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

Friday, April 1, 2016

Real Life Paranormal with Kim Cleary


Guided Home?



When I'm looking for something new to read, I often seem to gravitate to stories with ghosts, or at least something supernatural, in them. This post could be subtitled "Do you really need a ghost in every story you write?"And the answer is, of course, the same one I give when asked if every good story needs a dragon ... possibly not. But aren't stories with ghosts and dragons often more fun!
Have you lain awake at night and felt someone or something watching you? Walked into an empty room and seen flickers of black spots at the corners of your eyes? Felt an unexplained coldness cut to your core? There could be a perfectly sane scientific explanation. In fact various friends give me scientific explanations constantly! But could you have experienced something we don't really understand? Could something supernatural be stretching out to reach you?
Do ghosts really exist?
I think they might.
My grandfather died when I was four years old. My parents thought me too young to go to his funeral and he was whisked away by adults who spoke in whispers and pushed me out of the bedroom in which he died. But I never forgot him, he taught me to read and cuddled me while I read haltingly from my Children's Bible almost every evening.
Shortly after I started proper school, I must have been six or seven years old, I fought with my mother and ran away from home. It wasn't a well-planned escape, I had no money and only the shorts and T-shirt I was wearing.

At dusk I became disoriented and realised I was lost. I pressed myself into a smelly doorway and slumped to my knees. How would I ever get home? And what would my mother do to me when I did?
It felt hopeless. I had no idea which way to walk. Adults sped by, several older ladies tutted at me, as if unaccompanied children had no place in the street under the setting sun. But as I sat in that doorway I heard my grandfather's voice calling me.

 I followed the sound to the end of the alleyway, then along the street and across the road. At the busy intersection I didn't know what to do, until an elderly man crossed the road and turned into another street. As he disappeared around the corner, he lifted his cap and turned to smile at me. I sped after my grandfather; of course he wasn't at the corner when I got there. But the road to my house was.
Had Grandpa come to help me get home? My mother didn't believe me, and boy was I in trouble for both running away and lying.
I remember her anger.
"How can you have seen him," she said.
I'll never forget her flushed face just inches from mine.
"I've never seen him. Not once. And God knows I've begged to hear from him." Tears welled in her eyes.
I didn't know what to do. It was a relief when I was sent to my room without any dinner.
At the time, I was so sure Grandpa had helped me. I don't know how I would have got home otherwise. I didn't realise until I was much older that my mom wasn't angry with me. She was desperately upset that she'd not seen her dad, and I thought I had.
I wish I'd been old enough to share the experience with her rather than flee from her distress.
How about you? Do you believe in ghosts?




~ ~ ~

 You can find and follow Kim Cleary on these sites:






Kim Cleary is the award-winning author of Path Unchosen, the first title in the Daughter of Ravenswood series, which earned a bronze IPPY award in 2015. She grew up in Birmingham, United Kingdom, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in Southern Australia, and has worked all over Australia and in London.

Forced to leave a successful career in marketing after multiple sclerosis damaged her hands and prevented her from typing, Kim learned how to write using voice software.

A self-described chocoholic, Kim loves writing, gardening, cooking, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends. She lives with her husband and two dogs, an adorable Cocker Spaniel and a mischievous Moodle, in Melbourne, Australia.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Darklight On ... Sue-Ellen Pashley

Today's Darklight On is ... Sue-Ellen Pashley

Welcome, Sue-Ellen





Breadcrumbing. I love it! It’s a great tool to have as a writer. Just to give little morsels of information that peak the reader’s interest, get them wondering what the hell’s happened to the character or will the questions throughout the story be finally answered. Hopefully good breadcrumbing will keep a reader turning the pages to find out. I know that’s what I love in a good book – an avoidance of information dumps that tell me exactly where I’m going and instead, hints that lead me down an overgrown path which means I can only see a little ahead of me.

Good breadcrumbing can definitely add suspension to the writing rather than killing it. But it also needs to happen at a good pace. Too often and the reader may as well give up now – you’ve shared everything, why would they continue? Not often enough and they’re going to get bored. Breadcrumbing needs to be as well paced as the writing. And as you get towards the end, it can change pace, happening more often, faster, faster, creating tension...bring it on! 

So one of the things I loved about writing Streamer was being able to do this to a character as well. Rhi, the story’s central character, doesn’t know anything about herself apart from what she can see in a mirror. She doesn’t know her name or if she has family or why she keeps suddenly disappearing only to reappear in a new location. And she definitely doesn’t know who the cute guy asleep in the bed is when she suddenly appears in his apartment (that was a fun scene to write!)

So not only was I breadcrumbing to the readers but also to Rhi…feeding her little bits of information to keep her searching, keep her going, even when it got hard and it would have been easier for her to give into the grief of knowing nothing. 

It was an interesting journey.




Streamer

How can you disappear, only to appear in a new location, and not know how it happens? 

How can you have any sort of life if you can’t control when this happens? 

And how can you find the answers when you don’t even know your own name? 

For twenty year old Rhiannon Clarke, the last three days are all she can remember. And they have just been a series of flicking in and out of different locations with only vague memories to guide her. But as she slowly starts to build a picture of her life, the questions are getting harder. Why is this happening to her? Why does the thought of her brother fill her with unease? Why does her father’s name make her break into a cold sweat? 

And who is the mysterious man in the bed?

~~~

Thanks, Sue-Ellen


About the Author  Website  /  Facebook  /  Goodreads

Buy Links  Amazon US  /  Amazon AU  /  Smashwords  /  Kobo





Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dark Light On ... Kim Cleary



Today's Darklight On is ... Kim Cleary


Welcome, Kim





Thank you for having me on Darklight On! I’m delighted to be here. Last week I launched Truth Unveiled, the second novel in my Daughter of Ravenswood series and my head is spinning!

I'm often asked where I get my ideas. Usually in the form of a quizzical gaze and a question such as: did you get all that stuff out of your head?

The answer is yes, and no. My head is often bursting with ideas, but often half formed and vaguely understood ones.

While writing, and rewriting, the Daughter of Ravenswood series, I Googled, researched, and pinned a host of interesting material. I spent time (probably longer than I should have) with Ravens, necromancy, oak trees, and the tools of a witches trade, the making of whiskey, gorgeous ruby gems, body decomposition and quite a few other odd things. Google and Pinterest can be very entertaining as well as informative!

When I first started writing the Daughter of Ravenswood series, I didn't know if it would be set in a totally made up world, or a future version of our own world. Both sounded intriguing, both provided significant writing challenges.

I'm not quite enough of a nerd to enjoy creating a whole new world. But if I stuck to my own experience and knowledge, I'd have a very boring book — which is not what any writer is aiming for! 

Using this world, with which readers are so familiar, would require a lot of research. As I have chronic fatigue, adding time to writing preparation is something I try and avoid. Like most people I can get lost in Google search, lose hours at a time in Pinterest, and it's best not to mention what happens when I get caught up in an interesting book of the paper variety (whoever invented toasted sandwiches and chips for dinner deserves a big kiss).

After a few half-hearted attempts to build a new world for my story, I decided to stick with our own well known world, but after such a catastrophe it was dramatically changed from today. The setting is vaguely Welsh, certainly northern hemisphere. The impacts of a deadly plague, a few wandering undead and climate change (to name a few!) have significantly affected the way people live. But the reader doesn't need to know all of this detail, just pieces that are relevant to the story.

A key element in this world is magic. Magic and paganism have come to the fore and filled a gap left by the loss of old religions, centralised government and technology. For our heroine, the most important thing is that while witches are relatively commonplace. Witches who can raise the dead, necromancers like herself, are not.

Ghosts feature in this series, and I think will in all my writing. I have my own experiences with ghosts, which I share on my blog, and I love reading and writing about paranormal encounters of all kinds.

Anyway, that’s enough about me! I’d love to hear from you about how you write, and how you incorporate your own experiences into your writing.

Thanks again for having me on Darklight On.

~~~



“Betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust for ever, Meagan faces the most powerful necromancer who ever lived, alone.”

Truth Unveiled

Meagan Greystone, a new necromancer who grew up orphaned and homeless, has finally discovered a community where she belongs. But as she settles in at Ravenswood Manor, her ancestral home, a strange voice in her head unravels her newfound peace. 

The source of the unsettling communication is Quintus, Meagan’s distant ancestor, known for his brutality and incredible power. When she attempts to enlist her father’s help by raising him from the dead, it’s Quintus who regains a foothold in the land of the living. Now reborn, he vows to obliterate everything Meagan treasures unless she joins him in his quest for power. 

Meagan must overcome the heartbreak of unimaginable betrayal and fight in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation. Will she find the strength she needs to defeat the power of darkness and save the people and home she has grown to cherish?


Author Bio

Kim Cleary is the award-winning author of Path Unchosen, the first title in the Daughter of Ravenswood series, which earned a bronze IPPY award in 2015. She grew up in Birmingham, United Kingdom, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in Southern Australia, and has worked all over Australia and in London. 

Forced to leave a successful career in marketing after multiple sclerosis damaged her hands and prevented her from typing, Kim learned how to write using voice software. 

A self-described chocoholic, Kim loves writing, gardening, cooking, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends. She lives with her husband and two dogs, an adorable Cocker Spaniel and a mischievous Moodle, in Melbourne, Australia.


Buy Links:   Amazon US / Amazon AU

Find the Author :  Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Amazon


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Darklight On ... Shelley Russell Nolan

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

Welcome, Shelley





The Soulfully Sexy Men of Lost Reaper

From the moment the idea for Lost Reaper came to me, I knew the men who would vie for Tyler’s heart had to be pretty amazing. First I came up with the names, Detective Sam Lockwood and Chris Bradbury, and made notes about who they were and what they looked like.

Sam – handsome, steadfast, honest, his calm and considered manner makes him an oasis of safety in a world that is rapidly spinning out of Tyler’s control. But can she ever tell him the truth about being a reaper?

Chris – gorgeous, wealthy and powerful, he knows what he wants and makes it quite clear that what he wants is Tyler. But is his interest more for her or the power contained in the necklace that makes her a living reaper? 

Two very different men staking claim on Tyler’s heart, both dangerous but for different reasons.

Then, as you do, I got to thinking about who would play them if Lost Reaper were ever to be made into a movie and realised that inspiration was already present in their names.

Sam (Worthington) Lockwood and Chris (Hemsworth) Bradbury.

Who better to portray Tyler’s men than two of the hottest and talented actors in the world? How could any woman not be thrilled to have those two men fighting over her?

Okay, so there is no movie planned (Hey, Hollywood, anybody there want to make a movie?) and my Sam and Chris are different men, and different ages, from the actors I would choose to play them, but I can totally see it. So, as you read Lost Reaper, reading on as both Sam and Chris fight for Tyler's heart, I want you to picture Worthington and Hemsworth playing their roles on the big screen. 

FYI – Nina Dobrev would make a fantastic Tyler. After all those years on The Vampire Diaries, she got a lot of practice being torn between two totally different men. (I was Team Damon)

So, who else thinks Dobrev, Worthington and Hemsworth would make a great love triangle? On-screen only, of course. I would love to hear who you think would be great playing Tyler, Sam and Chris.



Blurb

The first dead body I ever saw was my own 

For twenty-five year old Tyler Morgan, being murdered was easy. Easy in comparison with working for the Grim Reaper. Jonathon Grimm may have brought her back from the dead in exchange for working as a reaper for her home town, Easton, but she has to find his lost reaper before she can enjoy her second chance at life. 

Only … the lost reaper isn’t actually lost. He has a new body, a new life, and no intention of turning himself in. 

Tyler begins the grisly task of reaping the souls of Easton’s dead while searching for the reaper. He could be anyone – the intriguing detective, Sam Lockwood: the handsome, wealthy Chris Bradbury; or the serial killer stalking the women of Easton. Women who bear an uncanny resemblance to Tyler.

As the killer closes in and Grimm’s deadline draws closer, Tyler discovers she is fighting a much bigger threat than the Grim Reaper and time is running out for everyone.

Buy Links:  Amazon US / Amazon AU / Smashwords / Kobo

About the Author: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter 

~~~

Thanks, Shelley


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Magic Thursday ~ Lost Reaper and Speculative Species with Shelley Russell Nolan





Speculative Species

On the way home from Genrecon my seven year old son asked me why I like zombies. To spare him nightmares I simply replied that I thought they were wonderfully creepy and lots of fun. I certainly couldn’t tell him that I thought they were the ultimate monster, driven by an insatiable hunger for human flesh and relentless in their hunt for it. They have no conscience, no morals, just the need to feed. (For the record, I like my zombies slow and shambling. Those fast ones freak me out.)

My son’s question got me thinking about all the other creatures that populate the speculative fiction worlds that draw me in again and again. Paranormal, extra-terrestrial, supernatural, mythical or magical, I love them all. And I really love how the lines between the worlds can blur. Talented authors are blending more than one species into their stories, mixing the well-known with obscure or totally imagined creatures, turning what I think I know about the speculative fiction world on its head.

While I do have a couple of ideas for zombie stories in my ‘One Day I Will Write This’ folder, I decided to make reapers the focus of my debut urban fantasy ‘Lost Reaper’. When I started writing the first draft, over five years ago, I couldn’t find many books featuring the macabre little suckers. Since then I have seen more than a few popping up but have resisted the temptation to read them until after I have the next two books in the series written.

For ‘Lost Reaper’ I also had to come up with an entirely new race. At first I toyed with the idea of extra-terrestrials, and then came up with the Tr’lirians. Earth’s original inhabitants, and the root of many angel myths, they have hidden themselves away in a higher plane.

But that all changes when the Grim Reaper resurrects a seemingly ordinary human girl and turns her into a living reaper. Tyler Morgan has one week to discover the truth about her heritage if she is ever to enjoy her second chance at life and with more than one person wanting her dead that is not going to be an easy task.

I really enjoyed creating a new race of beings, and putting my own spin on the Grim Reaper and his underlings, but I’m sure it won’t be too long before those zombie stories start clamouring loud enough to get there turn to shine.



Blurb

Lost Reaper

The first dead body I ever saw was my own

For twenty-five year old Tyler Morgan, being murdered was easy. Easy in comparison with working for the Grim Reaper. Jonathon Grimm may have brought her back from the dead in exchange for working as a reaper for her home town, Easton, but she has to find his lost reaper before she can enjoy her second chance at life.

Only … the lost reaper isn’t actually lost. He has a new body, a new life, and no intention of turning himself in.

Tyler begins the grisly task of reaping the souls of Easton’s dead while searching for the reaper. He could be anyone – the intriguing detective, Sam Lockwood: the handsome, wealthy Chris Bradbury; or the serial killer stalking the women of Easton. Women who bear an uncanny resemblance to Tyler.

As the killer closes in and Grimm’s deadline draws closer, Tyler discovers she is fighting a much bigger threat than the Grim Reaper and time is running out for everyone.


About the Author



Shelley Russell Nolan is an avid reader who began writing her own stories at sixteen. Her first completed manuscript featured brain eating aliens and a butt kicking teenage heroine. Since then she has spent her time creating fantasy worlds where death is only the beginning and even freaks can fall in love.

A member of Romance Writers of Australia, Australian Romance Readers Association and Queensland Writers Centre, Shelley regularly attends workshops and writers festivals to meet other writers and readers.

Born in New Zealand, moving to Australia with her family when she was seven, Shelley currently lives in Central Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two young children. They share their home with a demon cat, a deformed budgerigar and two dogs that are fairly normal as dogs go.

Shelley loves to hear from her readers so feel free to contact her on Facebook or leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.


Buy Links




Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dark Light On... Jess Anastasi

Today's Darklight On is ... Jess Anastasi

Welcome, Jess 

When Its A Long Time Coming...

Its a little surreal that I'm sitting here writing this post, staring down the release of Atrophy on Monday. Nearly every author will say that they have a book or series of their heart, and for me, Atrophy is it. Anyone who has known me for a number of years will have heard all about this book and the longish journey I took in getting it published. So I'm sorry to those people, but I'm about to do some rehashing. If you want to skip down to the blurb, then the moral of this story is going to be the old cliche of "never give up." Or, if you're a Foo Fighters fan, then you'll appreciate the quote from the lyrics of their song Best Of You that I have written on the top of my whiteboard in my study: "I swear I'll never give in, I refuse." 

So. Atrophy. I wrote this book back in 2008. I was post-studies (Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing), just had my first daughter and feeling the burn of not being published despite the fact I'd been writing for seven years. I had been struggling to do that magic thing all other, more experienced authors tell you, "find your voice." Despite trying to write historical romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense, and having the basics down, I wasn't quite "there" yet. Something was missing that would take my writing to the next level.

Around this time, I started working with my critique partner, Erin Grace, who basically went to town on my work (in a totally good way) and taught me a lot in a short amount of time. I'd been reading some sci-fi romances like Linnea Sinclair, but hadn't seriously considered writing a sci-fi romance myself, because I had this silly misconception that only super-smart people wrote sci-fi, and since science was never one of my strongest points, didn't think I could convincingly pull it off.

The idea for Atrophy had been sitting in my mind for years, ever since I'd watched Firefly about three or four years earlier. I'd also been heavily into other sci-fi TV shows like Stargate and Farscape.
After some back and forth with my crit partner, who may have even issued some kind of challenge, I decided to write Sanctuary, which would later become the first book I got published.
When I sat down to start Sanctuary -- which I was calling a paranormal romance set in space -- I was doing it for no other reason than fun and wanting to see if I could carry the weight of the sci-fi mantle.
And something happened. Words flowed. Characters cooperated. Dialogue was easy. It was like nothing else I'd ever written before. Sanctuary was only novella length, but by the time I finished it, I knew I'd struck the muse's chord perfectly. I also knew that I had to write Atrophy.

The only two things I knew when I started Atrophy was that I wanted to write a Firefly-inspired story about a close-knit crew working and living on a small ship. I also wanted the captain of that ship to be seriously dark with one heck of a tortured past. And when brainstorming with another writing friend of mine (who was more into screenplays at the time), she had a character named Rian, which I immediately fell in love with (the name, not the actual character). While she wasn't sure what she was doing with her work, I asked her if I could "borrow" Rian and the captain of the Imojenna came to life.

When I'd finished writing Atrophy, I knew that I had something unique in my files of unfinished and unpublished manuscripts, something I'd never be able to recreate even if I tried. I had discovered my voice, and I had written the book of my heart.

The journey of getting this book published is another long story, filled with many, many, many rejections. At the time it was frustrating, but now I can see that everything no doubt happened exactly how it was meant to. When I sent Atrophy to Entangled and they were so excited about it -- particularly my editor who helped me put the final shine into the story with some very awesome editorial advice -- I knew I'd found the right home. The home Atrophy was meant to have to see its full potential.

Some of the pre-release reviews have compared Atrophy to Firefly and its only made it all that much more surreal because Joss Whedon is my idol (seriously, I would pretty much fan-girl and die if I ever met him). 

And like the final touch to what is already an amazing gift, my publisher surprised me with the mother of all release parties -- they're hosting a live viewing event on twitter featuring the pilot episode of Firefly.
Yes, this was a long time coming. But I can say that it was definitely worth the wait.




No one on Erebus escapes alive...

Twelve years on the prison planet Erebus makes a man long for death. The worst part for Tannin Everette is that he was framed for murder. He’s innocent. When the ship Imojenna lands for emergency repairs, Tannin risks everything to escape…only to find himself face to face with the captain’s undeniably gorgeous sister.

Zahli Sherron isn’t planning on turning Tannin in. In fact, she actually believes him. Sure, he’s sexy as every kind of sin, but he’s no criminal—so she hides him. But no one escapes from Erebus and lives to tell about it. With every day that passes, Zahli further risks the lives of the entire crew…even as she falls in love with a man she can never have for herself.


Amazon

Entangled Publishing 

www.jessanastasi.com



 **Australian Time -- Thursday 10th December at 1pm AEST
On twitter: 
@JessAnastasi
@entangledpub

Thanks, Jess