Edward von Gigglestein. Playing with his tail. In slow motion. Happy Monday.
Edward von Gigglestein. Playing with his tail. In slow motion. Happy Monday.
Where are you, whatcha doing?
Working. Working, and working, and also working. It’s the home stretch for the White Hot. We are at 75K, and the big finale is coming up. It is eating all of my brain power.
I’ll try to write an FAQ post later today addressing some writing and business questions we received. Also I typically clean out my email server every year, deleting all of the emails from the previous 24-12 months. It helps me keep my email box manageable. In a fit of brilliance I selected the wrong range, 2013-2015 instead of 2013-2014, and killed all of my emails. Permanently. I am awesome.
We are doing and experiment trying out the KU. Sometime in the next month, and I don’t have the exact date, we will upload an anthology of shorts in KU. It will include Questionable Client, Magic Tests, Retribution Clause, Of Swine and Roses, and Grace of Small Magics. So nothing new. This is basically for KU users who never heard of us and would like to try us out. We were going to upload Magic Gifts, but somehow Ace ended with the rights to it. Since they sat on it for about three years and did nothing with it, we requested the rights back and the matter has been sent to contract review, which likely means months before it is resolved. Oh well.
Anyway bottom line, those of you who are not brand new readers of our work are not missing anything and those of you who are will be able to grab the collection from KU.
On a personal note, late last night our now college age daughter came to our house. Mostly because she was hungry. She ate, hung out, and then went back to her apartment. A few minutes later she called. As she drove by a church, there was a man dressed in black and wearing a black ski mask. In Austin 90 degree heat even in the evening. Apparently he was holding a flash light to his face as the cars were passing by.
I am reasonably sure it was probably some idiotic prank, but here is the thing: it’s Texas. Every crazy neighbor here has a gun and an itchy trigger finger. This is an excellent way to get shot. Why in the world would you do this? Save it for Halloween. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.
On a related, insane note, my kids were practicing for volleyball at a park and spotted a drone trying to take some strategic views. As they started yelling at the drone, a grown man crawled out of the child slide and looked at them for several seconds to make sure they knew he was there. The girls ran to their car and drove the few blocks home. I had to do some emergency convincing to keep Gordon from going to the playground, because it wouldn’t have ended well. So tonight I am planning on going over to the park, given that it’s Friday night again, and if I find that creep there trying to work his drone to spy on the kids again, he will have explain to me what exactly he is doing. I’m sure our local police department will be happy to chat with him. They drive by that park all the time trying to catch kids hiding to smoke pot.
So life’s been a bit weird. How is it going for you?
There came a point in my life where I had to come to terms with my “problem.” I honestly don’t see it as a problem, but my husband has reached high levels of exasperation dealing with it from time to time.
I am a people hoarder.
Full on, certifiable, people hoarder. I blame my mother; she passed it down to me.
What is a people hoarder, you ask? You might be thinking I have a collection of kidnapees tied up in my basement. It’s nothing so sinister as that. I love people; I love to be near them, talk with them, help them, feed them, and entertain them. Unless I’m writing, there’s nothing more pleasing than a house full of noise and controlled chaos.
At one point, we had nineteen people living here. In my defense, that did include my five children, my husband, and myself. But hey, these people all needed a place to stay, and we took turns cooking!
I also have a magic porch. It’s a safe place where people come to have fun, talk about serious problems they need help with, and in general, relax.
We’re the hangout house for my older kids and their friends. We have high-speed internet, there’s always food, fun, and laughter. They all know there are no judgments. Rule number one: be yourself. Rule number two: no judgments.
So what does that have to do with writing from my heart? Everything.
Many of the characters in my stories are pulled straight from real life. Even the magic porch makes an appearance in the Crescent Hunter Series. The series itself was inspired by my boys, the young men I’ve watch grow from awkward pre-teens with acne and squeaking voice changes, to college students. They’re part of my extended family, my heart, and my pack. I’m not sure what I would’ve done without them during some of the more difficult times in life.
They’re an incredibly diverse group of friends who keep me laughing. When I approached them about being in the book, they thought it was going to be the coolest thing ever. There was a touch of concern, since they’ve all read my INK: Series—which is a supernatural suspense with a twist of horror. There’s a high body count. They started a betting pool to see who was going die first in Crescent Hunter and how it was going to happen.
One warm evening we were on the porch. Five or so of the guys were there talking about the story and how it was all going. They’re very creative and have grandiose ideas about how they’d like to die, and of course, some lame ways they’d like to see each other die.
Some of their ideas were along the lines of leaping onto a flaming sword of death to save the heroine; they felt as though this would be an admirable way to die. But then, they started discussing different ways to kill each other.
I took their suggestions into consideration—not really. None of their ideas made it into the book. What’s important is that my heart did. Their personalities will live as long e-readers and books exist.
When I went to Roanoke, VA, for an author event, I had some limited edition copies of Moon Crossed printed and had all the boys sign the books. My readers that have gotten to know the boys through my page and the book really enjoyed having that extra personalization. The boys thought it was cool that I asked them to sign the books. Readers also got a glimpse of the craziness that feeds my creativity from time to time, some of the inscriptions are… well, very creative.
When the entire series was finished, they all read it. For a while, it was fun for them trying to figure out who was who. Of course, Locke, Tor, and Rabbit figured out who their characters were immediately. But as they read the story, something happened: they all came to realize how I see them and how much I cherish the friendship we have.
They know the twists and turns of the story don’t follow how our lives are, that it’s just a story. The real life Brogan came to me one day after he finished the book—he’s one of the more emotional boys. He told me what a gift it was, the way our strange little family works, and how he feels honored to be part of it. I explained to him that our family is only a whole with him playing his part and each and every one of them are important to me.
Even the strangest paranormal stories are all written drawing from the author’s experiences. There’s a piece of our hearts in every character. Moon Crossed is a huge piece of mine because I love every character—even the bad guys.
Every time a reader contacts me, or leaves a review saying how much they loved the characters, I pass it on to the boys. Because even though the characters are a reflection of my love for them, the parts of the characters the readers love are who the boys are at their cores.
So, yes, authors write from the heart. Great stories are told with loveable and despicable characters. Often times, the books we love to read are the ones in which we relate so closely with a character and their struggle. We enjoy watching the journey and the development of them as a person. Every time someone reads a book, the characters are real in their mind; we mourn them when they die, and we cry tears of joy when they’re happy. We feel deeply for them, because in their creation, the author felt deeply for them.
Moon Crossed has been an interesting journey for me. There’s no happy ending yet, but I’m sure one is coming for Claire. This story is far from over. I have so much more to tell about her journey, just as there is so much left to live in mine.
A bolt of something inexplicable runs through me, yanking me out of my pity party. A new wolf has just arrived—one I’m unfamiliar with. I sniff the air trying to identify him. With all the people around, I can’t smell much of anything but booze, Listerine, and BO. No wonder I don’t date.
My stomach lurches with a peculiar nervousness I’ve never felt. The scar on my arm burns, and my tattoos tingle and itch. I run my fingers over the symbols, blow out a breath, and look back up at the sky.
A deep, resonant voice from the doorway brings me out of my trance. “Anything new up there?”
I turn toward him, somewhat bewildered. He’s leaning in the doorway holding a glass—not a solo cup—of bourbon, if I’m smelling it correctly. I’m captivated by light blue eyes that flash from narrowed lids. I say nothing for what seems to be forever; we’re both trapped in a never-ending gaze.
Trevor comes running through the door, knocking the man out of the way. “Hey!” He’s winded and takes a minute to catch his breath while he rests his hands on the stranger’s shoulders.
“Trevor? You okay?” I chuckle.
“Yeah.” He gulps a breath. “I just wanted to introduce you.”
“Okay?” This is out of character for Trevor.
The man puts his hand on Trevor’s back. “It’s okay, dude, take a moment.” New guy looks at me, flashing a cool smile.
I return a shrug and bewildered head shake.
Trevor rights himself. “Okay, sorry. Claire, this is Cole; Cole, Claire.”
Cole offers his hand. “Nice to meet you, Claire.” His southern drawl rolls over me like caramel.
I take his hand, noticing how big it is, how big he is. Tall and broad, he takes up most of the doorway. His hand is rough and worn. It makes me wonder how old he really is, even though he only looks to be about twenty. “Likewise.”
“This is my sister.” Trevor brims with warning.
“I get that.” Cole returns an innocuous grin, then flashes me a sly one, arching his brows.
I purse my lips. “Thank you for protecting me from the big bad wolf.” I’ve handled many a wolf in my day, and I’m sure this guy is no different.
“Hey, Cole,” Rabbit comes out and gives Cole a hug; his giant frame completely swallows Rabbit’s slender body.
“It’s been a minute. How’ve you been?” Cole asks, patting Rabbit on the back to retract from the hug.
“Busy with school. How about you?” Hug over, his hand stays on Cole’s shoulder.
He holds up his hand but obscures two fingers. “Same as always, rough day at the lumber yard.”
We all laugh. Mine perhaps a little nervous.
The back porch fills with the boys, everyone pulling up a chair. I don’t mind, really, even though I usually come out here for solitude. It’s also nice when it becomes a place for jokes and good times. Balances things out, I guess.
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/Bella-Roccaforte
A couple of days ago I woke up to an email that said, “Oh boy!” The email was from my friend and contained an add that had a picture that could reasonably be Kate. It also said “Fans of Kate Daniel’s Love it!” Spelled just like that. I’ve been seeing similar ads on Facebook. “A heroine better than Mercy Thompson.” “Hotter than Nalini Singh.” And so on.
This tactic backfires typically, because people who love a work by that particular author usually get offended when someone they don’t know claims that they are so much better. The ads are coming from several different indie authors and we’ve received several emails about it, some from people who thought some of the ads might have been a new release from us and were disappointed and others who were upset on our behalf. Usually the emails ended with “Can’t you do something about this?”
After about 2-3 weeks of this, I had some frustration built up. Our readers were being annoyed. So I was itching to spring into action and I decided to do something about this particular ad. I posted a post on the pro-page describing the ad in generic terms without naming the author and explaining that we do not endorse these ads, and I went to track down Bella Roccaforte, whose work the ad promoted. Then I wrote… how to put this… a very strongly-worded message, pointing out that if she was going to use our name to promote her work, she should at least spell Kate’s last name correctly.
I got back an incredibly polite apology. The ads were outsourced, she agreed that clearly mistakes were made, and she pulled them. No argument, no fighting, just pulled them.
I was still upset so I tried to fight some more.
Bella sent me back another incredibly polite message, once again apologizing. By this point the wind left my sails.
Then Kid 1 sent me this:
“I feel bad for her. I don’t think she meant any harm and now she probably feels humiliated that you and many others called her out…not saying she didn’t have it coming but I just feel bad.”
And then again in private: “I was going to tell you about that lady, because the ad popped up on my page. I don’t think she meant any ill. I just think she was taken a back and hadn’t realized that she screwed up, and I can feel sorry for someone who has just realized that instead of pouring money in an ad that is supposed to get people to read your book, you are now met with angry people refusing to read your book. “
So at that point I felt like a complete ass. Also I was reminded of something Stephen King once said about being grounded. He said that he could come home and tell his wife that they just made a million dollars, and she would ask him, yes, but did you pick up the milk? Clearly, I will never be as awesome as Stephen King and a million dollars in one day is probably not in our future, but we somehow managed to raise a child who is able to put herself into injured party’s shoes and is capable of telling me no. Telling me no when I am in a full charge mode is difficult.
Kid 1 grew up in an era when no mistake can be made on the internet, because any public stumble inevitably causes a huge pile on, often by random strangers. The internet, and social media in particular, is often unforgiving and civility is in short supply. And there is really no reason why we shouldn’t be civil to each other. Gordon and I both taught Kid 1 to not participate in flame wars. While Bella’s ads may have been off-putting, I could’ve handled the situation better. I am both embarrassed on my behalf and proud of my daughter.
So in the interests of repairing what harm I might have done and owning my own assery, I talked to Bella and asked her if she would be willing to come on the blog and talk a little bit about her work and maybe bring an excerpt. She graciously agreed.
So, without further ado, please see the next post (above this one on the blog).
Good morning KD fans! Thank you so much for the amazing response to the ‘Magic Does Something’ contest. The comments section is closed and no more submissions can be accepted.
Who admits to digging out their college thesaurus to get original?? It was a ton of fun to read through your ideas and your comments on the other suggestions which were posted. Ilona and Gordon will let us know when they have selected a winner!
Starting a new series is always risky. I think Karen Marie Moning put it best, when she wrote, and I am paraphrasing, that you lose sales, money, and ranking. A new series is always a gamble.
Contrary to all my gloomy expectations, you guys made Burn For Me an awesome success. :) Thank you! Thank you so much for giving this new series a try.
Right now, we are planning for it to be a trilogy and we will begin working on the second, as yet untitled book, as soon as we finish Magic Shifts.
Don't miss Hidden Legacy website, where you can learn more about the powerful families of magic Houston, types of magic, and other assorted cool stuff.