Thursday, April 28, 2011

AuthorGuy, Marc Vun Kannon Rocks the Paranormal Fantasy!

Please welcome Marc Vun Kannon to my blog. He's an awesome guy who helped me at my very first conference. He is a champion of the independent published author and all around exceptional person. Let everyone know about him and his wonderful books:

(Coming May 15th)

Piece o’ cake

Some stories are easier to write than others. I admit I was a little spoiled by the first two, which took years to write but were at least talking to me the whole time. My latest novel, St. Martin’s Moon, was not so forthcoming. The first bump in the road was that this was my first story that wasn’t a pretty straightforward fantasy novel. I’m always trying to stretch myself, do new things, and the inspiration for the book was another book that turned out to be a murder mystery set on a lunar colony. The werewolf was my idea.

(Buy Now)

The lunar colony I could do, with a few minutes of The Dreaded Research to back me up. A werewolf was a bit out of my scope, the sort of stretch I was looking for. The mystery was impossible. I’m a complete pantser. I discover the story as I go along. There was just no way I could plot it out, the way a mystery paradigm required.

The werewolf was much the same. Horror is a matter of setting and ambiance, also not strengths of mine. I prefer my descriptions to come from the perceptions of the characters, and werewolves are not characters, they’re monsters. The people who became the werewolves were another matter. The shift from horror to a paranormal was easy enough to make, in spite of the fact that I am not on board with the current trend in paranormals of turning classic monsters into leading men. The good thing about werewolves is that they are only part-time monsters. Poor old Larry Talbot and those like him spent most of their months looking forward to the last day. Unless…

And what about my werewolf hunter, last vestige of the mystery that wasn’t? He was the linchpin of the whole story, the catalyst of a reaction to which he (everyone, actually) was completely oblivious as he went about his ordinary duties. In chapter one I discovered that he had a whole lot of backstory as to why he didn’t want to go back to the Moon. What other secrets might he be hiding? As it turned out, it was a bit of a doozy. The ghost was not my idea. Or the romance.

Now if only I’d had a story.

(Buy Now)

My original idea was admittedly rather nebulous, but even so it was better than the nothing I had left after both genres up and walked out on me. As it was I wrote what was mostly a scifi story with the occasional elements of Dark Shadows mixed in. It was the characters’ fault really, I was just following them around. While they were all set off by the presence of my werewolf hunter on their lunar colony, each of them went and did their own thing. None were enough, but all were necessary. What had started out as a single linear story of uncertain genre broke up into five different plots, on two different planes of reality, which intersected in the person of my hero.

Nothing to it.


St. Martin’s Moon will be released on May 15th, 2011.

Like many writers, I started when a story came along and decided that I should write it. Don't ask me why. Others followed, until now I'm afraid to go out of the house with a recorder or notebook in my hand. But I show them, I refuse to write the same story twice!

Visit Marc's blog: Author Guy

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Hey everyone! :) Hope you're enjoying a very Hoppy Easter!! :) :)

I got a new fridge--with a water and ice dispenser, like I've been wanting forever. This came in the warm-fuzzy form of FREE from hubby's trucker buddy, Todd. Thank you, Todd! :)

So Eddie is under the sink hooking up the water line and I can hardly wait to get in there and transfer everything from one fridge to another. The kids got chocolate, and I got a great big chocolate-keeper! :)

Okay, gonna go enjoy the day, and I hope you do too!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Idiots--Just Tired of Them

Don't you just hate it when people take things you say out of context or twist them around to have entirely different meanings--then go on a rampage half-cocked without the facts? Setting them straight just turns you into their target, right? There seems to be so much of this going on lately. People are going ballistic over the smallest things.

I spend most of my time around writers, readers, and publishing industry pros. We are definitely not free of this sort of behavior. In some cases, I think it's worse among us. Take for instance John Cusack who was lambasted for spelling and typing errors on Twitter. (I know, I know, old news, but it's a perfect example.) As an editor, I know the importance of getting it right--but come on folks! That's like bitching at a ballerina because she doesn't know how to play poker. Hello? John Cusack is not a flippin' writer--he's an actor, okay?

When did we all seem to lose our compassion, our sense of humor, our collective good will toward our fellow writer? Are times so tough out there economically we have to stoop to cutting each others throats to get ahead instead of relying on merit?

So lets show a little tact out there. Make sure the battle you're fighting is worth fighting, and make sure the hill you're fighting on is the one you want to die on. Beyond that, just be flippin' kind to each other and to the non-writers out there who only want to communicate and share their experiences. Maybe we all need a little Bobby back in our lives: Don't Worry, Be Happy! :)

Okay, this concludes this public service announcement. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Magdalena Ball-The Unreal Memoir and More

I'm thrilled to share my blog with Magdelena today! Please make her feel welcome. She's excited to respond to comments as soon as she gets back to civilization after her trip! :)

Without further ado, Magdelena's post:

What’s so Funny ‘Bout Fiction

Another day, another literary scandal. First (Well maybe not first. See this list) there was Helen Darville’s faked history behind her Miles Franklin winning novel The Hand that Signed the Paper, then there was James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, novelist JT LeRoy, who finally admitted to being Laura Albert. Then Nasdijj, the Navajo memoirist who turned out to be porn author Timothy Patrick Barrus, followed by Misha Defonseca, who turned out to be Monique De Wael, author of pretend memoir Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, and then there was Margaret "Peggy" Seltzer, who has admitted that Margaret Jones is a pseudonym and that her memoir Love and Consequences was also faked.

So what’s with all these faked memoirs and identities? Does the fault lie with the publishers for not fact checking? Some would have it so:

Does it lie with the authors for duping their publishers, their agents, and of course the angry public who feel cheated of a real life story when all they got was fiction? What’s so funny ‘bout fiction anyway? A good story is a good story, whether it really happened or whether it was pulled together by someone who imagined it. Frey’s book for example may not be damn good history, but it surely it is still the same damn good fiction that Oprah cried over. Perhaps even the bigger truths of the work—those characters and situations that we find verisimilitude in--remain the same. Writing a novel is no easier than writing a memoir – it takes an awful lot of work, talent, research, and inner searching to produce a full length book that takes the reader somewhere that he or she can recognise as real regardless of genre. The books have to be truthful in one way or another or they won’t touch the reader.

Perhaps novelists are faking ‘memoirs’ rather than writing ‘novels’ because of the public’s insatiable hunger for ‘what really happened’ and the flow on effect this has with publishers, who are much more willing to take on memoirs than new fiction. My own novel Sleep Before Evening, is entirely fiction, but you can’t write a novel without putting an awful lot of yourself into it. There are plenty of moments that really happened, and the novel is full of the truth, because that is the whole point of fiction – to show something real and meaningful in a narrative construct. We don’t live in a linear, narrative type of universe. Our lives are bombarded with a range of sensory perceptions, memories, diffuse narrative threads and anticipations. Both memoirist and novelist take these things and use art to create something structurally accessible that others can understand, but there’s always construct, selection, re-invention. There’s always artfulness. Even relating a recent memory involves that kind of construction. I’m not condoning the literary hoax; nor am I suggesting that these hoaxes don’t matter – of course it’s wrong to go on the record as being someone you aren’t – particularly when you are dealing with sensitive issues or race, experience or influence where you might steer someone wrong because of your pretence or create inappropriate propaganda because of your bias.

But I am suggesting that the kind of reverence that the public places on “what really happened” -- the obsession we seem to have with “reality TV” and gritty revelation talk shows -- might be misplaced. James Frey was a successful author long before he faked his memoirs, but it was only the attention from Oprah and the ensuing scandal that made him a literary superstar, or super villain if you prefer – I’m not sure there’s that much difference from a sales point of view. But should I really care whether James Frey really went to jail for 1 day or 10? Should I begin investigating because there’s a small discrepancy in the dates in Ismeal Beah’s latest memoir, A Long Way Gone? The key issue here is whether these are good books or not. If we buy them because they’re shocking, or amazing stories (“hey madge, you won’t believe what this kid got up to”) that don’t ring true, and are full of ridiculous rubbish we are happy to believe (“he swore in his memoir that aliens took him to Mars and I believed him”) then we might deserve to be lied to. If the memoir is beautifully written, and full of rich, vivid detail which touches something very real in the reader, then maybe it remains good fiction even if it isn’t good fact. The truth is about something deeper and more powerful than simply the bald facts.

In Jill Lepore’s excellent piece in the New Yorker, “Just the Facts, Ma’am”, she makes this point wonderfully, exploring the relationship between historical writing and fiction: “For Fielding, there are two kinds of historical writing: history based in fact (whose truth is founded in documentary evidence), and history based in fiction (whose truth is founded in human nature).” There are many different kinds of truth, but the memoir, real or faked, certainly doesn’t have a greater claim to it than fiction does.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novel Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hellforged by Nancy Holzner: Hella Good!

I'm pleased to post the long awaited review of the second book in the Deadtown series by Nancy Holzner!

I approach sequels to books the same way I do movies--especially when the first one was so fabulous--with a sincere hope the follow up story will do the first one justice. I am more than thrilled to say that Hellforged surpassed all my expectations and reminded me just why I loved the first one so much.

Aunt Mab was such an intriguing figure in the first book, I was excited to travel to Wales with Vicki and get to know this side of her family much more intimately than in Deadtown. My favorite secondary characters were back as well--Tina, now a hopeful back-up singer for a zombie band, Juliet--yes that Juliet of Romeo fame--a vampire roommate who may not be on the page much, but plays an integral part in the plot.

I think what I loved best is the sexual tension created between Vicki and her bad-guy 'cousin' in the first part of the book and how that evolves into a renewed romance between her and the ever-sexy Alexander Kane, the werewolf attorney love interest from the first book. Don't think this book is all about romance though, Vicki has a fantastic struggle I found mesmerizing.

The internal battle she faces over trying to be 'pure' in order to vanquish the evil in this book, how she feels stained by her bond with The Destroyer, a powerful demon we first met in Deadtown, is something anyone could relate to. My heart went out to Vicki time and again as she struggled with her inner demons--so to speak!

I loved Deadtown and now Hellforged has found a spot on my keeper shelf! I hope they make it to your bookshelf, too!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Been a While

(Aunt Christy, me, and Grandma Robin~
aren't they awesome?! :) )

For me, there is nothing worse than being stuck on a plot line you have no clue about. I've been buried under a plot that didn't want to go anywhere. I wrote 500 words for every 400 I deleted for a week. I still didn't know what was going on with the plot until today when I wrote the final pages. Isn't that crazy? Short story writing isn't as easy as this novelist thought it would be.

My biggest problem was trying to conform to the mini-synopsis I wrote months and months ago. I had a whole different plot outlined than I used, and I didn't use the one I had because the premise was weak. I needed something much stronger and something far less character driven. In a short story there's only room for one or the other--character driven plot, or action driven plot. Since my target reader is 10 years old--I needed the action driven plot, but I was only getting the characters inner thoughts. Not much fun to read about a bunch of characters standing around contemplating the nuances of life!

Granted, my life has been sort of wacky lately, but when is it not? Last week I was wearing shorts and started spring cleaning. This week, it's snowing out side and I've got my winter coat on. Go figure!

Anyway, that's all I got right now. I'm going to be bringing some writing related stuff back to my blog soon though. If you have any writing questions you would like answered, please just ask!