Tag Archives: writing

Jeffe Kennedy: Magic in the Twelve Kingdoms… and Our Everyday World

Jeffe Kennedy‘s latest release, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE received a 4 1/2 stars Top Pick Gold review from RT Book Reviews. For those of you who are unfamiliar with RT Book Reviews (go subscribe!) that’s a really terrific review. (I happened to see it not long after she sent me this post so I figured mentioning it would be a great way to introduce her).  :-) She’s here with a topic that should appeal to fantasy and paranormal romance writers, as well as readers who love to hear about how we create the magic in our stories. Welcome, Jeffe!

“I’m fascinated by the idea that magic and other supernatural phenomena are simply products of universal laws we don’t yet understand.”

Thanks to Jill for inviting me to her blog today!

She asked me to talk some about the magic systems in my books, which isn’t something I get asked about all that frequently. In both of my fantasy romance trilogies thus far – A Covenant of Thorns and The Twelve Kingdoms – magic plays a fundamental role in the worlds.

A Covenant of Thorns takes place in Faerie, a world entirely infused with magic. The denizens of Faerie, with the exceptions of the human minority, are magical beings – some to the extent that they subsist entirely on magical energy. In The Twelve Kingdoms books, the world is populated mostly by humans and magic is scarce, mainly confined to the realm of Annfwn, where the Tala live. However, like the fae in my other series, the Tala are a magical people and the presence of magic in their world infuses everything about their lives and culture.

More than one reviewer has noted that Annfwn is a metaphor or form of Faerie, which I didn’t consciously intend, but I think the comparison is fair. In both series, the magical systems are outgrowth of Celtic culture, mythology and fairy tales. They both hearken to the earliest tales, such as the Táin Bó Cuailnge, which is an eighth-century cycle of Irish heroic tales. Much as in Greek mythology – another of my influences – they embody almost a form of magical realism, where magic infuses the world and shapes the creatures, landscape and events in the same way that the laws of physics, biology and ecology do.

This is my sweet spot.

As a scientist by training, I’m fascinated by the idea that magic and other supernatural phenomena are simply products of universal laws we don’t yet understand. In the Faerie of A Covenant of Thorns, I play with the idea that evolution follows a path similar to the one we know, but is accelerated and supercharged, if you will, by the mutating power of magic – which functions almost like a form of radiation in some cases. In The Twelve Kingdoms, the magic arises from the divine and from the land, which are profoundly intertwined. The Tala are shapeshifters and wizards because they have retained a stronger divine bloodline than the rest of the world.

In both of these series, the power of mental control, of self-discipline, self-knowledge and self-mastery all play a huge role. Thought is what controls the magic. This, then, loops back to the magical realism of the old stories, whether Celtic, Greek or from many other cultures I could list, that these tales teach lessons about how to govern our lives. Everything we struggle with – overcoming bad events, hoping for good outcomes, striving for more – all of that is essentially about manifesting what we want in our lives. Rather than waving magic wands or reciting spells, we govern our thoughts, eliminating negative thinking and focusing on the positive. In that way, we transform our lives and make them what we want them to be. That concept is at the core of all of my work, in truth.

A kind of magic we can all wield.

Thank you, Jeffe, for guest blogging today! Have a wonderful week, everyone!


#Writing #Workshops for December

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday had a terrific one. If the prerequisites of the holiday are giving thanks, catching up with friends and family, and eating way too much then I scored a hat trick. I’m nearing my 300th post so I’ll save my detailed thanks for that one, but for now, please know that I very much appreciate each and every one of you. You are all amazing!

Before I get to the main content for this post, a final reminder: **LAST CHANCE; GIVEAWAY ENDS AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT ** I’m giving away one print copy of the Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance. International. Three ways to enter: comment here, contact me here, or tweet.

FF&P DECEMBER WRITING WORKSHOPS

Below are the online workshops being offered in December 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.

Finding Your Hot Premise

12/01/2014 – 12/14/2014

What’s the premise that’s going to have an acquisitions editor sit up and take notice? What’s the story concept that’s going to make readers lunge for the buy button, stand in line to buy the print edition, camp outside the theater waiting in the cold for the film adaptation to hit the movie screens? Nobody knows for sure, but here’s a workshop that can give you ideas on figuring out what’s going to work for what you write and how to work it into the story that every editor and agent will want to buy.

About the Presenter

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:$15.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for this workshop here.

Worldbuilding 201

12/01/2014 – 12/14/2014

What’s the difference between a story set in a vivid world and a tourist guide with a plot? In Worldbuilding 201, we’ll examine examples and do practical lessons on incorporating your world into your story, so that it brings the story alive instead of taking it over.

About the Presenter

Award-winning novelist Karina Fabian has plenty of voices in her head without being psychic. Fortunately, they fuel her many stories. When not writing about dragon detectives, a psychic fighting his way back to sanity, zombie exterminators, or nuns in space, she writes creative biographies of Catholic saints and homilies. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian, as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training.

Cost: FFP Members:$15.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for this workshop here.


Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance Is Out!

A new Mammoth Book of… anthology released yesterday — the Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance. It’s full of all sorts of chilling, romantic tales. My own short story “Dream, Interrupted” is in there. At nearly 13,500 words, it’s a meaty tale, really more of a novelette with lots of story elements that I adore: creepy settings, interesting backstory, a dark mystery, a singularly unique heroine, and a hero who takes the heroine’s breath away. It’s also written in a slightly different style than I used for the Noon Onyx novels. I fused myriad inspirational seeds to create one darkly fun story. If you want to check it out, I’m giving away one print copy (international so long as Book Depository ships to your address). Details on the giveaway are below. Along with my super-long-short story, you also get a bunch of stories from 15 other fantastic authors.

gothic romance, dark fantasy

Set in a lush, steamy world of ceaseless rain, swamps, alligators, overgrown cemeteries, and home-grown magic, these are dark and scary, yet pleasurably thrilling stories that unfold sinister secrets at every turn. These paranormal, suspenseful Southern Gothic romances are by both bestselling authors and bright up-and-coming talents, including Erin Kellison; Jessa Slade; Laurie London; Shelli Stevens; Coreene Callahan; Bec McMaster; Jill Archer; Elle Jasper; Angie Fox; Kait Ballenger; Tiffany Trent; Michele Bardsley; Sonya Bateman; Shiloh Walker/JC Daniels; JD Horn; Dianne Sylvan.

Available for purchase here.

A U.S. print version with this awesome cover…

gothic romance, dark fantasy

will release is the U.S. on January 6, 2015. If you want to wait for that cover, pre-order here.

Add to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here.

More About Dream, Interrupted

What if your snoring really did wake up the dead?

When Corelei Neverest ends up at a sleep disorder clinic, she’s searching for a cure for Apnea Anima, a rare sleep condition that occurs when a person’s snoring wakes the dead. But after countless therapy-filled days and terror-filled nights, Corelei’s almost ready to call it quits when an old crush shows up.

Alluring, irresistible, and beguiling, Caradoc Ambrose has had his eye on Corelei for years. When he hears Corelei is a resident at the Oneiroi Institute, he can’t resist meeting her at breakfast one morning. They’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship that feels like one big dream, interrupted to Caradoc. He wants a chance to convince Corelei to stay with him, forever.

Corelei Neverest, Jill Archer, Dream Interrupted, gothic romance, dark fantasy

CORELEI NEVEREST:
“My goal at Oneiroi since I’d arrived was based on a simple strategy. Act like the white rabbit.
Hide, evade, run.”

The Playlist

During my Bitten By Books release day party for White Heart of Justice, I mentioned I would post the playlist for “Dream, Interrupted.” If you read it, you’ll see that music was a big inspiration of mine for this story. In particular, the songs listed below. I couldn’t reproduce lyrics in the story, of course, but for those of you that want a fantastic immersive reading experience, download these songs and listen to them along with the story:

  1. “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes
  2. Oh, My Darling, Clementine” (American folk song)
  3. “Like the Weather” by 10,000 Maniacs
  4. “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
  5. “Edge of the Ocean” by Ivy
  6. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
  7. “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
  8. “Breathless” by The Corrs
  9. “How Do You Talk To An Angel” by Jamie Walters
  10. “My Immortal” by Evanescence

The Giveaway

I’m giving away one print copy of the Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance. The giveaway is open to international so long as Book Depository ships to your address. To enter to win, comment below, use my contact page to send me a message saying you are interested in winning the book, OR tweet one of these tweets (one entry per person):

I love gothic romance! Win copy of Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance: http://wp.me/p1G39m-22b @archer_jill #gothic #romance

I love dark fantasy! Win copy of Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance: http://wp.me/p1G39m-22b @archer_jill #fantasy #anthology

Does Corelei Neverest really suffer from Apnea Anima? Win Mammoth Book of SoGoRom: http://wp.me/p1G39m-22b @archer_jill #shortstory #mystery

Will Caradoc convince Corelei to stay? Win Mammoth Book of SoGoRom: http://wp.me/p1G39m-22b @archer_jill #fantasy #romance #mystery

The giveaway will be open until midnight EST on November 30, 2014. I’ll announce the winner here by December 8th.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to international participants 18 and over. For my official rules for website giveaways, click here.

If you read “Dream, Interrupted” be sure to let me now what you think! One of the best things about writing a short story for an anthology was the opportunity to work with new characters, new beasties, and a new world. This small project allowed me to experiment a little bit. I love how it turned out and I hope you do too!


#Writing #Workshops for November

Below are the online workshops being offered in November 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.

Show and Tell
11/02/2014 – 11/30/2014

Both showing and telling are valuable tools for any writer–writers need both narrative passages as well as dramatic scenes, so each has its own place within any writer’s skill set. In this workshop, we’ll use writing examples to figure out the truth hidden in the advice to “show, don’t tell.”  Learn how “show, don’t tell” really means “show more with dramatic scenes, and tell only when you need to move the story along.”

The “showing” part of the workshop blends a set of exercises to strengthen an understanding of what makes a scene come to life by using more vivid descriptions to reveal characters–their thoughts and emotions–by showing them in action and using deep POV.

The “telling” part of the workshop includes tips, tricks, and techniques to help strengthen narrative and identify when it’s time to “tell” your story to the reader to compress information, smooth transitions, or otherwise better establish settings and scenes for the reader.

Topics we’ll cover:

1) Definitions — what is showing, what is telling

2) Telling: Use of the Narrative Voice

3) Breaking it down part 1: Showing to Pull a Reader into Your Scenes

4) Breaking it down part 2: Better Narrative (so a reader doesn’t skip this)

5) Going Deeper in Viewpoint to Better Show a Character’s Inner World

6) Transitions & Word Count–Where Telling Really Helps

7) Showing and Telling–Mixing it up Again

About the Presenter, Shannon Donnelly

Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA’s Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”

Her Regency romances can be found as ebooks on all formats, and with Cool Gus Publishing, and include a series of four novellas.

She also has out the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the Urban Fantasy, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of Amazon.com and includes Paths of Desire, a Historical Regency romance.

She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and computer games. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and only one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at sd-writer.com, facebook.com/sdwriter, and twitter/sdwriter.

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

Click here to register.

Writing On A Shoestring Budget
11/03/2014 – 11/30/2014

Is your writing career a business or a hobby, what’s the difference, and why does it matter? If you’ve finished your novel, magazine article, and/or non-fiction work and are ready to send it out, now what? Are you really ready for it to sell? Have you thought about how to handle all the business details that come with success? Are you taking advantage of the tax breaks that come from simply finishing the work-in-progress? What if you consider your writing business a career but don’t have anything ready to send out?

Did you know there are legal tax tricks that can save you money on income taxes? Do you know how to set up a small business and deal with things like getting a tax ID number? Do you know how to avoid a random audit on your business and/or personal income taxes and how to keep red flags off your tax returns? Should you set up a, sole proprietorship, corporation or an LLC? And how do you make a small business a sub-chapter S corporation? What are the tax advantages of doing so? What is a registered agent, why do you need one, and how do you get one? How do you prepare the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, etc., for your small business? When should you just use an assumed name for your business, and how do you get one? Will your small business require a business license?

The class will handle all this and more. From whether or not setting up a structured small business is the right decision for you, to how to go about setting it up, what kind of business to set up, and how to minimize your tax liability. All on a shoestring. If you’re serious about being a professional writer, this class is for you.

About the Presenter, Pepper O’Neal

Pepper O’Neal has a paralegal degree from the University Of San Diego Law School and a doctorate in education from the University of Mexico. She has over twelve years’ experience working with business attorneys in California, Washington, and Oregon. Though she’s self-employed as a full-time researcher, non-fiction and fiction writer, she still freelances for attorneys throughout the US, doing research and preparing legal documents. She’s also worked a number of years with tax attorneys and consultants in helping business clients reduce their tax liabilities. She has also been involved in the initial setup of a number of education-related small businesses from daycare facilities to community educational centers. Over the years, she has taught a great number of adult education classes on many different subjects.

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

Click here to register for this workshop.

Worldbuilding 101
11/03/2014 – 11/17/2014

We all love to read about vivid, lively worlds, but writing them can seem like a challenge? What do I consider? Where do I research? What should I include? This course will cover the major aspects of worldbuilding, then talk about how to put it together and show, not tell, about your world in your story.

About the Presenter, Karina Fabian

Award-winning novelist Karina Fabian has plenty of voices in her head without being psychic. Fortunately, they fuel her many stories. When not writing about dragon detectives, a psychic fighting his way back to sanity, zombie exterminators, or nuns in space, she writes creative biographies of Catholic saints and homilies. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures at http://fabianspace.com.

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

Click here to register for this workshop.


BALTIMORE BOOK FEST: My Take (+ pics from my engagement party and rehearsal dinner: remember I said it was my anniversary?)

Two weekends ago, I went to the Baltimore Book Fest. Mostly as an attendee, but also as a panelist. It was a wonderful weekend!

The event was held at the Inner Harbor. In years past, it’s been held in Mount Vernon but the Washington Monument is under construction so the event coordinators thought the harbor would be a better venue.

I think current plans call for the festival’s return to Mount Vernon, a historic neighborhood that is home to the Walters Art Museum, the Peabody Conservatory, and the George Peabody Library (if you haven’t seen pictures, click here! it’s a beautiful library!), but I have to admit that I enjoyed attending the festival at the harbor and wouldn’t mind if future festivals were held there. While the harbor lacks the cultural feel of Mount Vernon, the Inner Harbor offers waterfront views and room to spread out.

There were tons of tents, most of them with books and authors in them. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers and Maryland Romance Writers had a tent. Individual authors had tents. Barnes & Noble, indie bookstores, local museums, small presses, and library groups all had tents. It was fun seeing writers I’ve known for years as well as meeting many new ones.

Craig took this pic from Federal Hill.  I'm standing beside MRW's tent with a friend.  Can't you see me waving? ;-)

Craig took this pic from Federal Hill.
I’m standing beside MRW’s tent with a friend.
Can’t you see me waving? ;-)

One of my favorite things was walking around the book festival with my family. My younger daughter was away but my husband and older daughter spent time checking out all the tents and exhibits.

Jack Clemons, a former engineer and team leader of NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs, did a “Flags on the Moon” presentation at SFWA’s tent. He talked about each of the missions he was involved with from a perspective neither my husband nor I had heard before, focusing on the U.S. flags that were left behind by the astronauts. It’s hard to overstate how much we enjoyed this talk. Jack mixed in video clips, photographs, and his own personal anecdotes and memories. Watching a History Channel documentary is not at all the same as seeing a live presentation by someone who was actually involved in these missions.

My daughter loved meeting Marissa Meyer. She’s currently reading Cinder for her outside reading assignment. I gave her a stack of YA books to choose from and she read the first few paragraphs of each and choose Meyer’s book about a cyborg Cinderella in part because Meyer establishes immediate sympathy for her protagonist. My daughter had her sign Cinder and Scarlet and even got to play Taboo with her, Charles Gannon, Sarah Pinkster, and Michael Underwood as part of SFWA’s Dangerous Voices Variety Hour.

Marissa Meyer's Cinder

The Dark Fantasy panel was great – a much more intimate setting than NYCC’s genre-benders panel in 2012! We opened by discussing “dark fantasy” and what the heck that term really means. I’m not sure a consensus was reached but it was interesting hearing everyone’s take. I shared my thoughts: basically, that the term dark fantasy can be used as a catchall category for works that otherwise defy categorization. When I hear the term I assume the story will have at least one element that is disturbing, unsettling, provocative, or even violent, and that it may not end happily. Other writers shared their view that dark fantasy, including horror, can be cathartic for both writer and reader. Overall, however, I think the biggest takeaway from the panel was this:

Write for yourself. Yes, genre writers want to be commercial and should pay attention to the market. But chasing trends won’t make you a success. Instead, it will almost always guarantee you fail. Why? Because you’ll never get the timing right for one thing (by the time your work is finished, submitted, bought, and published, the trend will be stale). What’s worse though is that your work won’t be genuine.

Jill Archer, dark fantasy panel, Noon Onyx, Baltimore Book Festival, SFWA

Jill Archer
DARK FANTASY PANEL
Baltimore Book Fest 2014

We didn’t spend a lot of time discussing the market, preferring instead to answer questions about our work or share tips for other writers in the audience, but it’s worth noting here that I’ve been hearing various behind-the-scenes chatter about a decreased interest in urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s not. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because if UF and/or PNR is your love, then write it. Read it. Trends come and go. If I’ve learned nothing else from my time as a writer, it’s that the most important thing is to be disciplined and stick to your own goals. For writers, it’s not the early bird who wins, it’s the one who hunts for the worms they think are perfect, from sunup to sundown… and then on through the night and into the next day… and so on and so forth.

It was also nice just getting down to the harbor. I used to work there and now I rarely get down there. So it was great having lunch with friends – and going to dinner! I mentioned before that it was our 17th wedding anniversary. (17 years?! Jeez, how did I get to be so old?! :-D )

Saturday night after the Author Meet & Greet, Craig and I cabbed it to Jack’s Bistro in Canton, a waterfront neighborhood to the east of the Inner Harbor. It was tiny and packed but absolutely terrific and just what we were in the mood for. Our waitress was super friendly with all sorts of helpful suggestions. We splurged: apps, wine, ridiculously large entrees, and a dessert.

Since I shared a wedding picture of us for our 15th anniversary, I’ll share two other vintage pics with you for this year: one from our engagement party and one from our rehearsal dinner. Enjoy!

Our engagement party circa 1995. I'm rocking the "young lawyer" look, huh? And some seriously curly hair!

Our engagement party circa 1995. I’m rocking the “young lawyer” look, huh? And some seriously curly hair!

Craig and Jill Rehearsal Dinner 1997

Craig and Jill Rehearsal Dinner 1997

Hope everyone’s week is going well! Tomorrow, I have another guest blogger. (She says she doesn’t like to dress up for Halloween! But we’ll forgive her. It’s a great post! :-) )


Writers Who Create Other Things: Delilah Devlin’s The Emerald Casket

Last month a jewelry designer/artist contacted me about possibly doing a guest blog here. It gave me the idea to do a whole guest blog series featuring writers who create other things besides characters and the worlds they live in. So, over the next few months, I’m going to be posting a handful of guest blogs from writers who make jewelry, art, and crafts. I think it’s neat to see the different ways that writers use their creativity. My first guest is New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Delilah Devlin who creates “erotically-charged paranormal worlds” and “richly descriptive westerns that ring with authenticity.” She also makes and sells jewelry with her daughter from their Etsy page, The Emerald Casket. She’s here today to talk about that and her other creative endeavors. Welcome, Delilah!

The Emerald Casket 2

“When I’m stuck in a story and need to move away from my desk to think,

it’s the perfect time to pull out beads or paint.”

Hi there! First, I’d like to thank Jill for inviting me to be here to talk about something other than books! How fun!

If you don’t follow me on Facebook or read my blog, you probably don’t know that I try my hand at other artful pursuits.

I dabble in watercolor, Zentangle, fused glass, but the thing I enjoy doing most, other than writing books, is making jewelry. In fact, I have a little online business I began with my daughter, Kelly a couple of years ago. We don’t make a ton of items to sell there, therefore, we haven’t made a lot money selling our jewelry, but it gives us this little hobby we share.

Kelly and I both have busy lives. We’d thought about making jewelry, for fun and for profit, for a long time before we started. We kept waiting for the right time… When things slowed down… When the kids were a little older… Finally, we realized there would never be a perfect time to open the store. We just had to do it and see what happened.

The Emerald Casket 1

I’m a full-time writer, and like most folks who are passionate about their work, it’s much more than a full-time job. My daughter owns a frame shop and is a full-time mother of three, so her hands are full, too.

Where do we find the time to create? It’s not easy. We both have to use little windows of downtime. When I’m stuck in a story and need to move away from my desk to think, it’s the perfect time to pull out beads or paint. I can let my mind wander to whatever problem I’m having with the current story, while I let the other part of my mind enjoy something really relaxing—almost like meditation, but so much more productive.  Kelly has the added obstacle of trying to escape her house and family to come here to work, since everything is set up in our little crowded workroom.

 

We make time, because we love doing this. And if we manage to sell enough to pay for the supplies, we’ll be able to keep our doors open. Bead-therapy is expensive!

This past weekend we did something fun. A rural church held a “Pumpkin Days” event—think hay rides, pony rides, bouncy house, barbecued meat and hot dogs… They also had a little space for vendors. We took bracelets and dominoes and thought it would be a nice way to meet people in our area and maybe make a little money. We were very successful! Surprisingly so. We even got an invitation to participate in an A.M.E. church bazaar. Whew. If ever either of the event organizer knew what I did for a living… :)

Anyway, if you’d like to see what I do besides write, you can check out these sites:

The Emerald Casket: Etsy Store | Facebook Page | Website | Pinterest Page

If you are a writer who makes and sells art, jewelry, or some other type of craft, and you are interested in guest blogging, please contact me for more details. I have a few guest spots left. Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was SUPER BUSY! (I haven’t forgotten about doing a post on the Baltimore Book Fest. Will do later this week!) Thank you, Delilah, for guest blogging today!


#Writing #Workshops for October

Below are the online workshops being offered in October 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.

Dialogue:

Don’t Let ‘Em Say What You Mean

10/03/2014 – 10/31/2014

We all know great dialogue when we read it—and the best dialogue seems effortless. But good dialogue takes work and a few key ingredients.

What do you need to get your characters talking in ways that make for riveting, exciting scenes?

1) Your Characters’ Voices
2) Conflict: Everyone Needs to Want Something
3) Making it Better Than Reality
4) Subtext: Layering Under the Words
5) Internal Dialogue – What’s too Much?
6) Invisible Tags and Punctuation
7) Accents, Ye Olde English, and Slang
8) Punch it! – Making Careful Edits

About the Presenter, Shannon Donnelly

Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA’s Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”

Her Regency romances can be found as ebooks on all formats, and with Cool Gus Publishing, and include a series of four novellas.

She also has out the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the Urban Fantasy, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of Amazon.com and includes Paths of Desire, a Historical Regency romance.

She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and computer games. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and only one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at sd-writer.com, facebook.com/sdwriter, and twitter/sdwriter.

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

Click here to register.

Plotting

10/06/2014 – 10/19/2014

Plotting is a crucial aspect in every novel. This class uses the three-act model of plotting which is appropriate for the pantser, the plotter, or a combination of both. The approach is plotting major points of the story and will also show the relationship of plotting to characterization through Deb Dixon’s “goals, motivation, and conflict” method. There will also be a short lecture on sagging middles and hitting the wall, what they are and how to avoid them.  Classes will be a mixture of lecture and exercises. By the end of the class, a student will have plotted one novel.

About the Presenter, Monette Michaels

My undergraduate majors were English and Mathematics from Purdue University. I then attended IU-Indpls Law School. My first job was in legal editing. Currently, my day job is as an arbitrator in commercial, securities, and employment law.

My creative writing background: I write as Monette Michaels and Rae Morgan. My first-published book was Fatal Vision (as Monette Michaels) in the late 1990s with one of the early e-publishers; it was re-published by LTDBooks, a Canadian indie press, in 2000. I went on to write several other single titles for LTDBooks: Death Benefits (an EPPIE finalist), Green Fire (a Dream Realm finalist), and The Case of the Virtuous Vampire (an EPPIE finalist and a CAPA Finalist) and now re-published as The Virtuous Vampire at Liquid Silver Books. I won an EPPIE in 2005 for Blind-Sided, published at Atlantic Bridge Publishing.

Currently, I write three series as Monette Michaels: the Gooden and Knight Paranormal Mystery series (The Virtuous Vampire, The Deadly Séance), The Security Specialists International series (Eye of the Storm, an EPPIE Finalist, Stormy Weather Baby, a novella, Cold Day in Hell, Storm Front, a novella, Weather the Storm) and the Prime Chronicles Trilogy (Prime Obsession and Prime Selection) .

As Rae Morgan, I write the Coven of the Wolf Series ( Destiny’s Magick, Moon Magick (Dream Realm finalist), Treading the Labyrinth (EPPIE finalist), and a novella“No Secrets,” in Zodiac Elements: Water). My single titles are Earth Awakened (a Terran Realm book), Enchantress, “Evanescence,” in Edge of Night, and “Once Upon a Princess,” in Ain’t Your Mama’s Bedtime Stories.

For the first years of Liquid Silver Books, I was the Acquisitions Editor and also edited books. I am currently a Senior Editor and do still read, acquire, and edit for the main lines of LSB, as needed.

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

Click here to register.

Vampires Along Silk Road and Beyond

10/06/2014 – 10/19/2014

Welcome to Vamps R Us! Is there another mythological creature that’s been as the source of so much more entertainment and speculation in recent years than the legend of the vampire? Pop culture and entertainment is overflowing with the bloodsuckers, and has been since Bram Stoker introduced the cover boy for vamps, Dracula, back in 1897.

But he wasn’t the first vampire to catch the imagination of the public, and Transylvania wasn’t the first place to see vampires. There have been stories about human-appearing monsters all over the world who suck the blood and the life force out of people, sometimes seducing them along the way, sometimes just going straight for the jugular, thanks very much, for thousands of years.

The descriptions about them change, of course, but there are a couple of details that don’t: One, vampires are always the dead come back to life, and two, they always vant to drink your bloooood. Except … vampires aren’t always dead, and they don’t necessarily want to suck your blood. Confused? Don’t blame you. It turns out that not only have there been legends about the vampires for thousands of years, but they’ve been spotted all over the world, and they’re all little different, differing from region to region, period after period, in the most unexpected of ways. The one thing that doesn’t change is their ability to mesmerize and terrify us.

Intrigued by ghosts? Let Jacquie Rogers and Eilis Flynn take you on a walk around the world to examine those myths, and see how ghosts shift, change, and evolve as we travel, and haunt us wherever we go.

About the Presenters,

Jacquie Rogers and Eilis Flynn

Jacquie Rogers’ first burning desire was to be a baseball announcer, but that didn’t work out so she decided to write romance novels. Her latest novel is the third in the Much Ado western romance series, Much Ado About Mavericks. Faery Merry Christmas is her latest fantasy release. Jacquie is owner of Romancing The West, a popular western blog, and teaches online classes on various writing topics.

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:$15.00/Non-Members: $20.00

Click here to register for this workshop.


Baltimore Book Festival: I’m going; are you?

Baltimore Book Festival, fantasy author, Jill Archer, Noon Onyx

I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Fest this weekend. Details on my scheduled events are below. The rest of the time, I’ll likely be wandering around, checking out everyone else’s events. If you’re going, it would be great to meet you! Stop by my Friday night panel and/or Saturday’s Meet & Greet. Tell me whether you’re a writer, reader, or both. Let me know if you’re a Noon Onyx fan. Or wish me and my husband (who will be there too) a Happy Anniversary (it’s our 17th!). There will be a limited number of all three Noon Onyx books for sale at the festival — and I’m offering special pricing! If you haven’t yet purchased a Noon Onyx novel, now’s your chance to buy one at a discount and have me sign it. :-D Come on, don’t make me lug my books home from the festival! If you live in the Baltimore/Washington area, help me sell out! (I’m also happy to sign books you’ve previously purchased if you want to bring them.) Hope to see you there!

Friday 9/26/14 6:00-7:00

Writing Dark Fantasy

So you’d like to write dark fantasy, horror fiction, or paranormals, or demons, angels, post-apocalyptic, and genre-bending fiction that puts you on the edge of your seat. Meet with writers of these genres to talk about what’s trending, what publishers are doing, and what tips our panel of authors has to offer.

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jill Archer, Em Garner, John Maclay, Sunny Moraine

Where is it?

This event is at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stage (SFWA’s tent), which is on the Key Highway side of the harbor between the Science Center and the Visionary Art Museum. Click here for a map of exhibits at the Baltimore Book Fest.

Saturday 9/27/14 5:30 -7:00

Reception and Meet & Greet

(Authors, Music, and Food!)

Join the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at our reception, autographing session, and Meet and Greet with our program participants at the Baltimore Book Festival.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeanne Adams, Jill Archer, Catherine Asaro, Jack Clemons, Brenda Clough, Scott Edelman, Charles Gannon, Ronald Garner, Em Garner, Herb Gilliland, Anne K Gray, Elektra Hammond, Justina Ireland, Jim Johnson, Alma Katsu, Cheryl Klam, L. Jagi Lamplighter, John Maclay, Marrisa Meyer, Sunny Moraine, Christine Norris, Ellen Oh, Sarah Pinsker, Caroline Richmond, Don Sakers, Karen Sandler, Peggy Rae Sapienza, Rori Shay, Alex Shvartsman, Dawnyell Snyder, Bud Sparhawk, John Tilden, Mike Underwood, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde, Ilene Wong, Karlo Yeager

Where is it?

This event is at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stage (SFWA’s tent), which is on the Key Highway side of the harbor between the Science Center and the Visionary Art Museum. Click here for a map of exhibits at the Baltimore Book Fest.


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


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