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Archive for July, 2014

I love finding a new author, which is why I love hosting other authors on my site. It gives me a chance to find out about other writers and their work, but also allows me to share them with other keen readers as well. I haven’t always read them yet when they guest here, but for most of them, I know I will. I hope you feel the same.

Today, I have Dani Kristoff talking about her new paranormal romance, The Sorcerer’s Spell, out soon with Harper Impulse. Dani hasn’t always written parnormal romance – but I’ll let her tell you more about that. Take it away Dani:

MAKING THE SWITCH

ThesorcerersspellcoverI’ve been writing science fiction, fantasy and horror for quite a while. I was mostly published in shorter fiction but my longer works were straight genre too. Switching to romance, albeit paranormal romance, does have its share of challenges from my point of view.

I had always thought that my straight speculative fiction stories had good character development. I really did. That was until I tried writing romance and it’s different. There’s a depth there, a homage to the character’s thoughts and feelings, that I never felt that inclined to include in my straight genre. It would get in the way of the plot, wouldn’t it?

Now this might be just me, my own silly thoughts. Maybe I was slack in those days and didn’t know good character development from bad. But then again, maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s the demand of the genre. For example, maybe what the character goes through, what they think, feel and how they change in the course of the story is the important bit and the rest is window dressing.

Or maybe if I think another way, the course of the emotional transitions in romance are more important or at least equal to the plot. Oh dear, I make it sound so mathematical and I don’t mean to be.

Another way of thinking about it is thinking about audience. What does an audience expect from a paranormal romance? They want the character to be real, or as real as a character can be on the page. A real person then, would struggle with their conscience, their doubts, their beliefs, their leaps of logic. So for me, making the character real for the audience means I have to work a lot harder at this angle. I have to immerse myself until I see the key characters as real people, as real as my head allows.

I really don’t have too much problem with plot. I jam at lot into my paranormal romance, even though I include much more character than I’m used to. I work hard to work out what the character is thinking and feeling. It’s not always easy for me but I try and that for me is the hard part about making the switch. I’m lucky that I read in the genre and love it and that certainly helps.

My latest story is The Sorcerer’s Spell, out with HarperCollins Australia Impulse line. It’s about an average woman, a widower, who works in a child care centre and lives a lonely kind of existence because she still mourns for her husband and then one night she goes to bed dreaming of making love with her husband and is transferred into another woman’s body. One that is actively engaged in sexual activity. That’s when the fun begins.

The Sorcerer’s Spell Blurb

A sexy, body-switching urban fantasy. Annwyn goes to bed dreaming of making love with her dead husband and wakes up in the body of another woman, a woman who is having hot sex with Dane, a powerful sorcerer. Her body has been stolen by Nira, a sorceress, who feeds her magical power through sex, the kinkier the better. The curse she laid on Dane turns him into a werewolf every full moon. To complicate matters Dane’s werewolf friend Rolf, succumbs to Nira when she temporarily repossess her body, causing jealously and confusion. Time is running out, as soon Dane will be a werewolf forever unless he can break the curse. Rafael from the Collegium of Sorcerers is the only one Dane trusts to help them, but when a wider conspiracy is revealed, it’s up to Annwyn and her developing magical powers to save Dane before it’s too late. But can she seduce an unwilling werewolf to lure the sorceress into a final confrontation?

Author shot Dani KristoffAuthor Bio

Dani Kristoff is a Canberra-based author, who delights in reading and writing paranormal romance. She’s been writing since late 2000, which means 13 years, although she’s been concentrating her efforts on science fiction, fantasy and horror. She’s currently finishing up a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. Her day job is in the public service. Her partner is also a writer and they get up to geekery where possible

http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/Sorcerers-Spell-Dani-Kristoff/?isbn=9781460703199

@dani_kristoff

http://danikristoff.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/danikristoff

As a writer, I am often mystified and horrified by the way people mangle language. I receive emails from work and other places of business that are purporting to be professional and ask me to trust that they know what they are talking about, that are full of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, not to mention incorrect use of words (there instead of their or they’re as just one example).

I spend so much time trying to craft language into engaging sentences that people will want to read, so it can be galling to see just how little people seem to care about such things these days. Although, I have to say, I am not a grammar, punctuation or spelling expert, although, being well read and well educated (I have a BA in English literature and a DipEd (Secondary) for English), I am aware of the basics and endeavour at all times to do my best to be faithful to what I’ve learned.

I know ‘voice’ can often influence the correct usage of English, so what I write isn’t always going to follow every rule, but in the main, I think I do a pretty decent job.

I often hear other writers expressing the same dilemma over the dilution of the English language and what this will mean to the skills that go into writing it. English is an ever-evolving language (you can now find all sorts of things in the dictionary that weren’t there even 10 years ago – Bootylicious for one!) and so things will change and language must evolve. But all the same, there are some basics that should be observed and it irritates me, particularly when it’s coming in a professional medium (like from work, or in an article I’ve read, or a review etc). However, I’ve often wondered if other people feel the same way.

I just came across this Weird Al Yankovic clip which suggests that, yes, there are others who feel exactly the same way. I just showed it to my boys and they had a laugh (and hopefully, got the point, too). I hope you enjoy. 

Weird Al Yankovic – Word Crimes

 

It’s been a few weeks since I blogged – some things have happened that I won’t go into here that just didn’t make me feel very bloggy. I just didn’t feel like I had much in the way of interesting stuff to say, even though I’ve had a number of ideas for blog articles coagulating in my old noggin for a while now. I still want to write those articles, but those thoughts got a little too sticky and I couldn’t muddle out of the mess they were in. I wasn’t inspired. I think one of the main problems is I need a little break.

Years ago, I heard one of my favourite writers, Anne Gracie (if you haven’t read her, you must. Even my best friend who never reads historical romance got hooked after reading The Perfect Rake and other books in the Merriweather sister series) say something very important about muses and wells. The feeding of the muse, the filling of the well. Prior to that, I’d never really given any thought to creativity and how it happened. Creativity had always just been such a part of me – it was just something that happened because I wanted it to. When I was in a play, I would think about being the character I was playing, and I would sink into their thoughts and feelings and become them. Working in Cabaret and Theatre Restaurant, I even got really good at swapping between characters and skits without much more than a few seconds to change costume. Thinking wasn’t really part of the process. When I get up onstage to sing, I feel the music, find the story in the lyric line and let my voice be a reflection of how that makes me feel. It’s just something my muse always allowed me to do. Same with when I played piano and wrote music. Things just came out.

When I began to write, it was very much the same thing. Creative writing for me was always the best thing at school – no real thought. An idea would just pop into my head and spill out on the page, and quite frankly, things haven’t really changed for me there.I sit down without any real idea about what I am writing today, maybe a vague notion of the character needing to do or say this or that, and then I just write and words come out and then suddenly there’s a scene. This is all happening for me at the moment, the same as usual. I’ve never, not even in bad times, had what people call ‘writer’s block’. If I sit down to write, words do come out. Sometimes they’re shitful – but I can fix shitful. I can’t fix a whole lot of blank page though. Which is what this blog has been a bit like lately.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my process, even though I can’t really explain it, but a while ago I was quite enthusiastic to come up with new blog entries and write them and get my thoughts out there on writing and anything else that took my fancy. It was kind of unstructured, but that’s part of my process I think. So, that’s all good. But lately, there’s been a whole lot of avoidance. A whole lot of opening of documents and staring at the blank page and then thinking – ‘I’ll come back to that later’. A whole pile of not even visiting my site because the post that’s been up there for a while was like a great big pointy finger accusing me of being a slacker.

However, I’ve come to realise over the last week or so, that the real problem is that I’m just tired. There’s been some real highs and some terrible lows in teh last year, and some big lows in the last month or so, and while I’m fine and I’ve dealt with it, it’s all left me feeling a bit drained, emotionally and physically. I’ve also got some big things coming up soon – so there’s a bit of tension about that as well adding to the mix.

Which brings me to why I am writing this post. As Anne Gracie said, it’s important to fill the well and feed the Muse, and I think I haven’t been doing that at all lately. I’ve been head down bum up trying to get on top of everything and haven’t taken time for myself, or even a holiday, to help keep my creativity flowing in all ways.

Luckily for me, I am taking time off from work for almost 3 weeks to go to the RWA conference in Sydney for 6 days, then am home for a few days before flying off to NZ for the RWNZ conference as the representative for RWAustralia, which I’m really excited about. Then when I get back from that, I’ve taken the rest of the week off just to recoup, spend some time doing some things for me and just get my mojo back. Might even take the boys skiing for a day or two, if the snow is still good.

Being surrounded by authors always makes me feel creatively inspired, so I think it will be just the ticket. And I’m looking forward to it so much, I wish it was tomorrow. But it’s only 2 1/2 weeks away – so not long to wait. After that, I hope to be inspired to write about those ideas that have been in my mind for some time.

What about you? Do you feed your Muse? What do you do to fill the well?

 

 

 

Killing Me Softly Cover2I just received this lovely email from a reader and I felt the need to share.

Dear Leisl,

You have done an intricate job in composing Killing Me Softly. I love how you brought those who suffered tragedy together to grow from each other’s weaknesses and unite.  Your words kept me wanting more. Wondering if Cat would ever push through, if Lexi would drop her barriers to Dameon’s love. You have strong characters with good souls. I look forward to reading more of your work when they come out.  Thank you for a wonderful read.

Thank you so much to the reader, Stephanie – you have made my day. I’m so glad you enjoyed Killing Me Softly. I really enjoyed writing it. I love Daemon and Alexi and their plights and it makes me so happy to hear when others connect with them too.

I was going to write a great and insightful piece on what I love about writing descriptions, but once again the brilliant Kristen Lamb has beaten me to it and has really hit the nail on the head.

I bow down in awe and wonder and freely put on my padawan hair tail once more – although, I don’t think I ever took it off, still being firmly in the learning process of this writing thing I do. I’m in the process of writing a new romantic suspense and re-editing Healer Moon and Seer’s Blood, so I will most definitely be keeping this in mind while doing that. No, ‘her black hair hung around her face’, or ‘she sat on the green chair in the corner’ for me. I will endeavour to be far more clever than that (note, I said endeavour. Perfection is a long long way away!)

I hope you enjoy her blog on descriptions as much as I did and get a huge amount out of it. If you get even a little inspiration and learn something, then my job here is done. 🙂

Romance Writers of Australia