Monday, August 18, 2014

Dangerous Calling is out!

It's release day for Dangerous Calling! I'm so thrilled that the next installment of Cass & Shane's story is out in the world, and I'm EXTRA thrilled to be celebrating my release day on Vampire Book Club! I'm there with a giveaway and an exclusive excerpt featuring Cass as she confronts the consequences of her powerful telekinetic gift. Stop by for a sneak peek at the book and a chance to win.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Creating Characters

The second book in my dark, sexy urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds, comes out one week from today. Dangerous Calling follows the adventures of Cass Weatherfield, the powerful telekinetic whose story began with Twisted Miracles. The talented Veronica Scott, who writes science fiction romance, invited me to participate in a meet-your-character blog hop, and I thought this would be a good way to introduce new readers to Cass. The blog hop includes a set of questions about your main character’s identity (see Veronica’s post about her fascinating heroine--a blind princess!), but I went off the rails and wrote a blog post  instead. Sorry.

For the past week, I’ve been at a family reunion for my husband’s side. Some of them knew about my “night job,” and some of them didn’t, but since I was on deadline, by the end of it, everyone knew why I was glued to my computer every spare minute. When I tell people that I write novels—and more importantly, that I write sexy dark modern fantasy romances—they usually fall into one of two groups. The wow-that’s-fascinating-tell-me-all-about-your-process group, or the ha-ha-you-write-sexy-books-how-cute-I’m-actually-really-uncomfortable group. On this trip, I found myself answering a lot of questions for the Fascinated Group. (I had some interesting conversations with the Uncomfortable Group as well, but that’s a topic for another post.)

A lot of these conversations forced me to think hard about how I create characters, because non-writers tend to ask some pretty probing questions. What if your character has a profession you know nothing about? How can you tell how she’ll react to situations you’ve never been in yourself? How do you make a character feel real? How do you even start? As I struggled to answer these questions, it occurred to me that my attempts might make a good response to this whole meet-my-character thing.

I’m not much of a plotter. My story seeds are always characters, and I typically spend ten thousand words or so getting to know them before I even think about a plot. Those ten thousand words are a chance for me to explore my main character’s past, to imagine what her best future might be, and to identify the ways her world, and she herself, will get in her way as she tries to get there.

It’s the ways she’ll get in her own way that fascinate me the most. Not that I don’t love some murderous external conflict, but to me, the most compelling stories follow an arc of transformative personal change.

Cass Weatherfield’s basic stats are this: She’s a powerful telepath and telekinetic who, when she was still learning to control her powers, caused a fatal accident. It’s haunted her for years, and she’s done her best to completely suppress her powers. The first book, Twisted Miracles, follows her sometimes painful but ultimately redemptive journey to accepting her own powers—and the love she left behind when she rejected them. In Dangerous Calling, now that she’s come to terms with her abilities, she has to figure out how to use them. And to do that, she has to encounter the deeper demons of her personality— her tendency to turn inward to solve her problems, her susceptibility to addiction.

Of course, she won’t be alone. She’ll have a band of friends to help her, all with their own flaws and strengths. All have their own complicated pasts--and some have stories of their own to come.

Monday, June 30, 2014

An ultra-nerdy paranormal genre map: Where do your favorite books fall on the axes of sex & death?

Today, I'm over at Paranormal Unbound sharing my ultra-nerdy genre map for paranormal fiction. How much sex and death do you like in your paranormal romance and urban fantasy? (Not-so-spoilery-spoiler alert: I often find myself in the upper right hand corner.) Stop by and tell me where your favorite books live!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Meet Me at the RT Booklovers Convention!

As I write this, I'm sitting in the San Francisco airport with a large coffee and way too much luggage. I'm on my way to my very first Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, and I'd love to see you there.

RT is being held in New Orleans this year, and it just so happens that my first novel, which is set in New Orleans, came out a month ago. How could I resist going? I'm heading down early to spend a few days with my family and some close friends who still live in the area, and I'll head to the Marriott on Canal Street on Wednesday.

If you're in the New Orleans area, I'd love to see you! Here's where you can find me (besides at the bar) if you're going to the convention:

Tuesday (5/13), 8:30am: Radio Interview on Tangi 96.5
(This is my first radio interview! I'm super nervous.)
Thursday (5/15), 4-5pm: Panel on Southern Urban Fantasy
Friday (5/16), 1:30-2pm: Club RT
(A casual place to chat and pick up free stuff)
Saturday (5/17), 11am-2pm: Giant Book Fair

The Giant Book Fair is open to the public, and tickets are $5 at the door. There will be over 700 authors there signing books and giving away boatloads of free swag, so if you like romance and urban fantasy, it's well worth a trip. (Did I mention I'll be giving away my own boatload of swag?)

I'm also very excited to be participating in a pilot program through Harlequin and Autography that allows me to digitally sign ebooks. I just participated in the training for this technology, and it's a lot of fun. I can snap a picture and electronically sign an ebook right there at the event, and send the book to the reader right away. The picture and signature stay with the book in whatever e-reading device you have. It's a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to testing it out.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

On Here be Magic: Writing, Biology and the Value of Failure

I'm on Here Be Magic today, talking about how a career in biology helped prepare me for publishing by teaching me the value of failure. Lots and lots of failure. Stop by and tell me what you think the value of failure is.