Tag Archives: Writing

What is The Facination With Vampires

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My latest novel, Vital Spark, is a vampire romance set in New Orleans.  I’ve been a fan of mythical vampires since long before Twilight oversaturated the market.  In all the novels I’ve read, I never really questioned what it was that made the vampires so appealing.

Obviously they are written as gorgeous, so there’s that.  Then there’s the idea of superhuman strength and speed, which creates a situation that would make anyone feel safe and protected, and that’s a nice feeling.  Some people are a sucker for a tortured soul, which could also explain some of the facination.  A lot of us can relate to having that “darker side” of ourselves.  We bury it and struggle to keep it contained, but we all have our inner demons.

Then I got to thinking, what is it that most people fear?  Death.  And also aging, because that seems to lead to death.  But with just a little bite, a vampire can give you the gift of immortality and eternal youth.  The older I get, the more I realize there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for eternal youth.  Maybe not botox though, I’ve seen some pictures. But I have to do something because it’s not going to be pretty you guys…

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A vampire can ease your biggest fears.  Can you imagine what you would do if you knew you couldn’t die?  I’d eat two pounds of bacon for breakfast every morning.  And a stick of butter covered in sugar.

I always say it would suck to live forever.  At some point, I’ll want to move on to the next realm so I can start haunting people or whatever.  But I can bet that on my deathbed, I’ll be screaming for Dracula.

What do you think?  Would immortality be a blessing or a curse?

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It’s the Most Difficult Part of Being a Writer

No, not coming up with the idea.  That part is fun and easy.  I can come up with a million story ideas, and every now and then, one of them is actually pretty good!

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The next part is turning that good idea into at least sixty-thousand words.  If you know me, you know that I can talk for days…months, even!  It’s entirely possible that one day I’ll get started, and never actually stop.  So this part is not the most difficult part of being a writer for me.  Sure there are times when scene A doesn’t connect so easily to scene B, but eventually, a bridge is built and everything flows together.

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Then there’s the re-write.  It’s a little boring, in my opinion, because the novelty of getting your story written has passed, and now you’re left cleaning up your mess.  And I can leave one, big, hot mess.  It’s a lot of work, but not the hardest part, for me.

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Editing is a nightmare, I’ve made no attempt at hiding the fact that I detest editing.  Even saying the word “edit” makes me throw up in my mouth.  But I can push through and do my best.

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Then there’s the part where I have to come up with a title for my novel.  This part is only slightly worse than a root canal, but still not the most difficult part of being a writer.

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After all that and a little more, it turns out the hardest part of being a writer, at least for me, is the marketing!  Nobody warned me how hard it would be.

First of all, I’m just a drop in the ocean over here!  I’m barely noticeable in a room of ten, much less a sea of millions.  It’s hard to stand out against a backdrop of so many fantastic writers.

Second, I’ve been conditioned to be humble and not brag.  A popular saying when I was growing up was “nobody likes a show-off” and that lesson really stuck.  So I’m supposed to be over here saying things like “Check out my awesome new book, I guarantee you’ll love it!” or “I really outdid myself this time, you have to read this!” or “Get your copy of the best book ever written!”  But inside my head it’s more like “Check this out if you want!” or “This one might be pretty good and if you think you might like to give it a chance that would be super!” or “I feel really bad asking you to buy this, I wish I could give it to you for free just in case you think it sucks.”  But according to my husband, that’s just bad marketing, and he’s a Virgo so he thinks he knows everything and, frustratingly enough, he’s usually right.

And lastly, I grew up in the Catholic school system, where (back then) from a very young age we were conditioned to believe that everything we did was a sin, and all of our choices are wrong and shameful.  I hear it’s a lot different these days, however, I did not escape without my fair share of guilt issues.  So anytime I ask someone to “like” and “share” anything promoting my book, I get heart palpitations over the fact that I’m asking them for something.  Like, no one owes me anything, what right do I have to bother them with my personal business?  And Lord forbid they don’t “like” or “share” because then I just know I’ve crossed a line and must hang my selfish head in shame.

Who knew promoting yourself was such a hard thing to do?  It feels uncomfortable and unnatural, and I wish it wasn’t a part of being a writer.  Maybe after my fifty-seventh novel, it’ll be less painful.

Thank you for letting me be honest!

Vital Spark: A FREE Peek Just For You!

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Happy book release day!!!  Vital Spark is now available for purchase on Amazon!

In honor of book release day, I’m sharing the first two chapters of the novel for free.  So, check out your free sample of Vital Spark and if you like what you read, you can buy my latest novel, Vital Spark right here!  It’s available in both the Kindle and paperback editions.

Thank you for your consideration!  Happy reading!

 

Things I Would Rather Do Than Title a Novel

My favorite part of writing a novel is creating the first draft.  With reckless abandon, I can type out anything I want, no matter how stupid it might be, because I know the first draft will never be seen by anyone but me.  I can unleash the creative monster in me and then reign in the insanity little by little with each rewrite.

I’m not a fan of editing.  Like, at all.  While I’m very particular about “your” and “you’re,” “there” and “their,” or “to and too,” everything else pretty much goes to hell in a handbasket.  I’m fairly decent at making crap up, but grammar and punctuation are not my strengths, and as an indie author, I don’t have thousands of dollars to pay a real actual editor.  (Which reminds me, how much are kidneys going for on the black market?  Asking for a friend…)

But figuring out a title for my novel is, by far, my least favorite part of being a writer.  Now, I’ve done some difficult things in my life.  I’ve squeezed some rather large-headed babies out of my teeny tiny girl-parts.  I’ve been through a divorce and I was a single mom for a bit.  I had to leave my newborn in intensive care for just over a month.  I’m a Marine Mom, I’ve had teeth pulled, and I survived Catholic school. I’ve even watched about thirty minutes of The Royal Tenenbaums, and believe me, that was extraordinarily difficult.  But every time I need to come up with a title that sums up a novel I’ve written, it’s just too hard.

So here is a list of five things I would rather do than title my novels.

  1. Vaginally deliver a giant, breech porcupine.
  2. Solve an algebra problem.  Sober.
  3. Lick a U.S. dollar bill.
  4. Get an enema.
  5. Get kicked in the face by a donkey wearing baseball cleats.

What do you hate most about your job?

The Search History of a Writer

I’ve always searched any topic without a second thought while writing my novels. Because who wouldn’t search “how long would it take to bleed out if your wrists were slit and you’re hanging upside down?” (A little odd for a romance author, sure, but I needed to know.)

It wasn’t until I searched “what kind of explosives would most effectively blow up a church” that I realized I might be red flagged by almost every U.S. federal agency. For the record, the church in my novel was abandoned, save for a vampire meeting that was taking place.

So I took a moment to review my search history. Here are a few things that might look bad if someone didn’t know I write fiction.

– Best blade to effectively decapitate a head

– Amount of explosives needed to blow up a brick building

– Where can you buy detonation cord (Quick shout out to the ATF- in case you’re watching!)

– Are feral pigs dangerous

– Can you ride an alligator (This one was just for my own curiosity.)

– How much blood can a person lose before they die

– Does a severed human arm float in water

– Can a vampire have babies with a human

It’s amazing, the things you learn while writing a story. I know a lot about airboats and how to drive them. I’m not sure what to do with that. I know what to do in the event of an alligator attack. I’m not sure why an alligator would be hanging around the Midwest, but you never know.

When I die, I’ll need someone to clear my search history for me. On second thought, leave it there. It’ll be more fun that way.

What’s the oddest thing in your search history that you’re willing to admit? Share in the comments!

Something About New Orleans

So, I’m getting ready to wrap up my latest novel, a paranormal romance set in New Orleans, specifically the French Quarter. I had the unexpected privilege of visiting the area last year, and along with a few souvenirs, I walked away with inspiration like I’ve never known.

I’m not much of a “city girl.” The fast pace, overcrowded, maze of buildings is overwhelming, and people who poop in the streets make me nervous. I’ve been forced to visit Chicago on many occasions, and San Diego once. I never had any desire to visit New Orleans. The only things I knew about New Orleans I learned from watching reruns of “Cops.” Beads, a million rowdy people screaming and vomiting in the streets, and one of the highest crime rates in our nation isn’t really my scene. I’m more of a get-lost-in-the-trees, sleep-under-the-stars kind of girl. But as usual in life, fate had other plans.

When I first heard I would be forced (by my husband) to visit New Orleans, I started my research. First I Googled “is it legal to murder your husband if he’s making you go into the city.” It turns out murder is illegal with pretty much no exceptions. Then I googled the city itself and learned a few things. First, it’s extremely dangerous there, statistically speaking. Also, there was something about scammers trying to guess where you got your shoes, basically waiting to rob you if you didn’t fall for their riddle. I don’t know, it sounded like you just shouldn’t talk to anybody. Second, it has a deep, rich history. And third, it is full of myth and folklore, mostly vampires. What?! Sold! Screw the statistics, they can have my dumb shoes…I want to see history and hear legends! I love a good story.

The first thing I learned is that New Orleans isn’t any more dangerous than any other major city. In my own experience, I never once felt threatened (by neither people nor the supernatural) or as though I was in danger. I should mention I kept my ass off Bourbon Street and followed common sense practices that should always be applied when in a new location jam-packed with unfamiliar people and places. I found New Orleans was pleasantly slower paced than other cities I’ve had to visit.  (I mean, they don’t call it The Big Easy for nothing!)  People were super laid back and friendly. img_3506

I’m not the type to ever venture out into a city by myself, but here, I was comfortable enough to grab my two kids and hop on the trolley to the Garden District. I was expecting it to be like the South Shore (train) in Chicago…eyes down, face forward, talk to no one. But it was more “smile at everyone, shake hands with strangers, young people giving up their seats for the elderly.” Our mission: to view the house where American Horror Story: The Coven was filmed. Any fans?

My daughter and I got hooked on the series, and we were so excited to be standing in this location. We did not see any witches, in case you’re wondering. But if witches are your thing, I highly recommend checking out my book, The Grimm Curse. And of course, season three of American Horror Story. Each episode has a hint of historical truth mixed in with its creative paranormal aspect.

Next stop, Jacques St Germain’s old place.

Gorgeous house, no? You can see the inside here. So in a nutshell, mysterious, aristocrat newcomer brings a horny chick home from Bourbon Street. She jumps screaming out of a second story window, breaking both legs in the fall. She claimed the guy attacked her with superhuman speed and strength, trying to bite her neck. When the police came by to investigate, he had disappeared, leaving behind barrels of wine that turned out to be blood. I guess he turns up every hundred years or so. You can read more about him here.

Next stop, Madame LaLaurie’s mansion, allegedly one of the most haunted places in America.

You can read more about this crazy lady here, but basically, she was accused of horribly abusing and torturing her slaves at this location. Her story is both repulsive and heartbreaking. Madame LaLaurie is a main character in AHS: The Coven, so it was a must see for us.

Our tour guide said Madame LaLaurie is buried here, and I’m pretty sure the iron bars are there to keep her evil spirit locked inside.

We couldn’t resist stopping by the Ursuline Convent, home of the Casket Girls legend.

They say that vampires are locked inside the attic, and the shutters are sealed shut with nails blessed by the pope. The convent says there are no vampires in there, and the shutters are just average, everyday hurricane shutters. Personally, I’m not sure why the convent would want to keep pet vampires in their attic, but who knows in today’s world.

Other cool highlights from the trip:

The streets themselves inspired feelings of desolation, in a lonely, romantic kind of way. The flickering lanterns cast dancing shadows on the old, historical streets. My imagination went wild with the endless possibilities of what could be lurking in the shadows. Mostly rats, I’m sure.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 was by guided tour only, so as to protect us from getting mugged. By Ghosts.

Nicolas Cage’s future resting place. Some people say he’s a vampire, based on this photographic “evidence.”

Next up…Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen! It was interesting to hear about voodoo and its relationship with the Catholic faith in the French Quarter. People still come from all over to desecrate her grave in the hopes she will grant their deepest wishes. (I believe what you’re searching for is a lamp with a genie in it?) Seems like an odd way to gain favor from a powerful spirit, but what do I know about the afterlife?

Cafe Du Monde. These beignets were so flipping delicious, I didn’t even care that I looked like I’d snorted a pound of cocaine when I finished eating.

The following is the view from my hotel, The Doubletree, just across from the French Quarter. It was a nice hotel, and the best part was they gave you free chocolate chip cookies, served warm every time you came up to the desk! We stocked up and ate cookies for breakfast and lunch every day that week.

Here’s a creepy crow that kept screaming at us. Its shrill call echoed across the empty streets. It followed us for blocks, flying rooftop to rooftop just watching us and yelling. I’m not sure what I did to offend it, but the crow was definitely targeting me, and it freaked me out, how long it stayed with us. His creepy ass made it into the novel.

This building was so beautiful in a lost and haunting sort of way.

Pirate Alley. Historical shit went down here. A man ranting on a set of steps tried to lure my little guy over to him. We politely declined, and the gentleman inspired a character for a brief role in my novel.

The railings on the galleries were so intricate, I’ve never seen anything like it! And the ferns! Those ferns hung everywhere. I had a fern once. It didn’t make it.

I hope to visit this amazing city again one day. We walked away with some amazing memories. But best of all, I walked away with loads of inspiration for my latest novel, set to be released this October.

Have you been to New Orleans? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

Writing Roots

So I found a picture of little me, developing a passion for writing while rockin’ the 80’s fashion.  You can see from my technique that I was destined for great things.

Writing roots