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My good friend, and awesome writer, Kait Nolan, recently published her first novel, Forsaken by Shadow, the first book in the Mirus series. If you know Kait on twitter, then you already aware that she’s witty, intelligent and a fun tweeting partner. Not only does Kait have an informative blog about writing, Shadow and Fang,  check out her blog on cooking, Pots and Plots, for yummy recipes.  

To wet your whistle, here is a blurb for Forsaken by Shadow

Banished from their world with his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd doesn’t remember his life as Gage Dempsey, nor the woman he nearly died for. But when Embry Hollister’s father is kidnapped by military scientists, the only one she can turn to is the love from her past. Will Gage remember the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Today I have a special treat for you all, Embry from Forsaken by Shadow has agreed, after being encouraged by her author, to sit and answer some questions.

Embry, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a firecaster. Well, sort of. My father is a firecaster. He’s able to manipulate and control flame. So am I, but where I differ from others of my race is that I can produce fire. I can thank my mother for that—and little else. As a fire elemental she wasn’t what you’d call a maternal figure. She gave me up after I was born, so it was always Dad and me. And then came Gage.

Can you tell us a little about the Mirus?

I could, but then I’d have to kill you. You’re not supposed to know about us, you see. It’s our greatest law. But hell, after everything that’s going on with your military, I guess it’s only a matter of time. I’m already suspended…

Mirus is the collective term for the entire paranormal world.  There are many races—from the usual suspects of vampires, werewolves, and witches, to other shifters, shamans, wraiths, the fae.  There are many races that humans have no mythology to explain.  We’ve been around as long as the humans have, in some cases longer.  For the last several centuries, we’ve lived in secret, hiding in plain sight.  We’re governed by the Council of Races, which you might think of as a paranormal United Nations.  Each race has representatives on the Council and they vote and determine the laws.  The name of the game is secrecy, as that’s believed to be the only way we will survive. 

When you saw Cade, whom you knew as Gage, in the ring for the first time, what’s the first thing that went through your mind?

He’s alive. I didn’t believe it, not really. It was like being sucker punched. After all these years…Matthias let me think that he was dead. Because of me. If this whole situation with my father being captured hadn’t come up, I doubt he’d ever have told me.

Gage had fallen in with an interesting crowd. Care to tell us a little about them?

Well I wasn’t in New Orleans long enough to get to know them, but despite Matthias’s intention to get Gage entirely away from our world, Gage still managed to wind up surrounded by it. His best friend was a Wylk—a wolf shifter. A crazy Cajun one who owned a bar. And his adopted mother figure Jeannette—well, I don’t know exactly what she was. A witch of some kind, maybe. She wasn’t easy to read.

What did you do all those years you thought Gage was dead?

As far as I knew, he was dead because I didn’t have enough control of my abilities. So I focused on learning control. I couldn’t be a Shadow Walker like I’d always wanted—that wasn’t one of my abilities, but I could still put my training to use and did when I joined the Investigation and Enforcement Division of the Council of Races. We’re what you might think of as the paranormal FBI. I made a pretty decent name for myself until I went rogue to rescue my father.

Do you think you would have tried to find Gage if you’d found out he was alive but your father wasn’t in danger?

I couldn’t have stopped myself. I would have had to see for myself that it wasn’t a lie, that he really had survived. I don’t know if I’d have approached him. :pauses to reflect: In saner moments, I’d have recognized that what Matthias did, wiping his memory, was the safest thing for him. As a human in the Mirus world, he could never be truly safe, and that’s why I always planned to walk away again when it was over. No matter how much it hurt. But I don’t know if I really could have done it.

When you found Gage, even after he remembered who he was, he could no longer Walk. Can you speculate on why?

Yes, he could no longer Shadow Walk. We didn’t know why at the time. I thought maybe it was a result of the memory spell—that it was going to take longer for everything to come back than I’d anticipated. Or maybe he’d been living human for too long. He shouldn’t have been able to Walk as a human in the first place, and Dad always speculated it was because he’d come to us as a child, before learning that certain things weren’t possible. Living as a human, he’d have lost that belief. As to why he truly couldn’t Walk, you’ll have to read to find out.

Tell us a little about your father.

My father is a Shadow Walker. That’s like the Special Ops Force in our world. He can control the shadows, travel by them. That’s what makes the Shadow Walkers so good at what they do. Dad’s a career Walker, but he hasn’t always agreed with the Council’s orders. He broke all kinds of rules to bring Gage home as a child and train him as his protégé.

It was a little reckless of you to attempt to rescue your father with no plan. That’s out of character. What else have you done in your life that’s a bit out of character?

I wasn’t always like this. I didn’t always have a plan, and I wasn’t so regimented—a fact which Gage likes to remind me of with regularity. But when Gage died—or I thought he had—everything changed for me. It was all because I lacked control. There’s no group more controlled than the IED. Maybe the fact is that losing my dad like that made me revert back to that time, when I was little more than a kid, when I thought I could do anything and the rules just didn’t apply.

Thank you Embry, I know you’re a busy woman. One more question. What’s next for you and Gage?

A vacation? Seriously. The world’s about to go to hell…we should take one while we still have the chance. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Good point.

You can learn more about Kait Nolan on Facebook and Goodreads.

Forsaken by Shadow is available at Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,

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Querulous query

If any of you follow twitter you know I’ve been whining complaining quite a bit about my query for The Devil You Know.

Now a query is an important part of a writer’s arsenal and a mastering it is vital to bagging acquiring an agent.

After I finished the first draft of the novel, I wrote a query and set it aside. Now that I’m polishing, I opened and read it and wasn’t quite happy with what I saw.  I decided to do what any author would, I set out to fix it. On the internet, in books, and even on almost every blogging agent’s website, you will find hints, structures and requirements for the query. I read these as well as a few published authors’ queries. Armed with all this information, I sat down before my computer, hands on keyboard and stared at the cursor. Long story short, I’d ‘ruled’ and ‘must have’d myself into a corner. Everything I wrote was flat and the more I tried, the worse it got. I grew more and more frustrated. If I can write a hundred thousand-word book, why couldn’t I write a two hundred-word query?

So I did what I’ve never done before, I called for help. Several talented writers came to the rescue with ideas and specifics as to why my query wasn’t working. I read through the advice and still I sat in front of that bloody curser.  There was a dam in my head and the ideas were on the other side. I think I finally became acquainted with writers block. Not a momentary or even a day of pondering what to do next, but an actual infinite wall between you and the ideas you know are there.

Now granted, I’m trying to write this query in possibly one of the most emotionally difficult periods in my life, but for me, writing has always soothed, always been there for me. Now, the answer to the simple question: What is the book about? completely eluded me and the mantra, ‘you’ve only got one shot per agent’, pounded in my head. I didn’t even have the energy to hate the query; it had defeated me. What to do? What to do?

 Walk away.

And that’s what I did even though it felt like giving up.  I emotionally and mentally divorced myself from the thing. I worked on editing a few chapters for other writers, I tweeted, a lot. I even organized some of my files, watched a few movies, cleaned my house and then I came back, but not in the same frame of mind. During the time I wasn’t thinking about it, some of the comments from other writers had weakened that wall.

I don’t write plot driven novels. For me, the characters always come first. I’ll ‘overhear’ a conversation or ‘see’ a scene and from that, the novel unfolds. I do plot, but always with a character firmly in mind.

 Why then write a plot driven query? I don’t know why this is the epiphany that I needed, but it was. The second revelation was as important as the first. Stop writing the world’s best query, the query that will please every agent and have them banging at your door. Just write. Sounds simple, huh? It is and it isn’t.

 So I thought about my two MC characters, about the conflict they face and what they are working to accomplish and bam, there it was. It’s not perfect, I’ll be the first to admit, but it’s good.

Thank you, again, to everyone who helped me blow a hole in that wall. You know who you are. : )

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Because I’m still working on that deadline and because I happen to agree with everything she says, I copied this from  http://jenniferleeland.wordpress.com

An awesome site by the way. : )

 

 It’s a common fact, not an urban myth, that writers are “sensitive”. The dictionary has thirteen different definitions of “Sensitive”. Perfect, right?

 1. endowed with sensation; having perception through the senses. I, personally, know when I write I seem to channel my characters. It’s a little weird sometimes.

 2. readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences. Writers are acutely aware of the opinions of readers, reviewers, agents, editors, fellow authors…you get the point.

3. having acute mental or emotional sensibility; aware of and responsive to the feelings of others. Writing a book about a character means you have to be aware of other people’s feelings. This isn’t always true for me, but it often is.

4. easily pained, annoyed, etc. You all have seen this every Monday on my “Just Sayin’” days. But I think we are easily annoyed. If you doubt me, find a writer you know and interrupt them when they’re writing.

5. pertaining to or connected with the senses or sensation. I know a bunch of words to describe nervousness. And fear. And anger. **And don’t forget how to ‘show’ not tell it** : )

6. Physiology. having a low threshold of sensation or feeling. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it sure seems like it. LOL.

7. responding to stimuli, as leaves that move when touched. If you’re not the Redneck and you “touch” me? I’ll leave. That works, right? Okay, I’m reaching here I know.

8. highly responsive to certain agents, as photographic plates, films, or paper. You should have seen us all posing at the RWA conference. HIGHLY responsive.

9. affected or likely to be affected by a specified stimulus (used in combination): price-sensitive markets. Yep. You all stop buying my books and I’m likely to be stimulated….to cry. LOL.

10. involving work, duties, or information of a highly secret or delicate nature, esp. in government: a sensitive position in the State Department. I can’t tell you or I’d have to kill you.

11. requiring tact or caution; delicate; touchy: a sensitive topic. Um, this describes every interaction I have with other authors. LOL. Okay, it’s not that bad. Well, maybe with the Redneck Poet. LOL.

12. constructed to indicate, measure, or be affected by small amounts or changes, as a balance or thermometer. Yep. We are very sensitive to changes. Don’t believe me? Just watch writers on Twitter when there’s been bad weather all over and SNOW DAYS are declared. It’s ugly I tell you.

13. Radio. easily affected by external influences, esp. by radio waves. You know, at first we’re easily affected by external influences…..and then we’re not. LOL. Okay, that was just for fun. I was just thinking tonight about how the writing life is filled with “Peaks and Valleys” as the Redneck called them. It’s been an up and down week. I’ve had excellent reviews. I’ve had several people tell me they love my stuff. I’ve been given lots of support. I’ve also had pretty tough edits, two rejections and lots of confidence smashers. Ups and downs. Peaks and Valleys. We’re sensitive, man! LOL.

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