Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’

I love to leave references in my work, Easter eggs, as it were.  Some of them are much less obvious than others.  The name of one of my protagonists, Lilja Perhonen, is one, a big one.  I also leave clues that are sort of homages to writers that have had a large impact on me.

Take this excerpt from my second book, Sword of the Butterfly:

“Wilbraham?” came the inevitable summons, the professor moving his head around as though in search of whom this may be, though nearly all of the small body of the class had by now been announced.

“Here, sir,” he finally spoke, his voice an odd mixture of deep, gruff, but with a scratch of break, as though of pubescence or merely suffering from some chronic allergy.

“That is a good, old name from England,” Professor Edwards remarked with utmost sincerity, then consulting his list, looking back up, “Pothos? That’s your first name?”

Pothos nodded, slowly, almost laboriously.

“Your parents must also be students of mythology to give you a great name like that,” the instructor carried on, letting his dark, bushy eyebrows rise as though throwing a question mark onto the supposition.

That alludes to what becomes a huge Easter egg.  It also references an experience I had back in college, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to figure that out.  The layers do begin to get a little complicated, and sometimes I forget why I crafted things the way I did.  Still, I think it adds to the journey, and I hope there are those who discover these things and feel the same.

If you’ve read my work and think you have some guessed, please leave a comment.  If you have not, then grab a book and begin the hunt!

My Amazon Author Page

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Iniquity Book Cover

Darkness has come unto the land.  What is left of earth’s civilization is concentrated into towns, reduced to living a life like that of the middle ages, but this is in the future.  Demons have risen from beneath the surface of the earth and plunged humanity into a serf-like existence where modern comforts are only remembered by the oldest still living.  The demon overlords of each village decide the “destiny” of every woman when she reaches twenty-one years of age.  What befalls Athena, the protagonist, proves unexpected and monumental.

This is the setting for an interesting and personal journey as the tale is told entirely from Athena’s perspective.  She is an inquisitive, stubborn, and practical young woman, and she never strays far from her ultimate goal – somehow restoring the light to the surface and hopefully displacing the despotic rule of the demons.

The story is intriguing and deals not only with these strange situations but also more mundane matters. It is all woven against the overwhelming backdrop of humanity’s new existence beneath its powerful masters.  The story paints a picture of depth, even as it dances with cliché ideas that would be welcome in a fairy tale.  I liked that these tropes were sometimes inverted or presented in a not so clean context.  The tale is not clean; it is, just like life, complicated.

I will confess I grew somewhat impatient during some portions.  The setting pulled me in with wonder as to what had happened and what would befall this poor girl.  Things never calmed for her, but things sometimes felt tiresome.  I will say that this was well indicative of Athena’s plight, though I did feel myself eager to get on with it.

As the story progressed, things changed, alarmingly, and we’re met with another sort of beginning.  It does not take long for everything to become more and more threatening for our unique heroine, and though we are again met with a potential cliché in the end, things are not at all going to be left “happily ever after”.  A tremendous revelation comes to light, and we’re shown how things will be very different and dangerous going forward.  I am eager to continue the story in volume two.

Iniquity, the Ascent, Book One (Amazon link)

Finding Books

Posted: December 4, 2017 in Blog
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Have you ever read a book just for the cover or title?  Have you ever just randomly grabbed a book and decided to read it?  I don’t usually do that.  I tend to over-research when I am looking for something new to buy.  If I don’t go that route, it is usually a recommendation from friends.

One time, though, I was in a large book store (I forget which, but it was a big one like Barnes & Noble), and none of the books on my to-buy list were there.  Rather than leave empty-handed, I decided to look over the spines and pick one that lured me.  I found Noir by K.W. Jeter.  Now, this may illustrate my own failings since before then, I did not even know about K.W. Jeter.  Allow me to apologize for this.  But I saw the title, the aesthetic of the cover, and I thought, ‘if it’s called Noir, it had better be good.’  I figured the author was pretty ballsy to use that title, so I felt it was worth the chance.

It did not disappoint.  I was blown away, and it has become one of my favorite novels.  Not only that, but it obviously led to my learning of Jeter, and I have since gotten more of his works.

I am somewhat cynical when it comes to covers, but I am less so regarding titles.  In my opinion, the titles and cover should be representative of the contents of the story; however, it’s an abstract.  The results of this will vary from person to person.  Some publishers also have control over the cover image, title, blurb, etc. so it may be a less sincere marketing effort.  Of course, we have to glean new readers somehow, right?  Titles and cover art work in that effort.

So, do you ever just randomly pick a book?  If so, how do you make your choice?


Books on Shelf

 

Well, we’re almost done with October. Let’s see what we have as we draw toward a close.

22: Publishing Tales – aside from some very rudimentary self-publishing and the occasional feature on a webpage, I did not get published until recently. I submitted queries to a handful of publishers, and before I could even figure out who would be in round two, I was lucky enough to find someone to publish my first novel. Thank you, Optimus Maximus.

23: TBW – To Be Written – I have several irons in the fire, as it were, which is usually the case. Once I complete the third (& likely final) book in my Butterfly series, I have two other novels to work on, probably three, maybe more. The two are vampire related, though they are not connected. Both deal with different ideas of how vampires began. I am looking forward to working on both. The third deals with wizards and dragons, but it is not a typical fantasy tale.

24: RP:Rejection stories – I made a lengthy post on this. You can read it here.

25: Horror Story – I grew up with asthma, horrible asthma. It nearly killed me once. I was in a hospital emergency room, and they were losing me, so they life-flighted me from that hospital to another one more suited to handle such trauma.

26: Scary-Awesome Bloggers – Nicolajayne Taylor, Meghan at  The Gal in the Blue Mask, and Patricia Statham at Books to Curl Up With.

27: Best Writing Candy – if I am going to eat candy while I write, it needs to be some kind of dark chocolate, maybe with ginger or chili in it, but definitely dark chocolate.

28: Book Babies – I don’t know what is meant by this prompt, soooo, I am going to skip it.

And there we are! I’ll wrap up Oct next week and bring us into November. Thank you all for being here, and if you are interested in my writing, please visit my Amazon Author Page for my books.

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October is just zooming by. A lot is going on, and it can be difficult to stay focused, but let’s roll with the third week of IG Writers month and see what we get.

15: Fav. Scary Read – Okay, this is timely. It by Stephen King. I enjoy horror stories, but they rarely actually scare more. I usually find them to be darkly entertaining, but to experience real fear whilst reading one is uncommon. I have read a few stories recently by some independent authors that gave me some trepidation and fright. Thank you Carmilla Voiez and Jeffrey Kosh. The Exorcist also scared me, but It is my favorite. I love the novel, and I have read it several times.

16: Writer Foods/Fuel – Coffee. There is no specific food I associate with writing. In fact, I rarely eat while writing. There is always a drink on hand, though, and it is usually coffee.

17: Author Crush – I don’t really have one.  There are several authors I’d like to me, but no crushing is happening.

18: Page 13 of your WIP – I made a post about this on my Twitter. Feel free to check it out.

19: Book Dedication – Dance of the Butterfly is a tale that very nearly did not happen.  It took time to take  hold and even more time to truly blossom.  Were it not for the ceaseless help of a very dear, close friend, it would not have been done.  In a very real way, it parallels that relationship, taking from that story to add to its own.  For this, I deeply thank you, Jane.

20: Killed Darlings – I am not sure I like this one being here. A killed darling generally comes with a shock. If I say who has died in my books, then the shock is gone. If you have not yet read them, you would not be emotionally invested, anyway. Suffice it to say, there are some. Read to find out.

21: Plot-Twist – I love these. Both of my books have a few and the third will as well. I enjoy setting things up and having a few different twists and turns happen throughout. I also like to use red herrings, and one in my first book is layered with some subtle referencing. I have even followed patterns in my series, so that, in itself, becomes a clue.

There we are. I hope you have enjoyed this third week of IGWriters month. Please do visit my Amazon Author Page for my published works. I’d love to have you as a reader.

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And it continues …

So, I feel stupid. The IG in IGWritersOct is for Instagram. I don’t use Instagram, just set up a meager little account. I’ll have to get more into it, but I digress.

8: BRAINstorming – another one I am not sure what they mean, but basically, my brainstorms generally come from dreams. I pull from my dreams for a great deal of my inspiration. My urban fantasy series began from three different such experiences. My other form of brainstorming is more deliberate, and it happens when I really focus on the story and maybe talk it out or plot it and see what I may be missing or what can be added. Completely unexpected ideas have come from this, and I value the technique.

9: Writing Adventures – Yes, I can do that. Ah, but maybe they mean adventures that happened to me because of writing. I had my first convention as a published author at this year’s Scares that Cares. That was very exciting. I got to meet my publisher face to face along with other authors and friends. It was a great weekend.

10: Mental Health & Writing – I would say that writing can be very therapeutic. The way I write, though, it can also be difficult. I really get into my writing, and sometimes it spawns unpleasant feelings. There are some scenes that once I wrote them, I had difficulty editing them. Once edited, I don’t read them again.

11: Handwriting Sample – I am going to pass on this one. I rarely use handwriting for anything at all in my life.

12: Pantser or Plotter – I do both. I generally plot out the major points, then I fill in the blanks and details with stream-of-consciousness writing. That seems pretty much by the seat of the pants.

13: Writing Rituals – I don’t really have one of these, though my writing usually does not get done without some coffee on hand. I sometimes choose very specific music to help, and then it is on low volume.

14: Dead Manuscripts – Oh, boy, do I have these. I have thousands of pages of unpublished poetry, short stories, even novels. Most of those are incomplete, but there are two that are complete and one that was about 95%. Looking back on them, very few seem worthy of resurrection.

And that’s another week! I hope you enjoyed, found something thoughtful, or in some way found value here. Thank you for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome, and if you are interested in my published works, please visit my Amazon Author Page.

Thanks!

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So, this month is IGWriters month. I wish I could tell you what the IG stands for or what brought this on, but here it is. Take a breath, and let’s dive in.

1: INTL Coffee Day – great! I love coffee. I generally drink a Vietnamese instant coffee during the week, so that is international, assuming INTL stands for international. If you want to learn about a quite exotic coffee, I suggest kopi luwak. It’s expensive and partially digested! Give it a try, and let me know how it is.

2: Your WIP – I am currently working on the third book in my dark urban fantasy series. It will be different from the first two, and it will probably be the end of the main story.  Here is an excerpt:

It is a large man, his suit jacket open, clothing showing disheveled, torn, bloodstained, and if the darkly-coated butcher knife in his fist were not sign enough, his eyes bleed out with a strange, red hue.  Those orbs see Lilja and the other three, and he roars out, eating a few precious seconds before he launches himself at his prey.

3: Writing Tools – I use a computer. I began with a typewriter. I have hand written a few things, but for the vast majority of my writing, I have used a keyboard of one type or another.

4: Writing w/ animals – I am not sure what to say on this one. I don’t use animals to write, and I don’t have a pet. No cute pics of a cat trying to get my attention as I tap away at the keys.

5: Author Bucket List – This was another one I was not entirely sure about. I suppose my author bucket list is to someday make a living as an author. I’d also like to visit the regions in Europe that I used as inspiration for the setting of my first two books.

6: What makes you smile – a lot does, actually. Spending time with my family usually leads to a great deal of laughter. I also love talking to my readers. That will often get a smile on my face.

7: Your favorite character – Another tough one. I suppose this is meant to mean a character of my own design. I am going to ignore the obvious and look to a minor character who still played a big role and choose Interpol Inspector Gaspare Duilio. He is a corrupt officer who ends up playing a part in all three books. Not only do I find him an interesting and many-layered person, but the experiences he has and how they shape him allow him to show further depth and have a larger impact on the overall tale.

And that is it for the first week. I hope you enjoyed. Feel free to leave any comments are ask any questions you may have. Please also visit my author page and read my books! Thank you.

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Since I got into this independent author/publication thing, I have met a lot of others also involved, whether other writers or publishers, editors, promoters, etc., etc. A lot. It’s easier to get published now and to reach a potential audience with all the amazing tools we have available to us. I used social media to find my publisher, and I am grateful for it. It’s a small group of us, and we’re still learning and getting started, but it’s an amazing journey, and I like to think we’re all helping each other.

But it doesn’t stop there.

With the social media explosion, it is easier to find others, whether colleagues, agents, audience, or whatever the case may be. It also means a lot more out there. It can become white noise. I hate to say it is like separating the wheat from the chaff, because that sounds elitist. There may well be a suffering of quality, though, as these very vehicles are used to increase the quantity. This means a huge supply. There is certainly demand, but it becomes an issue of getting the potentially fleeting notice of that audience. Look here! This is me! Buy my book!

This could lead to a situation within the independent world of a lot of cut-throat competition. I will not take this approach. I feel like we are all in this together, and those of us making sincere efforts to share our creations and enrich the world with this art ought to cooperate, not compete. I share the works of other authors and try to help promote blogs, events, groups and other methods of just opening the lines of communication and awareness.

I feel very strongly that this is the way to go about it. There is so much wonderful work out there, we might as well bring as much as we can of the whole world to the buffet and let them pick what they want.

Help yourself. Help us. Help each other. Tell your friends about it. And read, read, read.


Please feel free to follow me on My Facebook Page or check out My Amazon Author Page for my published works.

Thank you.

Follow the Butterfly

I think sometimes people get an incorrect impression of my book merely from the name, Dance of the Butterfly.  Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?  It has ‘dance’ and ‘butterfly’ in it.  It must be a romance.  Well, it does have romantic elements.  There is a relationship that buds and blooms as a core plot point, but it is not just about that, and it is not all nice and flowery.  There is some splatter. Quite a bit of it, actually.  I am not one to often pull punches.  I got myself in a bit of hot water during a poetry contest many years upon years ago, because I don’t feel the need to overly censor.  I have since learned more of a balance between raw and refined.

In that vein, I have been posting snippets of the final climax of my book, and things do get bloody.  Allow me to share another …


One of the guests lies on the ground, in a growing pool of the red liquid, another guest atop him. The larger man above is savagely stabbing into the prone body of the other, holding a torn piece of metal, having been drafted as an improvised weapon. Each stab into the left side of the victim’s torso produces more spurts of fresh fluid, the attacker painted with it, giving him even more of a horrific, demented look than his own expressions and actions already convey.

“He’s killing my husband!” a nearby woman screams, her own shrieks part of those making up the cacophony, though if the lack of resistance on the part of her spouse indicates anything, he may already be dead.

The guards point their weapons, nearing the terrible happening.

“Get out of the way!” Duilio commands, and the other party-goers and workers do just that, clearing more area around the attack.

“Do something! Do something!” the woman, rushes over to Duilio, her heels clicking on the pavement.

The guards look to the inspector, and Duilio spares a short moment of assessment, then, “Stop him.”

Gunshots blast out, causing more screams and dispersal of the crowd. The attacker is quickly removed from atop his victim, crumbling away and to the ground, flopping to his back as the firing ceases, his breath coming out ragged and wet.


So, there you go.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it whet your appetite for more.  If so, please visit my Amazon Author Page to buy any of my publications.  Thank you.dotb-twitter

“So, in Finland, witches are not automatically treated as bad?”

“No.” She shakes her head once, more of a slowly shifting movement. “Witchcraft is a very big part of Finnish history, culture, and religion. Though we had good witches, and black magic was not allowed.”

“Where is Mount Kyöpeli?” asks another, not waiting to be called upon but pitching the question in the ensuing silence.

She turns her eyes in that direction, still meandering as she talks, the images on the large screen changing in a series of slow dissolves, giving backdrop to her words.

“You can only get there by flying and magic. It is said to be located in a secret place, close to the border of Tuonela, the Finnish land of dead.’

“It is also said that it is actually possible physically, or even mentally, to travel in Tuonela and go have a chat with your dead friends and relatives and other people,” she carries on, a curve to her lips. “There are tales that witches and sages have traveled there to learn long lost lore and spells. Only problem is that it’s very hard to get back from there. There are many guardians. Cats are but one example in our own world.”


I draw from many sources and lore in my book, Dance of the Butterfly.  It was important to me to show varying perspectives.  This is also part of why I chose to set it in a very cosmopolitan city.  There are many subtle (and not so subtle) references that weave into the overall puzzle of the story.

Please visit my Amazon Author Page for both books in the series.  Thank you.

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