Mar
01
2020
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Interview with Angelica Kotliar

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Angelica, the model of all five covers of my Urban Ghoul series! I’ve never spoken to a book cover model before, and must admit never given it much thought. All I knew is that my cover designer, Erin, produces amazing covers.I thought you too might be interested in the […]

Jul
20
2019
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Urban Ghoul series now available!

 This whole Urban Fantasy series is now available on all ebook retailers. You can buy and binge-read all 4 books if you like. Click below to find out more and read an excerpt. Find out more

Jan
31
2018
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Emergence available!

Emergence is out now on Kindle, and paperback in a couple of days.

Buy on Amazon

A dying world has many secrets.

Porl's world is dying. Crops fail. Birds fall from the sky. Is this a repeat of the Cataclysm that decimated the Ancients’ world a thousand years ago?

Porl loves to fix things and is compelled to solve the mystery – and save his people no matter the personal cost. Disobeying the will of the town Elders, Porl uncovers a secret they want hidden. When caught, the Elders banish Porl into the wilderness, alone against the savage Mad-Ones.

As the Mad-Ones hunt him, Porl discovers the world isn't what he believed. The more he learns about the mystical Ancients, the more he unravels an incredible reality he never imagined.

Nothing is what it seems. The harshest truth he uncovers is that in seven days everyone he loves will die. Yet the final secret of the Ancients, on how to save his people, still eludes him…

Oct
26
2017
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Cover Reveal! Emergence

My sci-fi mystery Emergence comes out January. Here's the gorgeous cover.

Dec
10
2016
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Ocean of Dust Kindle FREE Sat 10th/11th only)

For this weekend ONLY, you can get the Kindle edition of Ocean of Dust Free! Tell your friends. Enjoy! (And if you do, please leave a review ? )

 

Get For Free


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Jan
21
2016
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Mass Transit

Do you like mental powers? Do you like spaceships? Get them both in this sci-fi short story…

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Mind over matter is more than a cliche. 

Controlling starships with her mind is all Emily ever dreamed of. Her graduation from the Telekinesis Traffic Control Academy is assured, unless Dylan, an irritating and cocky fellow student, ruins it for her. 

The utmost concentration is essential to land a ship from orbit. When Dylan’s jealousy turns to sabotage, thousands of people will die if Emily can’t keep him out of her head. But which of them has the stronger mind??

Buy now for $0.99, and please leave a review if you enjoy it. ????

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Apple

 

(Previously published in Mayhem, in the Air anthology)

 

Dec
10
2015
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I’m interviewed for Blondie & The Brit

 

Featuring the fantastic author/writing podcast: Blondie & The Brit, who interviewed me last week. It was a lot of fun and we cover a variety of topics.

Play the interview

You can also right click on the destination page if you want to download it.

 

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Dec
01
2015
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Horror: Malachite Mine

Here's a short horror story, just as a break from my usual fantasy. I wrote this last year as part of the Untethered Realms Twisted Earths anthology.

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Horror two miles underground!

Mary jumps at the chance for a birthday party in the surreal setting of an abandoned Russian mine. Until an uninvited guest turns it from a celebration to a living nightmare. Now all Mary wants for her birthday is for everyone to escape alive.

Buy now for $0.99, and please leave a review if you enjoy it. ????

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Apple

 

May
31
2015
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What I learned by going round in circles

roundabout_signEver feel like you are going in circles? Sure you do. Everyone does, right?

I'm the type of writer known as an outliner, which means I like to plan my whole story in advance and make detailed notes on every scene and every step of the plot, start to finish. It's the engineer in me. It gives me a framework. Like a building is designed by an architect long before construction.

The worst feeling in the world is when you are halfway through writing your book and it all starts unravelling. You find flaws in the plot. It's just not working the way you intended. It doesn't sound believable. I'm on my third book now, so I'm no stranger to this mid-book gloom. It's probably not possible to plan something as complicated as a novel with multiple plotlines and numerous characters, each with goals and emotions, without missing something. I had this happen on both my other books and worked through the problems to "fix" my "broken" book. I hear similar stories from a lot of authors.

Something is very different on this new book. Three or four times I hit the wall, back-pedaled and rethought the plot, before going back and rewriting the first half of the story. Each time it ground to a screeching halt.

What's going on? Why is this book different? Why can't I get it right? Shouldn't it get easier with every book I write?

I believe this is what happens when you break new ground. I'm so far out of my comfort zone that I'm not even on Earth, let alone Kansas! 

After writing two fantasy novels and a few short stories, this book is different. Way different. This is a romance. Well… sort of. Technically it's a romantic fantasy rather than a hardcore no-holds-barred romance. Worldbuilding I can do, description I can do, tension, conflict, yep. Romantic and sexual tension and emotion? Not so much!

As I wrap up re-writing the first half for the fourth… or fifth time (who's counting?) I think I've got it right this time. I hope I've got it right. So what did I do wrong?

I've always believed that storytelling is organic, that the plot and events should come from the characters themselves, rather than the author coming up with some scenes and then cramming characters into little pidgeon holes. The secret to organic storytelling is what's known as Goals and Motivations (or some variation on those terms). Characters must logically perform an action to move the plot forward, not act just because that's what the plot requires. See the distinction? Ever read a bad book or watched a cheesy movie and you scream out loud that "she would never do that," or "it makes so sense that he wouldn't have gone to the police long ago?" That's forcing a character's actions to make the plot work.

Usually after coming up with a rough storyline of what I want to happen in the book, I go through every single scene and analyze it from the perspective of each character. What does he want? What is she hoping will happen? What would they logically do here? Goals and motivations, remember? The best, most memorable stories are when the antagonist's motivations are directly entangled with the protagonist's, such that they must outwit each other again and again, with the actions of each directly affecting the life and emotions of the other.

So what am I learning from the frustrations of my romance? In a hurry to get writing, I didn't pay enough attention to those goals and motivations. I analyzed the surface layer and believed I had captured their true desires, the essence of what they sought in life. But I hadn't dug deep enough. I should have known when Leo, one of the wise members of my writer group challenged me by asking direct questions about my heroine's needs and desires. My answers were weak. I told him that I knew enough to write, and that the details would come out as I became familiar with the character.

There's my mistake right there. That assumption is the inciting incident that led to so many rewrites.

Now I get it. I'm not sure why it took me so many rewrites, but finally I'd had enough and really delved deep into the psyche of my characters. What did they really want? Not what I thought they wanted. Not the shallow surface needs, but the deep emotional ones, which seem to play a much larger role in this story because it is a romance, because love and the betrayal of love are powerful emotions. Only then did it become clear to me why my plot had gone off the rails. Even better, I can now redesign the second half of the book with this deeper understanding to make it considerably stronger.

Many authors talk of their characters taking over, that the book writes itself through them. This is their own method for tapping in to the true goals and motivations, and listening to their characters real needs. I'd never understood what they meant until now. I've never had that happen to me. Perhaps because I'm an outliner and more rigid in my planning. I find it difficult to freeform write like that. On this book, I believe my characters were doing just that, but I wasn't listening. I knew best. I'd already figured out what they wanted earlier, hadn't I?

This might be the toughest, most frustrating book of my career, but I firmly believe I have moved forward as a writer. I have learned something fundamental. I hope that I will never make this mistake on any book in the future.

Going around in circles is painful. It instills fear, confusion, frustration. It's like circling the event horizon of a black hole, the noose drawing ever tighter. Am I overreacting? Think about times when you've gone round in circles. Hurts doesn't it?

Though my spaceship is veering away from the balack hole, leaving it behind, I must remain vigilant lest the invisible grip of its gravity grabs me again.I must pay careful attention to everything that my characters think about and every action they take. More importantly, why they take that action. I think the book is back on track again but I won't breathe a sigh of relief until it is done.

What horror stories do you have of going round in circles? Feel free to comment below.

 

Mar
09
2015
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Grab a book for your friends – limited time

Hello everyone,

Are your friends looking for a new fantasy read? Just until March 15th, Necromancer is on sale for only 99c (reduced from $3.99). This is Kindle only, but available on US and international Amazon stores. Just click the image. Let your friends know. :)

sale

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