Change of Direction

When I finished writing Heart Search, I had an idea in my head for a fantasy novel. I knew it was going to be different from writing Paranormal Romance, but I’m not sure I was prepared for how different it was.

First I had to start with world building and this is far from simple. As well as deciding what type of structures people inhabit, you’ve also got to take into account the laws of the land, money, terrain, how people make a living, how their food is grown, if there are various social classes and how each related to the other. You have to decide what type of era to set it in, for example, do the people live in mud huts or buildings made from wood, stone, bricks etc. This will also help determine what clothing is worn and how people speak. In short, you need to know almost as much about your new world as you do your current one.

The next important step was the magic system people would be using and who would have access to magic. I wanted to try and come up with something unique, something no one else had used before. This was pretty hard considering how many fantasy books are out there and eventually I came up with an idea I thought might be unique.

I also decided to create creatures which were different to the normal ones seen in fantasy. This part was quite fun and I enjoyed it immensely.

Once all this preparation had been carried out and carefully documented, I was then able to begin writing. There were many times I had to refer back to my notes so I was glad I’d got them available.

As much as I enjoyed writing it, I must admit to being a tad nervous as to whether the novel came across as believable and sent it off to my editor, Connie J Jasperson, who also writes fantasy (check out Tower of Bones, Forbidden Road, and Huw the Bard). She loved the story and the main criticism was that I’d invented my own system for time and measurement which she felt the readers would get frustrated with, so I had to abandon it. However, the fact she liked the story made me feel really good about it and it’s given me the confidence to attempt another fantasy novel, which I’ve already started the background work on, like the world building.

So what’s this new novel? It’s called Of Ice & Air and here’s the blurb:

On her 21st birthday, Princess Kailani’s father tells her that when she was a baby, her mother was abducted. She also learns she has family in another world.

Defying her father, she travels from her Cloud Castle home to the ice kingdom of Idenvarlis where Kailani’s instincts drive her to find the mother she doesn’t remember.

Gifted with the magic of two worlds, and skilled in the use of weapons, she journeys into unknown and dangerous territory. Despite her determination to rescue her mother, she’s forced to overcome new fears and find a way to cope with all she encounters.

However, a person of authority will stop at nothing to prevent either of them returning.

Kailani faces isolation, wild beasts, rogue soldiers, and more as she battles to return to the Ice Palace. With the stakes so high, can she make it back alive?

And here is the cover:

OIAA cover

So, what do you think of it?

I’m hoping to release the book before the end of this month so keep your eyes peeled on here for the details and an exclusive excerpt.

Guest Post: Inspirational Characters by K J Waters

Inspiration is something that fascinates me. I love how my mind can imagine different places, characters, and creatures totally unbidden and then give me the words to create stories. I often wonder where other authors get their inspiration from and how they craft their characters.

I asked K J Waters, author of the debut novel, Stealing Time, and who I’ve been featuring on here over the last week, what her inspiration is and whether she’d be interested in writing a post on it for me. I won’t say she ripped my arm off, but she was very excited about it. So without further rambling from me, here’s K J’s post on inspiration:

Inspirational Characters

Thank you so much Carlie for letting me pen a guest post for your blog. Carlie asked me to talk about what inspires me to write and how I develop my characters. It’s funny because when I think of my characters I get all warm and fuzzy. They are part of me of course, but so much more than that, they’ve become my dear friends as well.

Let me start with what inspires me to write. I was born with a very creative brain and have used those skills in various ways to bring me joy. As a kid I’d play for hours with my brother and our stuffed animals. He is my Irish twin, only 11 months older than me (well yes, I was a mistake). In high school and college I set aside my animals to pursue art classes and filled my creative brain with water colors, pen and ink, and acrylics. I didn’t ever consider being an author until I decided to quit my job to stay home with my children well after college.

Without the constant demands of my job, I had time to be very creative with the kids, with constant art projects, day trips to fun museums and loads of imaginary play. But at a certain point, my mind started craving more creativity, more of a challenge than finger paints and zoos. The idea for a novel began brewing after the hurricanes hit Florida in August of 2004 and the following summer we were on a road trip driving up the coast from Florida to Maine.

The idea sparked a wild adventure that has come to fruition with my first novel, just released this past December, called Stealing Time. I’m so thrilled to be back writing again after the months of editing and promoting, and I’m working on book two in the Stealing Time trilogy. My inspiration now comes from wanting to spend time with my beloved characters. I’m falling in love with Mike Walsh, and can’t wait to get back to some of the interesting characters that are in this second book. The time travel elements are so much fun to explore and I’ve delved into it a lot more than I had time for in the first book.

Characters

Carlie asked me how I develop my characters. Ronnie is the main character in Stealing Time and I’d have to say she is about 80% me, with a dash of … hmmmm, not really sure, but there has to be someone else in there. It was easy to make her love the water, because it is something I’m passionate about, and I can say she reacts the way I would in many of her situations, at least as far as I can imagine being back in time and in trouble.

Steph, the second main character in my trilogy, is another story. She is based on one of my best friends who moved away from me years ago. It is my way of spending time with her now that she is gone. I don’t think she is exactly like my friend, because we’ve grown apart somewhat, but it is how I think of her and how she would act in similar situations.

When I developed Jeffrey, Ronnie’s boyfriend, I had to go with what I knew about men. He is a mixture of the good and bad of a few people in my life. It really surprised me that I would enjoy writing from the male perspective so much. Some of my best friends are men, and I love seeing the world through their eyes. Writing from Jeffrey’s perspective has given me a new window into their minds, and from what male readers have told me they really identify with how I’ve written them. Which is a huge relief!

In book two I began writing Mike Walsh, Ronnie’s boss, as the good parts of the same person that Jeffrey is based on but had to diverge enough to make the two characters very different. They have completely different motivations and views in their roles in my book. The other way are very different is that Jeffrey pretty much listens to me and does as he’s told. Mike has his own ideas. He’s hijacked my story on numerous occasions and it has shocked me as some of the twists and turns that have spiced up the story. I gotta say, he’s really grown on me and if I could make him into a real person my husband would be in big trouble. I guess that’s a writer for you, always making up stuff and often glad it’s not real.

As for Mathias in the first book, an Austrian man from the 18 century, I pretty much had to go on a big fat guess on how he would act. You don’t really run into many men from that time period these days. I have a friend who read the book and reported, much to my surprise, that he had a really good friend from Germany who was so much like Mathias in how he acted and thought. Maybe, just maybe, I tapped into some special time travel skill to mind meld with these characters in a different realm. Hey, I’m a writer I can think outside of the box on anything if I want.

The side characters are a mish mash of people I run into in my real life – a waitress, a PTA mom, an old boss. On several occasions I’ve created a character not really knowing him well, but as he develops into a full blown personality I meet someone who is ridiculously like that person I crafted. It has definitely freaked me out. This happened with Nick in the first book.  

I’m really curious to learn how other authors create their characters and see if my approach is standard operating procedure, or if, as I often do, I’ve created something completely different.

Thank you again Carlie for allowing me to spew on and on about my inspirations and character development. I’d love to talk to you about how you created your well-loved characters in the Heart Search series.

I’d be only too happy to talk about my characters with you, K J!.

It was a real pleasure for me to feature K J on my blog during this last week and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Don’t forget, if you’d like a copy of Stealing Time, click here for all the buy links from the Book Launch post!

KJWaters-Front Cover for blogkj pic

“Dramatic and Intriguing”

I never get tired of reading reviews for my books. Whether they are good or bad (and luckily mine have been mostly good), the opinions of the reviewers can always teach you something. Their insights into my work have helped me to hone my writing and make my books better.

Today, the wonderful Emma Biddulph reviews Heart Search, book two: Found as part of the Heart Search: Betrayal blog tour. Last week she reviewed book one, Heart Search: Lost (here’s a link in case you missed it), and next week will bring her series of reviews to its climax as she tackles Betrayal. Click here to see what she thinks of it.

I thought it would also be good to remind you a little about the story so here is the book trailer for Heart Search: Found.

 

In addition, the lovely Sonya Alford features a blinding excerpt on her blog from Heart Search: Betrayal. Click here to see what’s occurring.

Don’t forget, you only have one day left to enter the competition to win a FREE eBook of Betrayal. Check out this post for details http://wp.me/p1UhOl-1Q0

I’m back!!

Hi Everyone!

It was a crazy 2014 for me and I got so caught up in my work, I just couldn’t find the time to write regularly on my blog as well – I’m really sorry for deserting you. I’m planning on changing that for 2015.

Last year, I became a principal editor with Eagle Eye Editors and the workload was heavy from day one. I also finished writing the final book in the Heart Search trilogy and I’m planning to launch it early this year. The book has been through a couple of rounds of editing and will shortly go to my beta reader for checking. Once that’s done, there will be one final edit and then the launch. A great deal of planning has already gone into the launch and there will be some spectacular giveaways. Keep checking in for details and if anyone is interested in hosting a spot on the blog tour, please let me know.

In January last year, I had this crazy idea for my writing group, Writebulb, to write and publish not one, but two anthologies. As I run the group and am one of only two professional editors in the group, it created even more work. However, we managed to do it. Magic, Mystery & Mayhem (for adults) was launched late summer and ‘Catching Santa and other festive tales’ (for children aged 7-11) came out in October. Both book signing events were a sell-out and we made quite a bit of money for our chosen charity – Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford.

Unfortunately, my health suffered a setback and I’m now officially disabled. Because of this and the fact I had a stalker, who amongst other things vandalised my car on at least two separate occasions, the second of which could have caused a serious accident, I had to move house. I’m now happily settled in my new home which is in the process of being adapted for some of my needs. I’m much more comfortable and at ease now. The good side to this is that I have even more time to write and edit, review books, and write blog posts.

I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo in November for the 4th year running, which is something I’m quite proud of. It really gave me a kick-start for my new novel, which is a standalone fantasy. I’ve written over 75,000 words on the first draft so I’m two-thirds of the way through. This is a really rough draft and I’ll have some serious work to do on it before it can go through editing, but as it’s so different from Heart Search, I’m quite excited about it. I’ll tell you more about it in the months that follow.

I guess that’s about it for now. It just leaves me to wish you all a happy, healthy, and successful 2015.

Yes, but how do you really feel?

This is a lady after my own heart. She believes, as I do, that showing emotion in writing engages the readers much more than just telling what the characters see and feel.
This is something I’m passionate about in my writing and have written articles on this very subject, but don’t just take my word for it, see what Connie J Jasperson has to say (oh, and by the way, I happen to get an honourable mention too!):

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

x - y chromosomesI love writing and I love my characters, but they are so stubborn about some things. Of course, many of them have ‘Y’ chromosomes, but still…. It’s frustrating because they don’t want to to talk about how they’re feeling.

Oh, for the love of Tolstoy–don’t they get it? I’m  a woman. I need you people to talk to me. Tell me what’s going on in your imaginary head.

It’s difficult to show the characters’ emotions and thought processes when it’s so much easier to just say he felt, or she was some emotion.  These thoughts and feelings are central to making our characters feel real. But describing them from a distance, as an author must do, may disconnect the reader from that character.

Sometimes, descriptions don’t allow the reader to experience the moment with the character. Instead, the author is telling them how the character feels.What we must ensure is that our…

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Book Launch – DESPRITE MEASURES by Deborah Jay

I know, I know! I promised you a series of reviews and nothing’s appeared. In my defence, I lost internet for two whole weeks (I was devastated!), went to World Fantasy Con 2013, came back and launched straight into NaNoWriMo (which I completed, thanks for asking)! I’m now trying to play catch up as well as continuing to write the final book in the Heart Search trilogy.

But now I want to tell you about a fabulous new book which is launching today – Desprite Measures by the lovely Deborah Jay. I was lucky enough to meet Deb at WFC in Brighton and she gave me an advance glimpse of the fantastic cover. Take a look at this beauty . . .

Desprite MeasuresEBOOK

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Here’s the blurb:

On the surface she’s a cute and feisty blonde, a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she’s really a force of nature – an elemental.

Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine – until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.

Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.

She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?

And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.

So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?

Sound intriguing? Well, let me whet your appetite a little more. Deborah has graciously allowed me to treat you all to a wee excerpt. Feast your eyes on this:

“Cassie, meet WynterRain,” said Gloria.

WynterRain. Yeah, right.

“Pleased to meet you, I’m sure,” said the witch. Despite its lyrical Irish lilt, her voice was as rough as the rest of her. “I believe we almost met earlier today.”

She’d noticed. I was under no illusion; she could see right through my human shape to the sprite beneath.

“Likewise.” I kept it short, not confirming her supposition. Gloria already looked too interested for my liking, and I had no intention of relating my earlier humiliation.

“Wynter is going to help us with our little problem,” said Gloria. “Aren’t you, Wynter?”

Wynter glanced nervously towards Alastair, and I wondered what hold the vamp had over her. 

Alastair maintained his silence. I stared at him in suspicion. He was quivering, the minute, rhythmic clenching of his fists visible in the firelight, and I wondered when he’d last fed.

Alarmed, I turned back to Wynter and found my answer. Even in the half light, the peculiar mixture of fear and desperate longing that twisted her face was unmistakeable.

Wynter was a vampire junkie.

“Oh, do get on with it,” snapped Gloria. “We’ll wait out here.”

Neither of them needed a second invitation. Wynter started to turn back into her van, but Alastair was on her before she completed the move. He buried one fist in her untidy thatch of hair and yanked her head back. She uttered a little scream as his fangs sank into her neck, but there was no real protest in the sound, or fear.

Wynter moaned and squirmed in Alastair’s arms. The vampire’s body jerked sporadically, and loud suckling noises interrupted the quiet of the forest. It felt obscenely like watching someone being raped, yet their enjoyment was all too apparent.

I wondered what it must be like, to be so desperate for something that you were willing to surrender your whole self, mind, body and purpose to another’s control. Was the pain worth the adrenalin rush and the aphrodisiac in the vamp saliva? Or was pain an integral part of the whole thing?

Wynter uttered a groan that rose to a shriek. Consumed by a bizarre envy for an experience I was never going to have, I averted my face.

To be stopped cold by the sight of Gloria, her eyes riveted to the unfolding performance. Flames reflected in glittering splendour across the surface of her eyes, and something even hotter writhed in their depths. Her perennial scorching scent over-rode even the smell of the burning logs.

It was my turn to gasp. This time in recognition of my utter blindness.

Alastair was Gloria’s lover. It was so plain I couldn’t believe I’d missed it before. Pain stabbed through me. It had never occurred to me that she might have a regular lover. How stupid was that?

Has this little taster piqued your curiosity? If so, click on one of the links below to pick up a copy:

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H6UKH5A

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desprite-Measures-Caledonian-Sprite-Series-ebook/dp/B00H6UKH5A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386609997&sr=1-1&keywords=Desprite+Measures+%28The+Caledonian+Sprite+Series%29#_

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/Search/Query?query=1230000201660&fcmedia=Book

If you love a series, keep your eyes peeled for the next book in the Caledonian Sprite adventures.

And now to introduce you to the lovely lady who’s written this amazing story. Drumroll please . . . here’s Deborah Jay!

Debby

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, was published in July 2013, with THE PRINCE’S SON due out summer 2014.

Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the opening novel of the projected five book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES.

She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published in her professional name of Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahjayauthor.com/ or follow Deborah on twitter https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2, facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay and Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

 

Trailer Reveal & Book Launch

Well, folks, the big day has arrived! The long-awaited second book in the Heart Search trilogy is officially launched today. [insert applause and cheering]

I’m also very proud to reveal the awesome book trailer Connie J Jasperson has worked her magic on. She, my editor (Maria V A Johnson) and I have worked hard to produce something unusual and unique, but without Connie’s technical expertise it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fantastic!

So, drumroll please . . .

Louder . . .

Here it is:

 

[insert standing ovation, cheering, banner waving]

I really hope you enjoyed it!

HEART SEARCH, book two: Found is now available on Amazon (and incredibly already has two 5-star reviews on the UK site). You’ve seen the cover, read the blurb and prologue, so if you’re now dying to get your mitts on a copy, here are the links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Heart Search: Found Blog Tour also begins today, so keep checking in for news of who is posting what and when!