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The latest issue of Fiction River came out on Tuesday, August 19th. Fiction River: Universe Between includes a whole plethora of stories about the time and space and emotions ‘between’, including my story, Between the Lines. It’s my first Landon Snow story, so of course he’s the hero!
You can find Universe Between at your favorite bookstore or here.
Writer Marcelle Dube invited me to participate in the writing process blog tour in which all kinds of writers around the world are answering the same four questions. I think of it as a chain letter without the attendant mystical belief that it will bring good luck. But then maybe it will, too, and what an interesting idea it would be to trace the idea for this blog back to the inspired writer who initiated the questions. Anyway, I’ll be inviting a couple of writers to take part, too, and I’ll post their links once their blogs are up. So I’ll add my fifty cents worth of thought to the work of the poets, playwrights, short story writers, journalists and novelists out there in the world. Happy reading.
1. What am I working on?
I’m working on a romantic fantasy novel about the last member of a race of people who can draw out the evil humors from the hearts of others. This is done through touch, and when the dark humors are drawn into her body, they are transformed to crystals that form over her body. I call it the Crystal Courtesan. After the genocide that killed her race, she’s found by the one person who knows who and what she is and who she once loved. The trouble is, to save his kingdom, he wants her to return to the place that will mean certain death if she is discovered.
So, yeah, it’s a romance, but at its heart it draws on a theme I seem to write about a lot, namely how one person can transform or heal another and the consequences of exactly that. It’s not War and Peace, but it’s fun to write and hopefully to read.
2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Well, I’m not sure this piece does differ a great deal, except in the way that author voice and attitudes come through differently for each writer. Let’s face it, we each have different values and cultural worldview and this means that each one of us can take the same concept and when the stories are done, none of them will be the same. Look at any anthology of short stories. Most of the time a group of authors will have been asked to write to the same theme and look at the diversity that results.
On the other hand, areas that I seem to explore again and again are the idea of culture and the impact of cultural collisions, and the idea of other—in other words, the person who is the outsider and must find a way to belong—or not. I think this is why some of my favorite movies are ones like Lawrence of Arabia, and The Mission. Okay, maybe I liked doomed heroes, too. Sheesh.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I find I’m fascinated by the other cultures I meet in the world and how they look at, and interact with, the world differently than I do. I like to look at the impact of those cultures when they come in contact and the misunderstandings that can arise. Why I’m so fascinated with this is likely because I grew up always feeling like the other. My family never lived anywhere longer about three years. This means that even within the larger North American culture, you are always being confronted with your difference and every time you begin to immerse yourself in the local ‘culture’, you are ripped away again. My way of dealing with it, was to step back and away and become the observer, but all my writing seems to be about how to eventually belong. So I guess writing is my therapy.
4. How does my writing process work?
Over time my writing process has changed, except for finding inspiration. I still find inspiration comes from all around me: things that make me angry. A line in a song. Travelling upriver to places I’ve never been before. Whatever. The idea niggles around inside my brain until it comes to the forefront and becomes insistent that it needs to be written.
For the actual writing, I’ve had a couple of processes. Early on I spent a lot of time noodling about who and what my character was before starting the story. I also used to spend a great deal of time plotting out the entire manuscript scene by scene. Then I’d write following the scene outline, but about the middle of the book, the story always took over and I rarely looked at the outline again because the story took me where it needed to go—not necessarily where I’d intended. I think each of these earlier manuscripts was always stronger because I left the outline behind.
That was then. Now, although I still write in the chronological order of the book, I find that I’m what the romance writing world calls a pantster—someone who writes by the seat of their pants. I have the novel’s concept, I have an idea of the character and so I start to write. I have faith that my idea of story will guide me through the novel or short story. Of course, writing this way sometimes means that I often have to do a second draft because the first draft is more exploratory, but I write fairly fast, so this isn’t usually onerous. The second draft smoothes out things like character motivation, weak scenes and this sort of thing, as well as adding in more description.
With both methods of writing, I find creation is like having a spirit sitting on my shoulder while the novel is being written. Whether driving to an appointment, going for a walk, or sitting in a meeting, suddenly the story spirit whispers in my ear about the next scene to write, or something I neglected. So next time I sit down at the computer, those are the first things I write before moving on to the next scene.
Thanks for reading!
Only three days left to get your copy of the Romance StoryBundle Past, Present and Paranormal, curated by the wonderful Romance writer M.L.Buchman and including others such as Terry Spear, Kristine Grayson/Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Anthea Lawson, Kay Stockham, Dean Wesley Smith and myself. As with all StoryBundles, you pay what you want. You can also make a donation to charity.
I’ve been enjoying the terrific novels included in this bundle and I’m sure you will, too. Take advantage of this opportunity!
Today is the big day for the release of the new StoryBundle Past, Present and Paranormal, curated by the wonderful Romance writer M.L.Buchman. I’m mega excited to be included with such illustrious writers as M.L. Buchman, Terry Spear, Kristine Grayson/Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Anthea Lawson, Dean Wesley Smith and Kay Stockham. As with all StoryBundles, you pay what you want. You can also make a donation to charity.
And for the first five people who leave comments on this post telling me about your favorite past, present and paranormal book, I have a gift certificate to StoryBundle that you can use for this bundle or something else.
I look forward to reading about your favorite books!
I’m thrilled to announce that Shades of Moonlight, my paranormal romance set in Burma, will be part of a story bundle scheduled to come out on April 30th. If you love Romance in all its past, present and paranormal glory, you are going to love this bundle by an astounding group of best-selling authors. Click HERE to visit the site.
WMG Publishing has just released a terrific audio version of Neutrality featuring the wonderful voice of Jane Kennedy.
Listen to it Here
Good news! My short story, Neutrality, will be coming out on March 18th in the special edition anthology Fiction River: Crime. Watch for it in stores or purchase it Here. In addition, on February 27th (at 9 am Pacific Time), Neutrality will be available as a free podcast at WMG Publishing, Here.
Well, it’s finally here and I’m thrilled about it. Now available in e-book form and they tell me print publication will be available early in March. I think this is the best one yet!
After surviving the attempted destruction of the American Midwest, Vallon and her allies face an even greater danger: Homeland Security’s decision to destroy all Gifted – those people who can rewrite the landscape using only their minds. In a breakneck race to save her kind, Vallon rushes back to Seattle, only to find that friends are not really friends and nothing is what it seems. Will circumstances force her to break every moral code to stop an imminent war between Gifted and unGifted?
Karen L. Abrahamson establishes the American Geological Survey series as a thriller roller coaster of a ride within the urban fantasy genre. A fantastic story of cartographic magic, danger and betrayal, Aftermath will grab readers by the throat and drag them through to the end. Unputdownable.
Available as an e-book at:
Karen L. McKee
When star investigative reporter Kaitlin ‘Seattle’ Blackwood arrives in Cambodia to look for her missing father, she drops right into the middle of the mystery her father left behind. To make matters worse, two strangers try to abduct her and the one man she had hoped never to see again rescues her. B.J. McCallum¾ ex-lover, ex-man of her dreams, ex-photojournalist¾ almost ruined her career when his exploded. He comes complete with his own heap of troubles: a murdered monk, stolen rubies and missing orphans, all might be linked to her father’s disappearance. Can Kaitlin and B.J. quit fighting long enough to solve the case and survive in a country where people have a habit of disappearing?
Once again, Karen L. McKee hits just the right note of humor as she leads readers on a romantic adventure, this time through the exotic, flooded landscapes of Cambodia during monsoon season. Shadow Play is a cross between Romancing the Stone and Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fantastic romp with wonderful characters and an authentic setting.
And coming February 2014 in print.