Saturday, December 18, 2010

New & Exciting things planned for 2011

Well it is the end of 2010, a year that for me personally has been filled with its share of ups and downs. Which leads us into the unknown of 2011.

I figured I would start the year off with a new series of blogs for "writer" interviews.

Most of the interviews I've done have been with fellow published authors. But I recall thinking how exciting it would be to finally be published and do interviews. Well who says you have to wait to be published to be interviewed? In my opinion you shouldn't have to.

I think as being part of the writing community that we put too much emphasis on the asking if someone is published, as if them being published gives credibility of some sort. Who cares? This is a creative journey we've all embarked on and I think in the midst of trying to be published and market, market, market, we forget that we were all struggling writers at one point. Hell I still feel I am.I would have killed to have been acknowledged for being a WRITER instead of the upturn of noses when someone realizes that you're not published. Instead of it being "Oh you're only a writer," said with the typical judgmental tone and condescending sneer, why not be like "WOW you're a writer!" Praise and nurture the process instead of always looking for the end result.

Okay sorry, that is my rant for right now ;)

Anyway, I will be doing this starting in January, the first interview will be done with Matt Gannon so stay tuned!

Also if anyone else is interested in being interviewed or perhaps would like to do a guest post on my blog, let me know!

Happy Writing (and Holidays)!

Monday, December 13, 2010

1st Draft Sneak Peek - The Devil's Apprentice

Rough copy of an excerpt of the first draft of the sequel to The Devil's Angel... but I love sharing bits and pieces with you guys so here it is...

I knew this man, somehow even though I couldn’t place him at the moment. I watched with keen eyes as the mere presence of him felt familiar to me and he stepped only a foot out of the shadows. He moved lithely, almost like a cat stalking its prey and I was frozen where I stood amid all the chaos that had just happened around me. 
Liam lay on the ground at my feet and my eyes, hardly able to be taken from the being approaching me, glanced at his lifeless form, my necklace still entwined with his pale fingers. 
“He sleeps, that is all,” the figure spoke from his dark cover and I cocked a brow. 
“You did this?” I looked around at the carnage that laid around us. Various members of the Order lay broken and unmoving, blood soaked the hem of my dress and I could feel the stickiness of it as it coated my barren feet. 
“You had doubts?” he questioned back, still not clear enough from the darkness for me to fully make him out, he head bent as he surveyed his damage. 
“I demand to know who you are and what you have done here!” I growled feeling that inane sense of defense creep up inside of me. 
“Timaeus has very different desires for you than I, we had a slight difference of opinion,” he said softly, almost nonchalantly. 
“Timaeus wants nothing more than to see me dead,” I said flatly. 
“Ah yes, but only because you betrayed him.” 
“I didn’t betray him, I simply didn’t bow and kiss his ass as he wished.” My words brought a chuckle from the figure, one that rippled through the air light soft whispers. 
“Well Timaeus has never been one to let a woman get the better of him, let alone one he is so in love with.” I snorted at his words. 
“And your part in all of this is what, to come here and slaughter them all? Sure, that’ll get on his good side,” I said folding my arms over my chest. 
“No, I came to exert authority in a way Timaeus never could.” I saw a flash of red flame, two eyes staring at me and then his face came into view as he stepped into the light to where I could see him. I couldn’t fight the gasp as I looked at the man before me. 
Nearly six and a half feet tall, his skin was dark almost as if silken mousse encompassed him. He wore a crème suit, impeccable, squared jaw and a slight scar over his left eye. But it was his eyes that drew me to him. His eyes, once calmed turned the shade of honey, amber and fire all at once that seemed to draw you in and swallow you whole. The silver symbols became visible across his forehead as if someone were painting him with silver. They flashed and were gone almost as if I’d imagined they were there in the first place. 
“You’re one of the inceptives!” I exclaimed. 
“Ah, good girl. You’ve done your homework,” he grinned, bright white pearls quite the contrast from his chocolate colored skin. His fangs glinted as he smiled and watched me with a growing curiosity. 
“Y-you… it’s j-just… y-you can’t be…” I stammered, the smile not wavering from his face. 
“Oh, I assure you I can.” He moved, so quick even my eyes couldn’t follow him and I froze as he was mere inches from me. His foot moved and Liam’s lifeless body went flying away as he pulled me to him and inhaled against my neck.  
“What do you want?” I whispered, his hands feeling like burning vices around my arms where they held me and he pulled back to look at me. “Are you here to kill me?” 
“So that is what you believe? Just because no one dares to cross your handler doesn’t mean that they don’t want to.” 
“So this is about Luc?” 
“No, this is about you.”
“What about me?” I glared at him and he didn’t move. 
“You’ve done the research, since you know of the Inceptives, you tell me.” His grin widened. 
“All I know about the inceptives are that they are a myth, told by those within the Order that wish to hang onto a semblance of control. Every law enforcement group of any kind needs a higher power to keep the inmates in check. I thought it was Luc’s job and the Inceptives were the vampires version of a bedtime story.” 
“Yes and no. We are very real, I am the first. Conrad Gauthier, the creator,” he leaned in as he spoke and inhaled again against my neck causing me to stiffen.  “Lucifer has failed to keep his subjects fearful of him, mainly because he has fallen to the whim of a woman.” His smirk was knowing, as if he had a secret he wished to tell, but was having too much fun toying with me. 
“So…” his voice drawled out with a sigh. “Lucifer has failed and now it is time for me to keep a better eye on my investments.” He moved, his hand gripping my abdomen and searing pain riddled me causing me to scream in agony. I was dropped to the floor as he moved away from me and I stumbled on all fours trying to catch my breath. 
He stopped long enough to look at me, his mouth opening and the words he spoke were Latin, words I had heard before but didn’t recognize their significance. 
“You have been marked. The eve of the awakening I shall return and claim what is mine.” He vanished as silver fog that materialized and then disappeared like it had never been there. I struggled to my feet and made my way through the hall to the study. My eyes scanned the books upon the shelves and I started towards one case pulling several books down flipping through their aged pages. 
“DEVRYNNE!” Ava shrieked but it didn’t deter me. I could feel her searching for me and heard the door to the study slam open as she entered, her heart racing in the confines of her slender chest. “What happened?” she asked frantically coming to me, and I shrugged out of her hold collapsing to the ground with the book in my lap. 
“And so it is written, the downfall of the King was found to be not the one of his affections, but the birth of his affection’s love for another. Through the Awakening of her soul, so it shall be set in motion. The end begins like a burning fury…” my voice trailed off as I looked up at Ava finally realizing what Conrad has said as he spoke before he left.  “As the blood of an Angel shall be sacrificed by the blood of the damned.” 
“What does that mean? What happened Dev, what’s going on?” Ava asked looking at me with panic in her eyes. 
“It means I think I have bigger problems than Luc.” 

Wanna read more? Check out the first book in the Devrynne Kaine series, The Devil's Angel:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Interview with Grey Dogs Author, Ian Sandusky

While I’m on an interviewing streak of sorts, I figured it was time to do another. This time I had the pleasure of sitting down with Grey Dogs author Ian Sandusky. I was able to pick his brain about his writing, his process and also about his book.

SDA: Tell us about your book, Grey Dogs.
IS: The short synopsis of the book is ‘When a vicious illness rips across Southern Ontario like wildfire, Carey Cardinal must confront his past or fall victim to the rabid infected tearing with their broken teeth at anything in their path.

SDA: How did it come to you?
IS: On the wings of angels. No, not really. Over the course of slogging through bad memories - some real, some invented - mixed with a healthy dash of inspiration from works I previously loved reading.

SDA: I love how the best stories just kind of happen like that. Tell me why this story was important for you to tell?
IS: Some stories are important to tell, others are created to entertain - and I think this falls somewhere in between. I don't think I can be as pompous as to think the world would be seriously deprived of quality literature without GREY DOGS, but I think the whole story of striving to overcome something much larger than yourself despite your past transgressions may strike a chord in more people than not.

SDA: I know I’m jumping around but going back to the beginning, what led you to be a writer?
IS: In honesty, the lack at the time of the kind of horror fiction I wanted to read. After one night and a few glasses of wine, the decision to write what I wanted to read myself hit me in the head like a ton of bricks, and I haven't been able to stop since.

SDA: It kind of happened the same way for me as well. Once you decided to write, what do you feel was the hardest part of writing a book?
IS: Editing. I don't know how some people can love it. The last thing I want to do is carve apart my glorious mind-child after I just reared it to adulthood, only to stitch it back together into something resembling Frankenstein's monster on crack. Let's just say my red pens often don't get the workout they should.

SDA: What was the longest part of the process, writing the book or publishing?
IS: Publishing, by far. I actually wrote GREY DOGS over the span of approximately ten weeks, but the publishing process from acceptance to release on Oct. 31st took about six months - but even then, that's pretty fast for print publishing. Apparently chasing down good, solid cover-art is a big part of the battle, but the wait was well worth it.

SDA: That being said, what was the deciding factor for publishing how you chose to?
IS: Print publishing was the only way I wanted to go. Call me old school, but I just spent countless hours working on a digital copy of the book - the last thing I wanted was to see another digital copy. ePublishing is a great thing, but my goal was to have my story bound in paper.

SDA: So now that you’ve finally done it, what was the most gratifying moment of writing the book?
IS: Scrawling "END" at the bottom of the first manuscript. No matter how badly in need of editing it was, it was finished. I had set out to write a book, and I finished. I didn't care what anyone thought of it - getting it finished after weeks of work was more rewarding than anything I had done to that point.

SDA: Well the whole thing is a pretty great accomplishment overall. That being said though, if you could change anything about your publishing/writing experience this far, what would it be any why?
IS: If I could change one thing, I would have pushed to get an agent a little more when I was first offered a contract for GREY DOGS, rather than panicking and signing more or less right away. That was a pivotal moment, and I likely could have cashed in on it by gaining representation - but hell, that battle wages on for everyone in my shoes.

SDA: Do you infuse characteristics of people you know or yourself in your characters?
IS: Of course, I think that every writer does it, whether it be conscious or unconscious. People write about what they know, and everyone has at least witnessed some form of the human condition interesting enough to write about. Just make sure you leave the names out - nobody likes a lawsuit!

SDA: Well now let’s talk about other influences. Who has been your biggest creative influence?
IS: Other writers, who's stories I hear via forums, Twitter, blogs, and the like. The schools I've attended and the cities I've grown up in have all had at the very least small groups dedicated to artistic pursuits, but for whatever reason I've never really connected with them. Reading the success stories of other writers making their dreams into reality is what makes me want to sit down and churn up some ideas of my own.

SDA: Who has been your worst critic?
IS:Myself. Without a doubt, but I don't think that's unusual. I think I'm still in shock anyone wanted to invest in what I threw on the page, if you catch my drift.

SDA: Well what is this worst critic’s writing process, meaning do you have a certain setting you have to be in to write?
IS: I brood in the dark confines of my oak-panelled library as a crow perches on a stained bust of a Roman senator while the rain splatters the stained-glass windows. Since I lost that place in a poker game, I usually just have to sit down, push away the distractions, and get down to it. Any setting is a good setting in which to write, provided you can get a steady, uninterrupted flow going for a substantial length of time.

SDA: Speaking also of critics, if someone gave you a less than stellar review of any of your work on a public forum, would you respond, and if so how?
IS: Likely? No. I've seen too many authors ruin their reputations defending their works in flame wars on review sites. At the end of the day, someone isn't going to like your work. Responding to one only shows you're willing to argue with anyone, and that usually doesn't turn out too gracefully. If anything, I would thank them for their honesty, and hope they would reconsider something else of mine in the future.

SDA: I'm testing a few theories about writers and would value your input on it...Do you consider yourself a procrastinator?
IS: A hundred times yes. I would find translating the Bible into Klingon interesting, if I had a paper due the next day.

SDA: Have you ever struggled with writer's block?
IS: Every day, to some degree or another. I've never been so blocked that even a few words erk out though - that would be a sad, frustrating day.

SDA: Also, do you feel that writers are all in some way deep down masochists at heart?
IS: To some degree - who else would willingly put their thoughts on the page? Someone's bound to tear it apart - that's just reality. Beats staying silent, though.

SDA: I will close with this. You did it, wrote a book start to finish, got it published, so have I. That being said what do you think is the biggest thing holding most writers back from becoming authors? IS: Commitment. I know, I know - everyone says it, but 'writer's write.' What they often forget to tack on is 'often.' Anyone can hammer down a few words, but an author is someone who commits themselves to a manuscript and finishes the bloody thing. It isn't pleasant, and it certainly isn't glamorous, but you can't pitch a half-completed work.

Thanks again Ian for the chance to get a glimpse inside your world. It was much appreciated. If you would like to check out more about Ian Sandusky or his novel Grey Dogs, check out his website:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Official


I am officially published.

The book is available in print now and even though it's finalized, I am not sure it has really sunk into me yet. I know that this is epic in the grand scale of my life, but I also know it is just the beginning!

Smashwords Version

Buy it in Print

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bring On The Pain

You’ve written a book. If you’re neurotic like me, you stress and worry over every inane detail of the book. I spent almost as much time formatting and tweaking things that no one else will probably give a damn about, just because it was aesthetically pleasing to me.

And yet here I am, about to do it all again. *sighs*

But let’s face it, we’re all drama-queens, or kings depending, and we fuss and whine over how trying this process is, and yet we do it again. Why? Because we actually enjoy it. We are entertainers and we feel that we must suffer for our art. This is true, but I think the lot of us are masochists. We enjoy the pain.

Now you can say I’m crazy but let’s discuss this…

Definition of Masochist: someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment.

So we beat ourselves senseless writing a book. We miss out on time with family and friends, time spent doing any number of other things. We agonize over the details of the story and beat ourselves up over the smallest of creative details such as delivery of dialogue or a scene not playing out right. We cause ourselves countless hours of migraines and stress and in some cases borderline panic attacks on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We suffer from self-inflicted writer’s block (sorry people, it is self-inflicted) which only makes us more stressed. We finally finish the book only to go through it with a fine tooth comb and peel out pieces of our finished product which pains us like ripping a bandaid off a wound repeatedly. This is all done to only spend even more time editing and re-writing, doing the whole process in pieces over again.

Then, depending on how you decide to publish…

Indie- you agonize all alone in your creative world, fine-tuning every detail because you feel the crazy need to prove your product is just as good as any mainstream published work. Because you have all the loudmouths that tell you that you are a failure and not a real writer because you chose to self publish…
Or you can go with traditional and you send query after query after query, only to receive some piss poor rejection letter (if you even get word back at all). And on the off chance you do get accepted, then you have to fine tune it how the publisher wants etc.

Then you’re published… whichever way you chose to go with, you did it. All that agony is worse than childbirth and lasts a hell of a lot longer…

So you’re sitting there, satisfied with yourself and smiling subtle grins to yourself every time you think about it because guess what? You’re no longer a ‘writer’ you are officially an author now. It’s done, it’s over, it’s behind you… live it up and enjoy the wonderfulness of being accomplished.

And then you get that itch… that gnawing inside of you…

And you start all over again!

So you tell me, how are you not a masochist? ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Guest Blog by A.R. Braun

You've busted your ass to write the best novel you could. You've spent countless hours in critique groups slaving over others' stories. You've revised via the crits they wrote you and paid too much money for a professional website. You've poured over countless grammar books and read like a fiend until you think you'll lose your mind, trying to learn from the greats. You've blogged even though you had nothing to say. Shit, you've reached inside and found something to say. You've worked your butt off getting accepted in pro-paying short story magazines, anthologies, and even free e-zines. You might have also written a chapter in an instruction book. You worried at your WIP so there wouldn't be one error that would make an agent reject you. You added a bunch of people to your website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook, trying to build an author platform. You've read agent blogs and got involved in the Absolute Write forums. And still an agent doesn't care. Is all lost?

Not anymore. Gone are the days when if an author doesn't find an agent, the author won't make any money. Thanks to the Amazon Kindle, writers can now sign with Amazon and find themselves in a profitable venture, cutting out the middleman. You'll still need an online presence and luck, but why not? That's the way it is with anything.

How many good writers are passed up by the major houses because someone's latte wasn't hot enough, I wonder?

Complaints keep coming in about the e-reader. Writers and readers alike claim they love the smell of paper, but I doubt many people are sticking their noses in a paper book. It is great to have a high-quality color cover. Yet soon, e-readers are going to solve that problem, too. I still love my paper books, but I'm not sniffing 'em. Hey, I smell (get it?) a new generation of huffers! The book sniffers!

Here we are in the most exciting year for authors to ever come our way. Let's face it, the old publishing model doesn't always work--except for King and Koontz and a few others--so out with the old and in with the new. Revel in this, writers. I'm not saying to forget trying to get an agent. That's what I'm doing. Just know that if you don't, this no longer spells DOOM.

I owe a debt of gratitude to J. A. Konrath's blog for the information in this post:

A.R. Braun is a horror writer who has just finished his debut novel. You can connect with him on his blog or on his website:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Get Off Your Butt and Do It Already!

Like the title implies, this isn’t so much of a kiss and make it better blog as it is perhaps the kick in the ass you may be looking for.

I know when I started writing almost 8 years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever get to the point I’m at now. I thought, “Well this is fun, let’s just have fun.” I should have listened then to people that were pushing me to do something with it. My cop-out then was that it would become a job and lose its level of fun for me. It was a cop-out that I used for 7 years.

I got into online writing groups, storytelling etc., it was a lot of fun. The constant feedback that I got was a huge ego boost, as well as gave me the instant gratification that I needed. This became another cop-out for me. That publishing my work didn’t give me the immediate feedback I got from online writing and I wouldn’t stick with it without it.

You want to know what the turning point was?

Seeing a man that I had watched grow from what I’ll affectionately call a multi-para writer (only him and perhaps a select few others will know what I mean) into a published author. And the kicker was that his book was readable! Imagine my surprise at how quickly once he put his mind to it that it became a reality. That kind of was a high power’s way of slapping me in the face and going, “See what you’re missing?”

So I was happy for him, but at the same time I was pissed off at myself. Pissed for allowing my fear and inane sense of incapableness hold me back from doing what I genuinely love doing.

I also listened to the supposed experts tell me that your first novel is going to suck, that it may never get published. That you should write your book start to finish and then delete the whole thing and start over. I have a middle finger just itching to fly high for those experts. My driving need to always prove people wrong was also the kick in the ass I needed.

My point is this: You HAVE to want it. No amount of reading the how-to guides will aim you in any direction other than that. Your mom can’t want it for you, your dad, your minister, your kids, your family, your friends. YOU. HAVE. TO. WANT. IT!

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Personal Musings - Ego Boosters

I did it!

I finished a novel and it is finally published! In e-book at least. Print copies available hopefully by December 1st but still.

I swear… there is so much to say and I really don’t want to bore anyone with it. So I decided to write this blog, and try not to ramble (too much).

I’ve heard people say a lot of different things about creativity and what it can achieve in your life, but none of it rang true until now, so allow me to give you some insight…

Me: a little over a year ago

I was divorced, dealing with a very nasty custody battle, got to see my daughters an accumulated 12 weeks a year because they lived in another state.
Dating a man who I loved but because of my own struggles personally put a massive strain on our relationship.
Working at a job that while it wasn’t a chosen field, I was good at, but every little thing drove me insane about the injustices of the world.
Felt like an overall failure to be 28 years old and starting over from scratch with very little to show for in almost 3 decades of life.
Did online hobby writing and used the crutch of lacking follow-through and ambition to ever do a book. Allowed people to tell me that the stuff I wrote would never be able to be published because it was child’s play.
Self-esteem was non-existent due to the fact that I allowed myself to be a doormat to most of the people in my life because I was afraid of speaking up for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

Me: Now

Still divorced but guess who has physical custody of her daughters now? :D
Hopelessly in love with a man who treats me like a princess, and is willing to put up with my neurotic side.
Still working at a job that I am still good at, and yes things still annoy the crap out of me, but I’ve come to terms with it.
Feels like I can take on the world now because guess what? I’m a published author.
Ambition played a very minor role in this process for me personally. It was finally being fed up enough of being told I never will and wanting to shove it in a few peoples faces that hey guess what? I’m published!
Don’t care so much about hurting feelings because I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I claim to be.

So that is my happy dance for this evening… sorry if I rambled! xoxox

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Interview with Lucifera's Pet author M.T. Murphy


I recently interviewed fellow author M.T. Murphy and had the pleasure of learning more about the man behind the creative genius of Lucifera’s Pet, his debut novel.

SDA: So do tell, how did this story come to you?

MTM: I enjoyed reading the Anita Blake books with all the vampire and werewolf story lines, but I never liked the main character. I read a few more "urban fantasy" books back before the genre had a name, but nothing captured my interest. I always wanted to read a story from a werewolf's point of view. I think I may have watched "Teen Wolf" a few too many times as a kid.
I also have always been partial to the villains and anti-heroes. Darth Vader, the Joker, and Angelus from the Buffy series are some of my favorites. I greatly enjoy any stories that give a glimpse into their side of the story.
I was also intrigued by the idea of a Romeo and Juliette type pairing of a werewolf and vampire. Instead of escaping or committing suicide when faced with being torn apart, this pair would proceed to kill anybody who got in their way. That is the story I wanted to capture. You know, a sweet little tale. ;)

SDA: HAHA! Do you find that to be a problem for you when reading what is now considered mainstream fiction? Meaning I know I have a lot of problems reading books nowadays because I get pissed at the writer for things they do to the story or the character.

MTM: I don't get to read nearly as much as I would like to these days. When I do sit down to read, I have usually gone through reviews and either read a sample of a book electronically or in a book store or am reading based on a recommendation from a friend. If I am not enjoying a book, I will give it a few chapters to see if it captures my interest. If it doesn't, I drop it like a bad habit.
It is usually apparent how an author is going to treat their characters from the beginning. To answer your question, I guess I have become a bit of a snob when it comes to my reading. I think my biggest pet peeve is when an author sees a popular book/genre and shapes a character specifically to cater to what's hot at the moment. It shows through in the writing and usually makes for a tedious reading experience.

SDA: Something that I get teased about is the types of things I write. As a horror writer has any of your friends or family expressed fear or apprehension over your mental state?

MTM: Ha! No more or less than before I started writing. Everyone has something they consider taboo. Few people admit that they actually find those taboo subjects to be fascinating. I dream up and write about disturbing things so those people can read about them in private. If they point and whisper about me afterward, I'm okay with that as long as they actually read it.

SDA: That’s a good thing to talk about! Why do you supposed vampires and werewolves are considered so taboo? I mean I know why it is in my world because of how I was raised, but in society especially one that is so politically correct about everything you would think it wouldn’t still be that big of an issue.

MTM: Sex has always been a taboo subject to a degree, and vampires are sex. They taste other beings, penetrate them with their fangs, and derive great pleasure from doing so.
We in the US and UK live in a primarily Judeo-Christian society. The belief in a benevolent higher power and a malevolent adversary is widespread. Vampires and werewolves as bringers of death and destruction are commonly associated with that malevolent side of the coin. If there is one thing society as a whole can get behind, it's hating the bad guys.

SDA: Well okay then, in writing characters that are ultimately villains in most aspects, how hard was it to give them redeeming qualities to make a reader actually care for them?

MTM: It was actually easier than you might think. The key is to remember that there are no absolutes. It's like Yin and Yang: even the most heinous villain must have at least some good and the most virtuous hero must have a little darkness. Once you establish a character as a villain, they are often a single heroic act away from gaining the reader's sympathy. Sure we hate the bad guy, but we want to believe that he or she can change. If you give someone even a hint of good in an evil character, their need to see the best in people kicks in and a connection is made.
I have mentioned it before, but the book title "Save the Cat" pretty much sums it up. When the villain goes out on that limb to save Mr. Fluffykins, readers find themselves rooting for a character they could have hated two pages earlier.
By the way, "Save the Cat" is a screenwriting book by the late Blake Snyder in which he addresses this issue and many others. It is a fantastic guide, not just for screenwriting, but storytelling in general.

SDA: Yea the love/hate relationships in your book I loved which brings me to something else I was wondering. Do you think all of your characters have traits that are yours or are they all figments of your imagination?

MTM: It's a little bit of both. My characters are an amalgamation of my thoughts on certain character types and various people I have known or known of. First I design a character, giving it a physical description, personality profile, and a rough history. I also try to add at least two or three quirks that will make them memorable. Once all that is in place I put myself into their head and try to react to the story as realistically as possible from their point of view.
It's very similar to putting on a Frankenstein's Monster mask and acting the part: walking stiff-legged, groaning and growling, etc. I set the character up rationally, then throw rational thought out the window and see where it goes.
But, whenever you see one of my characters being a total smartass, that's me.

SDA: I recently did an interview with someone who told me their biggest goal in the book they just wrote was to make the reader cry. Did you have any goals like that?

MTM: My biggest goal in everything I write is to entertain. I want the reader to experience what my characters are going through and feel like their time was well spent. By the end of my novel, I want the reader to care about the protagonists but still be at least a little apprehensive. Hopefully they will have an uneasy sense of "like" peppered with some fear over what they will do next.

SDA: I feel I have known the characters in your book, at least Lucy and Mickey, for some time now but what was the most important thing about them for you to convey to the readers and why?

MTM: We should mention that we were part of an amazing writing group started by you and another upcoming author. If the others who wrote with us haven't already written novels of their own by now, they should get their asses into gear. That is where S.D. and I were each introduced to the other's characters. (SDA: Nice shout out MTM to the wonderful writers we know!)

In Lucifera's Pet, the characters are seemingly at the end of their character arcs at the beginning of the book. We find them in modern day Los Angeles as a ruthless vampire and savage killer werewolf. They both started out their lives as normal people with good hearts and the best intentions. I wanted to show their transformation and leave the reader with the sense that, even though they became monsters, they managed to hang on to a little bit of their humanity in each other.

SDA: Were there any subtleties you threw into the story that was more for your benefit that may have gone over a reader’s head?

MTM: I purposefully left in dozens of "Easter eggs" that will come into play in later stories. I also left two big story threads open. One of them, the fate of newly-turned werewolf Lily, is addressed in the Werewolf Gunslinger short stories and my upcoming novella. The other is a central theme in the follow-up novel to Lucifera's Pet. There are tons more, but I will be more fun to let them come out as I publish more in the future. Plus it will give people a reason to go back and look through Lucifera's Pet again.

SDA: What was the hardest thing about writing a book?

MTM: Time management and motivation. Telling the story was the easy part. I researched as much as I could about novel structure before I started and found that a typical 300 page novel weighed in at around 90,000 words. That's a pretty daunting number when you think about it. I set a monthly goal of 10,000 words and broke it down to 500 per day.
For the first two months, I didn't come close to meeting my goal. Then, my dad passed away two weeks before Christmas in 2008. Needless to say, the book was no longer a priority. I didn't even think about it for a month while we took care of things and spent the holidays with mom. Dad had been an avid reader. He got me into reading when I was a kid and definitely played a part in my decision to start writing. I was really disappointed that I didn't even tell him I had started a book.
Sometime in late January, I decided to start back and finish it. I took two days and wrote out a detailed outline for every chapter I had planned. Then, everything clicked. I started blowing past my 500 word daily goals. Some weeks I would put out 10,000 to 12,000 words. If you are a full-time writer, this is par for the course. If, however, you write from 11:00PM to 1:00AM while working 45-50 hours at a non-writing job and trying to be a good parent in the few hours in between, that is a decent chunk of words.
Having that outline hanging over my head and the idea that I could dedicate the book to dad were the two things that gave me the drive to get the book done.

SDA: How did you find the time to write a full novel while balancing family and a full time job?

MTM: Well, I average about 4.5 hours of sleep a night. Does that answer your question? ;)

Honestly, I write whenever I can. Usually it is after the kids are in bed. The trick is to set a realistic goal and stick to it. I tried to write at least 500 words a day when I was writing Lucifera's Pet. Some days I wrote 25 words. Other days I wrote 3,000.
My perfect situation was me, my laptop, and a dark, quiet room--which is why I was able to write a good bit in the wee hours each night. I scrawled on post-it notes and shoved them in my pocket when I was at the office and an idea hit. I still keep a half dozen notebooks in my car and strewn throughout the house to capture stray bits of scenes that pop into my head. When you have limited time to write, you learn to improvise. I would describe my technique as "guerrilla writing," because ideas often ambushed me and I had to be able to take them down with whatever I had handy.

SDA: Geurrilla writing? HAHA! Care to explain that or do you have a writing process you have to follow, or a particular way that makes it easier?

MTM: I usually brainstorm to come up with the general theme for a story. Then I plan out the opening scene and a rough idea for the ending. Once that is in place, I create a very basic outline. I never have to wonder where to go after a scene because I already have it mapped. Sometimes the story changes, but I just alter the outline and pick right back up. I do not have time for so-called "writer's block," so this is one of my ways to avoid it.

SDA: HAHA! Nice to see someone else refers to writer’s block as “so-called”, I take it you’ve never experienced problems with it, but have you ever had anything come close, if so, how did you overcome?

MTM: I kept hearing friends and other writers talk about "burn out" and "writer's block." I never understood how they could suddenly wake up and not be able to put words on paper. Then one day I woke up with that feeling. After scouring the internet for resources on overcoming these things, the advice on how to "cure" them was always the same: start writing again. It sounds silly, but writing just one random sentence will often trigger another, and another, and POW: no more writer's block.
I don't think there is some invisible force that blocks ideas nor do I believe in some ethereal creature that whispers ideas into the ears of artists. In my case, the reality was that I just didn't want to write at that time. Once I rediscovered the desire, the words came.
Now, I picture writing apathy as a grungy leprechaun sitting on my shoulder burning me with his cigar. When he comes around and I'm trying to write, I kick him in his gnarly leprechaun coin purse and write while he rolls on the floor.

I hate leprechauns.

SDA: So I take it Lucky Charms isn’t your favorite cereal hehehe. If you had to pick a theme song for your book what would it be and why?

MTM: A Long Way Back From Hell by Danzig. It is bluesy, gritty, and full of dark imagery, much like the book. I'll see if I can get Hollywood to play that over the ending credits when they wise up and turn it into a big budget blockbuster film.

SDA: Who has been your biggest creative inspiration?

MTM: There are many writers who have specific traits I admire: The creativity of Neil Gaiman. The humor of Douglas Adams. Anne Rice's ability to tell a compelling story in first person. Laurell K. Hamilton's world-building. Stephanie Meyer's ability to connect with her audience. (Yes, I just said something nice about Twilight. Let's not dwell on it.)
Recently I have fallen in love with Martin Millar's Lonely Werewolf Girl. He shows that good storytelling does not have to follow the rules.

SDA: Very good choices but you do realize you’ve complimented Twilight for the world to see right? On the flip side of the last question, who has been your worst critic?

MTM: I am both my own biggest fan and my own worst critic. I write the stories I have always wanted to read but I can never read my work without finding something that could have been expressed a better way.

SDA: Well with inspiration and critics let’s talk about support groups. I find as a writer, my support group is more of an online following than people in my everyday life. Do you have a support group that you call on and what is it about them that helps you?

MTM: Well, you have definitely been a huge help to me from the beginning. I have several writers and friends online who have helped me immensely as well. My offline friends and coworkers are aware of my writing, but few have read any of my work. That's okay with me. Most of them are not fans of the horror/urban fantasy genre anyway.
Even if you have a hundred people who are supportive and offer great advice, in the end, a writer must be his or her own support group.

It's kind of like being Spiderman, only with a pen instead of webs.

And no super powers.

And no groupies unless you're Ray Bradbury.

Okay, maybe it's nothing like being Spiderman but I always wanted to make that comparison.

SDA: Should have known you’d throw comics into it somewhere! HAHAHA! I hear a lot of people complain about an issue of their favorite serial or whatever and get appalled at the writer for something. What do you feel is the cardinal sin for authors, one they should never commit?

MTM: I believe the worst thing an author can do is bore the reader. We have to remember that, just because we care about every minuscule detail of our character's lives, that doesn't mean we need to put every sigh, smile, and nod of the head to paper. I am one of the worst offenders when it comes to this. That's why I could never even consider publishing anything without a good editor.

SDA: Speaking of publishing, why did you choose to self-publish?

MTM: I purposefully broke many rules of traditional books: villains as main characters, first person POV, multiple POV's, extended flashbacks, etc. Unless someone was willing to totally go against the grain, my chances of jumping out of the "slush pile" (a term I loathe) were less than slim. I started researching traditional publishing and learned, much to my naive dismay, that most authors control very little about their finished product, including the timing of a book's release and the overall appearance and formatting. That was a bitter pill for a control freak like myself.
Once I realized that self publishing via a print-on-demand company was a viable alternative cost-wise, I decided to go that route. It thrilled me to be able to work with an artist to design an unorthodox cover that I loved and find my own editor who helped me tell the story I wanted to tell. For the record, any formatting or typographical errors in the book were due to my hasty last-minute self-edits and failure to let my editor give it a final pass. Lesson learned.
At its core, self-publishing means taking all the credit for yourself when you succeed and accepting the blame if you fail.

SDA: So if a big time NY publisher came to you with a deal, what would it have to include for you to agree?

MTM: I would want a fairly high level of control over the finished product as well as ownership of the electronic rights. I would also want to be able to publish a book as quickly as possible after it is finished rather than waiting for a certain time of year or trying to time the release to compete with some other new book.

SDA: You have also published a short story/novella series, tell me about that?

MTM: My dad was a big L'ouis L'amour western fan. He owned all 100+ of L'amour's books and read them dozens of times. Without giving too much away, I introduced a character in Lucifera's Pet who became a werewolf in the 1700s but purposefully left off what became of the character after that. Just for fun, I decided to follow that character's adventures in the late 1800s American West. Thus, the Werewolf Gunslinger short stories were born. I have published two stories in the series so far and released them for free via Smashwords.
I am currently working on a novella set in the same time period. It started as a third Werewolf Gunslinger story, but has grown much bigger. I am dropping "Werewolf Gunslinger" from the title and calling it "All Hallows."
As a nod to one of my favorite books, A Night in the Lonesome October, the novella will have some Lovecraftian themes as well as an original drawing of one of the memorable scenes for each chapter. The cast of characters will be massive for a novella: zombie gunfighters, werewolves, vampires, angels, demons, sorcerers, seers, and even a certain lumbering man-made monster introduced in the second Werewolf Gunslinger story. I have had a ton of fun working on the novella and I can't wait for readers to see it.

SDA:I would like to thank M.T. Murphy for taking the time to spend with me and do this interview process. I recently told another author that if I wasn’t going to write I would probably go into reporting just to interview people.

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Murphy or his book Lucifera’s Pet, please check out the awesome clicky links below:

Smashwords (Free eBooks):

You can also purchase your copy of Lucifera’s Pet at Amazon:

Friday, October 29, 2010

REVIEW - Lucifera's Pet by M.T. Murphy

Okay so I’ve said it before, I’m a slacker. I read it and posted a blog about it but it was more to Mike… er… um… M.T. (sorry it’s habit) and bowing to his greatness. And upon reviewing a few others, I realized I have yet to review his book on my blog…

This will be followed up with a blog interview with none other than M.T. Murphy… Get excited.

So here goes…

In a world of vampires and werewolves that has descended onto pop culture of today… aren’t you the slightest bit sick of sparkly vampires with stupid, shiny Volvo’s, and werewolves that aren’t menacing at all but more or less overgrown Chihuahuas? Trust me this isn’t your kids Twilight style vampire story. Trust me when I tell you that this isn’t the Anne Rice or Anita Blake story you’re looking for either.

But instead of jumping on the bandwagon of what the media and publishers shovel down your throats of how the villains are supposed to be, why don’t you pick up a story where you know you feel bad for actually kind of liking the villains?

I could give you the backstory, leave you with an excerpt from the back cover, but it wouldn’t come close to explaining the connection between the lead vampire, Lucifera, or her furry companion Mickey. This story is told from multiple points of view, and will leaving you both loving and hating them. But through it all you will understand them and connect with them no matter what you feel about ‘bad guys’ or girls in this case.

Have you ever wanted to dissect a villain and find out what made them evil? What if while uncovering the ins and outs of what made them the evil, you realize that society as a whole is only a few bad situations away from being evil themselves? This story is done in such a way that you go into it knowing that you should loathe the lead characters. They are evil. They are people you probably wouldn’t look in the eye if you ran into them somewhere. But through it all, learning about their lives and how they came to be, you find yourself rooting for them like they are the underdogs, and I guess in a sense they are.

And imagine my surprise when I read this to find what I expected to be a lot of blood and guts and despicable menacing creatures that I see a beautiful love story between two characters that are damned from the jump?

I cannot recommend this book enough, to the vampire/werewolf enthusiast in a lot of us, you will not be disappointed. And even for those of you that aren’t. My stepmother has read this and loved it as well, and she is not the vamp-obsessed type such as myself.

Well done Mr. Murphy, hats off to you. Get cracking on more… I can’t wait to see what happens next!

M.T. Murphy is the author of Lucifera’s Pet, a violent and sexy dark fiction tale of werewolves and vampires. If you have ever wondered what goes on in the twisted head of a dark fiction writer, here is your chance to find out.

Smashwords (Free eBooks):

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guest Blog by Chris Kelly - My Mum Hates My Book


She doesn’t, but I had to call this post something. In fairness, it wasn’t a complete lie. I know her tastes fairly thoroughly, and if she ever read my book, she’d hate it. Now don’t get me wrong, she’d be happy I wrote a book, but vampires... steam-powered Iron Man-like power-suits... assassination plots?

She prefers books about people beating cancer, or people not beating cancer sometimes. I don’t write what she reads, and I reckon I’d rather never read again than read what she reads. We’re different people, at different stages in our lives, with different tastes and desires, dreams and hopes. So it’s not completely ridiculous to say “my mum hates my book.”

But that doesn’t mean my book is shit, either. Samantha recently blogged a review on my book, and it seems like she enjoyed it. Other people have tweeted that they couldn’t put it down. So does that mean it’s good?

Well, no, because it is never as simple as that. Taste is subjective. People like different things, and different things are good for different people.

I read a post recently on Zoe Winter’s blog ( ) about a writer worrying her mum would read her sex scenes. It’s not something I’ve ever worried about. And not just because my mum won’t read my books.

Okay, my next novel (Nasty Foul-Smelling Mean-Spirited Ugly Little Goblinses is the next one I’ll write. If all goes well I’m hoping for a pre-Christmas release. I’ve just started the planning. You can follow my journey on the blog I set up just for this, Goblins {}) won’t have sex in it either, but it will have lots of sex talk, jokes and innuendo. This is a Young Adult book, incidentally.

My current book, Matilda Raleigh: Invictus, might alienate readers. It’s steampunk in the setting, some characters, but the plot is more historic urban fantasy, and the main character and the pacing and the sheer number of fight scenes are sword and sorcery. It’s fast, it’s exciting, it’s deadly. When I was writing it I could have worried about steampunkers hating the S&S elements, or vice versa, but I didn’t.

You have to shut those voices out when you write. Especially if you’re an indie. See, if I submitted Invictus to a traditional publisher I know they’d have wanted me to change it. How would depend on the editor, but some would say it was too steampunky, and others would say it wasn’t steampunky enough. It’s because, by combining two genres I have essentially created a new, third genre (I call it steam and sorcery, by the way).

Because I’m an indie I don’t have to fit an editor’s view of what is marketable. Marketable, in traditional publishing, means what there is already a market for. There’s a market for steampunk, and Cherie Priest does very well. There’s a market for sword and sorcery, and Conan still sells well. But there’s a market for indie books, and that market consists of people looking for something that hasn’t been done before. That market is people who are looking for books that are a little (or a lot) different.

That’s the market for steam and sorcery. That’s the market for YA stories about good but ugly goblins and a sex mad princess trapped in the body of a 3 ft high Barbie fighting an evil child-stealing Santa (my next book; I’m super-excited). It’s the market for Invictus ( If you’re in that market, take a chance on the world’s debut steam and sorcery novel, and if the genre explodes, you’ll be able to say you read it before it was cool.

If you’re writing to that market, do something weird and cool, shut out the voices that tell you no one will buy it, and write what you love. Because with six billion plus people in the world, someone will buy your book.

Chris Kelly’s debut novel, Matilda Raleigh: Invictus, has recently been released on Smashwords, and will be heading out to most other retailer’s soon. A steampunk/sword and sorcery cross about a 72 year old woman reluctantly having to save the British Empire again, it has been reviewed on this blog in the post just before this one. LOL. He lives in Scotland with his wife and three daughters and has never killed anyone. Honestly.

Follow him on Twitter:!/IndieChris

Stalk him on Facebook:

Browse his blog and search his site or just skip to the exciting bit, and buy his book

Thanks, Samantha, for letting me torture your readers today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

REVIEW - Matilda Raleigh: Invictus by Chris Kelly


Everyone knows old people are senile. Okay sorry, I’m not being very politically correct. Senior citizens. Better? Haha.

The reason I say this is because I recently read a book by up and coming author, Chris Kelly. Matilda Raleigh: Invictus is a tale of a woman who is far past her prime, quite literally on her death bed, but afraid to give up the fight and succumb to her own mortality. Oh and did I mention she talks to herself? Okay well not really herself, to a demon tied to a pair of percussion revolvers. So I’ll say it again, seniors are senile...

Seventy-two Matilda Raleigh strikes me as a woman that has had a hard life and is now staring death in the face. This tale is told from an era where women were supposed to be prim and proper and Matilda doesn’t seem to fit that criteria at all. She’s tough as nails and to be honest reminds me of one of my grandmothers. We all have one, the grandmother that was brutally honest no matter how bad we felt we needed sugar-coating, it was almost as if it was beneath her. If you’ve ever had a grandmother like that, you will love this story.

Told from the world as it was in 1912, when the British Empire is facing a magical threat to the likes no one has ever seen, Matilda must now choose to take on people that quite possibly could be the death of her, to save a world she is about to leave forever.

I think Chris captured some very pure emotions in his characters, told from Matilda’s perspective, a woman who’s keen sense is almost as appealing as the secrets of her past. Secrets that will keep you turning the pages to find out more of.

I will say that even though this is a historical fiction of sorts, it was appealing the way he has tied certain elements into this. Things that someone who, like myself, may not be a history buff can find appealing and will make you want to read more of. And it is all tied into a thrilling tale of a woman who you will sympathize with on some level no matter what situation she is in. And did I mention that she has a demon living in her head?

What Chris has done beautifully is capture what will be at the heart of most of us someday, facing death and choosing to give up and just lay down and die, or go out in a blaze of glory. He has done this all while throwing enough real-life emotion, thrilling action and effortless humor into the story as well. Overall impressive read, way to go Chris!

You can read more of Chris on his blog:

You can purchase your very own copy of Matilda Raleigh: Invictus at Smashwords:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Interview with Dying Light author D. Scott Meek


As a writer I find it sometimes challenging to sit down and read. Mainly because the books I choose to read, I’m constantly critiquing and it’s easier for me to just write and be done with it. This wasn’t the case with the book Dying Light by author D. Scott Meek, a uniquely written tale of a blood virus and the human race in a post World War 3 era.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Scott and picking his brain over his writing process among other things.

SDA: Your book is about ‘vampyres’ told in a very different light than your typical Twilight or Anne Rice realm, told from a point of view like biological warfare caused it. But in a world where everyone is jumping on the bandwagon for ‘vamps’, what do you tell the nay-sayers that say vamp books are a dime a dozen?
DSM: Honestly? I tell them that they are. But there's nothing wrong with that, especially when your "dime" novel is selling 10 million copies. Some people will tell you that every story has already been told, and that may or may not be true, but for me it's not whether or not the story has been told, it's how it is told and whether or not it connects with the reader. As long as people dream dark dreams and fear death, there will be vampire stories -- some will be horrible trash, and some will be magnificent.

SDA: Well yours was magnificent in my eyes, a great read overall. What made you want to do a story of this style, of this caliber?
DSM: In Hollywood movies, it seems like the good guys always win, and that makes me angry sometimes because it always seems a little too convenient, and if you've ever thought about it, there are always tons of collateral damage and things that never get wrapped up. I wanted to write something that felt real, looked real, tasted real, with all that collateral damage that would actually be dealt with or at least confronted in the end. Things are always pretty, and everyone has demons and pain, and I wanted the reader to feel the pain as much as the glory. If I have one actual goal, I want to make the reader cry. I want you be so in tune with my characters that when a fictional heart gets broken, I want the reader to experience it, too.

SDA: I know as a writer I struggle with that. I’m an emotional sap most days, and my writing makes me cry because I feel so deeply about the characters but do you believe that style or type of passion can be trained? Meaning if you were trying to explain to a fellow writer how to convey that kind of emotion onto a page, how would you?
DSM: Oh, well, I think a lot of it has to do with a person's ability to communicate in all facets of life. I'm a natural communicator as a teacher -- it's very important that I get my point across in a way that others understand so they can take something from the lesson and apply it. Is this something that can be trained? I would say 'no' -- you are either a teacher or you are not. That said, can you improve your ability to communicate? Of course. Can you recognize the things in stories that speak to you, that touch you, that make you laugh or cry or even love the characters? Of course you can. But you have to work at it, you have to recognize it, then you have to put it into practice and hone it until it is razor sharp. The goal is this: when you want the reader to cry, he cries.

SDA: Now another thing that I found interesting and what I think more and more new authors are attempting to do is to tell a story from multiple points of view. You did this beautifully in Dying Light from multiple characters. How hard was it to keep the voices of them sounding individual and not have them run into one voice?
DSM: Well, as some people might know, there's a lot of me in each of the characters, so I just tried to focus on that one aspect that I wanted to inject. Also, I did tons of re-reading, going back to previous chapters for this or that person, reading up to the present and then writing the next piece. I had to be in the flow and get to know each one of them, remind myself what the issues are and what the goal is. Otherwise, I'd say they write themselves, and I don't always know what they are going to say or do next.

SDA: So is it safe to say us as writers all have split personalities? Hahaha.
DSM: Emily's talking to herself was unexpected. It just felt right. What's cool is that a friend who has a Master's in Psychology said it sounded really real. I was just having fun and went with it. We might not all have split personalities, but we all have internal conflicts -- eat the donut because it is delicious; don't eat the donut because it will make you fat. We all do it.

SDA: When you say that the characters wrote themselves, did you have any AH-HA moments while writing that totally took you by surprise?
DSM: Absolutely. Most of my writing is unscripted, and my fiction is considerably more unscripted than my blogging is. There were several major events in the book that were unexpected, that I had no inkling of at all until I was writing it.

SDA: Let’s talk about Charlotte and Michael, two of the characters from the book, personal favorites I might add. What sets them apart from other love interests of today that all seem to face the ‘against-all-odds’ type of lives?
DSM: Yikes. I don't know. I think the reader would be the best person to answer that. And yet, as we have honestly barely gotten to know them, we might have to wait and see. What I will say is this: how many marriages could last more than a century? That said, in most romantic couples, we see a transformation of one character, a developing love that is often predictable -- the nerd gets the girl (Sorcerer's Apprentice) -- but Charlotte and Michael are established and solid, although life has thrown them for a loop. We will see if they survive. I make no promises other than I promise to do my best to keep you guessing.

SDA: You said earlier that these characters all are parts of you, that being said, do you think it will be harder or easier to hear criticism about them?
DSM: Good question. I guess that depends on your self-esteem. A lot of the things that I have injected into my characters are things that I am fine with but in a way enjoy working on or exploring. Loneliness, trust issues, loves lost, fear of this or that. We all have these things, so I'm not so worries that people will indict me with their dislike as they will indict themselves.

SDA: The other thing about this is that you’ve put a lot of reference into real places within the story. What was the significance of putting in little pieces of your real life, places you’ve been? DSM: Yes, I've actually been to every location in the book -- the White House, the Library of Congress, United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon in Baltimore, and even the Oak Alley Plantation in New Orleans. I do that because I like to travel and see things, but put those places in my fictional world because I like making it very real, and I also like the idea that the future is heavily tied to the past. And we see that in how physical places are transformed over centuries; what's interesting is that we don't see that same transformation in the people.

SDA: Was there ever a point when writing any of your characters, or any of the scenes that you sat back and wondered if you were pushing things too far, if you had crossed a line?
DSM: In what way?
SDA: Well for example, there were a few scenes in my novel that made me kind of wring my hands and worry about who was I going to offend or piss off and in the back of my head it’s there that certain people I know are going to read this and wonder if I’m mentally stable to be able to come up with some of the things I did. Was there any of that time where you second guessed yourself?
DSM: No. I don't second guess really. I write a lot of emotionally charged political commentary in my blogs, so I'm used to being very careful about what I say so I can challenge people's beliefs and ideology without being nasty. I did the same in my book, but that is not to say that I haven't edited some things or changed some things -- it's just always been because I thought it made the story better, not because I worried that someone wouldn't like it or might be offended. Science fiction is wonderful in that one can throw up challenging ideas, controversy and outright criticism and yet couch it in a way that it comes across subtly or even invisible to those who don't pay attention. It's also a great place to be overtly critical or radical because it's not you, it's some aliens or future people who don't share the same values. This is one reason science fiction is so wonderful. You can do anything you want, even if it's not a metaphor for today. The only thing I chose not to do was get really raunchy. I write pretty good erotica, but I didn't want it to go that way, even though I wanted it to be hot. I toned some scenes down because of what I needed them to mean, and yet still, even during what was supposed to be a horrifying torture scene, women have told me how hot it was. I guess I didn't do quite a good enough job, but I can't account for the sexual proclivities of others. Or maybe some people just know me better than others. Haha.

SDA: You’ve made it a known fact that Dying Light is the first in a series of books, how many more does this story entail?
DSM: I talk about in the blog and on my Facebook fan page. There are going to be two sequels, of which "Midnight Sun" is one, and a prequel, which will take us back to New Orleans and show us Emily's back story. I'm also working on short stories that take place in New Baltimore, but may not be associated with the novel's events or characters. No telling what else might happen, but I don't want to get into this kind of serialized scenario and crank out a bunch of novels that go on forever.

SDA: Do you have a writing process you have to follow? If so, what happens if you deviate from that?
DSM: No. I just go. I can't say for sure if I have ever written a short story knowing totally where it was going. I certainly had no idea where this novel was going. I just started it and stuck with it, and it did the rest. I like to say I was just along for the ride. There's no process at all that I'm aware of. I just open to a blank sheet of paper, kind of how I'm answering these questions, and it just happens. I might need to set the mood, as I've said, but other than that I may have a vague goal in mind -- nothing more. So many things have happened in my novel that I didn't expect, it's ridiculous. I can't explain it.

SDA: What led you to become a writer?
DSM: Getting divorced and watching my kids driven away in my ex's minivan. I had to have some way to deal with it, so I started blogging. Then came some poetry, then short stories, now novels, more short stories and more blogging, but no real personal blogging. I did the healing I needed to that way.

SDA: So that is what made you start writing but do you believe that all writers are just simply born or are they made due to traumas and events in their lives?
DSM: Oh, I can't answer that one way or the other. I think perhaps though being a good communicator is the basis for being a good writer. You have to be able to get a point across, connect with the audience, whether it be a reader or your kid -- someone's got to get the message, or else you aren't doing your part. As a teacher, I'm quiet good with connecting. As a former personal trainer, I got to know my clients really well quickly from simply observing and them knowing when I was pushing too hard or not enough. You have to be able to read the feedback, which you can't do as a writer so much. So then you just have to trust yourself and go with it. Traumas and events don't lead to creativity or communication, but it can work for some people who perhaps had it in them all along.

SDA: Who has been your best and worst critics, beside yourself?
DSM: Besides me never really being satisfied, my editor actually thought I needed to take some writing classes and spending another several months working on it. I think that was a personal issue between us, but she was very critical and kind of ugly about it. I realize that it isn't perfect, but I've only been writing for about five years now, and this is my first novel, so I wasn't too concerned. I learn by doing, not by reading about it.

SDA: What was the biggest deciding factor in how to publish for you?
DSM: Well, I really wasn't worried about the publishing thing. It turned out that I knew someone who is a publisher at a tiny company that's really just getting started, and I like the idea of having a small little family, so to speak, of authors and the publishers. It's all very personal, like a community. I'm big on community. I could have tried to pimp myself out to a big name house, but I'm not doing this to pay the bills. I'm doing this because this is what I do.

SDA: Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?
DSM: Movies and music. Movies and books alike have always given me ideas about what could be, and music sets the tone. Depending on that I think is going to happen in the scene, I run different music. And I don't mean Counting Crows or something like that. I mean movie soundtracks or melancholy songs. They really get my emotions flowing and help me feel my writing. And as I always say, if I can feel it, you can feel it.

SDA: So now to my three top questions I ask almost every writer I’ve met. How do you feel about writer’s block, as it is a constantly debated subject right now with myself and a few people, did you ever struggle with it?
DSM: I have moments when I struggle, but often I go to great lengths to set the mood for myself -- candles, lights off, movie on that sets tone with the right qualities -- on mute so I can play music, reading scenes that lead to the one I need to write so that I can establish flow, and then I just push and write anything until it starts rolling by itself. If I have writer's block, it's really just me procrastinating.

SDA: AMEN! I won’t preach on that any more as this is about you. *winks* Onto another topic as a parent I struggle with the pleading from my oldest daughter who desperately wants to see what I’ve accomplished and I really want to allow her to share in the joy of this process with me as she is very creative herself. Do you let your children read your work, or are you careful about content?
DSM: My kids are well aware that they cannot read my book. It is not "adult" because that has connotations, but it is for grown-ups. My 14 yr old got over it quickly and now she is reading all the vamp books out there for teenagers.

SDA: As someone who has yet to finish the publishing process, so ultimately I’m a mere writer still, what is the biggest piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring authors such as myself?
DSM: In my humble opinion, there is nothing more important that getting your readers to feel it. If you've written something that made you tear up, they better tear up, too. If you laugh, they must laugh. If you are angry, they must be angry. If you kill off your favorite character and are broken up about it, they must be devastated. If you do that, they will love you. If you don't, you better figure out how.

Well I would like to thank Scott for allowing me to pick his brain with my questions, he is a wonderful inspiration to me, always has a helping hand for any advice needed. Not to mention he is a talented writer too.

If you would like to learn more about the novel Dying Light, as well as how to purchase a copy, check out the links below:

And if you would like learn more about why he put what he put in the book:

Or if you would like to connect with Scott himself, you can follow him on Twitter:
Or his personal blog:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Overabundance of Outside Opinions...

Those of you that are writers, you can feel my pain probably on the topic of this post. On dealing with people who are not writers or even slightly creatively inclined.

I’m not knocking those people, not in the slightest. There are days I would love the normalcy to not have a million thoughts running through my head, or that instant panic when you get a really great idea and can’t find a pen. There are days that I would kill to be able to fall asleep without the aforementioned thoughts playing a concerto in my head. To be able to listen to a song on the radio and not have a movie preview of sorts flash through my mind which sends me on a wild tangent of story ideas.

However, there are days that I love it. Usually, those days are every day. Today wouldn’t be one of them.

Allow me to explain…

I live in a house that is chaotic at best. Boyfriend, his disabled mother, his two sons, my two daughters, two cats, and two dogs and myself all share this house. We live next door to his sister and her three kids, his two nephews are here on a regular basis. That is a full house if you ask me. To find the time to write if you’re easily distracted is a feat in and of itself. Luckily for me, if I’m inspired, the headphones go on, music gets turned up and I can tune out the world.

However, that being said, I’m insanely picky about the advice or opinions that people give me. I’m blunt, and yes as a reader’s opinion, I listen and soak up every syllable of every word they utter about my writing. However my feeling is that if you don’t write, you admit to not having any inclination to write, and you haven’t read really any of my writing, what the hell gives you the right to have an opinion about how or what I should write?

Am I being mean in this? Someone please tell me if I have overstepped some unwritten rule to aspiring authors that their critics get to be anyone who has never taken the time or energy to read my stuff. A friend I know for example, yes, a great asset to have when I go to him for an outside opinion. Phrased such as if you were watching a movie and this is the storyline, what would you like to see happen, example A or example B? I phrase it as such because he doesn’t write, admits to not having a creative bone in his body when it comes to writing, won’t read my stuff because he doesn’t read much, but yet never stops telling me how I should be writing or what I should be writing. However he has been invaluable at times when I got stumped on my book as far as where I should go from one point to get it to the next. He has offered insight that I thank him for.

But he follows that up by giving me countless opinions as to if I really was as dedicated a writer as I claim to be, then sickness, houseful of people, stress of a recent life changing situation being dropped on me, work and everyday life wouldn’t stop me from having already cranked out 2-3 more novels. Um hello… haven’t even gotten the first one published. Same friend also doesn’t stop telling me what genre to write. That even though I like the supernatural realm of writing, things go bump in the night type fiction, if I was really a writer I would be able to drop everything and write a crime drama.

Is it mean of me to ask that if he isn’t going to read it either way, then what the hell does he care if I write about cops and robbers or vampires and demons?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

REVIEW - Dying Light by D. Scott Meek


Okay so I’ve done the nicey-nice review thing on the facebook page, and on amazon, now time for me to tell you all something…

If you haven’t read Dying Light by D. Scott Meek, you are seriously missing out.

I wasn’t a fan of the Matrix the way others were but that also might be because I was barely 18 when it came out, and the sole focus on my brain was guys and being an ignorant almost-adult. However the older I got when I watched it, the more I appreciated the intricacies that made it what it was. Now at almost 30, the same is happening all over again with Mr. Meek’s book.

Dying Light is a beautiful tale that will put you in the middle of a web of details, most of which made me feel that I wanted to dissect Scott’s brain and find out the inner workings of it.

The thing that struck me the most is in the midst of all of the details not only about the characters, but about the setting and locale of the story, was the fact that even though I felt this book and his style of writing was light-years ahead of me, I could understand it. I’m a writer, but I started out as a reader first, and the more I write the more it seems my desire to read has suffered. This book reminded me why I still love to read and how much I’ve completely missed the relationship, the relationship between reader and the story.

In a post World War 3 setting, where you have hover craft vehicles for every day use, man’s own personal dark ages is upon them all because of a blood virus that has rendered masses of people to be labeled as ‘Vampyres’. These people, just like so much of our culture now, are different and the people society would label as normal want nothing more than to annihilate them.

The other big thing I felt in this story, something I’ve never really been able to do in mine and what I’m seeing now in multiple up and coming authors works, is the ability to tell a multi-faceted story from multiple characters points of view. You will see the world of D. Scott Meek’s characters through their eyes, each one with different directions, different desires, dreams, fears etc. And the clincher to all of that is that you will, on some level at least, relate with all of them. Whether it be with Charlotte’s loyalty-bound servitude, or with Anna’s fear of facing her own mortality. Either way it will captivate you.

I pride myself on being a reader who can pick up a book when she wants and just read for the sole purpose of reading, or losing myself in another world for awhile. I don’t watch release dates for sequels or other books by even my favorite authors. However Scott’s ability to tell a story, to suck you in all the way to the final words of the last page is wonderful in a way that only a few other authors have ever done for me.

Well done Mr. Meek, Well done.

You can connect with D. Scott Meek on twitter

Dying Light can be purchased at amazon:

You can also see more of Scott through his blog Reading.Writing.Revolution:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Supposed Worst Critic

Well allow me to explain some backstory first…

I am almost 30 years old, I’m divorced and am raising two kids on my own. My father has been my worst enemy and my best friend depending on which section of my life I’m referring to. He admitted (even if only just tonight) that out of me and my three siblings, that he has always been the hardest on me because I am the one that is most like him in all the struggles he sees in his own life.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my father dearly, this is not a slam session or a woe is me tale. My father while yes, being a hardass is his strong suit, has a heart of gold and I’m reminded now more than ever that if I ever need anything he is a phone call away and would drop everything to help me, just as he would any of us kids. He is very opinionated both in his views on everything but mostly politics and religion. I was raised in a strict Baptist home with very fundamentalist values. So it was with a very big apprehension that I started my first book on the subject and with the content I did.

Allow me to explain. My book, titled The Devil’s Angel, is about a vampire with a very close relationship with the devil. All these things alone brought cringe factors when I would think of talking to my dad about it.

For reasons I can’t explain I have ALWAYS sought my Dad’s approval, when I didn’t feel I could get it I would do the exact opposite and go for him to disown me. But through all my childish stubbornness, he is still my father and his opinion is very important to me.

The entire time writing, through various dialogues between the main character and the devil, I channeled my father’s teachings. All the things he taught us growing up about how the devil would be was thrown into the character as I see him, but at the same time a nagging fear grew inside of me of the backlash I would feel from Dad reading my book.

Well 3 weeks ago I printed out the first draft and gave him a copy. He has been the only person I haven’t really followed up on about if he read it or not. Because I figured if he didn’t say anything about it, he was biting his tongue so as not to crush my hopes and dreams because he hated it and thought I was morally corrupted for writing such sinful filth. ;)

Last night, and then during another conversation tonight, my assumed worst critic boosted my ego to the point of bursting.

My father works overnights, gets off work at 7am, comes home, listens to Jimmy Swaggart for a bit and goes to bed. He sets an alarm to be up at 3:45 to be able to watch Glenn Beck and goes back to bed for a few hours after. Anyone who knows him knows you do not call between 4 and 5pm because he won’t answer, if you stop at the house, you can only speak to him during commercials. That is how much he LOVES Glenn Beck.

He finally pulled my book out Monday night and took it with him to work and read it on his dinner break, read on his other break and for awhile when he got home in the morning on Tuesday. He then proceeded to pick it up before Beck with every intention of putting it down when it started. He missed most of the show, barely following along because he wanted to finish the book! *insert squeals of excitement*

Now my father told me that because he’s always felt he had to be harder on me and keep me grounded I guess, that he was, no offense, not that hopeful. He figured there would be a lot of loopholes, with it being my first book and all, but he knew eventually I would ask if he’d read it so he wasn’t going to lie and say he had if he didn’t. He said if I don’t bust my ass and get published it will be the worst mistake I’ll have ever made. He is proud of me because he didn’t think I had that kind of talent and while he’s not a literary critic, and he is my father, he felt intrigued enough to keep reading and couldn’t put it down.

So it just goes to show that my own fears were unfounded, and that my worst critic turned out to be my best.

So all of you writers out there, who have you been most afraid to share your work with?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Let The Games Begin...

First off, Zoe Winters is the shit. To be able to keep her calm as much as she does and still laugh about things... amazing to me.

Cover art: original artwork or graphic design?
Editing: Professional Editing, friends that have English majors, beta readers?
Layout: internal artwork, formatting, name displayed on every even numbered page and title on all the odd numbered ones?
Publishing: Traditional or Independent?

Good Evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my hell!

Whoever said writing the book was the hard part so very obviously lied their asses off. But yet again, this is just another blog littered with opinions of the writer behind it.

I will say that I am in no way saying this is writers as a whole, but for me personally, once I got off my rear end and actually started writing, the writing came very easily. I’ve listened to people say that writing the book will be the hardest thing you ever do, and not to sound cocky, so far it’s been the easiest.

Perhaps that’s because I’m indecisive when given too many choices, and let’s face it, in this world, choices are endless it seems. When it came to writing I knew everything that would happen, now it’s up to me to decide the intimate details of the look of the book, the appearance rather than the story, and I’m swimming in doubt.

Do I go with a simple indie site that does print on demand, to which the costs are minimal but which just about everything else falls back on me? Or do I go with another company that is a self publishing company, but they do all the work. I’m talking marketing (to an extent), printing, layouts, file formats, cover art, editing etc. This other company is a little more pricey, however from the people I already know who will be buying the book, I will make back what I will pay for publishing in no time.

Here is the thing… yes, this is totally my baby, and it has been a long time in the making, is it really so selfish that I want to be taken care of now?

I’m a realist and I know that this book is my first, and no I do not expect to have Hollywood beating down my door with movie deals. I know that I’m going to have to pay my dues just like everyone else, but I’m a writer. It’s what I do. I did my job and I know nothing of publishing and putting a book into print. Should I really be the most qualified one in charge of that? It would be like someone with no computer experience coming into my work and trying to tell me how to test server speed or pull data with SQL queries. I would smack them and tell them to sit down and shut up.

Well now that I’ve done rambled enough that I can sleep, I hope.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Looking Back... It all seems so easy now...

The Book is officially done.

Well okay, the writing part of it anyway…. Now comes the hard part.

There are very few people in my face-to-face circle that will ever understand the string of emotions that went into not only the writing of this book, but the finishing of it as well. All of you reading this are probably writers in some extent and you can possibly understand what I mean.

I had it all mapped out, how many chapters, how it would end, what my final line would be. I wrote the last chapter months ago just to have a point that I knew I needed to get to, just to keep me focused. But do you want to hear something funny? That last chapter isn’t the one that will be published as the last chapter of the book.

I sat down two weeks ago on a Saturday evening, determined to finish it that weekend. By my outline I had 6 chapters to write. Several hours later, after I’d promised my boyfriend two hours previous that I would be right to bed in just a ‘few more sentences’, I typed the last sentence of what was 3rd chapter left, per the outline. I sat there stunned for a few moments as I realized that was it. The story had been told and anything past that was just needless filler. Upon realizing this I burst into tears. A house full of sleeping children, pets and aforementioned boyfriend, I had to be quiet. 2:15 AM and I had just reached the biggest goal of my life, and there was no one to share it with.

Bring on TWITTER!

It was a blessing to be able to shout from the rooftops figuratively that I’d accomplished something. Whether or not this book ever makes it to print, I, Samantha Anderson, have written a book.

So now I sit and I look back over this process that in essence has been 6 years in the making… but not really. See I would write about the main characters, doing hobby writing in bits and pieces, never thinking more of it. Then I finally decided to write a book. Much procrastinating and what I thought would be at the very least a 2-3 year process of actually writing the book, only took just over 5 and a half months.

So needless to say I now have a big head and it seems like such a piece of cake. I’m sure by the time I start tackling the second book I will be right back to the fear and self-loathing that came about with the first one… who knows.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Write Like....

So I totally stole this from D. Scott Meek's blog and analyzed a section of my book, but HELL YES! There are far worse people I could be compared to, just so happens he's an author of one of my faves!
I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

D. Scott Meek's blog can be found at:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Excerpt - The Devil's Angel

I can still feel Luc’s blood coursing through my dead veins, life like I’ve never known now flowing freely. I smirk at this. I felt the change the moment I drank from him. The little shreds of humanity that I’d carefully held onto the entire time I’d been a creature of the shadows were simply melting away. I walked silently through the manor, the smell of cigars, sex, blood and Zarek permeated everything around me. Him and his little tramp were about to get quite the wake-up call. I carefully turn the handle, hearing the moans from her as she shares a bed with my husband and open the door to watch the final crescendo.
Zarek’s hand is clamped around her throat cutting off her cries and he rolls next to her as he finishes. I watch from the doorway, my face only holding the slight smirk that has caressed my lips since I arrived here. Zarek laughs, his mouth pressed tight against the woman’s neck, her thin blond hair looking like faded straw on a pillow as she turned her head to him. My moment had arrived, and I dare say I was excited.
“Honey, I’m home,” I cooed with a thick grin, the blonde giving a slight shriek as Zarek’s dark eyes narrowed on me. The scar above his lip twitched slightly with the look on his face, good. I was pissing him off. Job number one accomplished.
“You should leave Devrynne, this is just pathetic,” he said, trying to sound nonchalant but it was a hard task for him to do with his jaw clenched tighter than a vice.
“Pathetic? You’re right Zarek, it is pathetic. Pathetic to think I blew an amazing deal with Luc to come here and kill you and your little chew toy.” Ah there it is. That slight waver in his expression, the way his eyes dilate ever so slightly in the moment that he wonders if I’m being honest.
“Bullshit. Luc wouldn’t ever give you permission to do that, deal or not,” he said with a small snort, sounding less convinced than I’m sure he’d hoped to. The blonde looked between us, her eyes wide and I could taste her on my tongue, the scent of her so thick in the air, she was new. Merely a few days old perhaps, but easily scared all the same. My emerald hues fell upon her and I bared my fangs in a slight hiss making her bury her face in Zarek’s neck, the blankets pulling up tight around her until all I could see was her big, brown eyes peeking at me.
“See Zarek, this is exactly why I will get to kill you. Because you’re an idiot. You think that you’re irreplaceable, invaluable to Luc’s plans and you’re wrong. You were a pawn, just like all the men in my life, you were created for the sole purpose of bringing me to him. You did your job and now it’s time I terminate your contract.” I chuckled as I walked around the edge of the bed slowly and watched his lover cower in his arms, her body trembling and a slight whimper leaving her. Long fingers reached under the covers and curled around her icy ankle causing her to scream and try to kick me off of her as I pulled her to me slowly.
“Let go of her,” Zarek shouted as he lunged at me and my other hand raised pushing him aside as if he were a gnat.
“You’ll get your turn,” I smirked. “Be patient.” My eyes drifted back to her and pulled her closer to me, my free hand sliding a long nail up the outside of her leg, slicing her flesh, blood trickling from the thin wound. I can feel Zarek’s amazement that I have the power to control him, to keep him from touching me, every time he tries he is pushed back like a insect pestering a patron at a picnic. The blonde is silent as my nail digs deep into her thigh, feeling the fatty flesh against the pad of my finger that is buried in her skin, she whimpers but doesn’t speak. Her eyes are fear-filled as they lock on mine, but it is as if she is unable to speak.
I pull her to me, my hand slicing open her belly, my eyes locked on hers as she finally screams and the soft splashing sound of her intestines being pulled from her body as I stand her up in front of me echoes off the walls.
“Sorry darlin’, gravity’s a bitch.” I could sit and torture her for hours, not that she needs her internal organs but blood loss can be detrimental to her, but I’ve tired of this game and she is not the reason I’ve come here tonight. My eyes lifting as I look at Zarek’s shocked face and my fingers curl in opposite directions around her head and I twist. The crunching of the bones of her neck is deafening as she screams a moment before her head is severed from her body. I smile sweetly as her body drops and I toss her decapitated head atop her bleeding corpse and I see the panic in Zarek’s eyes.
“Devrynne I’m so sorry,” he pleaded, his voice sounding choked. “S-she had m-me tricked, some kind of s-spell or something.” I laughed at his feeble attempt at redemption.
“Are you frightened Zarek, that I might kill you just as I did her?” I asked quietly to which he nodded. “You shouldn’t be.” I moved closer and felt the relief wash over him as I cupped his face and kissed him softly pulling him to me and he wrapped his arms around my waist, his face burying against my red curls.
“Thank you Devrynne,” he said in a breathless whisper against my neck.
“Don’t confuse things Zarek, I will make your death last a lot longer and make it far more painful,” I said and felt him stiffen, my arms locking around him to hold him to me, my mouth moving against his ear. “You will be begging for Luc to take over because I will make his torture of you over the years seem like paradise.” I laughed darkly as I felt the power in him rise and he tried to fight me. “Welcome to hell Zarek, it’s going to be a long night.”