Here's lookin at you kid...

Here's lookin at you kid...
The eyes are the windows to the soul...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Oh what a week!

Well that was a week of ups and downs, I must say.
It started out with great intentions... I had three articles that I had promised people, one article, one interview and a fiction piece.
Deadlines for the three were Thursday (x2) and Friday. I'm pleased to say that I managed all three by Wednesday. Now THAT'S  a first!
The interview was easy, all I had to do was answer some questions - Thanks Julie Catherine.
The article, I was struggling on. I didn't have inspiration until a few nights ago. I was keeping up with the Brit Awards on Twitter not TV and I saw a few nasty and utterly horrible comments about Adele - she had won 6 Grammys a few nights previously and she must still have been on Cloud 9. As she started winning, I noticed a few comments about her weight and I thought they were going too far.
I Tweeted the guy and told him it wasn't right, Adele is a role model for young girls to not diet to extremes but whether he saw it or not, it didn't stop him.
So I played him at his own game and I started using the # to trend the #Brits too.
The next morning, my Tweet had been removed from his page so I guess he had seen it but the best part is that I wrote the article on self-confidence and self-perception, not just in young women but in all of us. I know that I've looked in the mirror and thought "who the hell is that and what have they done to my face?"
I mean... I don't remember getting this old... it's only been a very short time since I was 16 years old... hasn't it?
Well, apparently not.
I've wondered about plastic surgery, but that's as far as it's got... to the wondering stage. I can't justify spending money to 'go under the knife', no matter how I look but that's just me. I will never criticise anyone for having surgery, it's a personal choice but I do feel saddened when it goes too far.

The way I will stay young and become immortal is through my children and my books. While my children are around and having children themselves (I'm going to be a grandma in a few short months) I'll stay young.
And while there are copies of my books out there, I'll be immortal.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Hazel/Red and where she came from

Moving on from where Dusty came from in the geography of my imagination, I thought I'd share where Red came from too.

Deadlier... than the Male was the first novel I wrote. It took more than a decade to get it to where it became a 'proper book' (thanks Fiona hehehe) and the journey of that is enough to use up an entire Blog, so I'll gloss over that for now.

Red is female, like me. She's a red-head, like me. She has a temper, like me and she has no hesitation in killing those that annoy her enough... not like me.
A lot of the people that know me well and have taken time to read my books can see similarities between me and Red but that's as far as it goes. My imagination takes Red into extreme situations where the choice is kill or be killed and she obliges - with enthusiasm and flair.

Where Red's story is concerned, it began when I worked at a nightclub in the town close to where I lived. I worked there as Front of House staff - Door Supervisor, or Bouncer as it's more commonly known.
It was a slow evening, with not many customers, because the club had just opened and it took a few weeks before it became 'the place to be seen'. I was looking up at the sky over the rooftops of the buildings across the road and I turned to Lolly, the receptionist and said: "Can you imagine someone leaping from rooftop to rooftop, silhouetted by that full moon?"
"Are you talking about vampires?" Lolly asked.
"No, werewolves." I said that without thinking.
Vampires were still sexy, even though 'Interview' with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had been released five or more years before and Lost Boys were more than a decade older. I was starting to want more from the monsters I was reading about, I wanted something different. If I could write a story that entertained me, I was sure that I would be onto a winner.
I went home from work (it would have been around 3am) and I started to write.

I wrote what I knew - that's the advice, isn't it? - I wrote about a woman that was confident and intelligent (no, really, I can be, just give me a minute...). I wanted people to not only like her, but to feel empathy for her. I also wanted her to be strong enough to take care of herself and to not need anyone taking care of her, watching out for her or kicking ass for her. I wanted her to be surrounded by people that would do all those things if she needed or wanted - that's what friends do, isn't it?
I wanted this to be more extreme than a tale of friendships, trials, fall-downs, stand-ups and the like, this had to have gore and blood and mayhem - things I like to read about. I wanted my story to be as good as any I've read, as entertaining, as enthralling - as unputdownable - as any of those books I love. I didn't want much, did I?
That was going to be a test of my, as yet untried, talents.

I'd never written a full novel before. I had written short stories but never something that had to be disciplined and structured.
It took me two years to write.

I think I started out by writing about something that scared me in my daily life. Now, what scared me then (still does) was the idea of being alone in a deserted place and being attacked. I suppose that everyone has that fear and I'm no psychologist but I would assume that it's a natural fear of becoming someone or something's prey. Bearing that in mind, I set about writing about a woman on her way home from work, tired, distracted and vulnerable - just the right ingredients for a victim. Throw in a lonely location and a few added spices of previous attacks in the same place and we have a tense scenario where we just know she's going to be assaulted.

I added a twist of irony and deep satisfaction, a few pieces of location that I tumbled around in my head and scattered them in some slightly altered geography and there! I had my first scene and Red was born.

Then I wanted a back-story for this lady. I didn't just want a little back story though, I wanted her to have centuries of it! I took her five hundred years into the past and as I typed, she grew from an exceptionally fragile human girl, orphaned and alone, to one of the most powerful Wolves that had been documented.

Red is kick-ass, she's all-fury when necessary, she's independent and capable - she's Deadlier... than the Male.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Shameless plug alert

I don't do this very often, I'm not one of those people that plugs their work on every site at every opportunity. Sometimes maybe I suppose I should, but I find it intrusive and it's certainly annoying when all I see on my Twitter is "Read my book!" "My book, read it!" "Have you read my book yet?" from the same person, each time I refresh.
Anyway, here's me, being a hypocrite then...

Dusty came from nowhere I think. She sauntered up to me one Saturday evening and settled herself at my side and began to tell me her story. Before I knew it, I had almost 8,000 words written about her first adventure. It didn't seem to have taken any time at all. By Sunday afternoon, I had a full episode of her story, the genre she fitted into and a character that I really liked. I asked a few people to read what I'd written and bearing in mind that I wanted Dusty the Demon Hunter to be a kick-ass teen, I was disappointed when I was told, in no uncertain terms, that it was way too raunchy for teens. Now, to be fair, I don't think it was the teens that it was too raunchy for. I think it's too raunchy for the parents of said teens. They don't like to think their teens are reading this - they are though, trust me, I did too!
Nevertheless, I toned it down (no, really, I did) and though it's still slightly risqué, it's not graphic.

Dusty's friend has had a dabble with a friend's Ouija Board and something came through. That 'something' was an incubus, a demon that seduces human women in the hope that it can impregnate them and then steal away the resulting child.
Dusty was asked to help her friend Ange and because Dusty is the result of a similar encounter (her mother was seduced by a powerful demon) she helps Ange to stop the night-visits.
During the course of the adventure, Dusty meets another half-demon called Hunter, and they hit it off.

I had the story proof-read (thank you Julie) and it was put onto Amazon's Kindle site (thanks Trev).
Then I sat back and waited.

People loved it! They love the character, the story - everything about her! I am still excited that I created something that others enjoy and tell me that they enjoy it. Though she's not hit 1000 sales yet, Dusty's getting out there and I'm sure she'll be a success (she already is a success to me, people enjoy reading about her, it's not about the money, it never was).

After that encouraging start, I tried another story. This time Dusty encounters mythological creatures called harpies. I researched these creatures and found that they were three sisters and I was able to weave a very satisfactory (well, to me, anyway) story with regards to Dusty. Ange makes another appearance in this story too, as does Ange's cousin and of course, Hunter. Flights of Fantasy has also been well received by the fans that have started to accumulate for my half-demon teen.

Vampires, Trouble x 3 was inevitable I think. After all, my writing career was re-started when I was admin for a vampire game on Facebook (don't bother to look for it, I no longer play the game).
Dusty is approached by a vampire and asked to help. There's way more to the vampire's tale than at first seems, which makes for another interesting read.

The next Dusty tale is a free download. I wrote it with the specific aim of putting it into Gingernut Books' Newsletter (click the link at the bottom of the page) and you can still get the story.
Dusty meets Santa in this story. As I wrote it, I wrapped it around one of my favourite Christmas poems - The Night Before Christmas. I had a lot of fun with that short story and it fits in well with Dusty and how she's developing as a character.

The fifth in Dusty's repertoire has just been released. Dusty's Doppelganger was as much fun as the rest have been to write.
I didn't find much by way of research on the doppelganger myth but what I could remember from childhood stories have been supplemented by my trusty fall-back option - I made stuff up!

I'm in the middle of writing Dusty's sixth adventure - it doesn't even have a working title yet - and it's still fun. I'll keep you updated on her adventures and possibly, later this year, maybe Dusty's seventh will hit the shelves running - as a full length novel.

Thanks for reading!