Category Archives: Guest Post

Blog Tour Post – Character

For the next week or so, I’ve got a few posts going on in a blog tour. The first one is today over at Kelsey’s Book corner and is about getting characters to be believable.

 

Click on the cover to go have a read. Oh, also, you can win one of 3 signed copies of With Silent Screams, I should have mentioned that bit earlier.

 

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Conversation with Denise Grover Swank

I’m very happy to have my friend and fellow 47North Author, Denise Grover Swank on the blog today for a chat about writing and whatever else happened to jump into our minds.

When With Silent Screams was released last Tuesday, Denise also had a release of her short story in the Curse Keeper series, This Place is Death.

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Me: Hi Denise, welcome to the blog. Everyone else might want to take a chair and get comfortable.

 

Denise: Steve, I’ve gotten to know you as a fellow 47North author and I love your Hellequin series. How did you end up at 47North?

 

Me: Thanks very much. I self published Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred in 2012, sold pretty well and had great reviews and then I got a call from 47North in Feb 2013 to offer me a 3 book deal. They re-published the first 2 books and publish book 3, With Silent Screams on Feb 18th. It’s been a great experience so far. I’ve enjoyed meeting the other 47North writers, like yourself, and having people whose job it is to do stuff for you is pretty cool.

How about you?

 

Denise: Wait, you have people who do stuff for you? Where do I get those? Oh, you mean 47North.

David Pomerico, my 47North editor, contacted me in September 2012 saying he’d read my book Chosen and wanted to talk to me about my career. I thought he might be interested in buying rights to the Chosen series, but he was really interested in the series I had listed on my website that I’d slated for a spring 2013. The Curse Keepers is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series based on the Lost Colony of Roanoke and Croatan Indian spirits and gods. Amazingly enough, after the worst pitch in the world–seriously I wasn’t prepared and it was a rambling mess–David asked for a three book proposal. The Curse Keepers was released in November 2013 and This Place is Death, a short story about the origin of the curse releases February 18.

(By the way, I’ve read all three books of the Helliquin series and loved it! I highly recommend this series.)

 

Me: Thanks very much, that’s very kind of you. I’ve got the first Chosen book, which is great. It’s a shame that since becoming an author I’ve had so little time to read anything on a regular basis. There are a lot of talented writers at 47North whose books I’d love to read, but simply haven’t had time. Between having 3 young kids, writing and actually wanting to see my wife, my days become pretty full, pretty quickly.

Although that’s where the wonder that are audiobooks have come into my life. Although going to the gym and listening to Terry Pratchett tends to get me weird looks when I start chuckling to myelf.

Is there anything you’ve read or listened to recently that you’ve really enjoyed?

 

Denise: I know what you mean about struggling to find time to read. I was a voracious reader until I started writing full time with my crazy production schedule. (I wrote five books last year and a novella.)  Plus, I’m the single parent of six kids, although only five live at home. (ha!) But my oldest son at home is 22 and is going to community college. He’s a huge help with his four younger siblings ages 16 to 6. My youngest three children are adopted from China and Vietnam.

But reading is so important for me, not just for my imagination but for my own writing. When I feel myself getting stuck in the same sentence structures, I’ll pick up a book and just start reading. My mind latches onto the flow of the sentences and helps get me out of my rut. (Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favorites. She writes magical realism in beautiful prose–so different than my own writing.)

I’m trying to snatch more reading time in small chunks–lying in bed for ten minutes while I’m waking up, in the car waiting for my daughter to come out of her musical rehearsal, (Proud Mommy moment: she’s Sharpey in her high school’s production of  High School Musical.) on the elliptical machine when I make myself get it on it. But it’s made a difference and I’ve already read seven books this year.

When did you know that you wanted to be an author? Not a writer playing around, but an author who dedicates his life to writing? Because I think a lot of writers who want to publish don’t realize how much work it is. Being an author isn’t a job, it’s a life style change. At least for me. What about you?

 

Me: I’ve read maybe 4 or 5 books this year, I read very quickly though.

I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was at school. But I seriously started when Keira was born 9 years ago. That was when I decided I needed to actually write something and not just say I was going to.

You’re right, being an author is a total lifestyle commitment, like getting a dog. You can’t half-ass being a writer, or your readers will immediately tell. It’s definitely not something to to start if you’re into getting rich quick.

What about you? When did you know you wanted to do this for a living? Was there ever a day when you just knew you were a professional author? For me that was when I got my first months statement from Amazon. I’d sold 100 books. I couldn’t have smiled harder if I’d tried.

 

Denise: I’ve always written something. I started my first book in the fourth grade. My high school English teacher recognized a talent in me and pushed me to dig deeper in her creative writing class.(My first published book–Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes–is dedicated to her.) But I tried to write a couple of books in my twenties. Ghastly, rambling messes that had characters aimlessly wandering around. You see I hadn’t figured out this teeny, tiny thing called a PLOT.

 

Then years later, I started a family blog back in the mid-2000’s when blogging was all the rage. I wrote stories about my kids and my family. I honed the craft of storytelling, structure, and yes plot. I heard about NaNoWriMo in 2009 and told myself (literally) you either do this and finish or shut up about writing a book. So I started my romantic suspense So Much to Lose on November 1 and finished that sucker on December 10. Over 94,000 words.

 

When I wrote that last sentence, I was hooked. I’d spent forty years trying to figure out what to do with my life and I knew this was it. But So Much to Lose sucked. I mean really, really sucked. So while I was waiting to start editing, the germ of an idea popped into my head. What if there was a little boy who could see the future? So I exiled my first book to my external hard drive and started Chosen the week before Christmas 2009. Now, four years later, I’m working on my sixteenth book.

Your plots are very intricate, finely woven masterpieces. Are you a serious plotter or a pantser and just a genius? Or do you write a rambling first draft and put it all together in revision?

 

Me: It was my English teacher who got me interested in writing too. I was about 12 or 13, I think. I have no idea what grade that is though.

As much as I’d love to say genius, I do write out the plot for the books before I write the book itself, but only in terms of knowing what the main parts of the story are, how it ends, begins and roughly what characters need to do what. I have an idea about how each chapter will start and finish, but usually I have no idea how it’ll get from beginning to end. I like to be surprised and have the characters feel more natural to me.

I’ve tried different levels for control in each book and the 3rd feels the most natural. It occasionally means adding chapters, and in a few occasions, whole characters, but knowing exactly what’s going to happen annoys me and I end up ignoring it.

As the Hellequin Chronicles is a series of books, I know what each book is going to be about. And I know how it ends too. Although, the flashback parts I don’t usually decide on until I’m just about to start writing so I can figure out what era suits the flashback story parts best.

How about you? Do you plot out in detail or just write as it comes? Do you know how your whole series will pan out before you write book 1?

 

Denise: It’s so weird, but my level of plotting depends on the book. In the sixteen books I’ve worked, I think I’ve pre-plotted two in detail. Most I have general or over-sweeping ideas. Sometimes I’ve found the best stories just evolve. I have a starting point and an end, and a few highlights I plan to hit along the way. But writing a scene inspires another and I come up with a story I never would have had if I’d plotted the sucker out. That doesn’t mean the story comes out pure gold when it’s done.

My last completed book– THIRTY-ONE AND A HALF REGRETS– I ended up with a major revision in the middle third of the book. That’s always so frustrating. How much more efficient could I have been if I’d had a plan? And I feel incredibly sorry for my developmental editor and the utter drivel she is forced to read in my first drafts. I’ve told her that I feel better because I know she knows I can pull a well written book out at the end. But the truth is, the story wouldn’t be what it turned out to be without those false starts. 

Do I have a a series all planned out? This is where I’m supposed to say yes, right? The sad answer is no. I don’t. What about you? Do you have an end plan for the Hellequin series? Do you have a set number of books you plan to write? 

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Me: I’ve got the plots figured out for most of the series. There are a few books that I’m not sure about or haven’t decided which way round they should go, but for the most part I know what will happen in book 7 and how it relates to the rest of the series.

As for how many books, well I’m currently writing book 4, PRISON OF HOPE and then book 5, which will end the 5 book arc. Then I’ll move on to the second 5 book arc. The main thing I wanted to do was ensure that if someone comes along and picks up book 3 or book 9 they both get a complete story without having to read everything before it.

In terms of other series, CHIMERA, my sci-fi apocalypse book, which I’ll be starting this year, is a trilogy and that tells a complete story.

I like not having everything set in stone for Hellequin just in case I think of something cool, I want to write, but for shorter series, I want to know where it’s going.

Are there any books that are outside of what you’ve currently written that you’ve got an idea for? A horror or sci-fi book for example?

 

Denise: I’m planning a humorous contemporary romance series for later this year about three friends who make a pact to get married by the time they are thirty. Of course, they will be disasters. 😉  I’d also LOVE to write a thriller series. My Chosen series has some thriller moments and I love writing those scenes. Unfortunately, I have no plot or ideas for it. Will it be contemporary? Will it have paranormal slant? I have no clue. I suppose it will come to me. My problem is I get an idea for a book and then I have to figure out what genre it is. Which is why I currently write in four genres–urban fantasy/paranormal romance, romance mystery, contemporary romance and YA science fiction. I’m a Gemini. Enough said. 😉

With my Rose Gardner series, each book is a completely self-contained mystery, but there’s on over-arcing mystery as well as the main character’s personal life and relationships. Still the books can be read independently even though reviewers usually suggest readers start from the beginning to really enjoy the series.  My Curse Keepers series also tells a contained story in each book with main character dealing with a particular demon, but the over-arcing mystery elements are much more prevalent and interwoven throughout all three books. My plan for the series is a set of trilogies. I already have a plan for books four through six, but the ideas are still fairly loose.

 

Me: I’m finding that I’ve got more ideas for future books then there are hours in the day. I’m sure I’ll be able to cram everything in at some point, although wanting to spend time with my wife and kids means I can’t write 24/7. Fortunately, my wife is very supportive and keeps the kids occupied so that I don’t get any of them running in to ask me something every few minutes.

How about you? How do you find the time to write with 6 kids of varying ages to keep an eye on? Are you a bit of a night owl for it?

 

Denise: I AM a night owl. I’m not an early riser, so before my kids were in school full time, my only alone time was after they went to bed. I have a laptop and a desk top computer, but I always draft on my laptop. And never at my desk. So I’m used to fitting in writing whenever and wherever I can. I”ll write in the carpool lane. I write at my son’s basketball practice. My daughter tried out for her high school choir while I sat in a room with about twenty trumpets blasting and you guessed it, I wrote. I’ve written just about every place imaginable thanks to my Bose headphones, but mostly because if I waited for the perfect environment to write, I’d never get anything done. Literally.

 

The beauty of my job is that I can always stop working to take care of what needs to be done. I can fit in all the practices and rehearsals and everything else because my job is flexible.  But that being said, my youngest is six so it’s much, much easier then when I started this full time and she was two. Back then I got a lot less sleep and the two days she was in preschool, I usually worked straight through any lunch trying to get as much done as I could before I picked her up.

So where do you see yourself with your writing career in five years? Writing full time? Branched out into another genre?

 

Me: I’d love to be writing fulltime in a year or two, if I’m honest. Actually, I’d love to be doing it tomorrow, but those pesky bills need paying.

I’ve got ideas for other genres. My Chimera stuff is more sci-fi then fantasy and there’s a plain thriller I’d like to write, with no magic or monsters involved and a a sort of epic fantasy book too. Oh and I’ve got an idea for a historical fantasy trilogy that takes place within the Hellequin Chronicles books. Hopefully over the next few years, I’ll be able to get most of those started. So, yeah more ideas than hours to write it all at the moment.

So, if you had one piece of advice to give to new authors or people who want to be an author, what would it be?

 

Denise: The beauty of self-publishing is that anyone can do it and there are no gate keepers. But it’s also a curse.

New writers often don’t realize that it often takes YEARS to hone the craft of writing. You can’t pick up a flute for the first time then play in Carnegie Hall a month later. It takes PRACTICE. Writing is the same way. When you learn to play an instrument,  you need an instructor—someone to critique your playing. With writing you need lots of someones to critique your writing. Even now, after publishing my thirteenth book, I STILL have a minimum of ten people read a book before it’s published. And three of those people are paid editors.
New writers tell me that they are nervous about getting their work critiqued, but trust me, it’s much, much harder to see the often nasty critique in a review. When I get a new beta reader, I tell them: Friends don’t let friends look stupid in print. (I keep saying I’m going to make this into a T-shirt.) So my advice to you is to find a critique group—either in person or online, or even both. Learn the craft of writing and storytelling THEN publish.

You may have limited me to one piece of advice, but I made it wordy. Ha! What piece of advice would you give, Steve?

 

Me: That’s some excellent advice. I agree wholeheartedly, find a critique group and learn the craft of writing and how to tell your story. I certainly wouldn’t be published now if I’d not joined one.

My advice would be that if you love writing, if you love the idea of telling a story, if you want to be a published writer, then don’t let anyone stop you from achieving that goal.

Getting published can be a long arduous journey, even for a self-published author. You’re going to get knocked back, you’re going to feel defeated and at times you’re going to wonder if it’s worth it. But it really is. Being an author is the best job in the world. People pay you to create worlds in your mind and tell other people about it. There’s very few jobs, bar maybe ninja-astronaut, that come to being as close as cool.

I know you said, 1 piece, but I’m cheating. Because above all, above all the advice you’ll ever receive about being a write. The most important part that you can’t do anything else without is enjoy it. Because if you don’t enjoy writing your story, no one will ever enjoy reading it.

 

 

I’d like to thank Denise for spending her time chatting with me. She’s a good friend and exceptionally talented writer. I can’t tell you all how much you should check out her work. Click the links below.

You can find Denise here:

Blog: http://denisegroverswank.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeniseMSwank

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseGroverSwank

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The Curse Keepers

Amazon US:

Amazon UK: 

 

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This Place is Death:

Amazon US: 
Amazon UK:  

 

My Love of Mythology

I have a guest post on my friend, Natalie Westgate’s blog about my love of mythology. Click the cover to go and have a read.

 

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The Difficult Third Book

I’ve got a blog post today over on Bea’s Book Nook about writing, what was in my case, the difficult third book.

Click the cover to go right there and have a read.

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The Changing of the Sun – Kickstarter

Today I have a guest blog by the very talented Lesley Smith, who is involved in a Kickstarter project to get her first book published.

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Why I’m Kickstarting my debut novel

(a guest post by Lesley Smith)

I’ve been writing since I was ten but it’s only now, with the advent of indie publishing, e-books and print on demand that I’ve started my first Kickstarter to cover the costs – the covers and editing – for my debut science fiction novel, The Changing of the Sun. I wrote the book last year and it’s the first in a trilogy, each set in different time periods in the history of an alien planet. Changing deals with the theological, cultural and social ramifications of a massive solar storm which is about to be unleashed on a technologically primitive world guided by a sisterhood of blind seers.

Writing from a dozen perspectives, the story reads like fantasy but is actually science fiction and is set in my largest created world, my Ashteraiverse.  This story is very close to me, there’s a frantic journey across a massive continent, the clock is ticking and forcing my characters to grow emotionally or perish. I especially enjoyed – as a visually impaired person and a theologian – being able to meld a religious lifestyle with disability. Both my ‘villain’ Jashri and my primarily heroine, Saiara, are blind, the price for their preternatural knowledge, and another of my cast, Jeiana, ends up losing one of her arms just above the elbow in what I can only describe as one of the most powerful scenes in the book.

However I purposefully wanted to set the Kickstarter funding goal as low as I could get it … people routinely ask for £10k and I know I can do it lower than that so I am beginning by offering an e-book only to my backers. I’m asking for £1250 to cover the editing but also to get a set of three covers designed by Jason Gurley (one for each book in the series). If I get 2k in funding that will then unlock a print run. Successive stretch goals will then unlock the second and third books in the trilogy in both e-book and print form. Regardless I have to meet my minimum funding goal or I get nothing.

The big challenge for me is that, because I’m disabled and have retired, my income is fixed; I live on a small amount which allows me to live relatively comfortably but means big purchases and personal projects can take a long time to come to fruition. I could have paid for all of this but it would have taken until the end of the year. Kickstarter allows me to not only establish pre-orders (so far the vast majority of my pledges have been the minimum needed to get the e-book and I’m more than happy with this) but also allow me the funding I need to publish the first novel in June.

Kickstarting this project has not only motivated to me write but has also restored my faith in humanity, even if it doesn’t fund – which while possible is a lot more statistically unlikely as I near 50% of my funding – I have a succession of backers who aren’t known to me personally and yet chose to back me based on just my pitch. That truly awes me. I want to repay that faith which a book which is as perfect as I can make, a strong story, excellent editing and beautiful covers.

I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on but for now, check out my campaign here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lesleysmith/the-changing-of-the-sun.

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Click on the book cover to read a Sample of Lesley’s work.

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The Roll of a Die

I’ve got a guest post on the awesome Stant Litore’s blog. It’s all about my first steps into reading fantasy and how much I used to love the Fighting Fantasy game books.

 

 

Click the cover to go read it.

 

With Silent Screams

A Conversation with Kate Maruyama

I’d like to introduce you all to fellow 47North writer Kate Maruyama, author of the wonderfully creepy Harrowgate.

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SM: So, Kate why don’t you tell everyone about your book?

KM : Michael’s wife Sarah and baby, Tim are dead but still living with him in his apartment in New York. A creepy doula-type woman named Greta has wormed her way into their lives and seems to hold the key to how they can stay together, what the rules are to this new existence is, etc… But over the course of the book the couple realize she may not have their best interests at heart.

Any time Michael leaves the apartment–even for twenty minutes, weeks, months pass for Sarah and Tim–Tim grows up during this time also. Michael also sees that Sarah is visibly diminishing and getting more and more mentally lost while their boy grows stronger and healthier. A part of Michael knows Sarah and the boy don’t belong here, but he goes along with anything that he thinks will help keep his family with him. Even after he knows Greta is up to no good, he endures her for fear of losing his family. The question here, is how far would you go to keep your family together? How much would you put up with or would you let evil into your life just to spend a little more time with them? Does the sheer fear of losing someone allow you to push all consequences aside?

Does your guy let evil in so that he may have more power?

 

SM: In my first book, Crimes Against Magic, Nate doesn’t really know who he is. He’s sort of enjoying the fact that he’s clearly not human. Sleeping with beautiful women and stealing things for fun. There’s a part in the book where Nate’s previous ability for violence starts coming to the surface, but the thing that freaks him out is that he’s not actually freaked out at all. It’s not really until the people who removed his memories track him down that all hell breaks loose for him and he has to decide whether he’s going to commit to getting his old life back, but at the expense of everything he’s currently worked for.

Throughout the book there’s flashbacks to 15th century France, which links in with the modern day story, showing what Nate used to be and the things he used to do. There’s some mythology there from different places.

Born of Hatred has Nate trying to piece his life back together and getting involved in something that he’s actually afraid of facing. Something he knows he can’t beat but goes through with it anyway. But doing so means he exposes a pretty dark secret to a lot of people, which is going to have some major repercussions later in the series. 

Nate doesn’t really worry about doing bad things, so long as it’s for a good cause. His moral compass is somewhat different to everyone else. He’s okay with killing and hurting those who hurt the people he cares about. Nate’s let evil into himself a lot over the 1600 years he’s been alive. He’s done questionable things or allowed bad things to happen and not stopped it, simply because his old employer Merlin demanded it. Since he left Merlin’s employ in 1890, he’s tried to not stand by and let things happen. It’s going to get him into a lot of trouble.

 

KM: Do you have fun playing around in Nate’s head? Exploring his lack of conscience? Do you ever cringe at what he does but forge forward because you know what suits his character best or is it just a grand romp to step outside yourself on the page?

 

SM: Nate’s pretty easy to get into his head, mostly as he’s lived in mine for so long. There’s a torture scene in book 2, which did make me wince a little, but it fits that it’s the sort of thing he’d do under the circumstances he was in. It’s the same with the villains. I do love writing really evil bad guys, and a few of them have done things I’ve found awful to think about, but then I know where it goes and what’s going to happen so I don’t have to wonder if they’ll get their comeuppance. If I write the good guy with difference in morals, I have t he make the bad guys even worse.

So, do you find it fun to write the evil characters, or do you prefer to write the good guys?

 

KM:  A lot of the bad guy is written through the eyes of the good guy in mine, so they feel entwined. I had as much fun writing Michael’s revulsion for Greta as I had writing Greta herself. The most challenging part of writing Greta was coming up with her motivation, making her more than a two-dimensional menace. She took several drafts to get right, where as my protagonist was really there all along. But once I figured out what made her tick, I could really dig into her scenes and turn them into power struggles of a sort. Once you know everything your bad guy knows, you know their limitations, needs and strategies.

You said, “A few of them {your bad guys} have done things too awful to think about…” There was one scene with Greta came up in a later draft of the book, so when I saw it for the first time in a few years, it startled me–I hadn’t remembered writing it and it took me aback.

Do your bad guys ever surprise you in their actions, or where they go or what they do?

 

SM: In the first book they didn’t. I knew the main villain quite well by the time I got to write it, so I was pretty sure who he was. But in the second book, I had a problem of needing 2 characters to be in a certain place for the finale and for the life of me I couldn’t think of a good reason. And then one of the bad guys did something that I thought was pretty awful, but worked in terms of story. It also took him to a whole new level of evil, so I think people who read it will be even more willing Nate on to dish out some revenge.

I’ve had a few occasions like that, where a character did or said something that I hadn’t thought of before I got to that scene. But then that’s why I don’t tend to plot out everything in great detail.  I know the beginning and end and roughly what happens for each chapter, but not all the details.

Do you plot out in detail or are you a write it and see what happens kind of person? 

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KM: I’m with you. I kind of have to get in there with my characters and help them feel their way around their situation, see where it leads. I knew the ending of Harrowgate, but that was it, and huge sections of it surprised me. I had a six page portion planned out that turned into thirty and wound up being a climax of sorts–I wouldn’t have found it if I plotted.  Any time I try to push my characters toward a logical step things sort of stop and fall to pieces. So I keep at the draft until I’ve answered all of the questions. Then I concentrate on structure and cut mercilessly. A lot of first draft stuff I write doesn’t really belong in the story–it was more my writing toward something. Once I find the something, the writing toward can be cut away. I feel like I’m a better revisionist than composer. Revision is where the structure comes together and characters become more layered.

Do you do a lot of drafts or do you rewrite over and over as you go along?

 

SM: For my first book I didn’t plot anything and ended up doing about 9 or 10 drafts. It took forever. Book 2 and 3 i decided to plot slightly tighter before I started so I still had room for the story to flow and change as needed, but there was more structure. I only took 3 or 4 drafts with book 2 and I think it was 3 with book 3. I think that’s more down to me being more comfortable with the way in which I plot the book out before starting. 

I do however, change things as I go. I know I shouldn’t, I should wait until I’m done, but it would annoy me if I left it, so I’ll change the story now as needed. Usually only little things, if it’s a massive shift in story, then I’ll probably re-do most of the book. It’s why I make sure to get all my ideas down before I start now. It’s also why I have a dozen notebooks at home and make sure to keep them with me just in case inspiration strikes, or some new shiny needs attention.

How do you cope with that new shiny idea for a story when you’re in the middle of writing your current work? I have to take a break to make all the notes I need to or the idea won’t shut up. 

 

KM: I often work on two things at once. When I was a screenwriter, I’d finish a script, my agent/manager would go out with it, and it would all be over within a week. People passed, the story was dead. The first couple of times this happened it killed me. It would take about a month of recovery before I would start casting around for new ideas. So I started a habit that when I was in revisions for a script I would start up the next one so I’d always have something to work on. So now I know not to let lightning pass. Sometimes it’s just an idea, sometimes the story starts speaking to me in small ways and I pursue it. I often dive into short story when I’m working on a novel and get stuck. It keeps the muscles going while questions solve themselves in the back of my head.

Did you ever write anything that wouldn’t work? That you put down for good?

 

SM: I’ve had ideas that while they were great for a while, ended up falling by the wayside for one reason or another. Either it didn’t gel or I couldn’t get it to make sense. I keep the notes for the idea though, just in case it comes up in another story and will work better. 

Do you have any notion to write in different genres or are you content to stay in horror?

 

KM: I can only write the book that comes to me and the next was a literary family story, who knew? I know I’ll write horror again, it’s such a lovely space to play in, but I have to wait for the right story to come to me.

 

SM: So what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a writer?

 

KM: The finest advice I got from a writer was from my mentor Rob Roberge, who said, ” When a writer is committed and dedicated, the novel(s) sort of presents itself to us if we listen well enough.”
This is so encouraging at the halfway point for me, where it all seems like crap and I’m trying to push the story forward. The pushing makes things shut down. I have this quote on my desktop, which reminds me to sit back more quietly and listen–to trust this careful moving forward and listening part of the project and wait for things to emerge. Which sounds really lovely and easy, but is usually the part where I get crabby, go on a lot of walks, read a lot of pages over, edit a lot and throw out some new scenes from an entirely different part of the story to ask questions. It’s the part I wish I could turn into a movie montage of writing with a pile of pages growing next to me.

But it’s damn fine advice.

Do you have any writer advice that stuck with you?

 

SM: That’s some excellent advice. 

I’ve been trying to think of what advice I’d say and I’ve been told so much over the last few years that it’s hard to say which one I think is the most important. 

So after much deliberation I’m going to go with: 

Enjoy yourself. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing, no one else will be, I assure you. So, write what you enjoy, write what you’d like to read, because if you try to conform to someone else’s idea of what makes a successful book, you’ll just be miserable and constantly put off writing. If you’re not enjoying writing the story, then what’s the point?

 

And that’s it for another post, thanks to the fantastic Kate for taking the time to read through my ramblings to get to the point I was trying to make.

If you want to get a copy of Harrowgate for yourself, click the links below.

 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

And head on over to Annotation Nation to read the thoughts of her and other writers, including yours truly, about the books that have had the most impact on them.

Kate Danley – Queen Mab

Today I’m very pleased to show all of you an exciting new book by the wonderful Kate Danley.  Queen Mab.

Two demigods both alike, but one of day and one of night, in fair Verona do meddle with the Houses of Capulet and Montague…

When Faunus, the god of daydreams, breaks the heart of Queen Mab, revenge can be the only answer.  Using the most powerful families in Verona, they wage their war against one another,
and place their final bets upon the heads of two teenagers, one named Romeo and the other named Juliet.

But when Queen Mab meets a gentleman named Mercutio, the world changes.  She falls in love and will do anything, even if it means destroying the world, to save him.  Will it be enough to stop the tragedy?  Or only spur it forward to its terrible end?

 

Weaving Shakespeare’s original text into a new fantasy, fans of The Woodcutter will delight in this loving retelling by award-winning author Kate Danley.  Experience the romance and passion of Romeo & Juliet from a different point of view – through the eyes of the bringer of dreams… Queen Mab.

 

Kate Danley’s debut novel, The Woodcutter (published by 47North), was honored with the Garcia Award for the Best Fiction Book of the Year, the 1st Place Fantasy Book in the Reader Views Literary Awards, and the winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Other titles include Queen Mab, the Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker series and the O’Hare House Mystery series.

Her plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, and DC Metro area. Her screenplay Fairy Blood won 1st Place in the Breckenridge Festival of Film Screenwriting Competition in the Action/Adventure Category. Her projects The Playhouse, Dog Days, Sock Zombie, SuperPout, and Sports Scents can be seen in festivals and on the internet. She trained in on-camera puppetry with Mr. Snuffleupagus and recently played the head of a 20-foot dinosaur on an NBC pilot.

She lost on Hollywood Squares.

 

You can find Queen Mab on Amazon.

And here’s Kate’s author page.

Blog Stop Post 1

Yeah, I know, you don’t hear anything from me in a few weeks and then you get posts every day.  I promise i’ll be more timely in a few weeks.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

But at the moment, I just wanted to take a second to post some more links for people to go to. I’ve done a few fun interviews and guest posts and figured a few people might be interested in reading my ramblings.

 

First up: Books, Books and More Books have a guest post of mine where I discuss character. They also have a giveaway where people can win a copy of each book.

The incredibly patient (because I forgot to send her what I said I was going to) Lesley Smith has a look at Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred.

 

The very  talented Melissa Olson interviews me about writing and my books.

 

The equally talented Richard Ellis Preston Jr has an interview with me too.

 

That’s it for today. I’ll be doing a few of these and if you get time you really should go have a read as they were fun to do. Remember if you re-tweet or share my twitter and FB status’ about my books, your name goes in a hat to win the chance to name your own character in book 4! Only 1 week left.

 

Before I go, thanks to everyone for making yesterday’s launch day, an awesome day all round.

Release Day

So today is the day that the 47North editions of Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred are finally released. This is hopefully the start of a whole new episode of great things to happen. However, I have been asked a few questions about the editions and figured I’d answer them all here.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

Is there anything different from the old versions?

 

Short answer, yes. Long answer: Crimes Against Magic has some considerable changes to parts of the book, it reads better for it too. Born of Hatred has a lot less changes, but still a few. Think of them this way, these are my directors cut versions. Basically these are better than the versions that were out. It’s up to you whether you’re happy with what you’ve read, or you want the updated version.

 

If I already own them, do I need to re-buy them.

 

Yes. They’re new editions, so in essence a new version of the book.

 

When will book 4 be out?

 

No idea. Ask me again in 6 months and you’ll probably have a different answer. But considering I’ve not started writing it yet beyond notes and the opening few chapters, probably a little while.

 

McHugh_Born_of_Hatred_cvr_FINAL

 

 

Also, here’s a few places you should go visit as I start my trip around the web.

 

Roberta Oliver Trahan is hosting a spotlight on my two books.

 

Liz Wilkins, not only had an interview with me, but also a review of Born of Hatred.

 

Alex Bledsoe has a guest post by me about how I chose the flashback times I used in both books.

 

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting all of the upcoming blog tour stuff I’ve got going, if you have time go check them out.