#Writing Inside and Out by Laura Bickle (Author of Embers and Sparks)

Taking a brief hiatus from my own six stop exclusive excerpt tour for Fiery Edge of Steel to host another urban fantasy author. Laura Bickle’s Embers and Sparks came out in 2010 but she’s doing a blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours to introduce the books to new readers. The covers are striking and the blurbs captured my attention. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but I am intrigued. Elizabeth Bear said: “One of the most promising debut novels I’ve read in a great while… I’d highly recommend this book to anybody who reads fantasy.” And Jerri Smith- Ready said: “Gritty but never grim, Embers is a truly urban fantasy, where the soul of a city haunts every page.” Laura’s here to talk about all of the places she loves to write. Welcome, Laura!

Embers Laura Bickle

One of the things I love about this time of year is being able to switch my perspective

Laura Bickle inside officeDuring the cold months, I write at my desk in a corner of a room. My desk is an old door I found in the basement. I parked it on a couple of file cabinets and put glass on top. I tuck pieces of inspiration underneath the glass and occasionally light a candle. There’s a heat vent underneath the desk, so it stays nice and cozy. There’s often a cat parked on my keyboard, and it’s a good place to feel ensconced in winter. The window faces east, so I get a good deal of morning light, and I can see the street from where I sit.

I’ve never really been able to write well in coffee shops and places with a lot of people. I get too distracted and self-conscious about whether I’m chewing my pen, making faces, or muttering under my breath. I really like being alone, and my little writing nest helps me concentrate.

Laura Bickle outside office

When the weather warms, I love getting the chance to move to my outside office. It’s really just our patio, but I love being out there in the sunshine. It faces west, and gets all the glorious afternoon sun. I plant herbs and flowers at the margins. This year, I’m doing peppermint and catnip. I go outside with a laptop or a notebook and watch robins build nests in the nearby redbud tree.

When it gets really hot, I set up what I affectionately call the Cthulhu pool in the backyard. It’s a kiddie play pool with an octopus print on the bottom that really looks like dozens of little Cthulhus frolicking. When nobody’s looking, I don a swimsuit and go out to swim with the Old Gods. It’s more like me sitting in a foot of water with a soggy notebook, but my inner child loves it.

Laura Bickle Cthulhu pool

Where is your favorite place to write? Do you like writing alone or with the background noise of other people?

More About Embers

Unemployment, despair, anger–visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya–who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern–suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya–with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team –can stop it.

Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.

EMBERS is available now from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Read an excerpt by clicking here.

Sparks Laura Bickle, urban fantasy

More About Sparks


Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

SPARKS is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt by clicking here.

More About Laura

Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats.

For more about Laura, please visit her website.

Embers Sparks BannerSo, writers, where do you like to write? I’ll confess I do most of my writing at my desk in my office. But I’ve packed up my laptop and gone elsewhere on occasion — Starbuck’s or Wegman’s (I’m much more likely to get a seat near an outlet there). When I look over proofs I do it in the dining room or at the kitchen table. I haven’t had any success writing outside. But I do love to read outside!

Readers, where do you work? In an office? A school? A hospital? Do you travel a lot for work? Do you work from home? My husband works from home, which is nice but he travels too. So some days I see lots of him and others none.

Hope everyone’s having a great week! Don’t forget to check out Urban Fantasy Investigations for Part Four of Chapter 1 from Fiery Edge of Steel. Thank you, Laura, for guest blogging today!

Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

11 thoughts on “#Writing Inside and Out by Laura Bickle (Author of Embers and Sparks)

  1. Morning Jill, Laura. I once read advice for authors regarding writing location (sorry, I forget who it came from). It said that being able to write anywhere despite distractions is much more condusive to getting your work on paper than needing perfect conditions, which will likely rarely exist. It made sense to me, so I intentionally began taking my laptop anywhere I was allowed to write, and a few places I wasn’t. When at home, I’ll just sit at the dining room table. When I’m elsewhere, I try to have some easy responses ready for the inevitable “what are you writing” questions so I don’t get sidetracked too long.

    1. I think not waiting for perfect conditions is excellent advice, especially if you are procrastinating. But if you aren’t and you can make your environment work for you, better that than a venue that drives you nuts.

      You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone approach me in a coffee shop when I’m working (unless it’s someone I already know). I hope it’s not because I look completely mean and grouchy while plunking away at the keys. 😀

  2. I too write much better alone. I can’t even write with music on much less people chatting away around me. Ember and Sparks sound quite exciting, will check it out on Amazon.

    1. Hi Sheena-kay– Sometimes I listen to music when I’m editing. But I find it distractng while I’m writing fresh stuff. And I only go out when I’ve hit a wall at home and have cabin fever. It helps to go to a place where the background sounds are one big consistent hum. Thanks for the visit!

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