Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Permanent Halloween with author AE Jones

How My Obsession Fed My Writing

Since it is October, I’ve got a confession to make. As a child I loved, loved, loved Halloween. All of it: the decorations, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, candy and the fun. And this obsession has not ceased in my adult life. I spend months coming up with my costume each year that I wear to work. I decorate my home with a different Halloween theme. This year it’s witches. I actually have more Halloween decorations than I do Christmas decorations. And of course, I can’t forget about the parties. I have a Halloween luncheon party for my co-workers and a costume party for my neighborhood.

What is it about Halloween that draws me to it? It’s the idea that for one day we shed our own skin. That we take on a persona that is different than our own. And that persona has its own story to tell which is oftentimes whimsical or grim or fantastical or funny. Halloween is about imagination and anticipation and a little thrill thrown into the mix.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I write paranormal. Writing paranormal romance/urban fantasies allows me to celebrate Halloween all year round. There is something special about delving into a world of beings with powers. It makes the telling of the story that much more exciting and challenging. And there is a wonderful contrast when powerful beings struggle with their daily lives and relationships.

In the writing, like in the donning of my Halloween costumes, I create my characters. And I ask myself, what makes them different? Sure they have fangs, or fur, or glowing eyes, but why should the reader care about them? Because a good story has us rooting for the hero or heroine. We want them to defeat the bad guy, or fall in love even though they are blocked by circumstances and their own insecurities. No one is perfect. If they were, the story would be over quickly with little to no fanfare.

In my series, my heroine, Kyle, is far from perfect. She was born with the ability to manipulate memories. She struggles with her own insecurities and straddles the human and supernatural world she lives in, not truly fitting in to either. And this idea actually stems from the age old fish out of water trope. As readers, we may not understand what it’s like to have fangs and live for hundreds of years, but we all understand what it feels like to not fit in. And that understanding grounds us in the story, even when the ‘otherworldness’ of it allows us to escape into a different reality.

And for me as a writer and a reader, the escape is what I yearn for. The escape to a world where I can empathize, befriend, cheer, and fall in love with the characters.

As it turns out, my obsession with Halloween now feeds my obsession with writing. Voices in my head that want to be heard. And this costume-wearing, pumpkin-carving, party-throwing, author is happy to share their stories. One supernatural word at a time.

About the author:

ae jones pic 180 x 270Growing up a TV junkie, award winning author AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

 

AE lives in Ohio with her eclectic family and friends who in no way resembles any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.

2013 RWA Golden Heart® Winner, Mind Sweeper

 

An angel, a demon and a vampire walk into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s just another day in the life of Kyle McKinley.

 

Kyle was born with the ability to erase memories, and the inability to keep her opinions to herself. She and her teammates – a vampire who looks like a sexy pirate with fangs, and a Shamat demon with a penchant for Italian pastries – provide supernatural damage control when humans see too much. Today’s problem? A sword-wielding angel and a demon had a supernatural smackdown during happy hour in a Cleveland bar, leaving behind a headless vampire and a dozen human witnesses.

 

This latest supernatural slip-up is attracting all kinds of attention. So much attention that the police step in, and Kyle has to deal with Joe Dalton, a know-it-all human with the sexiest turquoise eyes she has ever seen. Kyle has no room in her life for yet another human who will treat her like a freak. However, Dalton definitely makes her naughty parts sit up and take notice, and it’s more than mutual. But before they can act on their attraction, they must join forces to solve a dangerous puzzle. And when they uncover the truth, the apocalyptic ripple effect forces Kyle to make a choice. Learn to trust again, or risk losing everyone she cares about, including Dalton.

finalrevised copy

Mind Sweeper is Book One in the Mind Sweeper Series.

Book Two – The Fledgling, A Mind Sweeper Novella (coming October 2014)

 

 

 

Book Two – The Fledgling, A Mind Sweeper Novella (coming October 2014)

 

fledgling cover compressed

MisfortuneCookie2_850

Cover Reveal – Misfortune Cookie!

Happy Friday! Casey here!

I hope everyone didn’t overindulge their sweet tooth yesterday. I was surprisingly good. Largely, because we decided a few years ago, to stop buying tons of Halloween candy.

I don’t have much to say today other than . . .

Feast your eyes on the cover of Misfortune Cookie! Another outstanding design from Rae Monet!

In other news – Mystic Hero is done (well, the first draft) and is in the hands of my beta readers. Yay!

But don’t think I’m sitting around doing nothing. Next up – completing Lachlan’s Curse. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of November.

Wish me luck!

What’s on everyone’s plate these days?

MisfortuneCookie

How Many Misfortunate Cookies Can There Be?

Happy Friday! Casey here!

IMG_2294So, it’s been a busy week in my household. Last Friday, my youngest son graduated from high school (my baby!!) and earlier this week he also obtained his driver’s license. Long time readers may remember that he started driving last summer.

Oh my, how time flies.

Just last year, I wrote this over at my blog:

Finally, I’m ready to share the scoop on my latest book. But first, a bit of back story. Radiance was the very book I ever attempted to write way back in 1997. Being a brand spanking new writer, I had no idea what I was doing. I spent years and years writing scenes with no rhyme or reason.

Eventually, I set it aside out of sheer frustration and moved onto other stories. Because Radiance was the first one, it’s always bothered me that I never finished the story.

I know, I know. There’s a reason those first books stay in a box under the bed. But I couldn’t let her go.

Last year I began the process of re-imagining the book. I chucked out virtually the entire plot and went back to my heroine and what I loved best about her. I titled the new version, Devil’s Advocate and got to work plotting. And promptly became snarled in a tangled mess.

My first thought was – I will never get this story right. I took a break and started plotting Zephyr’s book and dealing with Galen’s mess.

Then in 2012, after a mental head slap, I realized that the story was too big. I needed to step back and break it down. So Devil’s Advocate became book 2 in a three book series.

Mind freed, I spent April plotting book 1. In May, I began writing. It was slow going at first, then my friend Susannah Hardy issued one of her famous writing challenges, this time in the form of writing sprints. By June, I was on fire banging out 2,000 – 3,000 words a day. I finished the last week in June and the first draft has been cleaned up, ready to send to my valued first readers.

So, I present to you Misfortune Cookie!

When Radiance Ashworth inherits the family fortune and a nasty supernatural curse, life as she knows it is over forever. Instead of luxurious pampering, she’s stuck chasing wayward spirits and sending them back to the Hereafter. Her new normal consists of ectoplasmic goo, bruises, and ruined clothes.

Fortunately, she doesn’t have to navigate the supernatural world alone. Luca, sexy, confident, and so damn tempting, is happy to guide her – if she’d only accept his help. She quickly learns how much she needs his assistance just to stay alive, when a Jiang Shi – a vengeful Chinese spirit – starts systematically murdering the city’s elite business leaders. While the Jiang Shi proves to be a formidable opponent, Radiance finds the growing attraction between her and Luca to be even scarier.

At the time, I thought I had a pretty cool name for my book but, to be sure, I went to Amazon and searched for similar titles.

Not a misfortune cookie in sight.

Well, guess what? Now, there a couple of adult novels with the same name: a contemporary romance, a murder mystery and, later this year, another urban fantasy.

So much for my clever name. But, you know, I don’t care. My publisher likes the name and I like it.

So – coming early 2014 from Soul Mate Publishing – MISFORTUNE COOKIE by Casey Wyatt!!

Finally, after all these years, my original character will see the light of day. Yay!

The Scribes have addressed duplicate titles before (here, here and here). What do you think? Does it hurt or help to share the same title with more than one book?

IMG_2749

Laughter: The Third Greatest Gift

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.

Humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Some of us enjoy our humor dry and witty. While others prefer slapstick, raunchy or down-right rude. Or maybe your mood dictates what you think is funny.

I think part of the reason I fell in love with urban fantasy is the genre embraces snark in a serious way. While some level of “funny” isn’t required in the books I enjoy, I always love it when an author gets me.

You know, that moment, when the laugh comes out of the blue. I don’t how other authors do it, but when I’m writing, humor sneaks up on me and comes from the characters (not me!!). And often times, I don’t realize I’ve written something “funny” until someone else points it out to me.

And what you find funny, someone else may not. Like wine, there are different vintages of funny. Personally, I fall into the witty, sarcastic camp. The snarkier the better. I enjoy authors like Bill Bryson (Tales of the Thunderbolt Kid: one boy, one sleeping uncle, a magnifying glass and mysterious burn spots). The book is a non-fiction memoir of his childhood and it’s hilarious.

My favorite urban fantasy authors are: Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Simon Green (Eddie Drood or Nightside books) and you can never go wrong with Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job - love those sewer harpies!), Terry Pratchett (The Hogfather- the wackiest Christmas story ever) or A Lee Martinez (Gil’s All Fright Diner - who doesn’t love a roadside diner that’s constantly attacked by the undead?).

If UF isn’t your thing, check out Kristan Higgins (the shovel scene in Too Good To Be True still gives me the giggles), Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Books or our soon to be published Scribe – Jamie Pope (aka Sugar Jamison).

How do these writers do it? Well, I can’t tell you how to be funny and I don’t know the magical spring where their talent comes from, but I can suggest some logical places to sprinkle humor into a story.

Narration -this kind of humor is often found in first person books, think Bridget Jones’ Diary or see the aforementioned urban fantasy authors or Ms. Kristan Higgins! Just having a window into the character’s thoughts can be funny. What they think about other characters – the annoying neighbor, the crazy aunt with lipstick on her teeth or how the character views herself –  are all areas to slip in the funny.

Situational – humor can be injected by using the circumstances in which characters find themselves. Think Stephanie Plum and all her captures gone wrong. Another popular choice is The Date From Hell, The Family Event from Hell (wedding, funeral, graduation) or the plan that goes horribly awry.

Banter – This is my personal favorite. Here, the heroine/hero engage in witty exhanges with other characters.I jones on characters verbally sparring in humorous ways. For example – The Princess Bride by William Goldman or A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.

Note: these can be mixed and matched as needed.

One thing to keep in mind – forced humor is not funny. Readers can smell phony attempts from a mile it away. Don’t be lame! And, remember, the normal rules of storytelling apply – don’t add humor for the sake of it. If it doesn’t advance the plot or grow your character – axe it!

In case you’re wondering about the title of this blog post – check out The Muppets (2011 version) and enlightenment will find you!

What kind of humor do you enjoy? Favorite funny writer? Have a technique or advice to share?