Saturday, September 24, 2016

Darklight On ... Shelley Russell Nolan

Today's Darklight On is ... Shelley Russell Nolan

Welcome, Shelley



Writing the next book

I recently read a great post by fellow Darksider Donna Maree Hanson on drafting a trilogy. It was an interesting read and highlighted some of the problems faced when writing a story that needs multiple books to be told. It got me thinking about where I am up to in my Reaper Series and how the story can evolve from book one to book three.

When I first came up with the idea of a series about a murder victim who is resurrected by the Grim Reaper after she agrees to work for him, I originally planned for Tyler’s story to be told in three books. I got to work on the first book, Lost Reaper, and after a couple of masterclasses, mentoring from Louise Cusack, and a structural edit from a freelance editor, I was ready to submit it to publishers. I had a rough outline of books two and three and thought I was all set to go.

Lost Reaper was published with Ormiston Press in Oct 2015 and in discussions with my editor, the fabulous Sandy Curtis, we decided it would be better as a two book series. So I got to work writing the second book, Winged Reaper. While I was working on the first draft I got the idea for what I thought would be a stand-alone spin off, with a different heroine but a couple of the characters from the first two books as well. 

When it came time to submit Winged Reaper, Ormiston Press was winding down operations and introduced my work to a new publisher, Helen Goltz at Atlas Productions. I soon had a two book deal to republish Lost Reaper (out now) and publish Winged Reaper (released 1 Oct). During the edits for Winged Reaper, Helen made a comment about a possible direction for a third book. 

My brain went fuzzy. I already had an idea, didn’t I? My brain, as it always does, went off on a tangent and suddenly I was incorporating my idea with Helen’s and a whole new picture emerged of what book three would be about. I’m busy outlining Rogue Reaper as I write this and am looking forward to seeing how Tyler will overcome the next set of obstacles to land in her path. 

There is a storm brewing in Easton and Tyler Morgan is going to be smack bang in the middle of it.




Winged Reaper Blurb

Secrets, lies and the Grim Reaper: a recipe for disaster!

Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Morgan is only alive—technically reborn—because the Grim Reaper offered her a job. Now she has to find a way to stop her ‘boss’ from starting a war that threatens the survival of mankind.

Weak and in need of fresh souls, the Grim Reaper has sent his Wraiths to Tyler’s hometown, Easton, and by the time he gets his fill, it could turn into a graveyard.
Tyler’s resolve is tested when old secrets surface and a new betrayal has her questioning where her loyalties lie.

Supported by the intriguing detective, Sam Lockwood; the handsome, wealthy Chris Bradbury; and sources she never expected to come to her aid, Tyler must fight her way to the truth if she is ever to find the strength to harness the powers she has inherited, and vanquish the Grim Reaper forever.


Buy Links: Amazon AU / Amazon US

About the Author:  Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


Thanks, Shelley

~~~

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Darklight On ... Marie Dry

Today's Darklight On is ... Marie Dry

Welcome, Marie





WRITER’S CHOICES

I was going to do this blog about craft, but I woke up this morning and for some reason thought about a writer’s career path and all the choices they have to make. Maybe it was J.K. Rowling and a few other well-known authors who shared their rejection letters recently that steered me in this direction. I thought getting rejection letters and having to meet deadlines would be the hardest part of being a writer. Instead I found the decisions you are faced with the hard part. And writing when life gets in the way contributes to the reasons why writers make certain choices. 

The first choice I was faced with, came at about 2010. Suddenly everyone and his friend and neighbour was talking about self-publishing. The stigma was gone from it and that was when E.L. James sold millions of copies worldwide with Fifty Shades. Everyone also wanted to write romance. Like every other author, I also struggled with the question of, should I exercise the option to self-publish. I thought the writing and editing courses I took would mean I would put out a polished, well edited book if I do decide to self-publish. Looking back I realize, the fact that I thought that a few editing courses could replace an editor working through my book, showed that I was not ready for self-publishing. 

I still struggled with concepts like show and tell, character development, inciting incident, Point of View and Deep Point of View. Still I couldn’t wait to hold my book in my hands and see my story in print. I kept trying to convince myself that even though several editors rejected my book, the story was so good I would have readers falling over themselves to buy my book if I do self-publish it. Any author struggling with doing a day job, writing at night and caring for relatives will know the attraction of self-publishing and earning more than the small percentage you get when you sign with a publisher. At the time I also didn’t realize that self-publishing means you run a business and you have to be on top of every aspect of publishing.

In the end I promised myself ten years of learning my craft and working hard at getting a contract. My thinking was that I wanted to force myself to try harder, dig deeper into my characters each time I get a rejection. Although I wrote stories my whole life, at that stage I’ve only worked at getting published for three years. So I promised myself ten years of working at my craft and sending manuscripts to publishing companies, improving it with every rejection, even though I was very tempted by the self-publishing option.

It took me seven years to reach my goal. Seven years of writing every day even when sometimes I had to work until late at night at the day job. No matter how tired I was, I’d come home and sit down and write for an hour to make sure I don’t lose the habit of writing every day. Then of course came the hard part. Do I write the rest of the books in the series of the book that was accepted? Should I try to put out other series, single title, or maybe I should try for a big publisher? What about writing category for Harlequin. Should I rather put all my energy there?

Learning the craft of writing is child’s play compared to these kinds of choices. Up to now I put out one Zyrgin warrior a book a year because I simply didn’t have the time at that stage to write more. And I’m a slow writer, a snail could beat me without even trying. Thinking back, I wish I had written the rough drafts of the first six and edited them and put them out closer together. Though that is hindsight and in the end I am satisfied with the choices I made. I have a file full of rejections and I’m so proud of that file. It means I worked hard, I never gave up and in that same file I have my acceptance letters.

I put in many hours for that one book a year I put out, but I tell myself that is all right because my all-time favourite author is R. Lee Smith and she rarely put out as much as a book a year. I would read her books even if she only wrote one in every five years. So I’m hoping enough people like my stories that they will wait for that one book a year. Though this year at least I handed in two manuscripts. I’m hoping to be able to do three next year.

I’d love to hear about other authors career paths and difficult decisions. What was your journey and are you happy with the choices you made and the results you achieved? What difficult choices are you struggling with? And from readers I’d like to know if they would read an author’s book if they put out one book in every five years.

About the Author

Ever since she can remember Marie Dry wanted to travel. She had had the privilege of living in Zambia, Morocco, and Spain and sees herself as a bit of a gypsy. Every few years she gets restless and has to be some place new.

She read romances since she was nine and was fairly young when she decided she would write the perfect story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance. In 1997 she decided to go all out with her writing and to get published. Being published by Black Opal Books is a dream come true for her. 

There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second being published. Her book Alien Mine was released by Black Opal Books in June 2014.

~~~

Thanks, Marie


Amazon Buy Links:  Alien Mine / Alien Under Cover / Alien Betrayed

Social Media:  Website / Facebook


Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Bite Of... Dead Monk Walking

Today it's my pleasure to introduce Janni Nell with a Bite Of... Dead Monk Walking.


Can you, in less than five words describe your book Dead Monk Walking?
Fun, paranormal mystery.

Who is your favourite character in this book? Natasha Bolde is a total skeptic when it comes to the paranormal, but she’s forced to rethink her beliefs when she comes face-to-face with a ghost. Soon she and the ghost are working together to solve a five-hundred-year-old mystery.

What inspired you to write it? Cornwall was a huge inspiration. I’ve long wanted to set a story in this lovely part of Britain. It was great fun creating a mystery that used Cornish legends and some of the wonderful historical sites.

And here’s the excerpt!
After making my way past the herbaceous border, I pushed open the rusted gate in an old stone wall and made my way into the less cultivated part of the garden. To my left, a swath of undulating land was dominated by several beautiful oaks. To my right, a path led to the Monk’s Grove. I turned right. Not because I expected to see the ghostly monk, but because the grove looked interesting and mysterious. I’d helped Clover with a couple of cases, and found that I enjoyed solving mysteries even if I wasn’t very good at it. I had expected to improve under Clover’s mentorship, but that wouldn’t happen now. 
Swallowing my tears, I entered the Monk’s Grove. It was cooler beneath the trees. Gray shadows mingled with the scent of recent rain. I followed the path, which wound between neatly trimmed shrubs, until I reached a little clearing with two stone benches. The birdcalls seemed muted here and the leaves in the trees were unnaturally still. A faint scent of decay hung in the air. There was a feeling of nature holding its breath, waiting.
I heard a rustle in the bushes and turned toward the sound. Near the far side of the clearing, a figure was moving through the shrubs. I couldn’t see much below his shoulders, but his head was covered by a dark hood like a monk’s cowl. Was someone dressed up pretending to be the ghost? Did all the guests get this haunted-grove experience? Was it part of the package? Too bad I wasn’t in the mood to play nice.
“Hey! You!” I called. “I don’t believe in ghosts, so you might as well go have a tea break or something.”
When the figure didn’t respond, I marched across the clearing determined to identify him. Shrubs and undergrowth separated us, but I could see that his head was bowed, and the hood was pulled down to conceal his face. He seemed to be searching for something on the ground. His sleeves had been rolled up to the elbows and the exposed skin was covered in dirt. One hand clutched a trowel.
“Hey,” I called again. This time he turned toward me. The hood fell back revealing the face of a woman.
Rivers of dark hair spilled over her shoulders, contrasting sharply with her pale cheeks. She looked to be about thirty, average height, but too thin. She was wearing a dark hoodie, not a monk’s habit. Her vacant eyes looked right through me. “I have to find them. I have to find them,” she mumbled.
“What are you looking for?” I asked. 
She blinked, her eyes struggling to focus. “I know they’re here somewhere.”
“If you tell me what you’re searching for I’ll help you find it.”
She shook her head as though an explanation was beyond her. Then she set off, weaving between the trees, muttering, “I have to find them. I have to find them.”
I followed her through the shrubs, pushing branches aside.

Thanks for sharing Janni.
If readers would like to know more about Janni Nell and her fabulous work, be sure to check out the links below.

Amazon   |   Kobo   |  iBooks   |   Website 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Darklight On ... Donna Maree Hanson

Today's Darklight On is ... Donna Maree Hanson

Welcome, Donna




Favourite Things

When you have a lot of interests, you can have many favourite things. This helps with the moods. For example, if I’m in the mood to make something I pick up the weaving, or the sewing etc. More recently hand spinning with a drop spindle which is very relaxing. Then there’s reading and books. Oh wow. That’s daunting. Having so many means I get to choose from within the selection that fits my mood but thoughts of reading all the books! Ah well let’s not think of that. I get depressed thinking about the book I may never read.

I’m currently studying a PhD looking at Feminism in Popular Romance Fiction and that’s like combining the skills of my day job with something that is really interesting to me so that’s a new favourite thing. I waved the day job away so that’s a new favourite thing too. The Phd studies are allowing me to get up close and personal with romance books and I get to read academic papers and books that talk about romance. I have a massive collection of Mills & Boon books to play with!

In tune with favourite things and romance, recently I decided to self-publish a book of mine that I started way back in 2001. I’d come close to getting this traditionally published a couple of times but it just wasn’t happening in this climate in the Australia market. This book has some of my favourite things in it. It has a great magic system! Well I think so! And a great hero in Oakheart and a wonderful heroine in Sophy. I like their story and when I start reading it I can’t stop. I figured why don’t I share this favourite thing with others. Maybe it will be other people’s favourite thing. So I did. 

Argenterra is the first book in a trilogy. The second book is The Crystal Gate, which is waiting for final revisions before going to the editor and the last book, The Ungiven Land, is nearly half written. The story follows three heroines, the main one is Sophy, then Aria and then Rae and their relationships. Romance is the underlying theme but there’s other stuff too.

I’m committed to getting this trilogy out. I want to see how Oakheart and Sophy end up. I want to see the other characters reach their destiny and I want to see what happens to the land of Argenterra. Meanwhile, I keep trying not to think of ideas for a prequel and a sequel.

You might wonder what it’s like in an author’s head. Mine is pretty messy. A churning mass of ideas and characters. Sometimes writing a story is like grabbing a thread and then following it to the end. This is why I chose to do a Phd I guess. To keep my head busy so it doesn’t explode.





Blurb

Every one hundred years a woman comes to Argenterra through the Crystal Tree Woods. This time two women came…

While on a ghost tour in Castle Crioch, Sophy and her best friend and foster sister, Aria, are sucked into the world of Argenterra, where they encounter a strange Crystal Tree. Two leaves fall from it, one of which Aria catches and the other mysteriously delves into Sophy’s chest.

Met by Dellbright, the prince of Valley Keep, and Oakheart, the high king’s ambassador, the girls learn they are expected. Aria has beauty and talent with the given, the land’s native magic. She finds a home and a husband in Prince Dellbright and is revered as the legendary Gift of Crystal Tree Woods.

Sophy is out of place as anything made with the given makes her ill.

Sophy accompanies Oakheart to the capital to find out why the crystal leaf is in her chest. A sinister force is tracking her—trying to snatch her away or kill her. Only Oakheart suspects her importance: she is the talisman that can cause great harm to the world of Argenterra if she falls into the wrong hands.


Thank you, Donna
~~~

About The Author:  Website / Facebook

Buy Links:  Amazon US / Amazon AU / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / 
                    iBooks AU / iBooks US
                    Kobo  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Darklight On ... Janni Nell

Todays's Darklight On is ... Janni Nell

Welcome, Janni





How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

As a kid, I loved fairy tales. The Allegra Fairweather books had a lot of fairy tale elements so I guess you could say I never grew up. LOL. In recent times, I’ve been moving more toward the mystery genre, although paranormal elements still creep in.


Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

A pantser who is slowly learning to plot. Plotting cuts rewriting and saves so much time. 


Do you have a favourite of your characters?

My favourite character is usually the one I’m spending most time with, so at the moment it’s Natasha Bolde, the heroine of the Bolde & Baulsey series. Tash has been very sceptical of the existence of the paranormal, but in Dead Monk Walking she has to put aside her long-held beliefs and accept that there really are things that go bump in the night.


What are you currently working on? 

The second Bolde & Baulsey mystery. I’m having a ball with this series.


What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

I really like the editing process. Getting notes from my editor helps so much. I’d be lost without her.


What can we expect from Janni Nell in the future? 

In the short term more Bolde & Baulsey. I’m aiming to get two more books done before I even think of working on anything else.


Who are your favourite authors?

I really love Jennifer Ashley’s Regency Mysteries featuring Captain Lacey. Tracey Chevalier’s books are always interesting. Lynda Renham’s books are such fun. 


What are you currently reading?

One of Marcelle Dube’s Mendenhall Mysteries, which is another series I’m enjoying.


Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?

All the obvious ones: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Terminator. My favourite TV series is Nowhere Man.


Do you have advice for emerging writers? 

It’s a total crapshoot. Honestly, nobody knows which books will resonate with readers. So, do your best work, throw the dice and keep your fingers crossed.


~~~

Thanks, Janni Nell!



Dead Monk Walking

Vacations are a bitch. Or maybe it’s just me.

I’m Natasha Bolde, and honestly I’m no one special. Okay, I’ve solved a few mysteries, but I’ve always worked with my best friend and mentor. Clover passed recently, and now I’m taking what should’ve been her trip of a lifetime to Cornwall, Britain. It’s just like Clover to choose a place chock-full of mysteries. Why is the amnesiac woman digging in the fields? Is the local psychic medium genuine or a clever fake? And who exactly is the ghost hunter hunting? 

I’m determined to find the answers even if it kills me.


Buy Links:  Amazon /  iBooks / Kobo

About the Author:  Website / Facebook / Twitter

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Darklight On ...Bernadette Rowley

Today's Darklight On is... Bernadette Rowley

Welcome, Bernadette




How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

I’ve read fantasy fiction since early high school when I discovered Tolkien and Terry Brooks. I loved the epic nature of the stories and that many were series. It was the ultimate escapism. When I started writing for adults, I began with space opera and quickly moved into fantasy romance because it was more what I knew. I’d lived in those worlds (high fantasy) for decades.


Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

I was a pantser in the beginning because I had no idea about structure. As I developed my writing process, I started to plot more because I got less lost that way. I start with a romance outline and then brainstorm a synopsis. Then I get started on the story after I get to know my characters and their motivations. So I’m somewhere in between, I guess.


Do you have a favourite character?

That’s a tough question. I love them all but two women stand out. My first published heroine, Princess Alecia, is one strong lady. Her story begins in Princess Avenger and continues in Princess in Exile, my latest book. You won’t believe what she gets up to. My second favourite is Lady Benae from The Lady’s Choice. Benae loves horses and can speak to her horse, Flaire, mind to mind. She can also heal by laying her hands on a person. That’s pretty cool, don’t you think?


What are you currently working on?

Besides working on marketing my books, I have a new story in my Wildecoast series finished, entitled The Lady and the Pirate. I love that story and can’t wait to let it loose on the world. I also intend to write another in the series which continues the story of The Elf King’s Lady and we learn what hero Kain decides to do about his mixed heritage. That story features an elven heroine!


What is your favourite part of the process of writing?

I really enjoy the setup, writing the synopsis and getting to know my characters. To be honest, drafting the story is really difficult for me at times but when it’s done, I LOVE the editing process.


Who are your favourite authors?

I love all the old school fantasy authors like Feist and Eddings and my favourite series is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. On the romance front, I love Marie Force, Sophia James, Sarah Maybury and Madeline Ash


What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading David Gemmell’s Waylander II and Leisa Rayven’s Bad Romeo and can highly recommended both authors. 


Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?


I really love the Twilight movies as I did the books. I could watch those over and over again. And I’m really looking forward to seeing The Wheel of Time series translated onto the screen. 


Do you have advice for emerging writers? 

I would have to say ‘write every day and write what you know’, write what you have read so much of that you don’t even have to think about the setting or the genre. You just know what has to happen next. 

Get it down because you can’t edit it if it’s not written first. And don’t listen to that voice that says it’s crap- we all hear that voice!

~~~

Thanks, Bernadette



Princess in Exile

Princess Alecia and shapeshifter Vard flee Brightcastle, pursued by mercenaries, with Vard battling transformation into his least controllable form- the bear. They travel to a lost city, hoping a sorcerer there may help Vard master his gift. The lovers soon discover he has his own devious agenda. Will Vard and Alecia escape? Can their love survive Alecia’s fear of Vard’s animal forms? What secret does the princess hold with the power to destroy Vard’s trust? 

The answers to all this and more are contained in the pages of Princess in Exile, the dark sequel to Princess Avenger.

About the Author:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Smashwords
Buy Links:  Smashwords / Amazon


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Darklight On ... Marie Dry

Today's Darklight On is ... Marie Dry

Welcome, Marie




How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre? 

I loved movies about aliens and strange worlds and creatures ever since I was a child. When speculative fiction became popular in the romance genre I was in heaven. I actually wrote a vampire romance long before editors would even look at it. 


Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

I’m a pantser through and through. Plotting a story just doesn’t work for me. I do a lot of work on my characters but that’s about it. I go in blind and see what jumps out at me. Afterward I go back and do a kind of plotting, ensuring everything on the page is as clear as it is in my mind.


Do you have a favourite of your characters?

No, though my aliens will always be special to me because they were published first. Normally the character I work on is my favourite.


What are you currently working on? 

I’m editing my story about a very arrogant dragon, it is titled I am dragon. I am also editing Sabrina and the Gargoyle. A gargoyle story set in Cape Town.


What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

I love every part. That first spark of an idea. The rough draft. The struggle during edits to make the story work. The editing with the publisher. Though if I HAD to choose I would say the editing. I love when I start to add nuances and I see the story come alive with every bit of improvement I make.


What can we expect from Marie Dry in the future?

Many stories I can’t wait to share. More Alien books, a dragon book and a cyborg book. After Alien Betrayed I will hand in Sabrina and the Gargoyle. I also have some contemporaries that I enjoyed working on.


Who are your favourite authors?

Jayne Anne Krentz and all her alter egos, G.A. Aiken, Georgette Heyer, Nalini Singh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Cassandra L. Shaw, R. Lee Smith, Douglas Porch, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Kresley Cole, Laurann Dohner, Rachael Thomas.


What are you currently reading?

I am reading Hero with a thousand faces by Joseph Campbell and also The War of Art.


Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?

Stargate Atlantis is my all time favourite. If I want to watch something and I’m not sure what I feel like I put Stargate Atlantis on.


Do you have advice for emerging writers? 

Write every day and write what you enjoy. Even if it is just a paragraph be consistent and write every day and soon you will have a manuscript. 


~~~

Thanks, Marie Dry!




Alien Mine

In a bleak future where government systems are breaking down and lawless bands of men terrorize the country, botanist Natalie Hanson fears for her life and hides in a cave in the Rocky Mountains. When she is captured by human raiders, a fierce alien appears and slays her attackers. Natalie is now held captive in her own cave by the sexy and striking alien commander, Zacar, who informs her that she will be his breeder. Natalie soon realizes that these aliens worship strength. So what will happen when Zacar finds out she has severe asthma?


About the Author: Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter

Buy Links:  Amazon / Barnes and Noble