Thursday, February 16, 2012
In celebration of the release of my friend Christine Fonseca's novella DIES IRAE, a prequel to her REQUIEM series, I'm interviewing her :-). I read it this past week, and let me tell you, it is one heart-wrenching story that really calls on you to explore the definitions of good and evil, as well as how closely intertwined love and hate truly are. Now, on to angels, demons and the eternal battle between the two!
"Some sacrifices should never be made—even for love.
Mikayel lives by one rule—obey the orders of the angelic Council at all costs. That is, until he and his friends, Azza and Demi, are sent to Earth. Assigned as Watchers while they await their decision of which angelic order to serve, the three assume the bodies of teenagers and experience life as human.
The sensations are overwhelming as the angels experience a host of human emotions—rage, terror, love—and come ever closer to breaking one of the unbreakable rules—never fall in love.
But being human isn’t the only problem facing the three angels. Unbeknownst to the Council, demonic activity is on the rise, threatening to break a tenuous peace that has existed for a millennia; a peace Azza seems bent on destroying.
Caught in a struggle for power with unseen demonic forces and Azza, and fighting against his rising emotional attachment to Demi, Mikayel must now decide how much he is willing to sacrifice for his new found love—a decision that could reignite an ancient war and will threaten the only thing that matters to the angels, the survival of humanity."
How did the idea for DIES IRAE come to you?
DIES IRAE comes from a story in the novel LACRIMOSA and explains the history between two of the characters. When the decision was made to write a prequel novella, this was the perfect story to choose!
What is your drafting style like? Any methods you typically use?
Great question. Typically, I start with the basic premise and problem in the story. Then I stew. And stew. AND STEW. It is during this time that I usually find a song or songs that capture the emotional feel of the story. I listen to the music incessantly. And finally, after ideas have taken root in my subconscious, I loosely outline the major plot points using Blake Synder’s beat sheet. At this point I loosely outline the scenes/chapters. Then, when I am happy with a general structure, I write the “zero” draft. I am much better at editing than drafting, so I really try to word vomit out the draft as quickly as possible.
Why angels? Have you always had an interest in their mythology?
Tough question. The idea for the first story, LACRIMOSA, was always about angelic beings. I guess that is where is all started.
How long did it take you to write DIES IRAE?
Like I said, the basic premise of DIES IRAE was created more than a year ago. That said, I outlined DIES IRAE in a few hours, and drafted over a week or so. After editing, polishing and more editing, I would say it was about a month start to finish, and another couple of weeks after a few people read it. I don’t typically write that fast, but we were under the gun with this one – so yea….it was a fast process.
So this book is a prequel? Is the rest of the series out or are you still working on it? HA! It is definitely a work in process. LACRIMOSA is undergoing its final edits as I type this. There are then two shorts and two novels planned, all coming out over the next 12 to 15 months. I have outlined the short (MEA CULPA) and the second novel (LIBERA ME). Once edits on LACRIMOSA are finished, I will be madly writing in order to meet my deadlines.
I find that characters can teach writers about themselves and the world around them. What did Mikayel, Demi and Azza teach you?
I love this question too. I think the three of them really taught me about the complexity of good and evil, and the presence of both qualities within all of us. Nothing is black OR white, just many shades of gray – and sometimes what separates the shades is barely tangible. Most of all, the relationship between really pointed out how easily things can go from minorly confusing, to seriously a MESS. And how every decision, no matter what the motivation behind it, has consequences, many of which are unpredictable.
Why do you like to write for young adults?
First of all, I work with teens and LOVE this age bracket. Secondly, young adults are at a period in their lives where they really cannot distinguish things they way an adult does. There are in a period of self discovery. Everything is raw, intense, new, unknown. Since I enjoy writing about personal discovery and the inner journey we all take through our emotions, writing YA affords me a context to do this in a very authentic way.
Christine Fonseca is one busy lady and has many great books in the works, so keep an eyes out for LACRIMOSA, and in the meantime, pick up DIES IRAE through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information, and to Google stalk Christine, you can peep her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
About two years ago, I entered the online writing community. Perusing the blogs of both the published and unpublished. Trying to get a handle on the reins felt the same as when I moved, halfway through my freshman year in high school. Everyone had their groups formed and here I was the dorky new-comer once again. High-school-Kristen was lucky enough to make a good friend who stuck by her, glaring at anyone who gave her a hard time.
Luckily, it wasn't necessary for grown-up-high-school Kristen to have a protector, since the online writing community is very open and accepting, but nonetheless I still felt like an outsider. I looked up to some of the "junior" and "senior" level writers who already were on their way to agents and book deals. One of these writers, spoke of the importance of a really good critique partner. One who will always tell you the truth, no matter how much it hurts. I was reminded of my friend in high school, who was the first to tell me when I was in the wrong.
I needed a writer friend who cared enough about me, my writing and my success to be a cheerleader and an a@#kicker when needed.
I wondered how to go about finding a critique partner. A personals ad? A website? "Married, white, female aspiring YA horror writer seeks open-minded individual who isn't squeamish and is willing to pull late nighters talking her off the writerly ledge."
Call it fate or divine intervention, but during this time I stumbled across a blog that would change my life, little could I tell from it's unassuming appearance. Tiffany Neal, "mother of three drama loving girls," reading teacher extraordinaire... I spent a night basically Google stalking her. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes reading of her escapades with her daughters, and in her voice I found a kindred spirit as Anne of Green Gables would have referred to it. She was my Diana Barry. I had to have her.
So, how does an adult-high-school-student-aspiring-writer court a CP, you might ask? A circle-yes-or-no-will-you-be-my-CP-letter attached to an incredibly awkward email that said something like, "Um, I know this is weird, and I swear I'm sane, but I think we are literally meant for each other. Will you devote your book babies to me?" Admit it, I know how to dazzle the ladaaays...
Strangely enough, and a testament to just how twisted my partner in crime is, she said yes two years ago today.
Since Tiffany has entered my life, my writing has taken so many turns. First off, I suck at grammar. Don't let my looming B.A. fool you. She schooled me (and threatened to lock me in a closet wallpapered with Beiber pictures *gag* *shudder*) until I learned from my mistakes. She lovingly pointed out my absurdly annoying obsession with adverbs until she broke me.
She has supported my love of the glittering new story high, and then seconds later tugged on my feet to pull me to the ground, forcing me to finish one manuscript before moving on to the next. That's right. She has also broken my fictional promiscuity, and turned me into be a novel monogamist *with the occasional wandering eye* ;-). If you know me, you realize what a feat that was.
She has spent countless hours on the phone and Skype, convincing me that I am indeed a writer, not an aspiring sidewalk chalk artist, and that I was just suffering through a rough patch.
I haven't told many people this, but right after Tiffany started working with me, an agent was interested in one of my stories. Tiffany spent two weeks of HELL working on preening this baby with me. It was me, her and 30STM. Do or die.
First the partial request had me calling Tiffany in a stupor, then the full had me screaming in her ear, and then months later, when it was rejected, I was in tears. But she was there to pick up the pieces and have unconditional faith in the characters and world I had created. At the same time, she helped me work through the agent's notes and nagged me until I licked my wounds and returned to the story. And that is why she is its godmother.
I'll never forget how vulnerable I was during that period of time, it reminds me of when I gave birth to my daughter and how the delivery room nurse was my lifeline. After my daughter was born, she helped put me back together again, and after the disappointment of that rejection, that is just what Tiffany was--a literary doula.
Most importantly, she makes me believe that if I work really hard, and stay positive I will be published at some point. The key is to keep an open mind and NEVER give up. She has inspired me to raise the bar non-stop, and push the hell out of my characters and feeble brain. And I love her for it.
The first year that we worked together, we also came up with an idea for a YA collab that we have worked on here and there since then, but the date to hammer it out is slated for this summer after my graduation and the end of her school year. She started out as a really good friend, we fell in love and are making a book baby. Yep. I went there.
Writing with her is just as natural as writing by myself, and actually more fun, because I don't have to talk to myself about the characters. I can't wait to embark on this new journey with her!
Outside of writing, she has been there for many important and tragic events in my life. Struggling through balancing school, illness and motherhood, she is my forever cheerleader. I know that no matter the situation, need, or time that I pick up that phone to call, she will be there wanting to help. In short, she started out as a CP, became a literary spouse and also the sister I never had.
I love you Tiffany. Happy Critterversary, thank you for taking a crazy schmuck like me on two years ago today. Thank you for making me a better writer, and a better person.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
In celebration of the debut release of my friend Heather McCorkle's novel THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL, I have decided to ask Heather to reveal a dirty little secret about herself. But first, the awesomeness that is TSOSK:
Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.
Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad.
The todlette is sold on the fact that there's an Aiden involved in the story--because that's the name of her Pre-K boyfriend *facepalm* I on the other hand, am excited to get into the mythology. The idea of "Channelers" is intriguing! So, since this is the tour of secrets, it wouldn't be complete without one of Heather's to share with you all.
Me: Who is your secret idol?It's Jared Leto, isn't it? *waggles eyebrows*
Heather: *blank stare* *recovers* Well, since I'm an author I'll give you two answers for this one. The author who I absolutely idolized from the first novel of his that I wrote is Joel Rosenberg who wrote the Guardians Of The Flame series. I fell in love with fantasy when I read his first book, then I couldn't get enough.
My other secret idol that most people don't know about is Bruce Lee. I've always loved martial arts and I still remember seeing my very first Bruce Lee movie and being captivated. Bruce's book, The Tao Of Jeet Kune Do is one of my favorite books of all time. When I was a kid a poster of Bruce and many posters of his son Brandon hung in my bedroom. When Brandon Lee died in March of 1993 during a movie set accident it broke my heart. This picture is from my trip to visit Bruce and Brandon's graves.
Me: I remember when Brandon passed away. It was so tragic... I loved the Crow, and still do!
Heather: Another fan! Best. Movie. Ever.
Me: I knew I liked you ;-). Thank you for stopping by on your Tour of Secrets. Congrats on your release! I can't wait to get my hands on it!
So, there you have it--an awesome author with amazing taste in actors, movies, and books. I would say that this bodes well for the fantabulous factor of her book, no? You can order yourself a copy from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.
Monday, July 25, 2011
More exciting news! My friend Denise Grover Swank's debut novel TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES was released on July 12th! Here's an excerpt:
Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes
A Rose Gardner Mystery
"It all started when I saw myself dead."
For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She's had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone's toilet's overflowed, but she's never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.
Rose realizes she's wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She's well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won't help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe's new to town, but it doesn't take a vision for Rose to realize he's got plenty secrets of his own.
Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they'll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn't her biggest worry after all.
So in honor of Denise, who blows my mind with her ability to be an amazing mother, as well as an incredible writer, here is my bucket list in the form of a Vlog... Blogger is not letting me embed it, but if you click here it will take you straight to the video.
Do you have a bucket list? Leave it in the comments! Also, you can order your copy of TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES by visiting Denise's website here. So what are you waiting for? Go buy it!!!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Since my good friend Eisley Jacob’s debut novel BORN TO BE A DRAGON is being released in 12 short days, I wanted to share how awesome she is with all of you by listing, “Twenty random facts that you may or may not have ever wanted to know about Eisley Jacobs.”
1. Eisley is not her real name. It’s a pen name cleverly disguised as a real name.
2. She has asked her husband on more than one occasion if she can change her name to Eisley. He says no. Party Pooper.
3. Eisley Jacobs means “to hold firmly onto…” Meaning, whatever her convictions, she holds firmly onto them and does her best to live every minute with love and integrity.
4. She loves dancing in the rain, but hates being wet.
5. Eisley is OCD about a lot of things, one of them being her house. When it’s messy, she flips. No really, ask her kids.
6. Eisley wears make-up three times a year. One of them was for her headshots on the website… the other two are up for debate.
7. She has a very tender heart and gets emotional at parts in a movie that she has seen twelve times. Even Disney movies.
8. Eisley wrote BORN TO BE A DRAGON while listening to Owl City (most of the time).
9. Eisley’s favorite bands of all times are: Red, Plumb, Skillet, Superchick, and The Almost. She can listen to these bands over and over and over. Then do it again.
10. Eisley loves coffee and is so generous that she has shared two cups of coffee with her laptop… and yet it still works.
11. She is a computer geek. She knows how to fix a laptop after it’s been drenched with coffee… twice.
12. She’s also a jack of all trades, master of none. And she doesn’t mind asking for directions or help. But you won’t catch her reading directions… often.
13. Eisley homeschools her three children. And loves it. And they don’t drive her crazy… on the most days.
14. Eisley knows American Sign Language. Well enough to carry on a conversation with her Deaf friends.
15. She has a size 11 foot.
16. She used to dream of being the first girl in the Major Leagues (baseball).
17. Her favorite color is blue.
18. Eisley doesn’t watch television if she can help it. She has too many stories to write.
19. She is very crafty and when she sees something she wants to do, she does it. Without reading directions. Usually it turns out okay.
20. Eisley is so excited about her upcoming release of BORN TO BE A DRAGON that she hasn’t slept in two days.
The 21st thing that you might not know about Eisley is that she inspires me. Not only is she an amazing friend, writer and a good mama, Eisley is a self-publishing guru who has made her dream come true—and yet she balances it all so well! I’m quite proud of her! Share in her success and pre-order a signed copy of BORN TO BE A DRAGON here.
I’ll even throw in a 22nd fact that could win you a brand spanking new NOOK! Eisley is so wicked cool that she is hosting a scavenger hunt that could win you the grand prize listed above. ;- ) Tomorrow’s question is, “What size are Eisley Jacob’s shoes?” Which is basically given to you in this post! So go follow Eisley's Blog if you don’t already and win that NOOK!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I have been stupid busy with school, but I have a new idea in the works for my blog, so stay tuned to the ol' bat channel for more. In the meantime, there is an awesome contest going on *not that I am hosting it or anything*. I am merely the messenger
The wonderful Carolina Valdez Miller is giving away an arc of WILDEFIRE on her blog, go enter. This book sounds amazing!
The wonderful Carolina Valdez Miller is giving away an arc of WILDEFIRE on her blog, go enter. This book sounds amazing!