Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Denise Verrico


It's that time again... that's right Blog Ring of Power time!
Today I'd like to welcome Denise Verrico.
You can find the rest of her interview with my BRoP co-hosts 
Part 1 Terri
Part 2 T.W.
Part 3  oh wait, that's me
Part 4 Sandra
Part 5 Dean
So now let's get down to some interviewing. 

Denise is an Urban Fantasy author and New Jersey native who grew up in Western Pennsylvania. She attended Point Park College and majored in Theatre Arts. For seven seasons, she was a member of the Oberon Theatre Ensemble in NYC. Denise has loved vampire stories since childhood and is a fan of the Dark Shadows television series. Her books are published by L&L Dreamspell Publishing and include: Cara Mia (Book One of the Immortyl Revolution Series), Twilight of the Gods (Book Two of the Immortyl Revolution Series), and My Fearful Symmetry (Book Three of the Immortyl Revolution Series). She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, son, and her flock of seven spoiled parrots.
For excerpts of the Immortyl Revolution Series, character profiles and the Immortyl Lexicon visit www.deniseverricowriter.webs.com
For insider information on the series visit www.ImmortylRevolution.blogspot.com
Annals Immortyls

Comment and leave your email address to receive a free copy of Denise Verrico’s ANNALS OF THE IMMORTYLS, a trio of dark urban fantasy tales featuring characters from her Immortyl Revolution series.

I'm getting distracted by the coolness of that cover... ok ok, you want to get to the interview.  That's why your here.


I want to hear about the Creative Process


BRoP:  Do you have a specific writing style?

DV:  I tend to write in a conversational fashion.  I’m big on showing as much as possible in dialogue and not given to long narrative passages.  My Urban Fantasy is all first-person, but I’m writing more in limited third right now.  I’m playing around a bit with style and language in the fantasy novel I’m writing. It’s in an “eighteenth century”, somewhat picaresque setting, so I’m going for the wit and slightly formal style of dialogue.


BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block?

DV: I find writer’s block is when I veer too far off the main character’s objective and inner conflict.  Sometimes I’m trying to force the story where the character doesn’t want to go.  It helps to step back a bit.  I’ll do some research, take a walk, watch a movie etc.  I find this gets my imagination flowing again.  A glass of red wine never hurts either.

Sounds good... Cheers

BRoP: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?  

DV: I start with characters.  The idea for the Immortyl Revolution series evolved over a period of time.  I kicked the first novel around for a long time before I sat down to finish it.  Back when I was reading a lot of Anne Rice, I had a dream about a female vampire.  I’d never read a book about one at the time.  My husband and I brainstormed a little.  He suggested exploring the fact that my protagonist was a woman and the implications of being both female and a vampire.  Vampire sexual politics--who knew?  I based a lot of the Immortyl culture on ancient ones.  I created a multi-layered society that enslaved three fourths of their population.  Then I got interested in biotechnology and came up with the idea of a race to harness immortality. 

BRoP:  Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

DV: I’m a combo of both.  I have a vision of where the characters will start and where they end up, but how depends on their whims.  In my vampire books, the revolution was Mia’s lover Kurt’s idea.  The little bugger decided to take the series this way.  It’s funny how a character can hijack a story.  Cedric MacKinnon, the hero of the third book, started out as a love interest for a character I’d planned for later novels.  He soon became one of my favorites.  His story begged to be told.  An entire religious cult and art form were born from his creation.  This is why I love speculative fiction so much.  You can do things like this.  I really get into building the world and the characters. 

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

DV:  I rely heavily on my crit groups.  I love the range of reactions I get and the ideas they contribute.  In the theatre, we workshop plays, so I was completely open to doing this as a fiction writer.  It helps to throw your work in front of someone completely new when writing a series.  Your crit group knows your world, but you need the perspective of someone who is reading your work for the first time.  They will see things that might be passed over by a reader who is familiar with your books.  I had a beta reader from the UK for My Fearful Symmetry to make sure my British was “spot on”.  Of course, you have to weigh all criticism carefully.  If one person has an opinion that others disagree with, it could be that person’s taste or prejudice, but it can also be a valid point that other readers missed.  I’m fortunate in that my critique groups are tough, but helpful and professional.  They’ve taught me a lot. 

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

DV:  I love doing research.  Currently, I’m researching the Maori and other Polynesian cultures for my in-progress fantasy novel.   

I did a lot of my research on vampire lore when I was writing Cara Mia, and decided to go with a more sci fi take, with the race for harnessing Immortality as the series plot.  For that, I read up on biotechnology.  The books are mostly set in NYC (except book three) and it gave me a good excuse to go to New York once a year to take pictures, visit neighborhoods and museums.  I used to live there, and I miss it a lot.  I’m always looking up cultural information, foreign language, names, places etc. 

The bulk of research I’ve done is on the third book, My Fearful Symmetry, which is set in India at the chief elder’s court.  I did a lot of research on Indian culture, religions, costume, music, dance and mythology.  Not that I’m trying to replicate actual life in that rich and fascinating culture.  What I set out to do is to create a vampire subculture that has assimilated elements of that culture.  My POV character, Cedric, is a Scottish rent boy turned Immortyl temple dancer and courtesan.  Luckily I have a writer friend who was around in the sixties who found me great information on tantric sex rituals.  Most of the stuff I found was scholarly and didn’t really get into what the process is like.  Not the book is pornographic, but if a character is a practitioner of sexual rituals it’s important to know what he’s doing in his profession. 

I use the internet a lot, of course, but I also like books and documentary films, especially for visuals like costume and setting.  I recently did a panel with Tamora Pierce, and she said she learns more about a culture from their cookbooks than any other source.  As an Italian-American, I appreciate that.  Food is a huge part of our culture.

BRoP:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

CV:  Fight scenes. I love a good scrap, but I’ve never been in physical combat (except for a little stage-combat), so I watch battle scenes and swordfights in movies and try to research warfare.  You probably won’t see epic historical epics with big battles from me anytime soon.  My rule of thumb is, whenever I write a fight scene, it’s only half as long and fleshed out than it needs to be.  So, I take it to my crit group.  They will confirm my suspicion, and I’ll re-write it and present it again.  After three or four revisions, I might get it right. 

Servant of the Goddess
Book Four of the Immortyl Revolution
From the ashes of the first battle of the Immortyl Revolution, vampires Mia Disantini and Kurt Eisen set out to build a new Immortyl society. Trouble arrives in the person of Cedric MacKinnon, a runaway adept of the ancient arts, who brings tidings of upheaval at the chief elder’s court that threatens everything Mia and Kurt have accomplished. Mia finds it hard to resist when Cedric pledges his service and tempts her with the legendary skills he learned as an Immortyl courtesan. Facing opposition from both within and out, Mia begins to doubt Kurt is up to the task of leading their followers to his vision of an Immortyl Utopia. Torn between her loyalty to Kurt and Cedric’s insistence that she is the earthly manifestation of the Goddess Durga and destined to lead, Mia confronts the greatest challenge of her life.

Thanks so much for joining us Denise.  For those who wish to follow her, here's a few links.



SOTG Denise Verrico Links:
Cedric:
@cedricmackinnon

Amazon:
My amazon Page: http://amzn.to/K3NhVS
Servant of the Goddess Trade PB: http://amzn.to/K8uwPb
Servant of the Goddess Kindle: http://amzn.to/J0R2Id

Barnes and Noble:
Servant of the Goddess Trade PB and Nook: http://bit.ly/IIz7ru


Friday, July 13, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Janet Beasley


 It's Blog Ring of Power time again.  Today I would like to welcome Janet Beasley to the Realm... Hi Janet.  
Here's the list for each part of the interview

Part 1: With T.W.
Part 2: Yup, right here with us fantastical people.
Part 3: with Sandra
Part 4: with Dean
Part 5: with our fearless leader Terri

Lets hear a bit about this awesome fantasy author before we get into The Writing Life.

Hi, I’m Janet Beasley; Epic Fantasy Novelist and Scenic Nature Photographer. I am the author of the newly released epic fantasy series Hidden Earth Volume 1 Maycly – Parts 1, 2, and 3.

I was born and raised in Beavercreek, Ohio where I was a proud 1979 graduate of Beavercreek High School. I now reside in central Florida and love hanging out together with family and friends for food and fun.

     According to those who know me, I’m outgoing, fun, very creative and always try to look on the sunny side of life. Now granted, some of these folks haven’t had the opportunity to catch me on a bad day. You know, like in my writer’s den, when I’m birthing ideas and trying to write them down as fast as they come to me it gets a little hair-raising and the dog looks at me with that “look” where they tilt their head and just stare at you like you’re crazy at the moment…which you are…but you don’t let them know that!

     I’m an animal lover, with dogs being number one on my list. I love to travel. Discovering new places and meeting new people from other lands is always a thrill. I enjoy hangin’ with family - kayaking, hiking, photographing nature, and baking cupcakes.



Let's hear about your writing life

BRoP:  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc. 

Janet:  My writing process is a fine blend of unorganized organization. I don't set a schedule to write. By that I mean I don't say that I'm going to pound out 2 chapters between 1:00pm and 3:00pm. I do write when creativity hits - so I may be writing for hours and days upon end, then taking a break. I keep pad and pen with me everywhere I go, and beside the bed to jot down ideas should they jolt me awake in the middle of the night. This tactic has been of great help. I have turned one room in our house into my "Writer's Den." I print out the maps that go with the novel I'm writing once they're rough sketched, the characters, and so on, and keep them pinned on the wall in front of me. To my right is an aquarium with this crazy algae eater who I've gotten attached to, my dog's little bed in the window, and a corner with "scrap-booked" walls, and a ceiling filled with plants, stickers, some of my scenic nature photography, and some humorous signs such as: I Have Flying Monkeys And I'm Not Afraid To Use Them!

BRoP: How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life? 

Janet:  WOWZA! What a question, at least for me. Let me first explain my aspects of life. I have stacking chronic illnesses including CEBV, Fibromyalgia, Polymyalgia, among others. Being the majority are auto immune disorders, I'm tired and hurting almost all the time. CEBV leaves me with a low grade fever and brings on "brain fog" (as the pros call it) to the point I may not be able to find my way out of a store, let alone get home. My parents live next door and I share caregiver duties with my 80 year old dad to help my mom who suffers from dementia and is diabetic. There are runs to the emergency room about every three months. Heart monitors to watch and record, and other such stuff. Both parents have plenty of doctor visits I need to take them to. I try to get them out to lunch so they're not cooped up all day in the house, AND both are the very best parents in the whole wide world - so they are not a burden, but a blessing! It's great to be able to still laugh with them as each day's events unfold - always a surprise! My husband has a good job with long hours, so he's not around much to help out with that stuff, but when he is home we all spend fun time together. We've been through four hurricanes, lost two homes, been through financial ruins, watched two businesses crumble before our eyes due to the hurricanes and health issues, suffered loss of family and friends, and recently we just blew an engine in our "best" car. So balancing writing and life's aspects isn't really a doable thing here LOL! I've learned to live minute to minute - not day to day. I've also learned all these things are going to keep going on whether I'm happy, sad, or angry...so I've chosen to be happy as it makes it all so much more bearable. 

BRoP:  When do you write? 

Janet: Whenever creativity strikes no matter where I am, or what's going on with life.

BRoP: How much time per day do you spend on your writing? 

Janet: Sometimes minutes, other times hours.

BRoP: What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written?  

Janet: My two favorite surprises were comments, those being "...it's one of those books that ends up a classic you'd read in school or Sunday school and pick apart" and "...like a cross between Harry Potter and The Wizard of Oz."

BRoP: What is the strongest criticism you’ve ever received as an author? 

Janet: I gotta laugh as all through my writing class they kept telling me to STOP GIVING STAGE DIRECTIONS! Hmmm, wonder why I was doing that!? The best compliment? The best compliment I receive time and again, it's that my creativity is amazing.

BRoP: Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support? 

Janet: My best friend who has taken over the gourmet dog treat business - did I mention the treats are now the favored treats of pets on the world of Maycly? 

BRoP: How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews? 

Janet: Every rejection is one rejection closer to acceptance. Negative reviews? Take them with a grain of salt - I look and make certain there's not something I can use to better myself as a writer - but if there's nothing there and it's the only bad one out of a hundred, I blow it off and figure that person either doesn't like the genre, or just enjoys demeaning others. Not my problem. ;-)


Here are the links so that you can follow this great author.

Website: http://www.HiddenEarthSeries.com
Blog: http://www.JLBCreatives.blogspot.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanetBeasley
Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5772933.Janet_Beasley
Twitter: @AuthorJanetB
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Janet-Beasley/e/B0067AK386/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2
Smashwords: N/A
Other: http://www.facebook.com/Maycly  (a page for fans to chat and post about the cool things of Maycly)

What format are your books available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)? 
The collector's edition paperback is 744 pages. It contains all 3 parts, and includes over 70 b/w illustrations, maps, teaser recipes, family trees, and more. 

Ebooks: Each part is a separate ebook, sold separately through Amazon. Each ebook contains color illustrations, the map of Maycly, and corresponding back matter. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Una the Mystic

I've been playing around with my secondary character, Una.

She's been tapping on my brain to come out and I can not draw to save my life.  I did try, it wasn't pretty.  So I bought some modeling clay and got to work.  I may do another try, to see if I can get her arms and legs to come out better.  The arms are covered by her robes and her feet... yeah they suck.  At least you can't see how bad the legs came out.  

Anyway, here she is.  


The face came out better than what I expected, but with some practice I may be able to get out more detail, like her scales and the fact that her ridges on the top of her head have a plume of feathers coming out.  Not to mention she needs to be Purple and the robe red.  Over all I'm happy with her.  


  Here's a little nerd info for you.  I pictured in my mind what a dragon looked like if crossed with a cloner (Kamino) from Star Wars.  Yup, something like that.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Danielle Ackley-McPhail


It's Blog Ring of Power Time!!! 
Today we are wrapping up the interview with Danielle
For the beginning parts check out


Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Her works include the urban fantasies, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, the upcoming Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court, and the writers guide, The Literary Handyman. She edits the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies and Dragon’s Lure, and has contributed to numerous other anthologies.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). Learn more at www.sidhenadaire.com



Thanks for stopping by Danielle, lets talk about any Words of Wisdom you may have for us.

BRoP:  What are the most important elements of good writing?
Danielle:  It is hard to encapsulate this into a brief paragraph, so I’ll just touch on a few major points. First, attention to detail, both in terms of the technical aspects of writing and the craft of story telling. Second, a good edit. No work is perfect, everyone needs another set of eyes, someone to say what makes sense and what doesn’t. The author doesn’t always have to agree, but they should consider what caused the disconnect with the reader.

BRoP:  Do you have any advice for other writers?
Danielle:  Don’t think you can just sit back. Don’t think once you’ve written the book and signed the contract, your part is done. Don’t think that once a new book comes out there’s no reason to pay attention to the book that came before. An author must always and continually make an effort to promote their work, improve their craft, and understand their business. The next important thing is don’t for a minute think that you have nothing more to learn. We can always improve our craft. No one is perfect.

BRoP:  What do you feel is the key to your success?
Danielle:  Sheer stubbornness and persistence. Being an extrovert does not hurt in the least. I get out there I meet people I share my passion and my work and I actively seek opportunity of every sort: publishing, networking, promoting. I have build a presence that tells the industry I know at least something of what I am doing and I’m here to stay.

BRoP:  What are your current / future project(s)?
Danielle:  Oh my…well, I have about six novels started that I’ve yet to finish…other things keep getting in the way. One is a military science fiction called Daire’s Devils, based on my short stories about the 142nd Infantry unit of the same name. Then there is an atypical vampire novel called tentatively Kantasi Nation, and a second biker faerie novel, The Redcaps’ Queen, the sequel to The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. Beyond that I have four anthologies I’m working on: Bad-Ass Faeries 4: It’s Elemental, Eternal Flame, and two steampunk anthologies, Clockwork Chaos and Gaslight and Grimm.

BRoP:  Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Danielle:  Well, if this posts before the end of May I’d like to tell your readers about our upcoming launch party for Today’s Promise and other Dark Quest Books Spring releases. The party is at Balticon (www.balticon.org), the Sunday of the con at 7pm to 9pm in the Garden Room.

If this posts after the end of May: For those aspiring writers out there reading, I post weekly articles on the business and craft of being a writer at the Literary Handyman Blog (http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com).


Where can your readers stalk you:

Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com,

Is your book in print, ebook or both? Both print and ebook.