naomi_jay: (and now this)
Kathryn Meyer Griffith is a fellow author at Damnation Books/Eternal Press, and she's here today sharing some Christmas memories. Aww! Thanks, Kathryn, and Merry Christmas! (I know it's early, but I need to pump as much joy out of the season as possible).



My real childhood Christmas memories, in fact most of my holiday memories, essentially began in my ninth year. Oh, I have memories, scattered and muted, of earlier times but none as crystalized as those after that year. That’s because months earlier on a sultry hot August day around my ninth birthday I almost died; the whole experience changed my young life forever from that time on.

It was early August 1959 – a terribly hot and long summer pre-air-conditioning – and I lived with my six siblings, mother and father, in a rambling run-down house near St. Louis. We didn’t have much money or material possessions, wore hand-me-downs and sometimes we didn’t have lunch money or even a working telephone. Our utilities were often cut off for lack of payment, things would disappear from the house and into the pawn shop and a car would one day be ours and the next not. But we had each other and…love.

My maternal grandmother, Mary Fehrt (joy bringer and storyteller of her generation) was always there for us when it came to providing the things we desperately needed; care packages of food and cash. As much as they could give because they weren’t rich either, but frugal; both worked long grueling hours at a dry cleaner. They’d gone through the Great Depression and could stretch a dollar. I always thought it ironic they’d responsibly had just one child, my mother, Delores, but she gave them seven grandchildren. I thought of my family as a modern day Walton’s. Heck, we even had a writer John Boy (me…though I was an artist and a singer with my brother Jim before I became one) and a musician, Jason (my brother Jim), a loving mother and father and a generous grandmother and grandfather. We were poor but happy. A good hearted family.

Anyway, that August I got sick. My side hurt and I lay moaning on the couch for three days while my mother and father agonized if I should be taken to the ER. Money we didn’t have. In the end, my mother won out and they took me. I had a bad case of appendicitis and the doctors, as they rushed me into the operating room, told my parents if they’d waited another hour the appendix would have burst and I might have died. Died.

Thank God, I didn’t. Afterwards I languished in a hot hospital room (I can still smell the antiseptic, bloodied bandages and feel the pain of the stitches to this day). Ech.

My ninth birthday was two days after I returned home and my family, relieved I was alive, showered me with gifts. A brownie camera. Art supplies. Homemade cake and ice cream. Everyone was there. I, for once, was the center of attention and loved it. I look back now and realize that was the beginning of wanting to be different, to stand out, make a difference in the world, to shine, and shortly after that I began drawing pictures and singing with my brother on the rusted backyard swing set.

The holidays that year were different for me and my family as well. Thanksgiving was full of grateful laughter, a huge roasted turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and marshmallows (my favorite) and lots of my father’s special treats, nuts and tangerines. I was acutely aware of everything. I was looking at the world through new eyes and was excited at the life I’d been given back. Happy. Thankful for my loving family.

Christmas was a child’s sweet fantasy. Christmas Eve, as the snowflakes, the temperature and the night’s amethyst twilight fell, my brothers, sisters, mother, father and I piled into my Dad’s big Buick and drove through the woods and neighborhoods of twinkling lit up houses to our grandmother and grandfather’s house. We usually stayed home on Christmas Eve and opened our presents the next morning when our grandparents arrived. Not that year. Dad and mom announced it was special and we were going to grandma’s house. Opening our presents there that night. Yippee! What child didn’t want presents early. Sooner the better.
It was snowing heavily by the time we drove into their driveway and I can still see what I saw as a child as I walked wide-eyed into grandma’s house (my grandmother loved the holidays and had twinkling Christmas lights, the big fat old-fashioned bulbs, strung along the front of their house and there were decorated Christmas trees in every room). My grandmother had outdone herself and there wasn’t corner of her home that wasn’t full of Christmas.

We traipsed downstairs and into a Christmas wonderland. Grandpa had gone out and cut a huge pine tree that stood at the end of their 50’s remodeled basement in all its glory. On its fragrant limbs hung hundreds of cherished family heirloom ornaments and beneath it were piles of brightly wrapped presents, more than I’d ever seen in my life, and a miniature Christmas village with a tiny train that chugged noisily around a little metal track, blowing its whistle. The whole glittering sight took my breath away.

They made us kids sit on the floor and handed out our presents one by one. Grandma and grandpa had gone overboard, as always, and I remember sitting there unwrapping present after present and crying because I’d gotten so many of the things I’d wanted. A large drawing tablet. Colored pencils. Pastels. A watercolor set. A sparkly (some of you remember those don’t you?) paint-by-number of winter sunsets. A new blouse. A big bag of my favorite nuts, cashews. All for me. I was in seventh heaven. The other kids did pretty well, too. By today’s standards, nothing much, but small trucks, cars, new clothes and dolls meant a lot to us.

I gave my grandmother and grandfather a set of porcelain fishes; my mother an inexpensive necklace and father some gloves. My brothers, sisters and I had gone out on a cold night days earlier to the local five and dime and picked out what we could afford, not much, but it was given from the heart. After the gifts we sat down at the long table full of grandma’s delicious food and ate, laughed, and made memories as the snow continued to drift outside the windows. Later, stuffed, content and exhausted mom and dad loaded us all into the Buick and slowly drove us home on the slick streets. Magic. I’ll never forget that night and the joy of my large family. The love. It’d sustain us through the hard and bad times to come and to this day gives me a smile and a catch in my throat whenever my thoughts touch it. Merry Christmas everyone!
***

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 8 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres. Learn more about her at www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith.
naomi_jay: (Cute notepad)
I was lucky enough to be the editor for Greg's new novella, The Noctuary, so you can take my word for it that it's awesome. If you're a horror/dark fantasy fan I urge you to pick up a copy immediately. Go now!

Back? Okay, here's Greg:


1. Let's start out easy – tell us a bit about The Noctuary. The title is very evocative – did it come first, or the idea for the story?

 The whole idea for The Noctuary came to me when I was about halfway through my mentorship with author Brett McBean in 2009. I started thinking about where all my ideas came from and the actual mentorship program became metaphysical in a way. I had this thought about what it would be like if an artist’s muse suddenly appeared to them. Writing the book as a sort of journal made sense, but I also wanted the reader to perceive the story in real time, but still have that appearance of unreality to it. Noctuary is actually Latin for “Night-Diary”.
 
2. The idea of the Dark Muses is wonderful, and their scenes are some of my favourites. Where did that come from? 

I obviously borrowed from Greek myth here. I took the story of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who served to inspire musicians, artists and poets and gave it a darker twist. I thought about good and evil and how demons would go about tempt human souls to sin. The concept of the Scribe and writing evil into humanity sprouted from that seed.

My nine Dark Muses represent all the negative aspects of humanity i.e., hate, violence war, tyranny, black magic etcetera. I knew how each of them would look physically, but the tricky part was coming up with their names.
 
3. How did this compare to writing your previous book, Torment? Anything you learned from that you were able to use in The Noctuary? 

The Noctuary and Torment couldn’t be any further apart. Torment is my take on the classic haunted house tale with a dash of demonic possession and “trial-by-faith” thrown in. The Noctuary is much darker – it’s more a work of the fantastique, that delves much deeper into concepts and themes of Hell and damnation of the soul. The Noctuary is also written in first-person and is at times, quite surreal. With Torment, I wanted the reader to sympathise with Jessica Newman, but Simon Ryan, the central character in The Noctuary, is sort of an anti-hero. I think readers will question Simon’s motivations.
 
4. Like yourself, Simon in The Noctuary writes dark fiction. How much of his experiences were drawn from real life? (Please don't tell me you have a Dark Muse of your own – I'd be both jealous and terrified!). 

The only thing Simon and I share lies within his name. When I was born my parents wanted to call me Simon, but my three older brothers wanted them to name me after a well-known Australian cricketer at the time, Greg Chappell. I guess the concepts of pseudonyms and what my life might have been like if my name was Simon might have subconsciously found their way into the book, but you can rest assured the story is complete fiction! 
 
5. I've seen The Noctuary compared favourably to the works of Clive Barker – can you tell us who your influences are, and is Clive among them? 

Clive Barker is one of my greatest influences. I admire Clive’s courage to present the visceral nature of horror, like he did in The Books of Blood and The Hellbound Heart. His control of prose is magnificent and immediately evokes imagery when you read it. As an artist and writer I have a very vivid imagination and it’s very easy for me to connect with Clive’s work. Another writer I adore is Edgar Allan Poe and he is a master of that other key aspect of horror fiction – atmosphere. The Fall of the House of Usher, The Red Masque and The Pit and the Pendulum taught me a lot about building that sense of dread that is vital in horror fiction.
 
6. What are you working on after The Noctuary? 

I haven’t done much new writing as I have been illustrating a non-fiction graphic novel tentatively titled “Witches!”. It is written by Horror Writers Association president Rocky Wood and multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author Lisa Morton. It will be published by McFarland in early 2012.

I did complete one novella about a young boy meeting a demonic acting troupe and I’ve been dabbling with the first draft of a Halloween-themed tale. 

Find out more about Greg and his work here.
naomi_jay: (ZP - yay)
I'm very pleased to have Fiona back talking about her new release, OBSESSED. I read her debut, THE BANISHING, not long ago and it was pretty damn awesome - the kind of book you keep thinking about long after you've finished it. So I'm excited to see what her new book is all about. Fiona's kindly taken the time to answer some questions, so without further ado...



 


Obsessed is your second release. Is there anything you learnt from the release of The Banishing that you used for Obsessed?

I think everything about The Banishing was a learning curve for me. It was my first completed novel, and my first novel to be published, so I had a lot to learn. It was all a new experience. I guess if I had to say I learned anything, it was about editing. How to approach it, what was necessary, what wasn't. I lost a lot of the nervousness this time around, because I knew what to expect, which helped. It meant I could enjoy the experience more, of creating my novel and getting it ready for release. 
 
Obsessed sounds like another intense story – what was the inspiration behind it?

Well, I've always been fascinated by the paranormal, and, as a result, I am a member of several paranormal groups (online and off). I've been involved in discussions with people before, sceptics, who say that ghosts are nothing more than hallucination, delusion, or           mental issues. I wanted to explore that, so in my novel, my character begins to feel he is being haunted and visited by a spirit – and it is through exploring his frightening experiences with a therapist, that he has to ask himself some serious questions. Is the ghost he is seeing the result of a troubled mind, or do the dead really reach out to make contact? 
 
Both Obsessed and The Banishing touch on the supernatural, from the demonic to the ghostly. Are you a believer in the paranormal? How would you cope with a ghost in the house?           

I have been completely fascinated by the paranormal since I was a child. I have seen what I believe to be a spirit before, and spent time in a haunted house. I have read books, factual accounts, of so-called hauntings. I am a practising tarot card reader, and I also study rune         stones. I have attended paranormal groups and investigations. It all completely draws me in, and often inspires my writing. Yet the strange truth is this: I am easily scared. I wouldn't want to live in a haunted house, and I don't like being alone at night. It's a very strange             paradox! 
  
What are the themes you keep coming back to as a writer? Do you notice any recurring ideas and motifs in your work? 

My main themes, that always seem to creep in somewhere, are often either spiritual (religious undertones) and paranormal. Those issues sneak into my writing all the time. I've   also noticed I'm not a believer in the “traditional” happy-ever-after ending. That's not to say all my books have to be depressing or have nasty endings, but it DOES mean that I like to end a story leaving the reader with questions, ideas and new thoughts of their own. The more I can involve a reader by provoking them, the more satisfied I am. 
 
If you could have dinner with any other writer, living or dead, who would it be and why? 

Stephen King. I know it's cliché and said time and time again, but I believe he is the master at what he does. 
 
What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?           

Letting go. I always get scared when I approach the end. By the time I will have finished a book and edited it, I'll be thinking, “Is this part good enough?” “Should I add a scene here?” “Does this part come across the way I intended it?” I mean, those are good questions for authors, but not to the point where you can't let go. Sometimes I can hold onto a story for a long time, for fear that I'll make a mistake, or get something wrong. When you hope your work is going to be published and read by many, those fears feel all too real: your work is        out there to be judged, and that can be daunting.

And following on from that, your books so far deal with very dark, often disturbing subject matter – do you find it hard to write this kind of thing or are you happiest when getting dark and bloody with your characters?

Horror makes me happy. Seriously. I know some people think that is weird, and some people don't understand it, but I love to be scared (in a safe, entertainment sort of way!) I love to get   under the skin and really explore dark, disturbing, scary or eerie issues. It's simply the way I am. I have tried to write outside of horror before, and nothing happens. The magic ends when I try to write outside of what I'm passionate about. 

And following on from that, what's your favourite part of the writing process? 

The beginning, when you've had that amazing idea, when you're getting to know your characters, when it's all flowing. I love the start – it's like a relationship. At the start it's all exciting and new and you want to explore each and every aspect, but I find it tougher as I get more into it. The editing, the deleting, the submission process etc. 
 
With Obsessed out in the world, what are you working on now?

Well, I finished a horror novel entitled The Shift a few weeks ago. I'm currently submitting that to publishing houses. I have also just literally started writing my fourth – but it's very early stages! 

Anything else we should know about Fiona and her works?           

Well, I mainly want to share my online home, because that's where you can learn most things about me, my work and my upcoming projects: www.fionasfiction.wordpress.com
naomi_jay: (angel fire)

Tim is a fellow Damnation Books author and all-round awesome guy! I loved his first Demon Squad book, Armaggedon Bound, and I think you should all love it too (and the sequel, Resurrection, which I can't wait to get stuck into). Tim's kindly agreed to blog for me today, so without further ado...


 


Evolution of a Dream

 When I first seriously thought about writing, it was an ego thing that pushed me across the line. While I’d always liked to write—song lyrics, poetry, bits and pieces of fluff—I’d never put much effort into it. But while at work one day, a buddy of mine showed me a novel he’d written and it struck a chord with me. It was a challenge of sorts: if he could do it, so could I. So, I sat down and started collecting the ideas I had in my head and got to work.

Turns out, the first book sucked; as did the one after that, and the next one, and even the two after that. Each novel had good things about them, and I learned that I could craft an imaginative story even if I couldn’t’ write worth a damn. That was a start, but the worst part was, I didn’t realize how bad they were at the time. I proudly peddled them off to friends and acquaintances—for whom I’m still very sorry—and was fortunate enough to receive honest and critical advice as to what I was doing wrong.

It was a shock at first. In my ignorance, I hadn’t realized how low my ceiling was, and I was bumping into it blindly, thinking my work was better than it was. It really opened my eyes to hear the problems the books had, and was a definite kick in the ass to learn how I’d overlooked many of the most basic concepts of writing. Luckily, I’m thick-skinned as well as thick-skulled. I took it as another challenge.

I dove into sites like Absolute Write and SFFWorld, and found tons of people with great questions and advice. I studied the forums and the light started to come on. During that time, I happened upon a writing group that pushed me at every opportunity, forcing me to think about why I wrote what I did, what purpose did it serve in the grand scheme of the story? Between the forums and the group, I really began to develop a critical eye for spotting flaws in other’s work, which ultimately translated to my own. The ceiling had been lifted and I vowed to never let it be built again.

Once I could see my flaws, a whole new world opened up. I was no longer bound by my self-imposed limitations, and could put on paper the words as I imagined them in my head. That was truly the start of me as a writer.

Even now, though five times published, I still see myself as a neophyte. There is so much to learn, and so much to explore, that I can’t even imagine conquering it. I aim to get better with every book I write, aim to challenge my idols and step from within their shadows, one day. That is the dream I work toward.

The moral of this longwinded rant is targeted at those of you who hope to pursue a career in writing. Never settle. Treat every criticism to an honest eye, searching for the lessons buried in them, no matter how harsh or admiring. We can always get better, and we should always strive to. Don’t ever be satisfied with your writing. Challenge yourself, search out your weaknesses and chip away at them, write outside your comfort zone.

While there may be a lot of writers in the world content to be average, if you expect to make a name for yourself—barring incidents of complete luck—you have to have the skill to back up your vision. As deep as the field is, good just doesn’t cut it. Learn and practice your craft at every opportunity, so when you’re lying there in your bed at night, you can look up and see the stars, not the ceiling.

 

You can find Tim at http://www.tmarquitz.com/home.html, along with details of his books and blog. Really worth checking out!
naomi_jay: (Default)
Note - this should have gone up on Saturday 26th, but due to the Great Snake Adventure, I didn't get to my computer all weekend. Anyway, I'm very pleased to have Su here talking about her new release, INTRICATE ENTANGLEMENT and a little of the inspiration behind it. Take it away, Su!


 I See Her Face

Damnation books released my horror/thriller novella, Intricate Entanglement, on March 1st. Every time I’m asked about the mentally ill folks in the book, a certain old lady’s face flashes in my memory.

Few years back, while attending training in Manhattan, I stayed in a hotel close to the training center. It was a short walking distance, less than ten minutes, for sure. Cold fall wind made me jam my hands into the pockets of my thick jacket, but I always walked that way; alone, minding my own business. One day, I noticed a woman standing in my path; I veered to the side to avoid her. She moved and blocked me again, so I lifted my gaze. She was one of the homeless people, frail, old, her oily hair in desperate need of a meeting with a shampoo, her long dirty nails begged to be clipped. On top of all that, she reeked. Use your imagination here, all kinds of BOs hovered about her. Her eyes were trained on me.

“You think you’re better than me?” she crooned.

I looked around me in bewilderment, was she talking to me?

“Yeah, you.” Now she shouted more than talked. “I’m talkin’ to you, high and mighty corporate bitch.” She literally spat the last two words at me. People moved away from us. I also noticed the thin stick of wood in her hand, too thin and filthy to be called swagger stick, yet it matched it in thinness. I was scared. Imagine to be beaten by her in front of my colleagues.

“I don’t think that,” I said, and I meant it. I never noticed her before, though she had noticed me plenty, obviously.

A man passing by whispered to me. “Ignored her, she’s insane. The more you talk the more you aggravate her. She’s nuts.”

Despite my fear, I was taken aback by his words. People knew what she was, how she was, and yet she roamed the streets. God knows where she slept, how she ate, and what she ate. I looked at her again. She could be someone’s grandmother, somewhere where she could be cared for.

Okay, it might have been my mood, I was in one of those melancholic ones, but I felt bad for her. She must’ve sensed it, for she narrowed her eyes. “Now you’re feelin’ superior to me. Too bad, I’m gonna beat ya so hard…”

I didn’t move, didn’t even blink. It was mostly fear of embarrassment than pain. The jacket was thick enough to ward the latter, unless she went for my face. By now, we had reasonable crowd around us.

My mind buzzed with a word she used, one that stood out in the middle of her threat. Superior. This woman used to be someone educated, or at least I hoped so.

“Listen to me,” I said slowly, “I don’t know you, you don’t know me. Let’s leave it that.”

She cackled. “Ya scared?”

I nodded. I was, no use denying it

“Then that’s good enough for today. You may go to hell now.” She gestured, allowing me to walk on.

It took every muscle in my body, every will I ever possessed, to walk and not run the hell out of there. She had said “today,” she was planning on more encounters. Unless I wanted to be late for the training sessions by taking the longer route (half of the other roads were blocked), I was going to meet her again during my remaining ten days of training.

She became a fixture on my path, early mornings and late evenings when I come out of the office, yet she never approached me again. Instead, she walked parallel to me, watching me, that stick in her hand.

One day, while on my way back to the hotel, I felt a pull on my handbag. I was warned about pickpockets and my first reaction was “Heeey!”

Till today, I’m not sure whether the man was a thief or not, but the loud WHOOSH that descended on him, and his subsequent yelp of pain were real alright.

My knight with grimy wooden stick had come charging to my rescue. “You okay? Huh?” She asked, the whole while jerking the stick in the direction of the fleeing man, exposing whatever remained of her yellow teeth at him.

I convinced her that I was okay.

We never spoke after that, even though she still guarded my daily trips to the office. The time came when my training was over and I was leaving for the airport, it was midday, and I didn’t see her. I wanted to say something nice to her, maybe even give her money. She didn’t seem high and there was no alcohol smell in the miasma of her odors. I had a feeling, however, that I would have offended her if I offered her anything.

I think she developed the tough act to protect herself, but that didn’t rule out that she had some mental problems as well.

She didn’t belong on the streets, she should have been somewhere warm with a full tummy and washed hair.

This is a true story, one that has nothing to do with the stories in Intricate Entanglement except for the fact that they remind me of her. I hope she’s in a better place now.

Intricate Entanglement takes place in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. These are stories of the patients, each told by them. Seven or eight stories in total—depending how you look at it—that touch on such topics like growing old, sexual preferences, and obsessions. The central character, Doug Pinkham, is an opportunistic reporter who got more than what he bargained for.

Find out more about Intricate Entanglement here: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615723393

Or watch the trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7j9YWnLhMA

Naomi, thanks for the opportunity to guest blog on your journal and to share this experience with your readers.

Author Bio:

Su Halfwerk writes in the horror and paranormal romance genres. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on her, later on terrifying, blood-chilling books became the object of her interest. Su’s style in horror combines shuddery terror with elements of surprise; some would even call it an enigmatic twist. In the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.

When not writing, Su is designing book trailers for herself and other authors.

Intricate Entanglement is Su’s latest release from Damnation Books, a mix of a thriller with an overlay of maddening darkness.

You can find Su online in any of these places:

www.su-halfwerk.com
http://www.suhalfwerk.blogspot.com/
www.facebook.com/Su.Halfwerk
http://twitter.com/SuHalfwerk

 
 
 


naomi_jay: (butterfly)
This is a little different from my usual guest blogs. Greg and I were discussing ways of doing the old "author interview/guest post" bit with a twist, and this is what we came up with. His intrepid reporter, Roy Elliott, conducts a rather awkward interview with Ethan Banning over at Greg's blog. And my slightly less intrepid reporter, Janey Carter, interviews Jessica, the protagonist of Greg's new novel TORMENT right here. Let's go!


This is Janey Carter reporting for the Herald, March 21st 2011. I'm with Jessica Newman. Jessica, thanks for agreeing to meet with me today. Maybe we can start with your coming to Scotland. What brought you here?

 Um…I’m here to sort out my father’s estate. He … passed away …very sudden. I haven’t seen him for a long time. I’m actually surprised I came here, but I suppose I didn’t have a choice.

 Can you tell me a bit about your childhood memories of growing up with a deacon for a father? How did that shape you?

 I don’t know if I want to talk about that… My childhood was … tragic. My mother died when I was a little girl and it tore my family apart. 

 A lot of people think they understand Catholicism and exorcism, but have your experiences correlated with what we see on TV? Or is there more to it than we're lead to believe?

 How did you know about that – have you been checking up on me? What my father did to my mother was horrible! (crying heard) I don’t think I want to answer your questions anymore! Where’s my husband – where’s David?

 Let's talk about the house - what's it been like to be there at a time like this? Has it been a distraction?

 It’s just a house! It’s falling to pieces… my father just wasted away in it! Please can we stop now?

 Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't realise this was such a difficult issue for you. Do you want to take a break?

 (Sniff)….No, no, I’m sorry; just a bit of a mess at the moment. Sorry. It’s just so hard trying to deal with all this after so many years.

 Okay then, let's start over. Why don't you tell me how your husband's been dealing with all these … stresses? You're obviously a very close couple...

 Oh, David’s fantastic; very understanding. He’s been by my side ever since we met in college. He’s a real tower of strength you know? When I told him about my childhood and my mother’s death he was never judgmental – he just wanted to help me recover. So when I said we had to come here he didn’t hesitate to come with me. I’m very lucky to have him. Our son, though – we had to literally drag him here. David’s actually been fixing the manor since we first arrived, but I think it’s beyond repair.

 So you don't see the two of you relocating here permanently?

 No, oh God no! I couldn’t live in that house. Just feels like there’s something wrong with it – apart from the fact my father lived there. I’d say we’ll probably sell it, but still, maybe I’ll find something there that will help me get some closure, you know?

 Can we talk about your mother again? I know it's hard, but do you feel you had to grow up faster as a result of her loss?

 I guess I didn’t have a choice. I was a victim too. My father murdered my mother and I was just left to deal with it. It wasn’t her fault…she was sick and he… he just (crying heard). He was supposed to be a man of God!...

 Alright, this is … this is clearly too upsetting for you. Is there anything you'd like to say to finish things off?

 (Sniff) I’m sorry. I bet you wish you didn’t decide to pick me at random for an interview hey? I just want to get out of Scotland…I’m sorry, it looks lovely, but I think I would have preferred to visit under happier circumstances. Memories hurt. They hurt so much…

 I think that's enough now, Jessica. Thanks for your time.

Find out more about TORMENT over at Damnation Books.

Link Stew

Mar. 16th, 2011 12:58 pm
naomi_jay: (rabbit hole)
First of all, thanks to everyone who's spreading the word about mine and other authors' efforts for Japan. I've seen a definite spike in my sales for NIGHT AND CHAOS and UNGRATEFUL DEAD over the past couple of days, which is awesome! I don't know what this translate to in terms of money to donate to World Vision yet, but whatever we make, it makes a difference, so thank you!

Now, a round-up of randomness:

I'm guest-blogging at Fangtastic Books today, talking about writing like a man. If you're interested in the massive mental effort I put into understanding the male mind in order to write DEMONISED, this is a blog for you.

I'm also over at Baffled Books talking about the role of the book blogger as part of my NIGHT AND CHAOS ebook tour (which I've been too busy to talk about much, but it is happening).

And there's a review of NIGHT AND CHAOS here at Books Glorious Books. Here's a taster of what they made of it:

The storyline was great. Really different to anything I have ever read before. The idea of experiments gone wrong was great and it worked really well.

So I think that's everything for now. I'm off to scavenge for food!
naomi_jay: (mask)
Obviously I'm trying to keep the focus on my charitable endeavours this week, but there is other stuff happening in the blogosphere! Like, for example, me interviewing Fiona Dodwell, my fellow Damnation Books author. Fiona's debut novel, THE BANISHING, was released this month, and Fiona took the time to talk to me about the book and her writing. Go!


What were your favourite books as a child and what is your favourite genre to read now?

As a child, I genuinely loved what I love now: anything dark, mysterious, foreboding. I read a lot of Stephen King – with concerned parents peering over my shoulder – and enjoyed some of the lighter teenage horror fiction that was out at the time, such as R.L Stine's horror novels.

What's your creative process like? What do you have to do before you can actually sit down and write?

Once a seed of an idea has formed in my mind, I plan a very general outline of what my story will consist of and where I want to take it. If I need to research something, I normally do that before putting pen to paper. I don't plan my stories rigidly because I love the feeling of being surprised and taken aback by where my story goes and where my character takes me. There is nothing better than breathing life into your book and letting it grow. There is a magic moment when a story comes to life – I live for those moments.

Do you remember the first piece you ever wrote?

Yes, it was a short novel called 'Caged Demon' and I must have been around the age of ten or eleven. I loved that story at the time – I wish I had kept it. It was about a teenager who fell in love with a local man, only to find out he had recently escaped a maximum security prison – and was highly unbalanced! I'm sure if I read it back now I would laugh, but I was proud of it at the time.

Who are your biggest influences as a writer?

A mixture of Stephen King, Susan Hill and William Peter Blatty. I love any writer that can scare me!

What sort of goals do you set yourself when writing a book? Do you have a daily schedule to stick to?

If I feel like writing for four hours a day, I will. Some days I barely squeeze out three pages. I follow my gut instinct and go where the inspiration leads me. I normally have a vague outline in my head and work from that. I don't enjoy planning anything to rigidly because I like to leave room for my characters to grow and my story to bloom.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on my third novel, The Governess, a supernatural horror. I am also in the process of submitting my second novel, The Obsession, for publication.

What advice do you have for any writers just starting out and not sure what to do with their work?

Work hard at your story. Do your best with what you've got, don't be afraid of the delete button -sometimes we have to be our own harshest critic! Don't over-analyse, just write what you want to write, then you can return to the beginning and make your work as strong as it can be. Then, if you're happy with it, you can begin submitting it to publishers or agents. Don't be afraid of rejection – the best have faced that. We all do. Believe in your work and don't under-sell yourself.

Now, tell us about THE BANISHING – it's a gorgeous cover! But what about the story?

Thanks – I love the cover too. Dawne Dominique is an amazing artist. As for The Banishing, it is a story about the struggle of one woman to survive.  That's one strong element throughout my story: survival – and how far you would go to survive.

When Melissa first notices a change in her husband, she puts it down to stress. Long hours at work and on the road. However, when these changes start to become altogether more sinister and frightening, Melissa has to ask some serious questions. Is Mark mentally unwell? Or could be be under the influence of forces darker than she ever imagined? The Banishing explores themes of demonic possession, marital break-down and mental illness.

Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

Please visit my website, www.fionasfiction.wordpress.com. There you will find a link to buy The Banishing as well as interviews, articles and short stories. The Banishing is available in e-book and paperback formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Damnation Books.
naomi_jay: (flying objects)
Five things because Friday is awesome!

1. @ethan_banning is tweeting again. Not for the faint-hearted, easily-offended, or those who believe there's no excuse for watching dead koi carp porn.

2.Inspired by a conversation with [livejournal.com profile] spiderling , I'm going to be running a contest soon giving away signed copies of AFTERLIFE and DEMONISED, so watch out for that in March.

3. The Daily Mash reports on one of my favourite topics - stupid child names.

4. Have you read Yolanda Sfetsos' guest blog yet? I know I only posted it an hour or so ago, but time is short, people. 2012 is rapidly approaching.

5. It's pay day! I just bought a copy of The Midnight Hunt by LL Raand to add to my ever-expanding TBR pile.
naomi_jay: (glittery)
I'm delighted to welcome Yolanda back to talk about her lastest book, NUMB6R OF TH6 B6AST. I'm constantly amazed that she has time to eat or sleep, given the amount of writing she does and books she releases. Anyway, over to her:


Firstly, I'd like to thank Naomi for having me here today. It's always nice to talk about one (or more) of my books. ;)

 I'm the kind of writer who doesn't feel restricted by genre. I write urban fantasy, paranormal romance, futuristic, Sci-Fi, horror, I even dabble in YA. I've mentioned this before, but my muse doesn't feel she needs to stick to one genre, or one length either. I like writing short stories, novellas, and novels and feel that each idea calls for its own length. Some stories are definitely longer and more complicated than others. 

 But for now, I'm not necessarily talking about restrictions for a variety of stories. Sometimes, the genre thing happens within a story. Have I confused you yet?

 My latest release is called Numb6r of th6 B6ast and my publisher has it listed under Dark Fantasy/Paranormal. Yep. That's exactly what it is. Then again, it's also an urban fantasy tale since it's set in the city of Sydney and some supernatural things are going on. But it can also (easily) slot into paranormal romance, too. At the heart of what's going on is a love story between Luci and Damien. But there's also an edge of horror. After all, we are dealing with the potential rise of the Antichrist. Oh, and the story takes place around Valentine's Day, which I suppose can make it fit into the Seasonal/Holiday genre category. And when is it set? This year, last year, next year... maybe ten years from now? It could be any time.

 I'm sure you get the picture, lol. So many possibilities, and I didn't even think about any of them until the story was finished. But I do have a tendency to blend my genres. I've got a Sci-Fi novel coming out in June about a space courier that deals with magic, a shapeshifter, and other galactic troubles. See what I mean?

 For now, to be on the safe side, I'm sticking to urban fantasy for Numb6r of th6 B6ast. I believe it's the genre that contains most of the elements featured in my little Antichrist story. And I have plans to write another story set in this world, but this time with a different narrator. Wonder what genre/s that one will step all over?

 Personally, I enjoy reading and writing stories that mix and match a variety of genres. What about you? Do you prefer to read in the one genre? Or do you also like to spice things up with a little of everything thrown into the pot? 

 Thanks for reading,

Yolanda

 www.yolandasfetsos.com

 

----------------------------

 It's not easy being the Antichrist...

All Luci wants this Valentine's Day is a date. So when she runs into her teenage crush, Damien, out of the blue after so many years, she’s willing to see where things lead. What she doesn’t know is that Damien belongs to a fanatical group that is convinced the Antichrist will rise this year.


Usually a bunch of whackos wouldn’t worry her. Not when her life is already full of them. Except this bunch is convinced that she’s the Antichrist, and they are determined to stop her rise to power.

Now that she's reunited with Damien, Luci's not going to let these crazy, robed men stop her from enjoying her first date in ages. She’s determined to have a good time...even if it kills her.

Buy link: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615723027

naomi_jay: (zombie girl)
Today I'm happy to be hosting Karina Fabian, a fellow Damnation Books author, and writer of NEETA LYFFE, ZOMBIE EXTERMINATOR, a story where zombie killing meets reality TV! (It's good, I'm reading it right now). So, here's Karina:


 

Cut for awesome )
naomi_jay: (ZP - yay)
So! My friend LA Burton has just re-released her urban fantasy novel, STORM OF MAGICK, on the Kindle. This is pretty cool, and Lisa's been doing a lot of hard work to promote the book just about everywhere. Including here! Check out her interview and check out STORM OF MAGICK too!



Click for more! )


naomi_jay: (masked girl)
I'm very excited to have David Bridger guest blogging for me today following the relase of his debut paranormal romance, BEAUTY AND THE BASTARD. How's that for a title? I was lucky enough to read an early version of this story a while back, and I knew then that David had something special on his hands. I'm of course delighted to be proved right and see BEAUTY AND BASTARD reach well-deserved publication. David created two great, memorable characters in Saul and Rebecca, and I'd encourage everyone to grab a copy and enjoy their story. So, take it away, David:

My Writing Communities

Thanks for inviting me to talk here today, Naomi. I'm thrilled to bits about the release of Beauty and the Bastard, and sharing this exciting day with friends like you really is the sweetest part of it.

I'm fortunate to have good friends in several writing communities on the internet.

My most recent addition to this group of communities is the forum at my publisher, Liquid Silver Books, where I've found a warm welcome and a lovely supportive community of readers, publishers, editors and authors.

Forward Motion wasn't the first writers' forum I tried, but it was the first one where I felt both completely at home and continually encouraged by the creativity and constructive helpfulness I found there. I still feel that way. It's my oldest home on the web.

Next oldest for me is Litopia, a writer's colony with a long-standing internet forum that is growing in exciting ways this year, from the instantly popular Muse ezine to the expansion of our podcast schedule towards a 24/7 streaming radio station for writers and readers. I'm a mod in the forum, one of the acquisitions editors for Radio Litopia (which will take to the air later this year) and an occasional member of the panel on live broadcasts of the Friday show Litopia After Dark.

The home I found most recently before Liquid Silver Books, one year ago this month in fact, is Romance Divas. It's difficult to explain in a few words just how important Romance Divas has been for me. Apart from the lovely friends I've made there, and the superb quality of workshops and support available, the mature and focused professionalism of the place made a significant impact on me just when I was ready for it. Without Romance Divas, I wouldn't be published today.

I'm on Twitter of course, where my followed and followers are pretty much an aggregate of all my friends from everywhere else.

And, finally, I opened a YouTube account recently. Come and say hello if you're on there.

Say hello anywhere you see me! I love keeping up with old friends and making new ones! :)


David's debut publication is the paranormal romance novella Beauty and the Bastard.

Saul the Bastard is a fallen angel who works as a bounty hunter for powerful urban demon families. Rebecca Drake, a modern day demon princess, is being hunted by dangerous desert demons. When Rebecca’s family hires Saul to protect her, they are both unhappy with the arrangement, but before long sparks fly as they try to resist their strong mutual attraction. For the first time in living memory, Saul has someone to love; someone he is scared of losing; someone the desert demons have marked to be their next sacrifice.



naomi_jay: (twilight girl)
As promised, my guest today is Kathryn Meyer Griffith, author of numerous books including her latest release from Damnation Books, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons. Kathryn was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, so here we are!


Tell us a bit about your new book, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons. What was the inspiration for it?


I’ve always wanted to write an end-of-days novel. I loved Stephen King’s THE STAND so much back in the day. And when (it’s been six years ago now) I had this idea about a woman, one half of a singing brother and sister lounge singing duet, who also take care of an elderly aunt and uncle, who suddenly sees demons behind her human audiences’ faces, I knew I had to write it. She sees them because it signals the coming apocalypse and she’s one of the humans who are to fight on the side of the angels before and after the Rapture comes. This is a brother and sister who love each other and love the safe life they have now; she doesn’t want things to change. When children, there was a terrible fire and the rest of their family died in it. They’re all they have.

I decided not to make it too religious…more like a layman’s view of the end days. I loved the Left Behind series, too, but it was way more preachy and I didn’t want to do it that way. Mine is more a horror story. Though the woman eventually discovers and accepts, she is one of many who will have powers to see and fight demons as the end days draw near. She must seek out others like herself and convince them to join the fight. I tried to make this a story of family and human love as well as a survival story in the face of overwhelming odds as the world spins to its end. I love these characters! There’s supposed to be a second book…soon as I find time to write it.

2. What’s your writing process? Do you like to plan everything in advance, or do you just go with the flow and see what happens?

A little of both. I get an idea, a premise, and the characters (my books and stories are heavily character driven) come to me, and the story, the plot, flows from them. Sometimes I have an ending already in my head but, often as not, it changes by the time I get to it. I start a book and as I write, the characters kind of reveal what’s going to happen to them…like a series of mysteries I have to solve along the way. I’m never out of ideas, there are always stories in my head. Been that way all my life, since I was a kid.

3. Is there a part of the writing process you really dislike - editing, world-building, etc – or does it all come easily?

It pretty much comes easily but I do find if I’ve been working too long on a book and then it sells quickly and I have to start the edit process…yikes, by the second edit and final proofreading…I HATE the darn book! Think it’s terrible. I usually do the first draft as a straight through writing (no frills and I don’t worry about much of anything except getting the basic story down). Then my second run through, I catch the repeat words and fix the grammar (as well as I can as I’m one of those storytellers who really needs an editor). Third run through I try to pretty up the thoughts, words and polish. If I find any clichés (which I hate unless a character would be the sort to say them – not often) I try to rewrite them in a fresh way. I hate clichés. Of course, once the book sells it starts all over again.

4. Do you have a character or story you’re especially proud of? What makes them/it so special to you?

This one, my new one, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons…what writer doesn’t want to write a saga? And it is “a long story of heroic achievement”…an eternal story of good versus evil. That’s one of the reasons Twilight is so popular. It’s also an eternal good versus evil epic as well as a love story.

5. Did you always want to be a writer?

No, not exactly. Though I always loved to read and loved books…at nine I started drawing everything in sight. I could exactly copy anything, all I had to do was see it. I wanted to be an artist. I was (a graphic artist in the corporate world for 23 years) and still am.

Then at 14 (the Beatles and all that) I wanted to sing. And I did, with my brother, when we were very young. Folk music, at first, and then I was in a pop rock band with him until I was 19. Those were the days. The writing started at 21 when I was stuck home with a new baby (kicked out of the band because my brother fell in love with a girl singer and she took my place) and bored out of my skin. I read a horrible historical romance one day and thought: “I can do better than that!” And so it began. That was 39 years ago. Took me 12 years to get my first and second book published as I got sidetracked with a divorce, raising a son, and having to get a real job. I consider my writing as my butterfly stage, though I still draw once and awhile and jam (for fun only) with my brother, Jim. That’s me singing with him on the book trailer I made for BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons. I’m not a great singer but I wanted it to mimic the two main characters and my brother obliged me. He wrote the song, as well. He grew up to be a singer/song writer and hold down a full-time computer job.

6. Which writers and books have influenced you and your work the most?

Ah, duh. Stephen King. Anne Rice. Dean Koontz. The usual suspects. And way too many good writers to list here.

7. You’ve been writing for 39 nine years, and been published for 26 of them. Are there any goals or ambitions in your writing career you’ve yet to achieve?

Vindication that I haven’t wasted 39 years of my life chasing rainbows. I love it when a reader e-mails me or tells me they loved my book or short story! And…don’t laugh…make more money? The income has been dismal, at times, over the years but now with seven of my old novels being reprinted and released as new paperbacks and e-books (for the first time ever!) in the next 14 months and two new novels, I hope to change that. The best money I ever made was on the four paperbacks from Zebra (between 1991-1994). The previous three from Leisure weren’t bad, either. E-books haven’t been great so far but I believe that’s really changing. Or I hope so.

8. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Keep writing, always keep writing. While you wait on the last book or two to sell, forget it, them, and start another one. Just keep writing. Oh, and don’t let the rejections kill your spirit. As a writer we all get tons of them but remember…liking or disliking a book is so subjective. I’ve had people positively love a book or short story I’ve written and then another person can just hate it to death – and tells me so! So there. People are so different.

9. And what advice would you give to newbies starting out on the path to publication?

Same as #7…and that I believe to be a writer you have to do it out of love of the pure act of writing. Not for the money or fame or whatever. A lot of writers never get any of that. Write the book for you. Write only what you love and not what other people want you to write. For me being a writer is who I am. It makes me happy to spin my tales and even happier when someone appreciates them. Great therapy, too. I’d really be a messed up person if I couldn’t get all my fears and anxieties out through writing them all down. I think that’s why I love to write horror more than anything…I’m afraid of everything in the world and in my books I can be brave. Shed or defeat my demons, so to speak.

10. Are there any upcoming works from you we can look forward to?

BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons just came out from Damnation Books and the e-book is still on a hot low price sale there for awhile longer) on May 31, 2010 and THE WOMAN IN CRIMSON, a vampire novel, is coming out from Eternal Press in September 2010…and as I mentioned SEVEN of my older Leisure and Zebra paperbacks (going back to 1984) are being re-released as new paperbacks and e-books in the next 14 months from those same two publishers. You can go to www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG or kathrynmeyergriffith.intuitwebsites.com to get the updates and see all my book trailers with music by my brother JS Meyer.

Naomi, thanks for having me here…hope I didn’t babble on too long and bore all your readers! Signing out, Kathryn Meyer Griffith rdgriff@htc.net

And you can see the book trailer for BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons right here!

naomi_jay: (afterlife)
I'm hosting another Damnation Books author today - Su Halfwerk, author of ZUPHREEN, a horror/urban fantasy exploring the lengths three students will go to to change their lives - and the lengths they're forced to go to when it all goes horribly wrong...

Researching ZUPHREEN

Over the past few books I wrote, I’ve discovered that my best friend in writing is research. For some people, research is a tedious task that numbs the brain into oblivion. For me, it’s a world of possibilities that gives me the break I need, it takes me on journeys through history and different locations, and it broadens my horizon. It’s exciting.

It’s even better when I research creatures, myths, curses, and the like for my horror writing. The type of horror that I write and attracts me is the one that involves psychotic individuals, evil witches, spirits, vampires, and mythical creatures.
Naturally, that includes demons.

Like other supernatural beings, demons are great. There is no limitation to their evil; science and logic don’t always dictate their actions and demeanor. They just are.

My latest release, Zuphreen, is named after one such creature, foul to the core, with no tolerance for any life.
And he grants wishes! Imagine someone like that granting your most precious dream!

Something is bound to go wrong. And it does, to the three friends who dare to summon him one moonless night and make a wish.
We shouldn’t judge Zuphreen, the same way we shouldn’t blame a snake for biting or a bee for stinging. It’s in his nature.

Zuphreen ~ Bestower of Damnation is the story of three unlikely friends who unwittingly unleash the horrors of hell in a vain attempt to boost their plummeting grades. Duped by their scheming professor, the friends summon Zuphreen and command the evil demon to enhance their lives with his gifts. But the gifts soon become curses and the friends watch in horror as they slowly turn into monsters. In a desperate race against time, the students must undo the curses and defeat the demon before the “gifts” destroy them forever. How far would they go to lift these curses? How deep would they sink to save themselves?

The book is available from Damnation Books here

Go ahead, Google Zuphreen. If researched, Zuphreen does exist now, and I’m proud of it.

Naomi, thank you for having me. I hope you and your readers enjoy reading the post as much as I did writing it.

About Su Halfwerk:
Su Halfwerk writes both horror and paranormal romance. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on her that later on made terrifying, blood chilling books the object of her interest. Su’s style in horror combines shuddery terror with an element of surprise; some would even call it an enigmatic twist. However, in the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.

Besides writing, Su designs book trailers and paints.
She haunts these places:
Website: www.su-halfwerk.com
Blog: http://www.suhalfwerk.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Su.Halfwerk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SuHalfwerk
naomi_jay: (dean!)
I'm very happy to welcome back Yolanda Sfetsos to celebrate the release of her novella BOUNDLESS, part three of her Alyce Kerr, Faith Healer trilogy from Damnation Books. I think we can all agree that this is a pretty awesome cover. So, without further ago, over to Yolanda!


Overcoming Obstacles

"I fell apart, but got back up again."
'Alibi' by 30 Seconds to Mars

When I started thinking about what to write for this blog post, I happened to be walking. I go for a walk every morning after dropping my daughter off at school, and find my mind wandering while I listen to music on my MP3 player. This morning, I happened to be listening to 30STM, and when the song 'Alibi' came up, the line above caught my attention because it related so much to Alyce's story.

I mean, everyone's life is filled with moments when you feel as if you've fallen apart so badly that you'll never get over it, right? We've all been there several times. Yet, somehow, we manage to get back up, dust ourselves off, and move forward. As hard as it is, as unattainable as the notion seems when it feels as if you've descended so far into darkness that you're pretty sure you're going to drown... the human spirit prevails.

Without realising it, I managed to do that to Alyce and Ross in the Alyce Kerr, Faith Healer Trilogy. Of course, they're also forced to deal with a demon and other supernatural things as well. 

When Alyce's story begins in Faithless, she's in a pretty bad spot. She finds herself in a place so desperate that she turns to alcohol to not only numb herself, but also the demon who's slowly taking over her soul. She's weak, has given up, and only starts to fight back a little after Ross comes back into her life. But how can a relationship that turned so bad all those years ago eventually become her salvation? Well, you'll have to read the stories to find that out. ;) But I can tell you that she doesn't stop stumbling all the way through the trilogy.

Even in Boundless, after everything she has to do to try and get Ross back from the situation she put him in during Careless, something else manages to get in the way.

But really, isn't life like that? The good always comes with a small dose of the bad. It's all about how we deal with it that makes us stronger, keeps things balanced. It's also about the people we chose to let into our lives that help strengthen our passion and survival. In Alyce's case, she didn't think there was anyone else in this world who cared about her anymore. How could they when she can hardly summon enough energy to care about her own life?

At the end of the day, you need to start trusting yourself enough to know that no matter how bad things get, you've got no choice but to keep going. And that, at least, is something that Alyce Kerr can be proud about. She might stumble and fall along the way, but she never stops trying...

Thanks for reading!

Boundless: Book 3 of the Alyce Kerr Faith Healer Trilogy is now available from Damnation Books

naomi_jay: (afterlife)
Where, you ask? Why, over at Fang-tastic Books! I'm talking about the world-building process for the undead of AFTERLIFE, and I'll be giving away an e-copy to someone too! I suggest you go take a look.
naomi_jay: (afterlife)
 So, via the magic of the random number generator, a winner has been selected for the AFTERLIFE Bag of Swag. And the winner is...

JOHN PETTIGREW!

Yay! Well done! Please contact me at naomi_jay@hotmail.co.uk and I'll email you your ebooks of AFTERLIFE and ROT (by Michele Lee), as well as post you your swag, which includes goodies from Yolanda Sfetsos and Kate Johnson, amongst others.

Thank you to all my guest bloggers and everyone who commented or spread the word for me - I'm delighted with how well this giveaway went, and look forward to thinking up the next one for SILVER KISS ^_^
naomi_jay: (Default)
Right, so I finally have my arse ... um, sorry, Dad ... myself in gear, and here is the final guest blogger for the AFTERLIFE Bag of Swag giveaway, Michele Lee! She's the author of the very sinister zombie novella, ROT, as well as a whole load of other dark, creepy fiction. I highly recommend you check out her story BLOODWALKER in the Read by Dawn anthology - it's awesome! Anyway, over to Michele.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How Do You Do It?

I don't think my husband realizes how supportive he is some days. Take this guest blog, for example. I restarted it three times (this is the fourth try), trying humor, seriousness, and even a semi-high handed lecture and none felt right. So I asked him, “If you were a beginning or aspiring writer what would you want to know about writing or publishing?”

“How you do it,” he answered with an apologetic shrug. “Sorry, I'm not much help.”

But he is, again, unknowingly saying exactly what I need to hear. How do I do it? How do I, especially in this absolutely crazy last year, with housing trouble and multiple family crises, with job changes and complete schedule upheavals, how do I still manage to sit down and write?

Enthusiasm.

It starts with enthusiasm for stories themselves. Not just my stories, with all kinds of stories, all kinds of storytelling. I'm a reader, a member of the audience first, which goes a long way toward staying inspired since there's so much out there to be inspired with. The best writers, in my opinion, are those who love reading. The best writers have a basic love of language and love of the process of storytelling.

You have to love the unfolding of the story to weather bad books and hackneyed plots. Likewise you have to love the process of writing to weather the publishing world. You can't be in it for the publication, because ultimately you can't do much to control editor and agent “yes”es.

From the first spark of the idea, to the plotting and world building and watching the story unfold, even if you already know how it's going to end, or have an outline leading your way, you have to love every part of writing to keep your hope and determination alive in publishing.

Enthusiasm is what makes me sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, depending on the story). Enthusiasm for the story, or the character, or even just the scene or to use the research I've been doing, it's what gets me to forsake television and video games and other books and movies to play in my own world. It's what makes me want to make time to play in imaginary world when it would probably easier to play in the real world. Easier doesn't equal more satisfying.

Sometimes the enthusiasm wanes or it gets lost in all the other craziness of my life. Sometimes it's best to let myself rest. I like taking in other people's work, to see how they translated their inspiration and enthusiasm. And other times I find that all I need to get going on a project again is to get excited about it again.

So that's how I get through the crushing pressure of submissions and rejections. How do you do it?

Michele Lee writes horror, science fiction and fantasy from the relative safety of her haunted house in the oldest section of Louisville, Ky. When she isn't writing she reviews for The Fix, Monster Librarian, Dark Scribe and her own review blog, BookLove. When not thinking, reading or writing books she gardens and cares for her autistic son, precocious daughter and her #1 fan, her husband.

http://www.michelelee.net/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So that's it! My guest bloggers have blogged to their utmost and I thank them all very much :) Now it's all over except for that Bag of Swag (which features a copy of Michele's ROT, btw. Leave a comment here or on any of the guest posts throughout December to be in with a chance of winning. I'll be selecting a winner via random number generator on January 2010. Keep watching!
naomi_jay: (rapper with a baby)
Sorry to my guest bloggers who are still to go - I'm down with what may or may not be food poisoning (or appendicitis, according to the more paranoid members of the household) and really am not doing much of anything at the moment. I will get the guest blogs up before the end of December. And just to keep you all watching, all commenters to this post will be entered into the Bag of Swag draw anyway.

Profile

naomi_jay: (Default)
Dirty Little Whirlwind

December 2011

S M T W T F S
    1 23
4 56 78910
111213 141516 17
18 1920 2122 2324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 03:05 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios