuilding process isn’t. If nothing else, going through this exercise for just one of the buildings in your WIP will give you a more fully fleshed out setting for at least one of your scenes. It might also give you a chance to see your WIP from a different perspective, which can generate all sorts of new plot ideas.

Writers, do you have a “buildingbuilding” process? How do you build the buildings within which your scenes take place?

I hope everyone’s writing is going well! I’ll be posting more about what else I’ve been up to later.


C.L. Wilson: Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing

Bestselling fantasy author C.L. Wilson is wrapping up her blog tour for THE WINTER KING, her newest fantasy romance. I met Ms. Wilson years ago at a writer’s conference before I was published. We only chatted for a few minutes, but I remember how nice she was. And how terrific her books sounded. So I’m very happy to host her for her last stop where she shares ten of the things she’s learned since she started writing. She’s also offering a tour-wide giveaway: one copy of her book and a winter white rose snow globe pendant (pictured below; U.S. only). Welcome, C.L.!

The Winter King, C.L. Wilson, fantasy, romance

Ten Things I’ve Learned

Since I Started Writing

by C.L. Wilson

I penned (or, rather, penciled) my first story at age 5-6, completed and submitted my first novel at 21, joined RWA in the late ‘80’s, early 90’s, and sold my first book in 2006 (published in 2007).  Since 2007, I’ve hit the USA Today, NY Times, Publisher’s Weekly, had my (former) publisher go bankrupt and close its doors, seen over half of the US bookstores go out of business, and seen the rise of ebooks and self-publishing totally change the publishing landscape, and returned to publishing after three and a half years away to find everything dramatically different than it was in 2011.

10. Never stop reading. 

Read a lot.  Always.  Love of writing stories begins with love of reading stories, so reading is something writers should make time to do every day. And you should read outside your own genre, too.  This is important.  It’s something I often forget, simply because I love reading the genres I write most of all, but reading outside your own genre is akin to thinking outside the box.  You’ll never know what is going to spark that next unique idea, so broadening your reading horizons is a great way to prep your brain for making interesting new leaps and connections! Now, with ebooks, I have an extensive library that is always with me on my cell phone, iPad, and Nook.

9. Build a Circle of (Writer) Friends.

No one understands the ups and downs of being a writer as much as other writers.  No one can help you celebrate the successes and get through the downturns like other writers.  I have a close, tight-knit circle of writer friends—my BFFs—with whom I share everything.  I wouldn’t be published without them.  We brainstorm, help each other when we’re stuck, laugh, cry, support each other when our books come out, and generally act as confidant, safety net, cheer squad, commiseration crew, and all-around besties for one another.  My life is so much richer for having this circle of friends in it.

8. Learn how long it takes you to write a book BEFORE you sell one. 

I wish I’d learned this before I sold, but between the day job, family, and the constant shuffling of priorities, I didn’t know.  I still don’t.  I’m getting better at it though.  One way to estimate is to track your word count every time you write.  Figure out about how many words you write per hour on average, and how many hours per week you write on average.  That will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to write a rough draft of say, 100,000 words. (or 150,000 in my case!)

7. Learn to call for help when you get stuck. (See Circle of Friends above). 

For me, I can get (and have gotten) stuck for weeks, even months at a time, and you can’t afford to do that while under deadline, so you need to set a time limit on the “I can figure this out myself” part of your “writer’s block” and call in reinforcements when needed.  A few minutes on the phone with a friend, a few probing questions about plot, character motivation, etc., and even if the friend doesn’t come up with the answer, her questions help you figure it out yourself!

6. Keep learning.

No matter how much you know about writing, about publishing about anything, there’s always something new to learn.  Keep asking questions, keep listening, keeping learning about the craft and the industry.

5. Remember, once you’re published, writing is a business, and you are the business owner!

As much as I wish I could just write a book and forget about the rest, that’s not how being a published author works.  You need to learn how the publishing business works.  You need to learn how to promote your work (and that includes how NOT to promote your work).  You need to understand how to read contracts so you know what you’re signing. (Having an agent helps a lot for contracts and negotiations, but at the end of the day, it’s your name on the contract, not hers.)  Once you’re published, writing can’t be that thing you do when the muse strikes.  It has to be that thing you do even when you have to drag your muse kicking and screaming out of whatever fluffy, warm bed she’s snuggled into to hibernate!

4. Keep the day job!

Contrary to popular opinion, most published authors don’t make enough money from their work to live on.  Even being a New York Times bestseller doesn’t guarantee you’re pulling down a six-figure or even a high-five-digit salary (especially these days).  And with print publishing, royalties are paid out over the course of three or more years, not months.  My college writing professors told me that only approximately 30% of all authors support themselves on their writing.  I’m not sure what the statistics are today, but I don’t think things have changed that much.

3. Understand that no matter how great your book is, someone out there is going to hate it. 

And they’re going to get on the internet and tell everyone who will listen just how awful your darling masterpiece is.  This remains the hardest thing for me.  No matter how many books I have published, or how many people love those books and give it rave reviews, having someone who didn’t love one of my books go online to shred that book to bits…well, it hurts.  So when I see that someone is about to take a butcher knife to my baby, I turn and walk away.  Don’t want to see it.  Can’t let that negativity into my creative space.  I’m hard enough on myself as it is without piling on other people’s criticism to boot.  It does nothing to help my writing and it does a whole lot to hurt it.  So, as my son says, Swerve!

Apart from that, there is one other trick I’ve learned to help put bad reviews in perspective.  I’ve done it many times.  The trick is this: I go to an online bookstore, and pull up one of my all time favorite books (books I think are sheer masterpieces, books that made me swoon, books I’ve read until the pages are falling out).  Then I go to the 1 star reviews for that book and I read them. It helps me realize that no matter how perfect a book is, if enough people read it, somewhere out there, someone is going to despise that book as much as I adore it. Makes no sense to me, but they do.

2. Power Hour really works.

Among my Circle of Friends (see above), there are about 5 of us who get together 3-4 hours of every day to write.  We conference call each other at pre-determined times and report in our starting word counts. (Cell Phones are GREAT for this – but divvy up who is conferencing whom into the call so you don’t run out of minutes) Then the phone goes off, and we write.  During Power Hour, we do not get on Facebook, we do not answer email, we do not text or take phone calls or allow interruptions.  We Write.  At the end of the hour, we conference call back in to report our ending word counts. You’d be shocked how much we get done.   A little friendly competition goes a long way…and so does knowing your friends are counting on you to write with them, even when you’d rather sleep in or read that book that’s calling to you.  Plus we get to chat with our Circle of Friends several times a day, every day, and that is worth my weight in international long distance minutes! (which is to say, a LOT!) Those of us used to working 8-12 hours or more a day are making the same daily word count in 3-4 hours with Power Hours.  Wow.  That leaves us free to spend the rest of the time devoted to my next Lesson I’ve Learned….

1. Make Time for Other Things. 

It’s very easy to let a job you love consume you (especially when you work from home). Refilling the well is a vital activity for every creative person.  Find things away from writing and your computer that relax you, challenge you, make you happy.  Make time for family, friends, and yourself, too!  How can you refill the creative well if you’re constantly draining it dry?

Life is meant for living…so live it!  And love it!  Find your happiness where you can and thank whatever high power you believe in for every glorious new day.

More About The Winter King

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when Falcon, the prince of Summerlea, stole Wynter’s bride and murdered his young brother, Wynter vows vengeance. Calling upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart, he gathers his armies and marches against Summerlea, crushing their armies and spreading icy winter in his wake.

After three long, bitter years of battle, Summerlea is defeated and Wynter comes to the heart of the kingdom to issue his terms for their surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth of love and melt the Ice Heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will turn her out in the ice and snow of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters. All the while, Wynter will enjoy the vengeance of knowing the Summer King will suffer each day without his beloved daughter(s), as Wynter suffers each day without his own beloved brother.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond.

Blamed as a child for the death of her beloved mother, Khamsin Coruscate, the forgotten princess of Summerlea, has spent her life hidden from the world like an embarrassing secret. Dressed in cast-off gowns and left to her own devices, with only the determination of her loyal nursemaid to ensure she receives the education befitting an Heir to the Summer Throne, Khamsin haunts the abandoned towers and gardens of Summerlea’s royal palace, close to her beloved late mother’s treasures, and waits for the day her father will recognize her as a Princess of the Rose. But though she dreams of the valor and sacrifices of ancient Summerlea heroes and pines for paternal love that will never come, Khamsin is no sweet, gentle, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature with a volatile, rebellious temper that is often as reckless and destructive as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

Together will their stormy personalities be able to meld or will their powers destroy not only their love but the whole world?

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Available for purchase at Avon Romance Amazon  BN  Kobo

C.L. Wilson

C.L. Wilson

More About C.L. Wilson

Praised for exceptional worldbuilding and lyric prose, C.L. Wilson’s unique blend of action, romance, and richly-imagined fantasy have endeared her books romance and fantasy readers alike.  Her critically acclaimed novels have regularly appeared on bestseller lists including the USA Today, the New York Times, and Publisher’s Weekly.

When not torturing her characters mercilessly, C.L. enjoys reading, questing through the wilds of the latest Elder Scrolls game and dreaming of a world where Bluebell’s Nutty Chocolate ice cream is a fat burning food.

She can be found online here:

Tour Giveaway

White rose snow globe pendant

“A copy of THE WINTER KING, complete with a gorgeous white rose snow globe pendant reminiscent of the book!”

U.S. only. Click here for the Rafflecopter link. 

The Winter King Banner

Queen of Song and Souls

I know I’ve been unbelievably quiet lately, but I’m also a big believer in C.L. Wilson’s #1 piece of advice (this week, I’m spending lots of time with my family) and her #10 (I finished Laurence Gonzales’ LUCY: realized not long after starting it that, despite some superficial similarities, the book and the movie are two different stories… more on that later). Now I’m debating whether my next book should be another in Wilson’s Tairen Soul series or THE WINTER KING… It’s good to have choices! :-D

Hope everyone else is having a terrific August full of everything fun and/or productive: vacations, reading, writing, family, new places imagined or real… Thank you to C.L. Wilson for guest blogging today!


Unspiration

For one reason or another, the other day I was actively trying to think of things that did not inspire me.

My list:

  1. Telephone poles, water towers, billboards
  2. Armadillos, nutria, dingoes
  3. Light bulbs (despite their association with ideas)
  4. American cheese
  5. Petty crimes and misdemeanors

Writers, you know where I’m going with this, right? Any list – even an uninspiration list – can be used for inspiration.

No, I’m not going to write a story about an Oliver Twist type girl with American cheese colored hair who lives in a water tower with only a single light bulb and a family of nutria. But, hey, I could.

I might.

Because ideas can come from anywhere – even unideas. And giving your muse absolute, unfettered freedom can sometimes make your WIP seem fresher and less frustrating. :-D

If you are stuck: write a list! Of anything. Everything. Nothing.

What else have I been up to?

billy joel concert nat park

Concert: My husband’s birthday was this past weekend. We celebrated by seeing Billy Joel at Nationals Park in DC. It was fantastic! Wished he would have played Vienna instead of Uptown Girl, but except for that, a perfect setlist.

Jalapeno Poppers: Once again, I am faced with a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers. What else can you do but stuff them with cream cheese, wrap bacon around them, and bake them?

Reading: LUCY by Laurence Gonzales. I actually bought this some time ago. Yet another example of a book that’s been in my TBR pile way too long. Now that the movie’s out, I figured I’d better get to it.

I miss Borders

I miss Borders

Writing: Here’s another character sketch from the Nightshade novella I’m working on:

Aceraceae “Acer” Feldspar’s healing magic only works on one person: her. Losing her mother at the age of seven to a disease she couldn’t cure, she was determined to find a way to use her magic to help others. Now, at nineteen, Acer protects her tribe’s perimeter. But the intrusion of a scarlet augur – demon harbinger of passion, pain, and seismic change – threatens far more than Acer’s pride.

So how about you? How was your week? Have you seen any great concerts or read any good books? What do you do with a dozen or more jalapenos? Writers, what are you working on? What’s on your “Unspiration” list?

Enjoy the last two days of July!


#Writing Workshops for August

RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter is offering two workshops in August. Descriptions, sign up links, and other details are below. Reminder: If you are a writing instructor who would like to teach a class for FF&P, please consider submitting a proposal. We are currently scheduling workshops for the first half of 2015. For more information, please contact me.

LAYERED PLOT TECHNIQUES

We all want to tell a compelling story. We all want our books to be un-put-downable.

When we study a number of plotting techniques, we discover they’re all similar, and different enough to seem discordant. It is possible to make that discord work for us. This class will show how to create a synthesis of techniques that will translate into strategies we can use to make our stories richer, deeper, stronger.

Layering Plot Techniques  focuses on synthesis and assimilation, starting with three of the instructor’s favorite plot techniques/structures: Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey, Michael Hauge’s six-stage structure and the W diagram.

At the end of the class, you’ll have a deeper understanding of plot than any of the techniques could give you alone.

Instructor Bio

In her previous life Terrel Hoffman studied physics, researched superconductors and wrote documentation for engineers. In her current incarnation, she writes paranormal romance and steampunk fantasy,  and teaches writing topics like this one. In addition to her degree in Physics and her educational forays into math and technical writing, she has trained to be a life coach. She is a certified guardian ad litem, has mentored at-risk kids on probation and has served as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in dependency. She holds memberships in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and RWA National, as well as several regional RWA chapters in the Pacific Northwest where she lives. The two cats who share her home assure her she is their property and treat her accordingly.

Cost: FFP Members:$25.00/Non-Members: $30.00

08/04/2014 – 08/31/2014

To sign up for this class, click here.

GAME OF HISTORICAL THRONES

USE THE PAST AS YOUR GUIDELINE FOR CHARACTER MOTIVATIONS, PLOT DETAILS AND WORLDBUILDING

This brilliant idea strikes! You know it’s a winner! It’s got everything you love in a story and you’re rarin’ ta go on it. Then reality strikes back. You have no idea why certain things happen, what should happen next, and there is this scary world building to deal with yet. What to do!!!!???

Head to the past, that’s what. People are people (even aliens from other planets and dimensions and parallel universes are people) and that means the sort of elements you need have been played out before…and will play out again and again and again over time.

In fact, using George R. R. Martin’s GAME OF THRONES as an illustration, see how he might have done just this!

In this 4-week workshop we’ll begin harvesting ideas from the past to recreate in our own special ways to fill the gaps in the brilliant idea waiting to be birthed. We’ll look at how these elements can be used in a contemporary tale or a historical story unrelated to the inspiration we’ll use or how it can show up in something you spin that takes place in the future.

And we’ll do it quick, getting ideas on where to go and what to mine as that brilliant idea evolves into a complete manuscript in your very near future.

Your brilliant idea can lean more toward romance, incorporate mystery, or be totally convoluted fantasy, so come one and come all!

Instructor Bio

Beth Daniels currently writes as Beth Henderson and J.B. Dane, though she answered to Lisa Dane and Beth Cruise in the past as well. She has worked with editors at Berkley, Zebra, Leisure, Harlequin/Silhouette, and Simon and Schuster’s Aladdin Paperbacks, done e-books for a now defunct company (not her fault, she says), and began her writing life with hardcover books slated for library use with a publisher that got out of the romance business (again, not her fault). More recently she’s had a number of articles about writing picked up by e-zines, saw a short story published in a mystery and suspense magazine that turned up its toes the next year (really, really not her fault), and has a story in the MOTHER GOOSE IS DEAD anthology from Dragon Moon Press. For over a dozen years Beth taught college level composition, both in the classroom and online, and a credit course on Novel Writing. Five of her former Novel class students are now published. Twenty-six of Beth’s manuscripts have appeared in print or e-book format. These have been historical romantic adventures (6), romantic comedies (10), romantic-suspense (3), and young adult romantic comedy (7). Her titles have appeared in 12 different languages in over 20 countries. At the moment she is working on various manuscripts and collaborated with another RWA member on a contemporary/fantasy/romantic adventure. She also ventured into self-publishing to keep her out-of-print backlist in print.

Cost: FFP Members:$15.00/Non-Members: $20.00

08/11/2014 – 08/18/2014

To sign up for this class, click here.


#Writing life: Should you keep your face to the sun… Or your nose to the grindstone?

sunflowers 2

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” HELEN KELLER

I’ve been keeping my face to the sun and my nose to the grindstone. It’s why I’ve been mostly absent on Facebook and Twitter lately. I’m enjoying summer and my sunny writing cave. What am I working on? A novella featuring a character I’ve wanted to spend more time with for a while now. Here’s his character blurb:

Nocturo “Nightshade” Onyx has the sinister looks of a Maegester but the soft, healing magic of a Mederi. Eight months ago he joined the progressive Demeter Tribe so that he could hone his skills. He now wields surgical scalpels, defensive daggers, and waxing magic with ease. But his greatest challenges are still to come: trapping a demon, capturing a young woman’s heart, and bringing his sister back from the brink of death.

What else have I been up to?

Reading: Tina Connolly’s IRONSKIN and the first two books in C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series.

Map Making: Bought Campaign Cartographer 3. CC2 was tough for me, so wish me luck! If I can master the upgrade, I’ll be able to make maps of the places I write about. Maps I’d love to share: St. Luck’s campus; New Babylon, Etincelle, and the Mederi outposts; the eastern Lethe; the Shallows; southern Halja; and — if all goes according to plan — Rockthorn Gorge!

Animal Shelter: Took some food, treats, and my youngest to visit our local pet shelter. I’m still trying to talk my husband into adopting another cat in the fall. lol.

Sharing someone else’s good hiking/writing advice: I read this article recently about the Appalachian Trail. It struck me that thru-hiker Jim Parkins’ words about hiking a 2,180 mile trail might also apply, with one slight tweak, to writing a 100,000 word novel => “The hardest part is the mental part, [putting your butt in the chair every morning].” (emphasis added :-D )

sunflower

So how’s everyone’s summer going? Are you writing? Reading? Working? Sunbathing? Are you keeping your face to the sun… or your nose to the grindstone?

Hope everyone is having a terrific week!


Functional Nerds Podcast: #writing #violins #scrivener

John Anealio and Patrick Hester, hosts of the Functional Nerds podcast, interviewed me recently (Episode #198). We covered a range of interesting topics, which are listed below so that, even if you only have a few minutes, you can tune in and hear select bits. I’m also including links to some other podcast episodes you may enjoy. If you’re not already a Functional Nerds subscriber, check it out. Podcasts are free, but if you like what you hear, consider donating and/or sharing the links!

04:10 — My Pick of the Week: A Natural History of Dragons

09:09 — Patrick’s Pick of the Week: Magic: The Gathering

12:40 — John’s Pick of the Week: The Shambling Guide to New York City

14:00 — How my past career as a lawyer impacts my writing

18:20 — My alma maters: Penn State and University of Baltimore

19:20 — Me, rambling about how/when I started writing

22:20 — The Episode’s Big Reveal: Patrick tells me there’s a sequel to The Devil Went Down to Georgia (! — I had no idea).

23:10 — I talk about how I used to play the violin; great discussion on kids and music

29:00 — I do a horrible job discussing the original blog post that caught John’s attention (my post at SF Signal: What Is It With The Devil And Violins?). For some insane reason, I thought this would be the one thing John wouldn’t want to talk about (naively assumed he’d have a been there, done that feeling about the topic. Duh.) John’s articulate. I am not. Please forgive and read my original post instead of listening to my inane, totally unprepared response.

38:40 — We discuss fan conventions. John and Patrick share their favorites and recommend some for me.

42:00 — Urged on by me, Patrick gives a mini-intro to Scrivener spiel. I’ve written in Word pretty much since I first switched from typewriter to computer so I wanted to hear his perspective on why Scrivener’s so great.

51:10 — Episode closes with — what else? — The Devil Went Down to Georgia :-D

Other Functional Nerds podcasts you might enjoy:

Episode 195 — James SA Corey

Episode 148 — Mur Lafferty Part 1

Episode 149 — Mur Lafferty Part 2

Episode 146 — Delilah S. Dawson Part 1

Episode 147 — Delilah S. Dawson Part 2

I hope everyone is having a great July!


Book Series: How Many Books Is Enough?

To B4 or Not To B4, that is my question…

Yesterday Lynda from Books Direct posted her interview of me.  We talked about what my family thinks of my writing, my upcoming short story “Dream, Interrupted” (featuring new heroine Corelei Neverest; she was tons of fun to write), and how darn difficult it was to write the ending to White Heart of Justice.

Why was it so hard?

Well, because White Heart of Justice may be the last Noon Onyx book. As I mention in the interview, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make sure the ending was emotionally satisfying for those who have followed the series so far – which was challenging considering where I’d left things at the end of Fiery Edge of Steel and the fact that, originally, I’d roughly plotted a total of seven books in the series. (Go ahead, you can say it, what sane writer plots that far ahead of her own career?!)

So, after a mild (dare I admit, significant) panic attack, I got down to business and wrote the ending to WHOJ. That ending changed countless times. I’m not sure what readers will think of it. Early feedback has been wonderful but no one (including me) has really addressed whether this is THE END.

The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll likely self-publish any future books in the series. And self-publishing a book the way I’d want to (with quality editing and a fantastic cover artist/designer) wouldn’t be cheap.

The final decision is mine. Creatively, I have to want to do it. And financially I’ll have to decide whether or not I’m comfortable with the risk and investment of moving forward with a Noon Onyx B4 instead of some other equally awesome but different project.

So I’m curious…

READERS: After you finish White Heart of Justice, let me know whether you’d be interested in reading another Noon novel. I feel the ending is satisfactory enough for us all to walk away happy… and yet… as I said during yesterday’s interview, it’s hard to say goodbye. Halja is a fascinating world and Noon is an interesting, strong character to write about.

WRITERS: Have any of you continued a traditionally published series on your own? How’d that work out for you?

Ok, enough already with the serious talk!!!

Today, I’m over at Magic and Mayhem with a really fun guest blog:

Top 5 Cool Things

You Can Do with a Sword

and

Why Heroes & Heroines Can’t Do Without Them

You gotta come check it out. I actually mention WHOJ only once (to point out its inclusion on the Goodreads “It’s All About The Swords!” list). If you love swords, the post is a MUST READ. :-D

In addition to my Super Serious questions above, I also want to know:

What’s your favorite book cover with a sword on it? Have any examples of cool things you can do with a sword?

Lemme know your answers over at Magic and Mayhem!

Thanks for following, everyone! I’m loving all the tweets!!!


#Writing: May FFnP #Workshops — How to Build a Super-Heroine and Book-to-Film Adaptations

Last chance to register for this month’s FF&P workshops: HOW TO BUILD A SUPER-HEROINE and HOW BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATIONS WORK. Details are below. FF&P is RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. A couple of months ago, I volunteered to help them with their workshops. 

Are you a writing instructor? Do you have experience offering workshops to writers? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email (archer at jillarcher dot com) with the proposed workshop title and description, as well as an instructor bio or you can just send me a link to the classes you offer so I can take a look.

Other ways to get involved? Consider joining FF&P or let me know if you’ve taken any awesome workshops lately. Hope everyone’s writing is going well!

HOW TO BUILD A SUPER-HEROINE

Developing your characters can be a delightful task or a painful one, but when those characters are of the super-powered variety, you’ve got an even bigger challenge. In this workshop, Eilis Flynn will examine how super-heroes, and in particular super-heroines, are a little different from other characters you’re creating. What do you have to look for, what do you have to beware of, what do you have to know in order to make the strongest, most memorable super-heroine you can? Using suggestions about powers, weaknesses, origin stories, and personality from the workshop attendees, we’ll build a sample super-heroine to inspire your own stories and super-heroes.

Instructor Bio: Eilis Flynn has spent a large share of her life working on Wall Street or in a Wall Street-related firm, so why should she write fiction that’s any more based in our world? She spends her days aware that there is a reality beyond what we can see … and tells stories about it. Published in finance, romance, and comic books, she lives in verdant Washington state with her equally fantastical husband and the ghosts of spoiled rotten cats.

Cost: FFP Members:15/Non-Members: 20

Register here.

HOW BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATIONS WORK

Do you have a novel you think would adapt well to a screenplay?  Have you ever watched a film version of a favorite book and come away annoyed at the changes and deletions?  This 8-session workshop will teach you the steps of adaptation necessary to transfer one medium into another Sally Walker has learned that landed her several adaptation contracts.  One session will be the analysis of the two successful adaptations that motivated her, THE EAGLE (2010) and THE LUCKY ONE (2011).

Instructor Bio: Born to poor farm folk in the little rural community of Exira, Iowa, Sally attended many schools in western Iowa and the Omaha, Nebraska, area.  She eventually graduated from Papillion (NE) High School then nursing school at the University of Albuquerque and, eventually received a BFA in Creative Writing back at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  That degree was accomplished while working full-time as a Critical Care/ER nurse and raising a very active family of three daughters with her engineer husband.  Adeptly juggling family, nursing, civic and Episcopal church responsibilities, Sally founded in 1985 and has conducted the weekly meetings of the eclectic Nebraska Writers Workshop to feed her own hunger for in-depth knowledge and skills. The Workshop has grown from a few tentative to over 50 confidently publishing and produced writers. Her own goal-oriented writing ethic has resulted in a vitae packed with novels, short stories, poetry, magazine articles, stage plays, screenplays and a variety of writing seminars.  In 2000 she was hired as part-time Editorial Director at The Fiction Works and Script Superviser for the affiliated Misty Mountain Productions. After retiring from her nursing career of over 30 years, she was elected President of the prestigious Nebraska Writers Guild, serving 2007-2011.

Cost: FFP Members:30/Non-Members: 35

Register here.


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