Upcoming Character Interview

As you can see from the photo, FF4 is underway.  I’ve got my notebooks labeled (my daughter designs the cute artwork for my notebook cover) and the first couple of chapters written.  But since I’m not the speediest of writers, I was searching for something fun to do in the meantime.  I hit upon the idea of doing a character interview.  Some of my writing buddies have done those and they look like fun. So… The first question is, who do you want me to interview? Addie, Rowan, James, Ian…any character in the series is available. Most votes wins and I’ll post the interview here.  You can vote in the comments below, or over on my Facebook page. If this turns out to be fun, I’ll do more, so don’t be disappointed if your guy or gal doesn’t make the cut this time.  😀   Update  – The voting is closed, and it looks like Ian is the winner.  (Rowan came in second, so perhaps I’ll do an interview with him at a later date.)  Now, what questions would you like me to ask Ian?  Please list them in the comments below, use the contact tab above to email them to me, or visit me on...

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The Heir of Death

Cover, Blurb, and Excerpt   Update: The wait is over!  FF 3.5, now The Heir of Death, has been uploaded everywhere.  (I’ve added the retailer links below.)  If it’s not available at your favorite retailer, check back later.  Some sites are slower than others to update. Here’s the cover (that’s Doug, by the way) and blurb.  Click the link below to read an excerpt… Elysia Mallory has never embraced her magic, not when doing so comes at the price of her sanity. Her family is cursed with bizarre necromantic gifts that have driven each recipient mad, and she doesn’t want to be another dead branch on the family tree. But when Elysia learns that an ancestor is still in the mortal world and using his rare gift to possess the Deacon, the leader of the necromancer community, she decides it’s time to take control of the power she was given. Will her gift give her the ability to right a wrong centuries in the making? Or will she become another puppet for him to control? Read the first chapter here: The Heir of Death Excerpt Pick up a copy here: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |...

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What’s in a Name?

In today’s post, I thought I’d chat a bit about what goes into the selection of a character’s name. Or at least, how I select one. 😉 Naming characters is one of the fun aspects of writing fiction, but it can be a challenge. Much like coming up with a name for a new baby, I want a name that sounds good to my ear, but one that also means something to me. Sometimes, I find the perfect name right off.  Other times I search through baby name books and websites trying to find the name that fits the character I have in mind. I like to nail down my main characters’ names earlier on. It’s difficult to change a name once I’ve gotten to know him or her. With magical characters, I often chose something that correlates with their talent. It can be the meaning of the name, the sound of the name, or both. Era is derived from an Albanian word meaning wind, but it also sounds like the English word air. Rowan’s name is from a Germanic source and means red. It is also the name given to the red-berried rowan tree. In European folklore, the rowan tree was believed to be magical, and used to ward off evil. A nice match for a red-haired Fire Element who is one of the good guys. Sometimes my characters name each other. James’s charming brothers called his new friend the Addled Alchemist, and since she’s not the sort of person to let those jerks get the upper hand, she took the name Addie. My characters don’t always have a name when they first appear in my stories, so I’ll frequently use a placeholder. Typically, I’ll just grab a common everyday name. And the since the Final Formula is a contemporary fantasy series, I tend to leave the name as it is. I thought it logical to use names I hear in my day-to-day life, but I’ve discovered that a common name may not be the best choice. I have had a few comments that my names aren’t unique enough, and can sometimes run together in the reader’s mind. It’s too late to fix that...

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The Quest Continues

This one is for the writers in the audience, or anyone wondering how I go about crafting my stories. (Note the word crafting—it makes it sound like I know what I’m doing. Ah, the power of language.) To be honest, this post is more of an update on my ongoing quest to streamline my process. Back in September, I wrote a post about my attempt to refine the way I write. I’ve been a seat-of-my-pants (aka organic) writer all my life. As I mentioned before, I credit this to my early approach when I wrote just for fun and just for me. I wrote until I reached the end, slapped the handwritten pages into a ring binder, and moved on to the next book. No planning, no plotting, and no editing. Pure entertainment. (Yes, I’m wild and crazy like that. Who needs a night out on the town? Give me a pen and paper, and I’ll make my own fun.) Well, things are different now. Readers expect me to turn new books out in a timely fashion. Not only new books, but books that make sense. (Readers are so demanding!) So, when I started The Alchemist’s Flame, I decided to give outlining a try. I spent a couple of weeks filling out index cards and mapping the book scene by scene. I managed to get eighteen of my anticipated twenty-four chapters down. Good enough. I grabbed my keyboard and started in. By chapter two, it was clear I would need to tweak my outline. By chapter six, I’d blown it away. I went back and redid the outline—more than once—but I gradually came to realize that the story didn’t open up for me until I started to write the actual scenes. The characters had to talk to one another, and react to things before I could see where the story was truly going. Several of the key scenes in the finished book didn’t even exist in the outline. My conclusion: perhaps I’m not the kind of writer who can map out every scene before typing the first word. Bummer. It sounded so cool to work out all the kinks before I started the actual...

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Reader Appreciation

First, let me say… The Alchemist’s Flame has had a great release week! It jumped up as high as #5 on Amazon’s dark fantasy list, and into the 40s on the much more competitive paranormal & urban list. And this is all because of my awesome fans! I haven’t done any advertising, yet. (I’m adding excerpts to the other books and wanted to wait until that was done.) To further illustrate the awesomeness of my fans, I even had a couple of folks tell me that they would wait until the book went off sale to buy it. What a sweet thought, but as I told them, I’m doing this for you. However, this did get me thinking about ways a person could help their favorite authors—if they’re so inclined. As an independent author, one of the biggest obstacles I face is visibility. I don’t have a big publishing house backing me. I’m on my own—which for the most part is pretty darn cool, but I could use some help getting the word out. Here are a few ideas… Tell a friend. Word of mouth is huge. Which has more credibility: a random email from a retailer or a friend’s praise of a new book she just read? Yeah, I thought so. And in today’s world of social media, we’re not limited to face-to-face conversations. Leave a review. Social proof is a big deal. Think about the way people shop online. I always scope out the reviews when I’m thinking about purchasing an item I haven’t bought before. That’s especially true for a new author. An intriguing blurb and a good overall rating go a long way in reassuring me that I’m not about to waste my time or money. And a review doesn’t have to include plot summaries and in-depth analysis, a couple sentences about why the reader enjoyed the book is what interests me when reading reviews about new books. Actually, I prefer not to have the plot spoiled. Interact. I’m back to social media on this one. By interact, I mean like or follow your favorite authors’ pages and/or profiles. Share, comment on, or just like relevant posts. An example of...

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