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2017 Goals (AKA Coming in 2017)





2016 was a crazy year for me, but looking back on the past twelve months, I feel like I grew a lot as a person and as an author. I mentioned in my 2016 review. I made a lot of ambitious plans for 2016 without any real idea of what the follow through will be. And this may sound crazy, but just because I failed, doesn’t mean I am going to be more conservative with this next year. With that in mind, I plan on being more up front with my goals, to keep me accountable and I have a plan of action in place, to make sure I hit all my goals. Here I’ve outlined some of my goals for the coming year.

I will write 500,000 words.

This may sound like an enormous amount of words, but you’ll see the break down here.

I will publish three books:
The Sea Stone Book Two of the Dragon Saga (May or June)*
The Cursed Staff** Book Three of the Dragon Saga (Sept)*
The Immortal Vow** Book Four of the Dragon Saga (December)

* All dates are tentative
** Title probably will change

If you’ve read any of my other series and are waiting on a sequel, I apologize in advance. I went back and forth on this for a while when deciding on 2017 schedule, but these books listed above are the ones I am most excited to write and I decided to put passion first. I will be continuing them eventually.

In addition to these novels, which their estimated word counts total 375k words (125k each dragon book)

I am working on a series of short stories set in the World of Akatsuki. Most of them are still in the planning stages, but you’ll see familiar characters and some new ones. These will be entirely free: but only to my newsletter subscribers. If you’re not on the list I suggest signing up now. I have 6 total stories the first to be released in March or April (Official launch to be announced)

In addition to that, I am also planning on having blog posts, at least twice a month, more if I am able. The topics will vary, but mostly it will be about what is interesting me at the moment, TV Shows, Books I’ve read, and the occasional information about research or more tidbits from the world of Akatsuki. I look forward to the year ahead, and I hope you do too!

What book on the list are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.

2016 in Review

 

I went into 2016 with a lot of aspiration. Maybe a bit more than I could chew, in retrospect. Even getting this post reflecting on 2016 is a little delayed. (Hello February.) I had planned on reading at least fifty books. I wanted to write six books, and publish them all. (Don’t ask me where I thought I was going to get the time to do all that.) I started off a little behind, the revision of Heart of Thorns, previously Those Who Dwell in Thorns, did not go as expected. And I was set back a couple months on the release going from January to April. But I was not to be detered and I jumped right into the writing the sequel, where I there got stuck.

I thought to myself, that’s OK, just work on something else in the mean time, so I started another project, and got stuck again. I went back to the sequel of Heart of Thorns, made small progress before my motivation started to wane.

It was during this time that my grandmother died. It wasn’t unexpected, in fact it was something I had been anticipating for months. But my grandmother, like me was too stubborn to go quietly. But she finally found peace in the spring of last year. I had a dark period in the months that followed, I started and stopped a lot of projects, aimlessly wandering through a creative wasteland where I felt all my inspiration was dried up. I thought I was ready for her to pass on. I had said my goodbyes had made peace with it. But it still struck me hard.

A couple months passed, I did a lot of assessing and thinking and dreaming, and in August I felt like I was back on track. I made a decision to write the next book in my Dragon Saga, The Sea Stone. I even started posting onto Wattpad to keep myself motivated. But as seemed to be the trend with 2016, another personal blow came out of the woodwork and my father passed away in early September.

This one was a lot harder. Not to get long and personal, but my father and I were estranged for a very long time. It’s a messy story that I won’t get into here, but his death shook me. In part because he was young, only in his fifties and because the first thing I heard about him in years was that he had a heart attack. He had not lived a healthy life, and as I realized at the time of his death, I have not been living a healthy life either.

I won’t go into a long sob story about my trials with food, and my struggle to do the right things for my body. That’s not what the Blog is for. But I tell you all this to lead up to something that has been weighing on my mind over the last couple months.

I spent a lot of 2016 dreaming, and plotting and planning for a future that I was not putting into action. I think things like I want to write six books in a year. But I do not think about the effort and time it would take to do such a thing. Sure I knew I’d have to write x amount of words per day, and that I would need to do huge amounts of words, to get it all done. None of this was unrealistic per-say. At the rate I write, I could have easily done it. But my biggest life challenge is consistency. I can start a diet, I can start a book, but at some point I lose interest and meander away onto new green pastures.

2016 proved to me how much time I have wasted on thinking about the things I wanted to do. I wrote the least, and up until recently I feel like I accomplished little. But as I took a hard look at myself, in the wake of my father’s death. I realized something: I learned a lot this year.

I read more non-fiction books on writing this year than I have since I started writing. I took courses on marketing, listened to hours of podcasts on writing and marketing. I learned a lot. And while there is no body of work to show for it. I’d like to think of 2016 as my evolution year. Going into 2017 this is my year of implementation and the word I’ve chosen as my theme: Production.

Do I have ambitious goals for 2017? Yes

Do I think I will achieve them? Yes -Because I see what I need to do to obtain them. I’m done dreaming and I’m ready to be doing. In my next Blog post, I plan on spelling out what I plan for 2017 and how I am going to do it. And at the end of the year, I plan on looking back at the year and I think I’ll be very happy with where I am at.

This was all a very long rambling personal blog post to make a declaration that I intend to be better in 2017 (Depsite waiting until half way through February to make that declaration)

My Author Inspirations

Two blog posts in a week, I know, I’m shocked too. I’ve been wanting to write up some posts just about me in general, cause I am vane? Maybe. Or Maybe I just want to share, or over share. That’s for you to be the judge.

Either way, I may have mentioned a time or two, that I’ve been writing since I was really young. And when I was in high school, I had high aspirations, a thesaurus and a lot of really badly written short stories. But apart from that I read a lot, and I read widely. But during those early writerly years I had my author inspirations who were the ones I wanted to be able to write like, I wanted to tell stories the way they told a story. And even now as I’ve published eight titles as of this blog post, I still think of these as my literay heroes in my genre.
Juliet Marillier: The first that drew me to Marillier’s writing style was the beautiful way she wrote, her words are almost poetic, she evoked colors and scents and sounds that weaved together into this almost tactile tapestry. I would fall into her books and feel like I was swimming in the sea along with a selkie, or drinking from a timble with a fairy. I could go on and on about her works. The one thing, reading her work did to influence me was to make me want to spend more time on description and scenery. Every time a reader tells me they love my descriptions, I get a little giddy because I pride myself on that part of my writing.

If you haven’t read Marillier yet, I highly recommend The Seven Waters Trilogy. The first book is the series, Daughter of the Forest, was my introduction into the romantic fantasy genre and it’s probably the reason I write the type of books I do.
Jacqueline Carey: My best friend first introduced me to Carey as she has with so much of what I read. This author was like my first taste of dark chocolate. Carey’s stories have an edge of sexiness and mystery, and danger. What I fell in love with the first time reading it though, was the complex plot and political intrigue in her Kushiel’s series. I loved the far reaching web and how everything fell together at the end as if I should have seen it all along. It was what inspired me to write the Diviner’s Trilogy.

If you haven’t read Carey yet, I would highly recommend: Kushiel’s Dart. Though if you’re not a fan of sex scenes and darker themes you may want to skip this one.

 

 


Anne Bishop: I found Bishop in my twenties and I devoured ALL of her books in a couple weeks. Her books have a slight dark edge without going over too far into extreme themes. Just as they’re sexy without being overly explicit. In my opinion, they ride a perfect edge that I like to strive for in my work. I don’t really like super explicit stories, most of the time, I love that hint of tension and that hint of danger and darkness. That’s what Bishop captures perfectly.
If you haven’t read Bishop yet, I would highly recommend: The Black Jewels Trilogy. It is that perfect mix of political intrigue, romantic passion and a good mystery.

 

 
What about you, who are you favorite authors and books? Let me know in the comments.

My Favorite Animes

My Favorite Animes

As a veteran anime watcher, (that’s right I served my time!) I often have this question posed to me: What’s a good anime to watch? Or I just saw: *insert anime* do you know something like it? I then reference my anime log list (yes I have a list). I used to blog about anime, but fiction writing sort of took over. But I figured since I haven’t posted to the blog in a while it might not hurt to share something random/funny about myself.
Anyway trying to narrow down my favorites to just five is like trying to pick a favorite child. But after some careful deliberation (not really that much deliberation I’m just being dramatic, it’s an author’s right after all.) here’s my picks, in descending order:


5. Attack On Titan

This series was actually referred to me by my non-anime loving best friend. She never really got it until attack on Titan. I love this show, it’s gritty it’s dark at times, but light at others. The series is set in a world where the planet has been over run by Titans, these massive human like creatures who eat humans. Humanity has been pushed behind high walls intended to keep them safe from the Titans, until a titan bigger than any other comes and breaks down their walls. If you love some serious action and drama, you’ll love this show.

 

4. Blood+
I’ve watched this series, read all the manga, and even wrote a few fan fictions for it back in the day. I was obssesed with it for a while. Blood+ takes a new spin on the vampire myth, where the vampires are horrific bat like creatures who can be killed by one girls blood. This series is also dark and beautiful at the same time. Sora’s protector, Haji, was in part inspiration for Noaki in the Dragon Saga series. I want to explain more about this series but I don’t want to ruin it, just go see for yourself.

3. InuYasha
I couldn’t get away without mentioning InuYasha. This series formed my adolescence in a part. I remember watching episodes late at night with my sister, and both of us making jokes over the fact that Kagome and InuYasha just would never, fraking, kiss. But I digress. InuYasha is the story of a girl from modern day Tokyo who falls down a well in a shrine and ends up in fuedal japan. This one is a bit on the lighter side, with plenty of humor, but it has epic battle scenes. It’s an absolute classic!

2. Lovely Complex
There’s some stories that just stick with you. That’s how lovely complex was for me. The story surrounds a too tall girl and too short boy, who form an alliance to help each other find love but end up falling for one another. As someone who grew up awkward, their feelings of awkwardness and fumbling at first love were very relate-able. This is an absolute must see!

 

 

1. Ouran High School Host Club
I love this show, manga, everything about it. Whenever someone asks me: What’s your favorite anime. This is always my first choice, hands down. Ouran is about a poor girl whose going to a school for rich kids on a scholarship. Haruhi doesn’t stick to social norms and wears her grandfathers old clothes to school when she cannot afford a uniform and gets mistaken for a boy, and when she breaks a vase in the club room of the infamous host club she’s forced to become a host to pay back the debt of the vase. This series is mostly a parody of anime/manga tropes but the story interwoven into it, just resonated with me. I have probably watched the show and read the manga a hundred times now. I absolutely adore this series.
So there it is, my top five favorite animes. How about you? What are your favorites. Let me know in the comments.

Teaser: The Priestess and the Dragon

Just a few days left until The Priestess and the Dragon is unleashed! Check out the first chapter below. And also check out information about how to win a Signed Paperback copy!

Chapter One:

SThe Priestess and The Dragon - E-bookweat rolled down her neck, slid down her spine and pooled at the basin of her lower back. Suzume resisted the urge to itch a tickle near her nose, lest she smear the white paint that adorned her face. The high priestess chanted in a sonorous voice and the procession moved forward a half step. Suzume sighed and lowered her head. The bells hanging from the decorative pins in her hair jingled as she did so. The second to the high priestess whipped her head around, somehow hearing the insignificant sound beneath the high priestess’ chanting. The second glared at Suzume, who returned the look with a half-smile and a tilt of her head, which jangled the bells further. The pinging sound felt like a declaration. I did not choose this life and I will not obey your rules.

The second pursed her lips as she glared at Suzume. She would not dare interrupt the ceremony to chastise Suzume. But if looks could kill, Suzume would be dead three times over. She would most likely get a tongue-lashing when they were alone again. If she had learned anything since coming to the temple, it was that the Maidens of the Mountain took their ceremonies seriously.

The procession moved forward another half step and the second turned back to the head priestess. Suzume sighed as she inched towards the temple. What she wouldn’t give to rip this constricting robe and sash off. I would trade all my father’s—no, the emperor, as I must now call him—I would give up all his gold and the power of the Eight to be free of this robe!

True, she was no stranger to fine garments. Indeed, she had often donned fine silks, she had been served by ladies from the noblest families and had men fall in love with her at least once a week. That was until her mother had ruined everything. You couldn’t tell from the bitter chill rolling off the mountain peaks, but at the White Palace, the cherry blossoms would be blooming. She should be viewing the cherry blossoms with General Tsubaki, her onetime intended, and having courtiers slipping her poetic love notes. He was the perfect match, powerful and old enough not to notice when I flirted with the younger lords. She sighed again.

The second spun around, breaking rank, and said with a hiss, “Silence.”

The young priestesses that were in three lines behind her giggled. The second glowered past Suzume towards them and the giggling died away, leaving only the sound of the high priestess, who continued to chant without breaking stride. When the second turned around, Suzume rolled her eyes. The procession moved another half step.

Suzume’s thoughts returned to her own lamentable fate. When she had imagined her wedding day, it was not like this. Instead of marrying General Tsubaki as was her right and his honor, she was to become an unwilling bride of the mountain god. Which was a romanticized way of saying she had been exiled to a life of a priestess. As the emperor’s trueborn daughter, she was born of divinity and as such she could not be simply married off. Her father insisted on adding insult to injury.

They approached a group of red torii arches. Before she passed beneath the first one, the wind picked up and jangled the bells in her hair, pushing against her as if trying to keep her from entering. She hesitated for a moment. She felt a tingle along her fingertips, a slight burn as if they had come too close to a flame. The second saw her dawdling and jerked her head to the side, indicating she should cross the barrier. It’s just a gateway. She crossed the threshold, and as she did, a prickling sensation ran up and down her arms. She pressed against an invisible barrier, as if the archway wanted to keep her back. She stumbled through and nearly lost her balance. She overcorrected and heard the priestesses behind her laughing, thinking she had lost her balance.

When she looked to them to see if they experienced the same phenomenon, they passed through without resistance. At least the wind had dried the sweat that was surely streaking the white paint on her neck. She chanced a glance to her side; beyond the red columns of the arch the pathway had a sheer drop. And in the distance she could see the mountain range shrouded in clouds. The pathway leading up to the shrine was carved from the mountain, one side a flat mountain face with a few sporadic plants growing in the cracks. The shrine was wedged into a cave; four columns supported the front facade, and beyond the veranda, the latticework doors had been pulled open. She had come a long way from the White Palace to this desolate mountain temple. Suzume suppressed another sigh, lest the second’s scowl grow deeper. Let’s get this over with, she thought.

After what felt like hours, but was closer to a few minutes, they passed beneath the last of the red arches and the house of the God of the Mountain lay before them. The wood on the front had been carved with a scene depicting the mountain range. Above the mountains, the god sat upon a cloud, and with an outstretched hand he brought rain to the needy farmers down at the bottom.

The high priestess stopped the procession. She finished her chant with one last echoing note that bounced off the surrounding mountains, and the following silence was more defined. The wind howled ominously. Suzume’s skin itched and burned. She fought the urge to rub her palms against her flesh to assuage her affliction; she wanted to maintain at least the illusion of respectability. The head priestess and all the other shrine maidens bowed in unison. Suzume, distracted by her fevered skin, did not follow but instead stared into the inner sanctum of the god. A pedestal was the room’s only adornment and upon the white pillow was an obsidian stone.

“Bow, you ungrateful girl,” the high priestess scolded.

Suzume did so with reluctance. Her skin trembled and twitched like a horse trying to shake off a fly. She could not remove her eyes from the stone. It seemed familiar, as if she had seen it before. As she knelt, she lost sight of it. She lowered her head in feigned obedience. However, a sensation began to stir in her gut; she felt like she might retch. I cannot do that, not now, not here. She glanced up once more, trying to regain control of her body.

The high priestess approached the shrine while swinging a brass bowl attached to four chains, with a stick of incense in it. The white smoke swirled around her and trailed after her as she approached the pedestal.

The high priestess lit a few incense sticks that were in holders on either side of the pedestal. She knelt down with her head bowed low to the ground as the room filled with the pungent smoke. The smoke tickled Suzume’s nose. She wiggled it back and forth, the churning feeling in her gut creeping up to the back of her throat. It felt as if there were an inferno burning inside her.

“God of the Mountain, bringer of the rain, great master who parted the lands from the sea, please accept this bride as yours.” She clapped her hands together, finishing the prayer. She rose up onto the balls of her feet and turned to face the group without rising from a kneeling position. She motioned for Suzume to come forward.

She rose on shaking limbs. Only her mere stubbornness kept her moving. As she crossed the threshold, a sensation like a punch to the gut stopped her in her tracks. Whatever was inside her was coming out, now. She stopped, afraid to move for fear her very skin would melt from her bones if she went too near. Is this a part of the ceremony? If so, I refuse to be a part of it.

The high priestess frowned and once more beckoned for her to come forward with a sharp impatient movement.

Suzume shook her head and set the bells jangling. They echoed across the room and seemed to reverberate tenfold, rattling around inside her skull.

“You cannot turn back now, you will anger the god,” the second snarled, now standing beside her with a rough grip of Suzume’s elbow.

The second forced Suzume forward; then Suzume’s knees buckled beneath her. Her stomach heaved and she feared she would empty its contents in front of everyone. She grabbed her abdomen in a last effort to hold back, but something bubbled up from inside her, the burning receded from her arms and pooled in her stomach before traveling up and out of her mouth. Bright red light burst from her lips and shot out like a current that sparked and undulated as it made a direct trajectory for the pedestal and collided with the obsidian stone.

For a moment the stone vibrated, and then it began to rock back and forth on its stand. Finally it rolled and began to ricochet around the pedestal, colliding with the raised edges of the stand. Then the pedestal exploded in a shower of splintered wood. The force of the explosion threw the high priestess backwards. Suzume fell to the ground just in time to avoid a deadly piece of wood from piercing her heart.

Fragments of wood rained down on her as she covered her head with her hands. When the raining debris ceased, she looked up again. Smoke filled the chamber—she could not tell if it was just the incense or from whatever had caused the explosion. The burning sensation had left her body, but Suzume felt a new tingling warm sensation that flooded her skin like a warning bell. She could not get up, however; it felt as if an invisible hand held her down, nearly forcing the air from her body.

“High Priestess!” the second shouted somewhere in the smoke and debris. The other maidens were chattering in fear.

“I am here, and unharmed,” the high priestess said. The smoke cleared and revealed her to be lying on the ground. She sat up and bits of wood fell off of her. She looked at Suzume, her eyes wide. “What did you do?” she asked.

Before Suzume had even the chance to answer, a hollow maniacal laughter filtered through the chamber. The head priestess’ mouth dropped open as she turned her head back to where the pedestal had been. The smoke rolled away and a coiled serpentine body covered in opalescent scales dominated the room. The creature’s muzzled face looked down upon Suzume, his long whiskers brushing against the bells on her hair pieces.

“God of the Mountain and bringer of the rain, I presume?” Suzume asked.

The creature smirked, revealing rows of dagger-sharp teeth. “You awoke me?” His voice echoed and filled the room with thunder.

Had she been a cautious woman, she would have listened to the underlying threat in the creature’s stature and his words. But Suzume prided herself on the fact that she did not cower before anyone, even the God of the Mountain.

“And if I did?” she asked.

The beast exhaled; his breath, as cold as winter, froze her skin until that warm tingling sensation defrosted her.

“God of the Mountain,” the high priestess gasped.

He turned his large head towards her and looked her up and down and said, “Your voice has been in my dreams.”

Tears gathered in the old woman’s eyes. “Thank you, lord, it is a great honor. I always hoped you heard my fervent prayers. I have dedicated my life to your service. Please tell us, why now have you—”

“Silence, you speak too much, human. I did not awaken to hear your prattling. You should stick to your prayers and songs, they are much easier upon the ears.” He growled and the high priestess fell onto her knees and laid her face to the ground.

“My apologies—” she started to say, but he growled and she silenced herself.

The god turned back to Suzume. “I can sense little spiritual power in you, yet you have undone the seal,” he said while regarding Suzume. He tilted his head to the side. The shrine maidens and high priestess had moved out of the way of the god’s coiling body and were huddled outside the shrine.

She looked at them and back at the god. How had she unleashed him? As far as she could tell, it had been an accident, an involuntary action. Regardless of the how, she did not want to admit her ignorance in front of the other shrine maidens.

“It was simple, the seal was weak,” Suzume lied.

He tilted his head and barked a thundering laugh that shook the building down to its foundation. He took a few steps back and then with a puff of smoke transformed. When the smoke cleared, a young man stood in his place. A naked young man. His sleek black hair hung loose about his shoulders in an almost obscene way.

Suzume admired his lean physique and let her eyes trace his body downward. Before she could get too far, however, the high priestess forced Suzume’s head down so she could not admire the god’s other masculine assets. Suzume sighed; if this is how she was expected to act for the rest of her life, then she was not going to like living here at all.

The god approached her and loomed over her. “You are my newest servant?”

She bristled at the servant distinction and was preparing to correct his misconception when the high priestess chose that moment to interrupt.

“She is your newest tribute, my lord, your pure bride.”

He raked Suzume up and down and she met his gaze with an out-jutted chin and only took a quick peek at his manhood. Not bad, she thought. He laughed again.

“I don’t know how pure she is.”

Suzume glared at him. How dare he insinuate she was anything but chaste! She had been attempting to get a sneak peek at his godly assets but nothing more than that. It didn’t make her impure to be curious.

“My lord!” the priestess proclaimed. He turned to her and looked her up and down.

“You keep calling me that, but I am not your mountain god. I am a dragon, and before I was trapped inside that stone, I ruled this realm. And you”—he knelt before Suzume. Now she did avert her gaze; she did not need to be that familiar with his manhood—”shall help me exact my revenge.”

 

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Review: Succubus and the Crown By Daniel David Garcia

814dosXXlKLLast week, I did a review for book one of the Succubus in a Red Dress. I hope you’ve downloaded a copy, because why not it’s free and it’s awesome! I’ll wait while you get your copy…

 

Anyway, I’m going to try and limit spoilers here because you definitely need to read The Succubus in a Red Dress before reading Succubus and the Crown. But I’ll keep this as vague as possible. We rejoin Delilah who do to (redacted) reasons has become the Succubus Queen of New York city. As usual our reluctant heroine is not pleased with her current circumstances especially when more succubus start trickling into the city and looking for her protection. While she’s trying to handle her new kingdom, her new boyfriend Ken and her are having some domestic issues, mostly involving his mother wanting her dead. As you can imagine hilarity ensues.

 

This was a wonderful follow up to the sassy tone of The Succubus in a Red dress and I devoured it over a weekend. It was one of those reads you could not put down. I enjoyed it immensely! We get a lot more action in this one which had me reminiscing about all the Buffy the Vampire I watched growing up. As before, I loved this book but especially Delilah. We need more strong females in fantasy, don’t you agree?

 

 

Coming up next, the Succubus in a Black Hat

 

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Interview with Kara Jorgensen

As you may have noticed from my reviews of the Earl of Brass and the Winter Garden, I’m a fan of Kara Jorgensen’s work. She was gracious enough to talk to me about her books, and I managed to reign in my fangirling. We talked about lots of topics from strong women to inspiration and research. This is a great interview, read more below.

N: I’m gonna dive right in, as you know I’m in love with your characters. Was there any real life inspiration for your characters, if not what is your character creating process?

 

K: For a lot of my characters, there is a “real life” inspiration for that character even if it’s only physically. Eilian, for example, is a combination of a lot of characters. He was inspired by Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia, Edward from Full Metal Alchemist, and a little Nathan Fillion thrown in for good measure. Adam physically is modeled after Errol Flynn if he was a Victorian dandy. Other characters, like Hadley or Immanuel gelled as I wrote. I had a vague understanding of who they are (usually beginning with their occupation and a bit of back story), and from there, they begin to grow as I write. I typically don’t know my characters inside and out when I start writing but feel them out as new situations bring out different aspects of their characters.

N: So I have to say, I love your strong female characters. All of your women characters are smart, and passionate and just plain badass. Do you have any strong female characters in fiction that you look up to?

 

K: I must admit that strong women in fiction has been lacking in my reading. Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, and Mrs. Weasley will always be leading my pack of strong women, especially from my early reading, but thinking on it now, I’m pretty surprised to find that I don’t remember reading about many strong women. Medea from Euripides’ play is another badass woman I definitely love from literature, but I think most of my inspiration actually comes from real women. Often my characters come from independent, rebellious women from the past like Mary Shelley and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, cross-dressing women who went to war, subversive women, suffragettes who threw bricks through windows and fought police during protests. I think we’ve come a long way in fiction, but there’s more work to do in terms of the representation of strong characters who are women, different ethnicities and cultures, and different sexualities and genders.

N: I have to commend you on your realistic portrayal of falling in love in your novels. From Hadley to Eilian and Immanuel and Adam your characters fall in love in such a realistic way. Have you written a lot of romance or are you just naturally talented?

 

K: I have to say thank you for thinking my romances are realistic! That is one aspect of my writing that I am always worried about. Most of my stories have a romance element as part of a subplot, but I have never written a strictly romance story. I have been in a relationship with the same person for ten years, so my romances tend to be less fire and burning passion and more of a slow-burn with a bit of build-up, though every relationship is different. I don’t know if being in a long-term relationship helps with writing characters who end up in stable relationships, but it’s where I draw my experience from.

N: I love how you tackle LGBT issues in your books. For those that are new to the genre, do you have any recommendations? (Other than your books of course)

 

K: Oh yes. My current reading list has a lot of LGBT fiction in it. For readers who like historical or literary fiction, I would recommend Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith, E. M. Forester’s Maurice, The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice. Most of Anne Rice’s works contain LGBT characters, and they were probably my first exposure to the genre. Some modern fantasy authors I’m currently enjoying are: Laura Lam (Pantomime and Shadow Play), Jordan L. Hawk (Widdershins), K. J. Charles (The Magpie Lord), and Sam Farren (Dragonoak, which I admit I haven’t gotten to yet)

 

N: So what made you decide to write steampunk? Have you always been a fan of the genre?

 

K: I have always been a fan of Victorian fiction and historical fantasy, so steampunk seemed to be a natural progression. As I began reading more steampunk fiction (primarily anthologies and short stories), I found that, while I enjoyed the stories, what I wanted to read wasn’t there. I loved the combination of the Victorian aesthetic with lace and corsets and the complex contraptions that featured in the stories. The genre is wide-open to interpretation, which I love and is probably why I chose to write in it.

N: In addition to above, the detail in your books is amazing from the way Eilian’s bionic arm works to the way society runs. Was there a lot of research involved for your novels?

 

K: Yes, lots and lots of research. It’s one of the best and worst parts of writing historical-fantasy. I tend to lean toward historical realism, so I have quite a few websites and books that I use to look up details about the late-Victorian era that I don’t know off the top of my head. Both of my books also have quite a bit of science in them. Eilian’s bionic arm took A LOT of research and is actually pretty sound scientifically. One of the odd perks of research is knowing way too much about weird subjects, like seals or Christmas crackers.

N: I have to ask, have you seen Full Metal Alchemist? Because I almost swooned when I realized Eilian had a metal arm that moved! (You don’t have to include this in the interview, I’m just curious.)

 

K: Yes! Edward’s mechanical arm was definitely part of the inspiration behind Eilian’s arm. It was that arm combined with modern bionic prostheses and Victorian ones that were operated with springs and looked more like torture devices than limbs.

N: What was the inspiration for the Earl of Brass?

 

K: The original idea for the story began with a daydream I had where I imagined a dirigible crash and what it would be like to go through it, and what if you were injured during it? This led to the opening scenes of The Earl of Brass, but as I started fleshing out the idea, I thought it would be interesting if he lost a limb or some important organ that had to be replaced with a mechanical one. I wanted to stay on the side of realism, and after a bit of research, I eliminated the organ idea and instead came up with the missing arm. This would be how he would become entangled with Hadley, who was a craftswoman and the love-interest. Halfway through writing the story, I really had no idea where it was going. Then, I started reading The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the lost civilization of Billawra formed.

N: The Winter Garden was amazing, the tone is brooding and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Do you have any particular writing method to keep up the tension and danger? Like do you listen to scary music while you write?

 

K: The Winter Garden was my first real attempt at creating a horror-esque work, and one of the things that I think helped a lot was knowing what I covered already and what everyone knew. I had charts and outlines delineating the aforementioned issues, and it helped a lot to figure out where the slack was and where to tighten it. For the mood, I had a Pinterest board filled with dark images that I referenced a lot while writing. I’m a very visual person, so seeing the darkness and using it to build my own visuals helped immensely. I don’t know if it added to the atmosphere, but I also have a Youtube video of thunder and rain, which got me into that dark and stormy night mood.

N: What was the inspiration for your current work in progress?

 

K: My current project, The Earl and the Artificer, which should be out late 2015 or early 2016 was partially inspired by Downton Abbey in the sense that the story revolves around an old manor, but unlike Downton, it’s not your typical Georgian manor. The house has a huge greenhouse attached to it and a mysterious and rather combative uninvited house guest who likes to pop in unannounced and cause chaos. Some of the major themes in the story are: inheritance and what comes with being part of a lineage, freedom, individuality and how to reconcile that with responsibility, and rebirth. Another major piece of inspiration was Ancient Rome’s influence on Britain. There are a lot of Roman tidbits thrown into this book.

 

N: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

 

K: Hopefully lots more stories with Adam, Immanuel, and Emmeline, so more paranormal stories that will probably be filled with libraries, museums, ghosts, revived villains, cults, and mythical creatures. There may be more Eilian and Hadley stories in the future, but for now, I see more with my little trio. Book four, which should be out sometime in 2016, will feature the three of them fighting the forces of darkness again. In between projects, I also hope to post more short stories set in this universe.

 

 About Kara:

Kara Jorgensen is an author of fiction and professional student from New Jersey who will probably die slumped over a Victorian novel. An anachronistic oddball from birth, she has always had an obsession with the Victorian era, especially the 1890s. Midway through a dissection in a college anatomy class, Kara realized her true passion was writing and decided to marry her love of literature and science through science fiction or, more specifically, steampunk. When she is not writing, she is watching period dramas, going to museums, or babying her beloved dogs. Her poems have been featured in Selfish and Literary Orphans.

 

Connect with Kara: 

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Cover Reveal: The Priestess and the Dragon

The Priestess and The Dragon - E-bookI cannot believe this day has finally come! When I started writing The Priestess and the Dragon a couple years ago it was just a lark. I’ve loved Japan for as long as I can remember and I just wanted to write an epic fantasy set in pseudo-Japan. Then Suzume took on a life of her own, and things just snowballed from there. The rewrites have be so much fun and I got to add tons of exciting new scenes including scenes from Kaito’s perspective. I added about 30% more content. O.O  October can not come soon enough. I’ll be posting teasers to my Facebook page in the mean time. Be sure to check back.

“Love and revenge don’t end with Death”

Exiled for her mother’s sins, Suzume lives in a remote mountain shrine training to become a priestess. She would give anything to return to her old life at the emperor’s palace. When she accidently awakens a sleeping dragon posing as the mountain god, she thinks he is the answer to all her problems. But she gets more than she bargained for when she unleashes the Dragon, Kaito. He has been sealed away for five hundred years and now he is hungry for revenge. The woman who trapped him may be dead, but he will settle for her reincarnation and he chooses Suzume to join him on his quest for vengeance. What he doesn’t realize is Suzume is that priestess reborn. Now she must find a way to seal the dragon once more before he learns the truth. 

 

Pre-order for 99 cents! 

 

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Review: Succubus in a Red Dress By Daniel David Garcia

I read this 3482742-368-k764705book a while back and thought I had already reviewed it. And while going through my reviews trying to decide what to review next I realized my error. Well now I plan to rectify that! Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to be introducing you to the fabulous world of The Succubus in a Red Dress. To start today, we have this fabulous romp. Delilah is pretty average, she’s struggling to make ends meet in NYC working at a coffee counter for pennies when she discovers some previously unknown powers when she accidentally drains a man and almost kills a man.

Cue her new mentor, Chloe who has conveniently swept into plan and decides to take Delilah under her wing. She teaches her everything there is to no about enchanting men and sucking the life out of them. But our herione is not so keen on her new found powers and openly rejects them.

This book was a fun twist on the classic idea of a Succubus, Delilah is not your a-typical sultry seductress. She is clumsy and awkward and painfully relatable. I think we can all relate to that sense of not knowing what to do with your life and who hasn’t struggle a time or two. It was a quick read, it probably took me a day or two. It was an amazing book, and as if it couldn’t get any better it’s currently FREE on Kindle and Kobo. So Pick up your copy you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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Review The Winter Garden & The Oxford Holiday by Kara Jorgensen

I love sureal-winter-garden-cover-final-frontpporting Indie Authors, there’s a real sense of community when we all rally together. I was lucky to have Kara as guest at my Kistune Release Party and I was really excited because just the day before I finished this fabulous book in her Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. This is the second book in the series, and as with her Earl of Brass, Ms. Jorgensen’s talent for diverse characters stole the show from the start!

I really enjoyed her first book, Earl of Brass, but fell in love with her writing in The Winter Garden. Throughout the book, there’s this sense of fear that overlays everything. Emmanuel is a German student studying anatomy at Oxford when he saves a girls life by using a family heirloom. Turns out his family deals in alchemy and using what appears to be a philosophers stone. But when he revives her their lives are linked together. Emmaline’s mysterious recovery piques the interest of of those who would use their apparent link, and the two become entangled together, in unexpected ways.

 

Ms. Jorgensen captures so many themes, and does it with such expertise that I could gush about how much I love this book for thousands of word. But I am sure they would all start to run together and I won’t subject you to that. I will give you the best impression I can, but honestly you should just buy the book. Her writing is beautiful and poignant. Starting with Emmanuel, he deals with a lot. He’s damaged and afraid and his feelings just jump off the page. I felt like he was a real person as if this was a story told by a friend beside me. Then there’s Adam his love interest, he’s hidden his homosexuality for his entire life and it takes a lot for him to give in to opening up his heart. You feel the danger of discovery for these two. I never thought too much about homosexuality in the Victorian age but now that I have, I want to read more about it. The romance between the two characters felt natural. There was no pomp, which was so great. I’ve read novels with homosexual relationships as a minor subplot and it always feels like the author is waving a diversity flag for the sake of diversity. These characters breathe real life! With Adam and Emmanuel they just are, and there’s something simple and special about that. I have to say it, I love this couple! Intermixed with these characters you fall in love with is this prevail sense of magic, danger and mystery. It had every element of a story that I just love. An absolute must read!

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And once you finish that, pick up the Oxford Holiday. It’s a delightful glimpse into the lives of Emmanuel and Adam after The Winter Garden. It’s a quick read that will sate your craving for more of this couple, because believe me, you will fall in love with them! Not only was it great to see them being their adorable selves, it sets up future conflicts to come introducing new characters and teasing us with brief glimpses of what we can expect in future books. (Yes I’m onto you Kara!) Pick them both up at the same time, because you’ll want to read the short right after.

 

The Winter Garden:

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An Oxford Holiday: 

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About the Author

A little about myself: I am a wife and a mother of two. I write fantasy with romantic subplots. I adore a good book, a quiet place to read and other generic things you hear writers say all the time. I love when people try to speculate on my work and feedback is welcome and appreciated.
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