Friday, November 28, 2014

Very Inspiring

Originally written as guest post for Hopelessly Devoted 2 books

One of the questions I'm asked most frequently as an author is where do my ideas come from. This is both the easiest and hardest question to answer. The reality is they come from everywhere and anywhere. Anything can be that perfect, elusive spark that ties everything together. A conversation, a song, a discussion about whether or not racecar drivers are athletes.

For some of my stories, I can pinpoint the exact moment(s) that the idea struck and stuck. Through the Fire is one of those. I already had the idea of a couple who were sworn enemies coming together against the odds after listening to The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus song "Cat and Mouse." The plot and characters then solidified when I was hours deep into a Supernatural marathon. I started to consider what might happen if one of the brother's fell deeply in love with one of the creatures that he'd sworn to hunt. What happens when the dogma he's believed all of his life is challenged? The world of Through the Fire is vastly different to the world of Supernatural, but that little question of "What if" that ran through my head was the cornerstone that locked together all the random bits of the series that were already floating through my mind.

Other times the exact source of inspiration is a little fuzzier. I've had stories where the characters spoke to me so loudly that I couldn't ignore them so I just started to tap away at the keyboard and let them take me where they wanted to. I've also had some where the title struck me first and the rest developed from there.

Even within the greater context of a story, one little picture, or song, or word can spark whole new plot lines and ideas. For those who've read the book, they'll know the character Aiden. In the very early drafts of the novel, Aiden wasn't Aiden at all. He was just a one-line entry in a throw-away comment. Then I saw a picture of Nicholas Hoult and the blue eyes piercing out of the computer screen just screamed at me. I started to tap at the keyboard and before I knew it Aiden had launched himself onto my screen. It was as if he'd always been there, just waiting to fill the Aiden-shaped hole that I hadn't even known existed. Of course his part was bigger than it had been in the first draft, he always was a huge part of the world—I just didn’t know it yet. Of course he had to be what he is and play the part that he does. Nothing else made sense.

Of course there are those less fun times, when nothing provides that inspiration. Where it's just a matter of being in front of the keyboard trying to coax the characters to life. They're nowhere near as fun, but are still vital in the formation of a novel. Those words become the nuts and bolts that hold the various threads of inspiration together.


Knowing a few other authors, I know that these random sources of information is true for more than just myself. Be warned, when you're having a conversation with an author, anything you say or do, can, and probably will, be used against you . . . at least in a fictional sense.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Perceptions

I'll try to navigate this post without spoilers, but for those who've read Through the Fire you'll probably know exactly what I'm talking about. It will be interesting to get your opinions on it ;)

Let's get started:

One thing that I have learned on my journey so far is not to make assumptions or worry too much. You need to let the characters make the mistakes they're going to make and be who they are going to be without getting in their way.

The thing that got me thinking this more than anything else is that in Through the Fire there is a certain fae character who does something which could be construed as bad (although in context it's not really). In the initial drafts when it happened, I gasped and held my breath, and then said, "You can't do that, people will hate you!" but he insisted. And I'm glad he did. Looking back in hindsight everything that happened happened because he was being true to himself. He is who he is and if I'd forced him to change, it would have impacted on him as a character.

The funny thing is, this character that I worried so much about, like a panicked mother watching over a toddler in a playground--just waiting for the fall and inevitable scraped knee--seems to be a bit of a fan favorite. A number of people have said they hope he returns, or that they really liked him, and that they'd like to see him have his own book even. There is nothing more that an author can ever ask for really.

And . . . potential spoiler below if you want to know whether or not we'll hear more from this particular character:


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Last warning for spoiler:

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Yes, he will definitely be back at some stage.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GIVEAWAYS!











Goodreads Book Giveaway


Happily Evan After by Michelle Irwin

Happily Evan After

by Michelle Irwin


Giveaway ends November 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win




Saturday, November 15, 2014

NaNo and the art of being unorganized

Hi Everyone!

Long time followers of this little blog would remember that last November I did NaNoWriMo. From the 1st of the month I panicked, pleaded with the muses, tapped my little heart out, and managed to walk away as a winner.

I decided to sign up for NaNo again this year. When I did, it seemed like a great idea. Awesome! A month to put aside editing and excuses, and just write. Yeah. That was before the release date for Through the Fire was set for 31st October, and before I set the release date for Happily Evan After for 13th December. So instead of getting straight into NaNo on the first, I actually started on the 12th. Actually, scratch that, technically I really started yesterday because I've been getting through end of month at work. So instead of 50,000 words in 30 days, I'm going to attempt it in 16 days. Yep, you heard that right. I'm still doing it. I'm way more disorganized than I was for last years, but I think I have a decent excuse for that. Truthfully, win or not, I'm actually looking forward to the challenge.

The last two months have been a roundabout of edits, revisions, proof reads, formatting, and ramping up promotions, so it's actually been refreshing to be getting back to basics. It was almost cathartic when I hit 1,500 words last night.

Going to head back into the writing cave now. Wish me luck!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pre-release Blitz Winter Wolf

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Add To Goodreads: http://goo.gl/ETVmz4

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Katalina Winter has been living for eighteen years, with a secret hidden inside of her, a secret not even she knew.
With this secret comes consequences, expectations, one's she's not willing
to fulfill; she'll give her heart to whom she wishes, even if he is, a Dark Shadow wolf...
Join Katalina as she navigates her way through this world at war, where the
alpha is law, and only the strong survive. You will see the power of
true love, and the length's people will go to destroy it.
**Please note this is a YA Stand alone novel, no cliffhangers**
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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

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Follow the link to the Chapters here

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I've being reading books for as long as I can remember but I never thought
about writing until I read Nalini Singh - Slave to sensation which is the first book in her psy-changling series.
At first I just wrote fan fiction until one morning I woke up with a story of my own. Lincoln and Lexia were born!  I spent 6 solid months writing and re-writing and now their story is out in the world and I am currently working on the final book Holocaust due 2015.

After the birth of my 3rd child I wrote Winter Wolf a YA Paranormal Novel which is due for Release in November.
I have lived in England, New Zealand and currently live in QLD Australia but to me England will always be home.
I've been a dish washer, Admin assistant, horse groom and now spend my days
looking after my 3 children and writing as often as I can.
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Goodreads Author Page: http://goo.gl/csLV9s
Amazon Author Page:    http://goo.gl/C36Xl6

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Little Bit Green

I'm going to let you in on a deep dark secret of mine. Sometimes, I get really jealous of what other people--authors in particular--seem to achieve with relative ease. Now wait, hold up, please don't let that statement turn you off until you've read the whole post.

I am a bit proponent of the thought that authors are not in competition with one another. And we're really not. For those who disagree with this statement consider this: yes there are so many millions of books out in the world, but unless you are a flagrant plagiarist, there is not one other single book out there that is exactly like yours. There are books with similar characters, similar settings, similar situations, similar quotes, similar names, similar appearances, similar tone, but none which mash all of those together with your particular style, with your unique voice.

And of those millions of books out there, there aren't many readers who want to read ALL of them--readers are humans (at least I assume, I apologize if I have any non-human readers out there reading this, no offence intended) and like all humans, they have personal tastes, cultures, and preference that will immediately wipe out a stack of the available reading material. For example, I don't particularly enjoy historical bodice rippers, so that's a huge chunk of available reading material instantly wiped from the realm of books I can enjoy. I don't generally read overtly and obviously religious texts . . . another chunk gone. You can keep cutting huge segments out of the available reading material through personal taste. Even within the narrow context of genre personal taste will parse down what's available.

So what does this have to do with not being in competition? Well, if you keep cutting that pile down eventually you get to the point where any one person doesn't really have enough reading material available to satisfy all of their cravings for a good book. Okay, so maybe they do, but that doesn't mean that they aren't constantly searching for their next read. One author cannot, I repeat CANNOT, fill the reading requirements of a reader. The most prolific authors I know rarely gets more than a novella out a month. Maybe a novel at an absolute stretch (but I would wonder about the level of editing in it personally). For most of us authors, it's maybe three longer works or a half dozen shorter ones at the most each year.

If we're not in competition, why do I get jealous? Well, it's human nature isn't it? My very first reaction when I see another new author get a dozen good reviews before their release or that their latest book shot straight up the charts is joy that they got a dozen good reviews before their release or that their latest book shot straight up the charts. But then that simmers and festers until it turns to jealousy and doubt. Will my book ever do that? Why can't I get those reviews? For that one blinding moment jealousy rears it's ugly head. It's human nature and even if I don't want to feel that way, I will.

What do I do with that jealousy? Do I take it and let it fester until I can't even look at the book any longer? No. I stow it away, allow it to turn back into pure joy for them (which it always does) and then celebrate their wins with them while getting back to the job of writing and editing. I use the greater understanding I have from the experience to breath more life and realism into my characters.

I guess the point of this post is that we're all human (and again, no offence intended if you're a wandering alien or super intelligent animal that has stumbled onto this blog post). We're all subjected to the whims of our make-up which includes the good and the bad. It's just a matter of looking past the bad to find the good. And of using the jealousy, the anger, the doubt, and all the negative things to find a positive place.

How about you? Have you ever had a bad case of green eyes? What was it over?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

In love with love

My newly released book (wow it feel good to say that) Though the Fire is categorized as a New Adult Paranormal Romance book. New Adult just because it's covering the period of adjustment between being a teenager and being an adult. This category usually covers college stories and the like. For reasons that should be obvious to anyone who reads Through the Fire, the story doesn't include college but it does cover that same period of adjustment. 

This post is about the other part of the categorization--Paranormal Romance. I was talking to my mother who had recently read the book. She argued that she thinks it's not an accurate category because Through the Fire is "more than just romance." This got me thinking about Romance as a category. I think on the whole a genre romance suffers from negative stereotypes far more than any other. 

I've heard a number of people say that they don't read romance because it's all "Mills and Boon" type stuff, which I don't necessarily think is fair to the category, and even to the Mills and Boon itself. There's an image of the old typical bodice-ripper where the entire plot is about the couple getting together with plenty of unnecessary melodrama along the way. And while this still holds true for some romance novels, I think this mindset is a hang-over from the '80s and '90s. The genre has grown and matured since then, and now there is a whole variety of sub-genres. There are so many great authors who've written fantastic romance novels that are extremely popular. 

What are your thoughts? Do you love romance novels or do you avoid them like the plague? Obviously, I'm in love with love and happy to admit it.