Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paranormal Fans: Are you a traditionalist, or do you like fundamental changes?

WARNING: Twilight fans will most likely get offended. If you are a Twilight fan and don't think you could read this without offence and making a comment as such, please stop now. I'm not writing this to cause a Twilight debate, but rather a discussion on traditionalism or modernism regarding paranormal creature fundamentals.

So we all know that there are Twilight fans and those who absolutely despise the series and consider it twaddle. The arguments for and against it could almost start World War III. I'll freely admit I'm one of the latter. I am a traditionalist paranormal fan. I like my vampires flamey, not sparkly, I like them to have strong characters, not wimps who get rid of their bike just because the girl enjoyed it with someone else. I like my werewolves to be men responsible for their actions, not hormonal teenagers fighting over a girl.

But that's just me. I'm a traditionalist. And not meaning to sound full of my own characters, but I believe that the werewolves in my Wolf Smitten series could whoop the arses of those in Twilight. A humorous comment made by a friend of a friend was that Eddie Munster could kick Jacob's arse. 

So my question of paranormal fans, do you like when an author changes things up as Stephanie Meyers has, or do you prefer traditional characters? Vampires that burst in to flames at the touch of sunlight, werewolves that aren't hormonal, but aggressive.

I'd also like to ask at what point do you see a character as being totally different? Do you accept small changes or do you see any change as changing the fundamental characteristics of the being, and therefore creating something altogether new? I see Stephanie Meyers vampires as completely different, but I see Anne Bishop's witches, unicorns and dragons as traditional with just a touch of change. ('Kindred', as the particular animals are called, can communicate telepathically with humans they choose to.) An acceptable change for a traditionalist like myself.

How about creatures that are supposed to be like nothing previously seen or read? How to you react and accept them? Do you picture the new creature with ease as you read (of course this also depends on the quality of the writing), or is it often difficult to accept a new type of creature?

I like to think that I'm accepting to creatures that are completely new, or traditional creatures with small changes that are more personal, but I always have been and always will be a traditionalist. Fundamental core characteristics CANNOT be messed with in my opinion. To me, saying that a vampire sparkles is like saying people have 3 legs and a tail. In that case, we're not really people any more, are we? We're some kind of mutant.

Mull these questions and my opinions over. I would love to hear what others think about traditionalism vs modernism, and completely new paranormal creatures.

NB: Anyone who is abusive in their defence of Twilight will have their comments removed as, although I welcome other opinions, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about expressing those opinions. This particular post is about traditionalism vs modernism, and whether readers willingly accept paranormal creatures that are completely new.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fellow writers: colleagues or competition?

For a few days I've been wondering what it is I should blog about today, seeing as how today's Wednesday and that's becoming my blog day. Then this morning I was notified of a comment in a closed group I'm a member of on Facebook, and the person responsible had a very valid point. We were discussing videos for books, and whether they worked as a marketing tool, when Jeannie Faulkner Barber said "This shouldn't be so much a competition, but a writerhood, per se." And I must say, I agree with the lady. 

Most of the writers I know enjoy networking and sharing each others' work. We love working together to get the word out there about our talented friends and, as we see it, co-workers. When one of us is feeling down, and not confident in our writing, the rest of us are there to pick that person up and remind them that they are talented. Only a writer knows how difficult it can be to write when the muse just won't cooperate (my own muse, Alana, is on strike at the moment after a health issue last week). 

The vast majority of writers I talk to (on a daily basis, mind you) consider their writing as "children" of their minds and soul. We put so much work in to getting these stories written down and polished that we become very attached to them. That's not to say that we take negative feedback or rejections badly, we just lick our wounds, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, sometimes with the help of fellow writers. 

Yet recently I read about some other authors who don't feel the same way about their writing (well, we're all different) and considered our attachments with total disdain, even insisting that there was something wrong with our family type relationship with other writers and a publisher. I'm not going to say that they don't have reasons for concern. When relationships get that close, someone can get hurt. That's life. But I'm not writing today to talk about the risks we take, but to write about the fact that us authors need to stick together instead of trying to make each other feel like children just because we view our work differently. 

I'm new to being an author. So new that I've only just had my first acceptance a month ago, and it won't be out until January next year. (These things take time, for those unaware of the process. There's making up a final draft, then editing and creating a cover, then marketing BEFORE it's released as well as after, amongst many other tasks that go in to getting something ready for publication.) So it's important to me to have around me those who know the ins and outs of being an author and publishing, and those who know that sometimes we do get down and need someone to talk to. Other people may view it differently, and not all authors are going to get along, that's just the way it is. But being there for each other and picking each other up, celebrating successes with each other, that is what family is about. So what is wrong with referring to other authors and a publisher who genuinely cares about their authors as a family? Of course it's a business as well. That's obvious. But the people behind the publishers are just that: people. And on the personal level, I think it is totally acceptable that they look after those who choose to publish through them. Yes, without readers there would be no need for books, but it works the other way as well. Without the writers, there would be no books and no business to begin with. 

So my point is, whether we agree with opinions and each others' approach to certain things, we should at least respect each other enough to share successes and encourage those who need it, even if we've never talked to them before. We're not just business people, as it was put. We're people with emotions and doubts. We'll help a stranger in the street, but because we're only in it for business we won't help a fellow author? No, that's not right. We're strangers here, as well, and it should make no difference. We should be proud to help someone else who has dared to tell a story and put it out there to be read.

And so, in the spirit of things, here is the trailer for Jeannie Faulkner Barber's book, Taste of Fire. (Being released through Desert Coyote Productions) Keep your eye out for its release next month! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Naughty Nights Press celebrates 6 months with a Blog Hop!

That's right, this wonderful little press has been around for 6 months already, and it's time to celebrate the successes so far! I'm honoured and extremely pleased to be associated with this company as an occasional reviewer and soon -to-be-published author. Yup, you read right, I'm popping my publishing cherry with Naughty Nights Press, and I couldn't be more excited!

I was trying to think of what to write for this post when Alana, my wicked and sexy muse, whispered in my ear to use this as a bragging post.

These first 6 months for NNP has flown, and I was thrilled to be approached to review Danvers Asylum, one of their very first releases. That was the first step for both Naughty Nights Press as they boldly ventured in to the publishing world, and for myself as I opened my schedule, mind and skill set to write regular reviews of ebooks. Since that time, I have been quite busy juggling reviews with my own writing and my almost-three-year-old. It's been a challenge, but fun and rewarding nonetheless.

Recently I was even nominated for Xcite Awards for Best Reviewer! I didn't make the top six, but that's still something to put in my writer's bio, as was pointed out by the lovely Gina Kincade, owner/CEO of NNP. (All the best to Tonya Kinzer who made the final six in her category, Best Site or Author Page)

So what else has happened in those six months? Naughty Nights Press has published numerous books, all being received well in their respective markets, while I have finally finished and submitted my first piece, The Wolf In The Neighborhood (paranormal erotic), Book One of the Wolf Smitten Trilogy. I have heard great feedback from sharing little snippets with people, and I'm thrilled to have just submitted the outlines for Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Leader of The Pack, Books Two and Three respectively, to Naughty Nights Press for consideration. I've been slowly writing Once Bitten, Twice Shy and simply cannot wait to start on Leader of The Pack.

It seems that Alana is also impatient for me to write other things, as she has bombarded me with three other stories not related to Wolf Smitten.

I was working out with Wii Boxing a while back listening to Cotton Eye Joe when hints of a new story began to tease my mind. A cold shower soon had more solid ideas flowing, and I sat down to type out the start of my romance novel Acapello's Lady, a story about a woman, her horse and the man who comes in to their lives and turns it upside down. I've been lucky to be able to use pictures of Ivory Pal (from the Ivory Knoll Ranch in Florida) for promotional posts and have Rafael's permission to request a release form when I take the finished story to be published. It's not often that a new writer is afforded such a brilliant opportunity!

Of course, that's not the only story that Alana has demanded I start straight away. She's given me ideas for an anthology about a Demigod called The Lover, who is sent to those who have given up on love. The anthology will be a while in the making, but it is called The Lover's Lovers, and I already have one story written, Joanna's Rush, which will be released in the coming months as part of another anthology through Naughty Nights Press. Details will be released sooner to release date.

Ok, so I think that's enough bragging. Time to get down to business. The blog hop. There are many of us participating, all with a giveaway. Some have competitions, others just ask for you to follow and leave your email address. Although I don't have my own book to giveaway just yet (it's coming, hold your horses!), I'm thrilled to have a copy of Naughty Nights Press's Campus Sexploits to give to one lucky commenter. Released just recently, this anthology is all about crazy college liaisons of the sexual kind! 

So what do you have to do to win this saucy mix of wonderful writers?

Well, since this is a college related anthology, I want to hear about a crazy college anecdote, whether it was you, a friend or a family member. Heck, even make one up if you want! Nothing too long, though. Maybe 250 words tops.

Check out other participants of the blog hop by clicking on the Blog Hop photo at the very start. This will take you to the Naughty Nights Press blog that has the full list of participants. Not all of the giveaways are the same. (Well, I said the word blog a few times, didn't I?) Go check out who else is involved and leave a comment or whatever it is that each of them ask. Who knows, you might win a few books! Best of luck to you all, and thank you for joining us in celebrating the six month milestone for this wonderful company. Just watch where we go in the next six months and beyond!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Universe or paranoia?

Have you ever been sitting there, doing whatever it is you do during the day (for me, it's battle with Alana over whether more of my story will get written today or not. Alana being my muse), when you get this thought that something bad is going to happen? Something specific, that has happened before? If you do get this, does it ever actually come to pass? And if it does come to pass, do you think it is the Universe warning you of something that is about to happen... Or do you think that the Universe thinks that this thing is what you want since your mind is so consumed by it?

I've often wondered this myself, having experienced such phenomenon. Sometimes it's been specific, sometimes it's just a general feeling of bad. For example the day my grandfather passed away. I was in high school, it was a normal day. I went to school, took my classes, talked and joked with my friends and hugged my boyfriend. But that afternoon, with a few hours left of the school day, I had this sudden crappy feeling that something was wrong. I couldn't explain it. In my paranoia, I thought that it was something to do with my relationship with my boyfriend. After school when we were all lining up for the bus (I was on the last bus of the day since my hometown is on the way to the bus depot) I kept expecting my parents to pull up and give me a lift home (which they never did, as my father worked until 5-6pm, depending on the slashing job of the day. Paddock slashing, that is). 

No matter what I did I could not shake this feeling. 

Of course, I arrived home to bad news. I didn't cry, I didn't go in to shock (at least not right away). I just accepted it as a lost piece in the puzzle. Eight and a half years later I'm still not over his passing, but that's something for another time and a psychologist's appointment. The point is... 

Some psychics are frauds. But does that really mean that we don't have that sixth sense that tells us something is wrong? Or that something is just right? I think that all of us have that sense within us. Some call it a gut instinct, some call it intuition. Some of us get the feeling more than others, some get it clearer than others. I believe we are all born with this instinct, this sense of what is, even when we can't actually know it yet, but over time, due to environmental factors (ie belief systems, parents, kids at school, teachers etc) we let it fade, we ignore it until we only have a fraction of what we used to have. 

With practise, we can gain this sense back, but not all of us can claim it all back. Nor do all of us want to claim it back. That is all up to the individual, of course. 

But do you ever just wander How did I know that? Is it the Universe telling us? Or is it the Universe giving us what It thinks we want?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fantastic Company Breeds Success!
Well, it's pretty obvious, isn't? When we're surrounded by others doing well, it inspires us to do well. And when we're all doing well, nay-sayers and doubters only make us strive to do better to prove them wrong. Can you say you disagree? I sure hope not!
I have been surrounded by quite a few successful authors for months now, and I do believe it is rubbing off. 

Warning: This is a total suck up, gratuity blog! I love my fellow authors and will take every chance to brag about them that I can get!

So who do I start with? Well, I won't put these in any particular order, just random. 
Cassandre Dayne: A wonderful author published with many presses and a truly wonderful lady. Cassandre was one of the first authors I reviewed, and that book, Spankdown, opened me up to the world of BDSM. She is a fantastic role model for aspiring authors, and a testament to just what one person can do when they put their minds to something. In my opinion, she is the poster girl for success!
Sherry Tooker: A fellow starting author. We have become super close over the past few months and are so similar it is a little spooky at times. Being so new to writing for publishing, we both have a lot of moments where we are filled with self-doubt. Sherry has helped me out of some severe funks, and I will always be grateful that I can call her friend and writing sister. We bounce ideas off each other, read over snippets from the other to make sure they read ok and are always ready to give a shoulder to lean on. That is what true family is about. 
Vampirique Dezire: A naughty Mother Hen, in my eyes. Without her, I wouldn't have met Gina (whom I shall speak about momentarily), and been encouraged to get back in to writing. I wouldn't have ever considered reviewing. And I certainly wouldn't be writing books two and three of Wolf Smitten since The Wolf In The Neighborhood was accepted by Naughty Nights Press. My first submission accepted. I cannot tell you how thrilling that was, but I owe a lot of my success to this wonderful lady. She, like Cassandre, is supremely busy as Director of Marketing for NNP, as well as writing her own blog, writing her own stories from time to time and spending time with her family. (And I'm not just talking about her writing family) This lady is definitely an inspiration and a wonderful person I'm honoured to call friend.

Gina Kincade: What can I say about this woman. She's strong, professional, intelligent and knows what she wants, when she wants it and how she wants it. Gina is the CEO/Owner of Naughty Nights Press, a writer, a mother, and a good friend. We all jokingly refer to her as the Bosslady, but it is a term of endearment. This is one woman who will give everything she has to something she is passionate about. She has one of the highest levels of commitment I have seen in anyone. This company is only six months old and most of the feedback any of us have received has been positive. She is doing really well as the captain of this ship, and I am excited to see just where she steers us: Success! 
Pablo Michaels: A wonderful writer, and a loving friend. He has so much going on in his life and yet he still tries to keep up with his friends. Pablo gives so much, and I am honoured to know this man. He was one of the first people to sign up for The Twelve Days of Naughty Giveaways, and one of the first participants to submit his Naughty Shorty, a beautifully naughty tale involved the Greek Gods and Demigods. His participation in Six Sentence Sundays paved the way to my willingness to start reading m/m, and I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to read from him. Pablo always has something nice to say and is ever encouraging. He has got a lovely way of writing that warms the heart and opens eyes. I can not wait until he starts writing again.
Brenda Woody and Steve Tindle: Another couple of authors, these two write books together. It is quite wonderful the way they work together to produce such fantastic writing. I had the pleasure of reviewing them a few months back, and was delighted when Brenda nominated me for Xcite Books awards for Best Reviewer. I didn't make the final six, but it truly is an honour to be nominated. I know, only losers say that. That's far from the truth. To be nominated goes to show that there are people out there who recognise your work and appreciate the time you take. I am so touched to have been nominated by Brenda. I also have to admit it comes in handy having the two of them as friends, because if I ask one a question and they aren't sure, they work together to get an answer. It's brilliant and another inspiration.

There are so many other people I would love to mention, but I don't want to bore everyone. I just wanted to say thank you to all those who have, in one way or another, helped me strive towards success. This time last year I was struggling to write. Now, I have my first accepted work, two follow up novellas, a short story just written, two full sized novels started and an idea for my own compilation. With so much success surrounding us all and so much encouragement from others, may 2012 be our year!
To everyone wanting to achieve something, surround yourself with wonderful people who are revelling in their own success and celebrate with them. That positive energy will then reward you with your own celebrations. The Universe rewards positivity, and we must all strive to shake off negativity. If someone is doubting you when you know that you will succeed, ignore the doubting. If you make a mistake, that's just life. Shake it off and keep on going. And when you're feeling down, crank up some inspirational music like Katy Perry's Fireworks or Blue Lagoon's Break My Stride, and dance like crazy. Absorb the positive messages and use it in your life! You'll be amazed at how much things will change for the better!
And to all the doubters out there, stand aside and let us pass. As someone once said "The one who says 'It cannot be done' should never interrupt the one who is doing it."