I met Sara last fall during her Halloween Blog Hop in 2013. I searched for a short story blog hop and found her site. With the foggy woods in the background image, I was instantly intrigued. Her love of Halloween was infectious and I joined the blog hop right away. It was loads of fun writing those scary stories and reading other entries of authors who partook. Definitely going to do it again. If you're going to visit Sara's blog, be sure to check out her A-Z challenge entries - they're all folklore and mythological creatures and beings, which totally proves her love of fantasy. Some of them are pretty outrageous.
So, the blog hop goes as follows:
1. Introduce who referred the blog tour to you.
2. Answer the following 4 questions:
a. What am I working on?
b. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
c. Why do I write what I do?
d. How does my writing process work?
3. Introduce the people you’re passing this on to who will then post a week later.
Here we go....
What am I working on?
Right now I'm on the final revision of my first urban fantasy novel titled Family Relics (subtitled Box of Souls). I'm pretty excited about this book since it's my first urban fantasy thriller and the first of a possible trilogy.
What's it about? Witches and Dragons of course! They're all set in modern day San Francisco. The protagonists are two sisters, Jasmyn and Katarina, who don't know they have inherited their magic from their dead grandmother who they thought was only 96 years old but was actually closer to 400 years old. When they learn of their powers, all hell breaks loose. The two fledgling witches accidentally release ancient dragons onto the world and have to work together to use their magic to stop the menace. I'm close to finalizing the outlines for books two and three. My outlines are loose, more like ideas written down in a sequence, with details scribbled about. We'll talk about that later with the last question. Once I've flushed out the entire trilogy, I will see about waiting to release the first book when I am close to at least finishing the first draft of the next one.
After working together for a while, she lets down her guard and he sees past her steely managerial mask. Will their professional relationship get in the way of their feelings for one another? Will their own stubborn attitudes be roadblocks to a happy future?
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I love the way misunderstood emotions, family stresses, and inner struggles guide our decisions, the way we behave, the things we say. Will my characters do what's right if they are helping the people who have hurt them in the past? Will my characters leave when they are needed the most simply because it's easier than standing up to fight? Will they redeem themselves? Can they forgive their enemies? Can they be with the people they love, even when it seems wrong?
|The Three by Lee Moyer|
Could be Oxerion, Baronyx,
In my romance novels, I alternate between the guy's and gal's point of view and write from their first person perspective. Being inside a man's head intrigues me. I try to understand how men and women can view the same situation so differently and react in such opposite ways. Confusion, strong opinions, and poor communication are products of these contradicting forces. In the beginning of A Selfish Moment, Jubilee wakes up in Everett's apartment with a serious hang over and completely confused because she's blacked out the entire evening. Everett wakes up ecstatic about the wonderful evening they had and is practically in love with her. They scene is a cocktail of mixed signals and communication failures. They end up leaving at odds, with both thinking they were wronged. Ack! I love creating ridiculous situations for these couples, occurrences that are impossible but very probably, and giving them a chance to forgive themselves and each other, a chance to be happy. Crazy...but happy.
Why do I write what I do?
|It's all about the complex characters.|
Anyway, the reason I do this is because real life people are complex and I love building complex characters. The more people I meet, really get to know, the more complexity I put into my stories. And I've learned that everyone wants to tell their story, you just have to ask the right questions. They all have pain, sorrow, happiness, betrayal, cynicism, etc. The best characters are the ones you can't tell if you love or hate, or those you love one moment and hate the next, and then love again later.
Jubilee, the female protagonist in A Selfish Moment, will make you angry from her bitchy behavior in one scene, but then you sympathize with her when her insecurities come out in the next. Everett throws Jubilee out of his apartment after being humiliated and you want to punch him in the head. Then, moments later, you forgive him when he realizes his mistake and chases her down the street.
In Family Relics, you begin to root for Baronyx as he fights with Oxerion, yet you still want the witches to capture them. You will love Jasmyn because she is strong and stoic, hiding her pain in the face of her family's favoritism towards her sister, and sometimes acting out because of it. You'll despise her spitefulness, her dismissal of her little sister, yet you can understand why. She has a tough fortress around her bruised heart, yet privately she yearns for her family's affection. Can you really blame her coldness, her inability to externalize her emotions?
How does my writing process work?
|I start my outline in an actual notebook|
It usually takes me a few days to flush an outline and generate key characters with temporary names and some background information. After a few days of scribbling in my journal, with lots of sidebar notes in tiny squares pointing to other tiny squares, a sketch simulating a timeline you may have done in 8th grade, I have a skeleton of a story. Then I put it away and do something else, like run, play with the kids, shop, something, anything, other than look at the outline. After a few nail-biting days, where I force myself to NOT look at my notebook, I pick it up and read it again. If I'm still just as thrilled about the outline as I was the first day, then I start typing up the "beginning". I air-quote that because the beginnings of my stories are almost always rewritten or completely removed.
Then, I get lost in my writing, with my head tucked way down and my fingers slamming the keys. The story oozes out of me; there's no real planning outside of that outline and set of notes. I get the story down, the sequence of events, the character names, plots points, etc., in about 6-8 weeks. This is usually the time my family complains about the lack of food in the fridge, the abundance of take out, and the extra dust lingering on the furniture. Laundry? What laundry?
When I finish the first draft, I put it away for a few weeks and catch up on my TBR list. This is a "clean your mental palate" break. I read other stuff then come back to my work. After reading several books, I go through a mild This-Story-Sucks panic attack before picking up the first draft and starting the first round of editing. This is where the real work begins.
The first revision is about plugging plot holes, deepening the characters, killing my darlings, and filling in back stories. After another break and another knockout round of self-doubt, I start the second revision which is about making sure I haven't forgotten any details. Are the trees right for the season? Did I get the character's quirks right? Is the scene taking place in daytime or at night? Did I keep track of the time of day throughout? This is also about the time I finalize my character document, where I list out physical traits, emotional and psychological features, and some key history bullet points for each character in the story.
Next up is the "Reflection Phase" where I obsess about the story, in the shower, while I'm driving, in my sleep... you get the idea. Is it really as good as I think it is? Will it read well? Did I cover everything? Did I feed the kids last night? Where are the kids anyway? I go through one more revision where I concentrate on grammar, tense, and look at the overall style of the story. I use Grammarly for this which I have found very useful. Then it's off to beta readers for tearing apart. I love beta readers!
My Nominees Are....
The Writer's Bloc. A self proclaimed graduate from the School of Warrior Poets with a degree in Gonzo Journalism, (not to mention a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Southern Maine) Tony sucks you into his winding prose and keeps you there until the very end. He describes himself as "A compulsive story teller who would rather use twenty words when five will do."