Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#PimpMyBio - Pitch Wars 2017

It's that time of year again! Writers are frantically fixing up their manuscripts in preparation for Pitch Wars.

I was lucky enough to get in last year and am going to try my hand at it again with a new manuscript. One of the best things about entering Pitch Wars is the wonderful people you meet who are also tossing their manuscripts into the ring.





Why enter again?

Same reason as last year. I want to work with someone who can better my writing and my manuscript. I'm open to tearing it down and building it back up if that's what it needs.




I'm looking for a mentor to push me and call me on things. Some of my favourite comments from critique partners are ones that point out a problem and tell me I can do better. I'm here to learn. So let's get to work!

My editing style is binge editing. I do better when I edit in large chunks at a time. I've tried swapping a chapter a week with people, but it doesn't work for me. Binge editing lets me immerse myself in the story and characters so I can really get into the flow. I'm not one to do things half way. I'm a go big or go home type of person.


What do I write?

If you don't know me from last year, I usually write adult contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, and speculative fiction. I tend to write on the darker side and don't always believe in happily ever after for my characters. My characters are usually stuck with happy for now if I'm being nice.




I like characters who banter, are sassy and broken. If I can throw some weird in there as well, I will, though my Pitch Wars manuscript doesn't have that. What it does have is a female lead who meets my mentioned criteria, plus she's a Pagan and bi. She breaks my heart because she won't let herself have anything good.



A Little About Me...

This is always the part I struggle with...what do I share?

Favourites is always a good place to start....


Some of my favourite reads are:
  • Interview With The Vampire
  • The Witching Hour
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • American Gods
  • Harry Potter
  • Geek Love
  • Plus one from a PitchWars mentor but I won't say because I wouldn't want to be accused of sucking up.


I don't watch a lot of television my favourite shows at the moment are:
  • The Handmaid's Tale (I LOVE this series!)
  • Supernatural


And Now The Fun Stuff...

Other exciting facts about me:
  • I've read Tarot cards for over 25 years (wow, that's a long time). During that time I've mentored people, written articles for the Canadian Tarot Network, and did readings over the internet and at events.
  • I live in a house once owned by the mother of the original author of the Hardy Boy's series.
  • I LOVED Nancy Drew books when I was young (the New Case Files, not so much the original ones).
  • Music has always played a big role in my life and I usually listen to music when I write. Though there are some songs that come on and demand I take a rock out break.
  • I co-host #DarkLitChat on Twitter once a month with one of my CPs.
  • Sarcasm is my second language.


Thanks for taking the time to pop by and get to know me a little better. Hope I've managed to entertain you somewhat. 



Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Soul To Give - Interview With Magali Frechette


I'm thrilled to help launch Magali's book My Soul To Give. We bonded, not only because we're both Canadians, but also because we were chosen by the same mentor during a writing contest. Mags is such a wonderful person and I'm so happy to see this book. I can't wait to read it!




When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.

After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.

His company never existed.

His family history was a lie.

And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto's charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.

Get your copy today from EvernightPublishing



Interview with Magali


Q: Tell us a little about the characters in My Soul To Give.


The story is in two different POVs for Celina and Mekaisto (known as Kai for short), but it’s more focus-based on Celina’s POV. 

Celina has been living a pretty secluded life with her husband, Thomas, for the past five years they’ve been married (had dated for five years before that); his gift to her was a house he built out in the country, and while building them her dream home, it also made it nearly impossible for her to really get out much. She’s sometimes a bit naïve about the world, and even more so when she discovers a whole new world (copyright to Aladdin lol) filled with demons. The rules have changed in her life (what she has left of it), and she doesn’t always catch up fast enough. But, she’s feisty and doesn’t hold her tongue (even if, sometimes, she should). She’s determined, though, and it’s that fight in her that drives her to accept a deal for revenge. She just has to pay with her life and soul; no big deal, right?

Mekaisto is hard to say anything about without giving away spoilers, but I’ve heard him described by a lot of things by beta readers. Basically, he’s charming, tempting, alluring; everything you think you want until you discover (often too late) it comes with a price. There’s a quote by Tucker Max “...the devil doesn't come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you've ever wished for...” – fitting. He’s arrogant, cruel, sadistic, and has no mercy when it comes to others; except when it comes to Celina. And he has his reasons. He always tells the truth, but he doesn’t always tell the whole truth, and sometimes, it’s a truth you don’t want to hear.


Q: What's your fave scene (without spoilers) in the book?


Oh boy…That’s always a hard one, but I think my favourite one is when Celina first meets Mekaisto. I’ve got another one toward the end of the story I like, but that would have way too many spoilers. The ones I enjoyed writing the most, though, were with a character named Shiriki. Won’t give many details about him, but from what readers have told me, he grows on you…in a parasite-infested kind of way.


Q: How long did this one take you to write?


This question is hard to answer. It took around…five months to write, I believe. Started in April
2014, and finished August 2014, but through all the editing rounds, rewrites, and revisions…the last time I considered it ‘ready to query again’ was July 2016…so, quite a while. And it did change drastically since it was first finished. This was my 19th manuscript, and since finishing MSTG in 2014, I’ve written around five more.


Q: What do you like most about writing fantasy?


There are no limitations to what can happen. I noticed this most when I wrote my first non-paranormal/dark fantasy manuscript recently (I’m rewriting it right now), and everyone is just so…human (sounds weird, I know lol). But, it puts limitations on what people can and can’t do, and for me, limits/puts a block of sorts on my imagination. I mean, even with fantasy, there are always rules I follow in my universe, but they’re vast. I also always loved creating new worlds, or adding to our own; the idea that not all is what it seems, and darkness hides everywhere has always fascinated me. And, I’ve always had a thing for vampires (like, seriously…Team Spike!), but I grew fascinated with the idea of demons when the story came to mind.


Q: Your writing tends towards the darker side, why?


I guess I mimic the real world. There’s darkness, cruelty, and monsters come in the form of people here. But, when acts of kindness happen, we appreciate them so much more; we hold onto those, and remember there are still good people. As Sam in Lord of the Rings put perfectly: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” I want people to understand they can go through the most horrible situations, and still, not only survive through, but live and grow from those experiences because good people are stronger than most give them credit. They’re not victims; they’re fighters. I guess, writing dark stories is a way for me to express my experiences in a certain form; but I always make sure there are moments that are sweet, romantic, and just ‘good old’ positive experiences in life. There needs to be a balance; it’s never just good and bad, and even that isn’t always black and white. (I think I rambled on this question – sorry! lol)


Q: Do you have any writing quirks or unique habits?


Not that I can think of. I outline in notebooks by hand, write in scrivener (though, if I’m not at home, I’ll use my iPad, or work computer, then transfer), and I edit in Word. Those are my ‘steps’, so to speak.



Q: What are some of your favourite books/authors?


I have a lot, but a few of my favourite including (be warned, there are French series in here! *Le Gasp* - please remember I’m francophone lol) Les Héritiers d'Enkidiev and Les Chevaliers d’ Émeraude series by Anne Robillard (there, started with the French ones and got them out of the way lol), Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan, the entire Night Huntress Universe by Jeaniene Frost (especially the Night Prince series *swoons over Vlad*), Bride by Jule Garwood, The Krinar Chronicles series by Anna Zaires, Darkworld series by Emma L. Adams, Wraith Kings series by Grace Draven, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (obviously! lol), Storm and Silence series by Robert Thier, and a lot of mangas I won’t list because it’ll make this all way too long.


Q: What advice do you have for querying writers?

I imagine everyone has heard this before, but don’t send out too many queries at once. A lot of times, you only get one shot, so it sucks to find out the only reason you missed out on a publishing deal was because your query turned them off. So if your query isn’t great, and you send it to fifty different publishers and agents, then you can cross them all off your list, instead of just crossing out maybe five. Also, remember that sometimes, form rejections don’t mean your query is bad, it doesn’t even mean your writing isn’t great; sometimes, it’s just the market. I write paranormal and dark fantasy – trust me, the market was never “good” and I heard that so many times. I have the feeling most of the time, agents/publishers read ‘a paranormal/dark fantasy novel” and didn’t bother with the first few pages. Some awesome publishers and agents still publishing despite the market, but what I’m trying to say is just don’t get discourage. Maybe your book isn’t the right story for right now, but you can always dust it off later and try again.



Here's a little taste of My Soul To Give...

“I am a demon, Celina, and above all else, demons love the hunt.” He smirked when her eyes widened.

“So, you see having sex with someone as a hunt?”

He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “By your expression, I would say you still do not quite understand.”

“It’s your twisted logic.”

Interesting…

“I take my time, stalk my prey first, count the number of breaths she takes, imagine her screams…”
She arched an eyebrow. “That’s not at all creepy.”

Kai ignored her. “I am a creature of infinite time; the world creeps by, yet an intimate moment is so fleeting, it feels as though it is gone in less than a second.” He stopped, expecting an interruption again, but she stayed silent. “The pleasure is heightened by the danger, and in the throes of passion, I could lose my control and revert to the form least likely to be found pleasurable by my … partner?” He lost himself in the images in his mind, pinning down Celina’s body, taking her in a way she would never be able to recreate with a mere mortal man. “Hunting is simple. There is always one in the crowd that stands out—rarely is it the one searching for the one-night stand—no…” Kai locked his eyes with hers and goose bumps rose on her arms and legs. “No, the one unsure of what society wants her to be, the one who is desperate to be loved and appreciated. She is the one I seek.”

“So, social outcasts are your type?”

His eyes pierced her until he could see through her mind again, to all those curious little fantasies.
He smiled. “It’s about finesse, Celina. I listen to her, and as she speaks more confidently, I brush a hand over her skin”—his hand skimmed Celina’s neck as he brushed her back—“just enough so she shivers with anticipation of what my lips would feel like in the same spot.” He delved into Celina’s mind as his words worked against her disdain for him. “Then I caress her in a way she won’t notice, but her subconscious will let her lean into, let her mind take over and her body will beg for more.”
“She’d notice if…” She followed his gaze to his hand on her knee.

“Are you certain?” He’d worked his own body into a sensual frenzy as he’d drawn her into his web.
She stared at him, her cheeks flushing. “I—”

“Eventually, I suggest a night filled with pleasure.” He couldn’t contain his smile as he moved closer. “I keep touching her in small ways—maintaining physical contact at all times.” His hand inched up her side, until he tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She sucked in a breath and he cupped her cheek.


About Magali...

I’m passionate about writing, reading, photo manipulation artwork, animals, anime/manga, video games, the fandom world of TV shows and movies, and stuff like that. I’m a proud Ravenclaw: I’ve always been sorted into this house, but the recent Pottermore sorting placed me in Gryffindor―I don’t care since the Sorting Hat couldn’t consider my choice, so I identify with Ravenclaw, and that’s where I’ll remain!

I have two main hobbies: writing and creating book covers. I’m also a gamer (Diablo, Zelda, Final Fantasy), enjoy listening to music (and always singing along to Disney), have a passion for Japanese culture, and adore reading. I love anime/manga, Japanese Dramas and consider myself a proud fan of many different TV shows including Buffy, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Game of Thrones, Outlander, etc.

I wrote my first story when I was 12 years old (and we’ll never talk about that story), but started writing three years later. Since then, I always write, and this particular novel is my 19th story. It’s always been a dream to be a published author, and I can happily say I’ve reached that goal―I plan on continuing writing and publishing for the rest of my days.

Finder her online...
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Monday, May 29, 2017

Forget Me Not Cover Reveal



You're in for a treat with this novella! I've read it. I know you're totally jealous. 😉 This one made me laugh and cry. She broke my heart, as only Em can do, but stitched it back together. If you liked Blackbird Summer, you'll love this. And if you haven't read Blackbird Summer, what's wrong with you? Get a copy!

Before I show you the cover, here's a little bit about Forget Me Not to get your ready for its release:

Maybe falling for the good guy isn’t so bad?
When Rex Somersby’s family matchmaker sets him up with the famous Evelyn Cadeau, he can’t believe his luck. Evelyn is the woman with the perfect Gift—the woman every man wants—while Rex’s own magical ability leaves much to be desired.  He travels from Missouri to meet his dream girl in her rural Mississippi home, where Evelyn makes it clear that winning her heart won’t be an easy task. Good thing farm-boy Rex has never been afraid of a little hard work.
Evelyn Cadeau is used to getting her way. As the woman with the most powerful Gift, she knows she can have her pick of anyone she wants. And who she wants is slick, handsome, and off-limits Guy McCallister—not gawky, buttoned-up Rex Somersby. Yet, after an arranged date with Rex takes a dramatic turn, leading to a bottle of wine and sneaking to the creek for a late night skinny dip, she realizes there may be more to by-the-rules Rex than meets the eye.  
Just as the young couple start to think their family’s tradition of matchmaking isn’t quite so backward, Rex is drafted to Vietnam. With war threatening to tear them apart, will love be able to save them? Or will it take a bit of magic?


Without further delay, here's the beautiful cover for the upcoming Forget Me Not:

Isn't it wonderful?

When can you get your hands on it? Not until August. BUT, you can pre-order the e-book or a hard copyEm is donating royalties to military charity: Operation Homefront.



Here's a little more about this awesome author:

Em Shotwell is a cancer survivor, foster care advocate, and casual geek. Sometimes she writes books about misfits and the people who love them.

When she’s not frowning at her computer screen, Em enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, or indoors daydreaming and wishing she could play the banjo.

Visit her online at www.EmShotwell.com. She hangs out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EmShotwellAuthor/ where she often hosts giveaways and posts witty memes.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fell On Black Days

I'm heartbroken today.

My husband called at seven this morning to tell me Chris Cornell had passed away. I was still asleep and tried to wrap my groggy mind around the news. As I got my children ready for school, my thoughts raced. I'd actually had "All Night Thing" stuck in my head since five a.m. because I think I had a dream with the song in it.

Now that the children are off to school, it's sinking in. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and all those who loved him.

I don't usually do posts like this, but anyone who knows me understands how much I love Chris Cornell and his music. For me, this isn't just another celebrity passing away, it's like losing a friend. I've been a fan since Soundgarden's early days. Fell On Black Days was my high school theme song (even though it didn't come out until my second last year of high school). When I'm having a rough day, I often put on Cornell's music--Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of The Dog, solo, it doesn't matter--the music helps bring me back to centre. His music has helped bring me back from the edge more than once. I've found inspiration in some of his interviews, especially ones where he's talked about his own creative struggles. I've used many of his songs as soundtracks for my writing.

He's touched my life in many ways and his music has always been there when I've needed it. I'm upset that there will be no more and I won't get to see him perform again.

I saw him with my husband over a year and a half ago. It the the first concert we saw when we decided that we'd go to a concert every year for our anniversary. I was so excited that I didn't sleep for over a week before the show. It was ridiculous how excited I was. I'd blogged about my experience (here) and still wasn't able to fully capture what his show meant to me. And when I woke up to this tweet:


my mind was blown that he'd possibly took the time to read what I'd written. 

He was an amazingly talented singer and songwriter. His words and music helped so many people (I've been reading the Twitter feed all morning). No matter what I write here, it doesn't seem to do justice to the loss I feel.

I hope the initial reports are wrong with the talk of suicide. It's a good reminder to be kind to people. Everyone is struggling with something that you don't know. Sometimes a kind word or gesture is all it takes to lift someone's spirits. Depression is a very dark place, and those who haven't struggled with it will never understand what that pit is like. We all smile and put on our happy faces for the world, but behind those masks some people are having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.

Thank you, Chris, for the amazing memories and music you left us.


Monday, May 1, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 5

This will be the end of the #RWWChallenge I took part in during April. I'd like to thank Round The World Writers for hosting it.

This past week was a little crazy again so I missed posting my answers on Twitter at the end of the week. You can see my other answers for week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4. Below are my answers for this past week.



Day 25 - The best thing about my work in progress (WIP) is that it's fun. I've written a lot of darker stories but this one is a little lighter and fun.

Day 26 - The minor character I love the most is the main character's teenage daughter. She's sassy and allows me to explore the mother-daughter relationship.

Day 27 - This is one I missed on Twitter because my notebook computer wasn't turned on. My opening line at the moment: "Magic sizzled in the tips of my fingers."

Day 28 - My main characters' names weren't inspired by anything. I choose names based on the feel I have for the characters.

Day 29 - Honestly I haven't had much help as far as edits or they story goes yet since no one sees my first draft because it wouldn't make sense to anyone. As always Dea Poirier is my go to person for feedback on ideas. Tamara was helpful with some brainstorming my ending. I also want to give a shout out to the Pitch Wars '16 class for their encouragement and many writing sprints. Writing is not a solitary act.

Day 30 - Pitch my WIP...I'm not quite ready to share that one :)

I hope you've enjoyed the bits I've shared about my latest project. Hopefully it will be ready to pitch soon!

What are you working on right now?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 4

This past week was a busy one as I worked some odd shifts at work then went away for a writing workshop on the weekend. Though I may not have hit everyday on Twitter, I'll fill in the ones I missed on here.

For those who missed this series, I've been doing the #RWWChallenge  put on by Round The World Writers on Twitter. There's a question every day that writers answer about their WIP (works in progress). Here's the list and below, you can find my responses for days 18 to 24.


Day 18 - Three random things that are important to my WIP are: tea, patience, and magic.

Day 19 - I was asked to share an image that inspired this work...I shared two.



Day 20 - The three words to describe my antagonist are: sneaky, young, and deceptive.

Day 21 - See above pictures for two stories that I compare my story to.

Day 22 - My WIP doesn't have a theme song...Maybe Blondie's "One Way or Another" because of the stalking, nothing to do with love. I've been using Collective Soul as my sound track mostly, though that will likely expand as I enter edits.

Day 23 - I haven't deleted any scenes that I love...yet. I'm just embarking on edits.

Day 24 - Who would play the lead if my WIP was a movie...I'm not sure. I haven't given it much thought. I'd love Scarlett Johansson or Keira Knightly because they are both cool.


You can find week 1, week 2, and week 3 of the challenge on my blog.

One more to go! This has been an interesting exercise for sure. Hope you've enjoyed learning more about my work in progress.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 3

I'm a day late posting because this long weekend has me all turned around.

For those of you just seeing this series, I'm taking part in a month long challenge on Twitter by Round The World Writers. Each day I answer a question about my work-in-progress (WIP) on Twitter and on Mondays (usually) I post a roundup of the answers on my blog. Week 1 and Week 2 are available.

So let's get on with Week 3!




Day 11 - My current WIP is contemporary and set in a city. I'm still undetermined as to which city. I worry about marketability if I make it a Canadian one.

Day 12 - No favourite line comes to mind immediately. I do like banter so there is some of that in this WIP. I haven't gotten my hands dirty in edits yet to know the MS (manuscript) well enough to choose a line off the top of my head.

Day 13 - My protagonist's biggest secret is that she's lonely. She's a window and a single mom who believes she's too busy with parenting and work to have a relationship of any sort.

Day 14 - One of the hardest scenes to write is when my protagonist is trapped in a house with someone she's trying to help and they have to fight their way out. I struggled for days with that scene since I just wasn't feeling it. I ended up taking it as far as I could and then wrote, "and they escape." I'll fix it in edits and probably curse my past self for not finishing it.

Day 15 - I don't have a daily word count since I finished the 0 draft of this MS last week. I'm getting ready to embark on edits.

Day 16 - I didn't get around to posting this one on Twitter unfortunately. I'd love for Anne Rice to do a blurb for my book one day. Though I'd be happy if any author took the time to blurb my book.

Day 17 - Planning? I laugh in the face of planning! Not really. Being a pantser, there's not a lot of planning that goes into my 0 drafts. I did make a few notes before starting and kept a document with some thoughts as I wrote.

That's it for this week!