Interview with Brandice Snowden author of Demon’s Veil

DemonSynopsis:

Powerful veils hold Earth apart from realms mortals believe are merely tales of myth and legend. They are opening again, leaving humans vulnerable, and the monsters ready to strike.

Marie Leveau prefers to remain alone and anonymous, for she knows what goes bump in the night, and sacrificing others isn’t part of her personality. But life isn’t always about getting what you want.

Contracted by The Organization, a shadow government agency, Marie is assigned a new Special Ops team, one she must introduce via Paranormal 101 to the very monsters they didn’t believe existed. Marie and her team are sent to Asia in search of an ancient relic, leading them into the jungle and tests of a fragile new bond. Despite the initial distrust, and an unholy battle with a demon-god, the team survives, their lives forever changed and woven into an unbreakable tapestry.

Returning home, the new friends sense the very people responsible for their safety are willing to sacrifice them all in the name of power.

They learn of a prophecy, and The Paladin, the one person able to close the veils and keep the mortals safe.

With few clues, the team must unravel the prophecy and figure out how to close the veils. Or the monsters will use Earth as ground zero, innocents be damned.

About Brandice:

brandiceI grew up around the tall tales and history of Texas. I worked my way through college just because I was told it was out of my reach; earning a degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. Along the way I learned to shoot, wield a sword and even met a family ghost or two.

I have been an artist, teacher, military wife, mother and now novelist. I spend my free time indulging in my fantastical side, learning first hand skills my characters use in my books. I have a passion for history and mythology and use much of what I learn to create new worlds.

I currently resides on the Texas/Oklahoma border with the love of my life and my children of both two legged and four legged variety.

 Interview.

Tell us a bit about who you are and your publishing journey…

I am a 34 year old wife and mother.  My friend would say I am quirky; strangers would probably call me weird.  But I’m okay with that.  I enjoy thing like the Society for Creative Anachronism, art, history, and mythology has always appealed to me.

My publishing journey literally started with a dream; actually it was a nightmare.  I had this emotionally wrenching nightmare and turned it into a short story to get it out of my head.  My husband and friends badgered me to give them more of the story, which was how I found NaNoWriMo.  I hadn’t actually seriously considered writing a novel until that point.  One I got started the story just grew.  After winning NaNo, I saw a Curiosity Quills Press contest announcement in a facebook group and thought what the heck.  I had nothing to lose.  Low and Behold, here I am, winner of the contest with my first book “Demon’s Veil” published and the second book in the series nearly completed.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I just finished the newest Jim Butcher, “Skin Games”  and a cute little romance called “What Stays in Vegas” by Beth Labonte.

What is the best, and worst, thing about being an author?

The best thing about being an author is twofold…creating these characters that become such a major part of your life and then sharing them with others.  The worst thing for me at least is the marketing, especially with social media.  I can charm the pants off of you if we are in the same room, but I am still learning the ropes when it comes to charming people via a computer interface.

If you could add one more bit to Demon’s Veil – what would it be?

A holodeck program like you saw on Startrek.  I wish in some scenes that the reader could see what was going through my brain because words fall short sometimes.  But as far as the story, I wouldn’t add anything extra yet.  Once I end the series that may change though.

What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part was my own self talk.  It’s a huge time commitment to write a novel and I often found myself saying, “I don’t know if I can do this.”  But in the end I barrelled through with “just one more page” or “five more minutes of writing.”   It’s amazing how those little goals can add up to such a big goal.

If Demon’s Veil was to be made into a movie – who would be your leads and why?

I would want Hugh Jackman for my Morgan.  He’s buff and sexy but also has a down to earth kind of quality that I like.  Marie is a little harder to cast.  Her character is Creole from Louisiana.  When I was writing her I thought mostly of a cousin of mine (My great grandparents were Cherokee and Creole French).  So I would love to see a Native American actress like Maija Tailfeathers in the part; but I also think there are some really talents African American actresses that could do well also.  I think Alexander Skarsgard would make a great Keiron. I’m not sure who to cast for Alejandro and Milana Delgado. Maybe give a talented newcomer a chance.  I know five leads is a lot, but this book is more of an ensemble cast.

I’m an evil villain taking over the world!! Are you with me? Or against me?

Well that depends….are you Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, or Chaotic evil? (Yes I know my nerd girl is showing LOL)

What’s your next project?

For the moment I am concentrating on completing the Veil Prophecy Trilogy; but I have also begun plotting an epic fantasy series based on Arthurian legend as well as two romance novel series.  One being a steampunk/mafia series set in the distant future one a new planet.  The other being a a series based on my own take of mythology from around the world.

Where can fans find you online?

Follow me on:

https://www.facebook.com/BrandiceSnowdenWriter

https://twitter.com/brandicesnowden

http://www.brandicesnowden.com/

Demon’s Veil on Amazon:

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Book Review: Gargoyle Addiction by Livia Olteano

Gargoyle Addiction by Livia OlteanoO

Synopsis: 

Summonari don’t trust. Under their command, they summon any number of creatures from the Otherwolds—but never trust them outside of the summoning.
Gargoyles don’t love. Fierce descendants of dragons, they function on power and fear—never love.

Karla isn’t the happily-ever-after type of girl. No territory-hungry guy is going to stick flags all over her unclaimed grounds.

Kann’s world is death and betrayal. As Dar Primus of Haus Varis, he’s expected to follow tradition but he’s not your regular gargoyle. In fact, he’s anything but.
One fateful Friday night, Otherworlds collide. Stuck together in one world or another, Karla and Kann face everything from Awakenings and turbulent love to Festnavals and bloodthirsty scorned suitors.

If there’s one thing they can’t escape, it’s the addiction to each other. And they’ve got it bad.

My Review:

I do find the concept of gargoyles in romantic fiction interesting, so I was really curious about this book. And it was a cool concept to have a character, especially a villain, escape from a book. The author’s voice was quite snarky (in a good way) and, through the book,  it felt like you were having a good gossip with a friend.

The front cover is beautiful. Very evocative and sums up the the romantic feel of the book.

From a writer’s perspective, having the main characters with such similar names was a mistake. And I didn’t get on with the first person head hopping, again just my personal preference. There was a harsh number of cliches and overused phrases that could have been easily edited out to make the book tighter. In the author’s defense, these cliches are rampant in romantic literature so it can’t be helped too much. Nature of the beast.

I would say though, as romances go, it was a good one. If you like Gena Showalter then you would probably love this book.

3 out 5 stars.

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About the Author:

Livia lives in Europe where she listens to obscene amounts of music and devours every reading material in sight. When she’s not doing either of the two, she fiddles with anything remotely customizable within reach.

Website: http://www.liviaolteano.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LiviaOlteano

Blog: http://blog.liviaolteano.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LiviaOlteano

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11350038-livia-olteano

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10 Benefits of an eBook

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10 Benefits of an eBook.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good list – so let’s look at the benefits of eBooks from both a writer, and a readers’ perspective.

For Readers:

1)      Font: you can alter most readers to make the font easier to read – this is perfect for people with vision problems and children who read better in larger fonts. New readers now also come with adjustable back lights too, so you can read anywhere, any time.

2)      You’re desperate to read that book, all your friends are talking about it – well with an eBook version you can download it instantly. No waiting for the post to come, or searching through library and bookshop shelves. You want it, by heck – you can have it right now! You can download an eBook any time you want – if you’re hankering for a zombies vs vampires undead-appaloosa at one in the morning – you could even download my novel Bad Blood!

3)      They’re usually cheaper that print versions – so you can save quite a sum of money in the long run to spend on, you guessed it, more books! Some of the classics are even available for free, along with other taster books and promotional short stories.

4)      Lighter to carry round than a book. Have eBook reader, will travel. Slip it in your bag and never again have a bored moment: waiting for a bus, for your friend to finish her make-up, or if you’re alone and enjoying a nice frothy fresh cup of coffee in an over-stuffed fake leather sofa in your local coffee joint; just remember to regularly charge your e-Reader!

5)      No more crammed bookcases. I don’t know about you, but my book shelves are dangerously piled high – like some bizarre literature Cirque-de-Soleil act. I love reading books, but I also love buying them and buying them takes less time! With eBooks, you can electronically store as many books as you like, without endangering your safety with a possible book avalanche.

For Writers:

1)      Royalties are higher on eBooks, as production costs are lower. Although, there is still that satisfying rush involved with seeing your work in print, the bottom line is that you’ll earn more from eBook sales.

2)      Production time is less, which means you can produce more work in the year than if you were printing – thus starting the royalty gravy train rolling sooner, rather than later.

3)      You’ll never be out of print. eBooks are always available and not tied to being printed in batches – if your work doesn’t date too much, it’ll be in circulation much longer.

4)      New e-Readers such as the Kindle Fire also include the front cover along with the text, this keeps your wonderfully designed book cover along with your work and is much more aesthetically pleasing to your reader and easily identifiable for you and your publishers branding.

5)      You can add in bonus content for your readers – maybe the playlist you listened to whilst writing, extra character information links, instant access to your website or Amazon author page so they can buy more of your splendid works. The possibilities are fantastically endless and will be consistently evolving.

Now, I’m not an ‘eBooks are the only way’ kind of girl, I’m still in love with paperbacks and hardbacks too – its a hard habit to break, but I must admit that eBooks are becoming pretty attractive. In my humble opinion, can’t they exist side by side, helping one another? To me, the written word is magical – no matter what format it takes.

BAD BLOOD – Coming soon!!!

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Oh yes! My first lone author novel ‘Bad Blood’ will be re-released soon through the publishers Evernight Teen

“I am Britannia. I am your protector. I will fend off the hungry hordes of undead hands that reach toward you. I am your steadfast defender. I will stand between you and the zombie masses as they try to taste your flesh. I am strong, unyielding, and dedicated to your survival. All I ask from you… is your blood.”

A five-hundred-year-old bloody game of vengeance will need to be put on hold if vampires are to survive the zombie uprising. Britannia and Nicholas, bitter enemies and the only two surviving vampires left in London, have to work together to save un-infected humans and deliver them safely to a vampire stronghold in the Scottish Highlands. Unable to drink the zombie ‘bad blood’, the remaining vampires need the humans to stay alive. But will the vampires tell the survivors who they are and what they want from them? Will Britannia be able to hold back her vengeance for the greater good? Is survivor Josh the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love? And can she bring herself to deliver him to the ‘safe’ hold? Survival instincts run deep, but bad blood can run deeper.

Updated August 2014

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YA vs Adult

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Writing for the puppy, not the wolf.

Writing for both YA and adult markets, I’ve discovered the line between these two target audiences is very slim indeed. YA is typically about 13 years and above, and as sad as it is, teenagers seem to grow up much faster nowadays. Gone are the days of Enid Blyton and Narnia, these wholesome books are now only taken up by a much younger audience than they were originally written for. The generations behind us are still avid readers, but you need to appeal to the modern youth adult which has not only moved on, but is consistently evolving their tastes.

So, what are the rules and differences between the two? I’ve put together the sum of my knowledge on this below. I’m sure there’s more to it than I’m putting down here, but to get you started, here’s my opinions:

Talking down:

Your work should not talk down to your YA reader. I would never sugar coat my plot or characters for a younger readership. Subjects such as: drugs, sex, violence and horror, should be confronted, but not glamorized or endorsed – remember your responsibility to your reader. Also its good to remember that most YA readers like to read about characters who are older than them – so typically your characters should be late teens/early twenties.

 Let’s talk about sex:

Your YA audience will be more than aware of sex. God forbid, some might even be having it already. However you should always leave your YA reader at the bedroom door. It would be boring and unrealistic to not have it at least mentioned between characters in your story, however there should be no graphic descriptions and certainly nothing kinky going on; these guys are just getting their heads round vanilla, let’s not introduce them to whole ice cream menu so soon.

 Horror:

I always love the warnings on movies that say ‘Contains mild peril’ – I mean, really? How do you measure peril? It’s the scary things that people love – young and old. And it’s always the most imaginative and well written horror that stays with you once you turn off that TV, or put down that book. Dr Who is designed and aired specially for a young audience, but can be quite scary (even for adults) Those Weeping Angels were a particularly gruesome concept that made me look at statues in a whole new light! Dracula and Frankenstein are now taught in school and some of the most popular YA books are packed with supernatural creatures, deadly deeds, and peril-a-plenty. So desensitizing your work could be a big mistake. I’d recommend writing your YA story to your own boundaries then letting your publisher/ editor lead you to tone down, or crank up, where appropriate.

 The Super – Supernatural:

One word: Twilight. It certainly wasn’t an original book or a pioneer in the industry, but it did appeal to a massive market and got a huge amount of teenagers reading again. I personally didn’t mind the books, Stephanie Meyer can certainly spin a good yarn and although her main character was a bit wet to begin with, she came good in the end. It re-vamped vampires and made werewolves hot – in simple terms it reignited people’s interest in the supernatural and carved a path for other authors to follow suit. The supernatural has never been so popular with both YA and adult audiences and really, anything goes here in terms of horror and sweet romance.

 The Series:

YA audiences read quickly and can get addicted to good characters, so bare this in mind when writing your novel. Either leave it open so you can pick it up again in a second book or have a series in mind when you’re writing it. A note of caution here though…when writing a series don’t hold back action or information for an explosive finale – if your first books are boring, you’ll never get to show off that great ending. Make sure that each book has a main story line that can end, but a consistent story arc that can carry on. This keeps your readers engaged and desperate for the next one. It also means there is a definitive ending for each book, rather than just letting it go on and on – something I particularly hate as a reader!

What’s your favourite YA book series and why?

 

What I’m looking forward to in 2013

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What I’m looking forward to in 2013:

Okay, so I love TV, Movies and Books. I also love a good list, so I’ve managed to combine everything here to give you a taster of some things I’m looking forward to watching and reading this year.

 TV Series:

Revolution – season 1 – No technology, no power – a concept I used in my short story ‘What they learnt in the dark’ I can’t wait to see what JJ Abrahams does with it!

Game of Thrones – season 3 – If you haven’t watched the other 2 seasons, then you’ve either been living in a cave, or have missed the most amazing series to come out of HBO. Dragons, zombies, warlords, family politics, knights and princesses; if you watch nothing else, watch this series!

The Walking Dead – end of season 3. Will Rick leave them? How closely is it following the graphic novels? It’s already kicked off now, I can’t wait to see how season 3 ends, especially as Walking Dead is now leading US viewing figures.

Utopia – Hopefully a 2nd season…?. A crazy series, that somehow makes perfect sense! Is Janus what they claim it to be? Go onto the website, take the quiz, and see how long it would take for them to find you…It would take them 55 hours to find me.

Hannibal – season 1 – I loved the films and the character of Hannibal Lector is just so delicious, so hopefully this series won’t stray too far. But time will tel

 MOVIES:

Beautiful Creatures – They’ve already had some critics at their throats from missing out important characters such Marion, but the effects and trailer look spectacular – so maybe they missed out what they didn’t need? When I watch it, I’ll let you know.

Hansel & Gretel – Witch Hunters Fairy Tales are soooo popular right now and again the trailer looks exciting and filled with wicked witches. Great concept, fingers crossed it lives up to it.

The Host  I loved this Stephanie Meyer’s book, a much more developed and deeper plot/ characters than the Twilight Saga. It’s also got Saoirse Ronan in who was brilliant in The Lovely Bones.

The Mortal Instruments  City of Bones – I haven’t seen that much on this one, but what I have seen looks amazing, great British cast and, if it’s anything like the books, will be an amazing journey into another world, that sits neatly into our own.

Iron Man 3  I’ve really grown to love Robert Downey Jr. In my opinion he does a great job as Iron Man, and I loved his part in Avengers Assemble. This has also got Guy Pierce in and Ben Kingsley – should be a fab popcorn movie.

Kick Ass 2 – It has Jim Carrey in as Colonel Stars & Stripes – need I say more?

 BOOKS:

Once I read these, I intend to review them here, so I’ve just added links so you can pre-order/ buy in the meantime.

Sookie Stackhouse Series – Dead Ever After – Charlaine Harris

Morganville Vampires – Fall of Night – Rachel Caine

Infernal Devices – Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare

Masque of the Red Death – Dance of the Red Death – Bethany Griffiths

The Raven Boys – The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater 

And of course, it would be remiss of me to not mention my own book in this list! Bad Blood will be available in May (watch this space for the front reveal and publication date) My vampires VS zombies extravaganza packed with turbulent relationships, un-requited love, and more slathering undead than you can shake a sharp stick at!

Dialogue

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Let’s talk about dialogue…

One of things I hate most as a reader, is long winded discussions between random characters that add nothing to the overall plot, yet seem to drag on for eternity. You’ll find this a lot in TV series too – I like to call it ‘The Soap Opera Effect’. This is basically when something happens, let’s say John kisses his best friend’s wife, Sharon – ooooh scandalous action – but then this kiss is discussed for the next 50 pages or so by every character in the book! OK, some discussion is needed to make the most out of this dramatic event, but drawing a line under it sooner rather than later will help to move your story along. Pace is something that comes up a lot when you learn the craft of creative writing, and it really is more important than you think. A well-paced book will be hard for your readers to put down, one that dwindles with un-necessary scenes and dialogue will be thrown violently into the middle distance!

Good Dialogue:

So what makes good dialogue? I can only answer that from my joint reader/ writer point of view. To me, good dialogue should either be giving away necessary plot points/ character information to the reader, or creating tension. In fact, this is something that you should check in your drafting process. Each word uttered by your characters should be scrutinised to ensure that it either adds to the character (or another character they’re talking about) or is pushing the plot forward. If you have a scene where two characters are discussing the weather, you need to delete it, unless of course one of those characters is an evil genius who has harnessed the weather for his own maniacal means. Woo ha ha!

Grammar:

Careful on your grammar in dialogue too. A missing comma or capital can make all the difference.

“I helped my uncle Jack off a horse today.”  – What a lovely, helpful nephew.

“I helped my uncle jack off a horse today.” – Oh my God! What book am I reading?

See the difference a capital makes!

Eaves dropping:

One of the best tricks for writing good dialogue is people watching/ eaves dropping. Get yourself in a nice busy place – a coffee shop, a café, a department store – and start listening in on what people are saying. I know it sounds awful, but the best dialogue comes from real life. I try to do this once in a while to keep my own character’s dialogue fresh and realistic; I don’t do it too often as, with my luck, I’d probably overhear a murder plot!

There is also good practice for someone writing YA who isn’t a young adult anymore.  Keeping up-to-date with slang and how teenagers speak can make a real difference to your dialogue – it’s just common sense – innit?

Also don’t be afraid to write down things that you come out with. Quite often I’ll reply to a question or be deep in discussion with a friend and come up with a real gem of a sentence that I note down for later use. Just don’t pull out a pad at the time – people will think you’re crazy! Or incredibly forgetful! Or a secret reporter!

 Read some scripts:

Scripts are heavy on important dialogue and reading a few can help to improve your overall efforts. Some of the best dialogue I’ve ever read has come from script writers. The BBC Writers’ Room has lots of interesting information, scripts to download, and even some script writing opportunities.

 He said, she said:

Another important part of dialogue are the dialogue tags. Don’t just end each speech with ‘said’ try for something more descriptive and mix it up a bit. Here are a few tags to think about:

Acknowledged,  admitted,  agreed,  answered,  argued,  asked,  barked,  begged,  bellowed,  blustered,  bragged, complained,  confessed,  cried,  demanded,  denied, explained, giggled,  hinted,  hissed, hollered,  howled, inquired,  interrupted,  laughed,  lied,  moaned, mumbled,  muttered,  nagged,  pleaded,  promised,  questioned,  remembered,  replied,  requested,  roared,  sang,  screamed,  screeched, shouted,  sighed,  spat, snarled,  sobbed,  threatened,  wailed, warned, whimpered, whined, whispered, wondered,  yelled

Try to avoid too many ‘ly’ words at the end of dialogue such as, ‘he said wistfully’ It falls into the show don’t tell category, so try to catch these in drafts and show the character as ‘wistful’ rather than going for the lazy option of the ‘ly’ word.

Who said what?

Good dialogue should flow, so using tags can be redundant. If you have two characters speaking, then you only need the odd tag, especially if they are using each other’s names e.g.

“Susan, what happened?”

“I’m not sure, it came out of nowhere.”

“What did?”

“The knife, Adam.”

“There’s no knife here…Susan, what’s behind your back?”

If there are more than two characters, that’s when tags become important. There’s nothing more annoying as a reader than being confused as to who is saying what.

 

 

Publisher Call-Outs and Resources

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So, OK one of the most confusing things about being a writer, is the amount of advice and information there is out there.  Everyone has a golden nugget they want to pass along – however, not all of it will apply to you and of course even make sense to your personal ambitions. So I want to make this really easy for you…start looking at publisher call-outs.

Publisher call-outs are just that, publishers seeking specific stories and novels for their stable, or a certain anthology. The trick to them is to thoroughly read through all their requirements and give them what they want. Don’t send them a Western Thriller if they’ve asked for a Paranormal Romance – unless of course you’ve done some serious genre mashing up with a werewolf rustler falling in love with the new vampire sheriff who’s in the middle of solving a serial killer case – hang on, that almost writes itself!

Below are some links to publisher call out sites. Now these tend to run to the more horror and paranormal romance side (because that’s what I use) so if you’re more generic in your writing you might have to google farther a field to find your nestled nugget.

Duotrope – by far and away the nest generic call out database online. Contains lots of horror and romance publishers. now as of Jan 2013 it is a paid for site – however $50 a year for this kind of information is an investment in your writing career. Great for all genres!

British Fantasy Society: this links you directly to their call out pages.

Absolute Water Cooler:   This takes you to a forum where publishers will list their paid call-outs.

Dark Markets:  careful with this one as they list alphabetically, so always check every page, as you might miss something.

The Horror Tree:  Soooo one of my favourites! Fab listings and updated daily, and still blissfully free!

Ralan:  This is heavy on the Sci-Fi and Fantasy side – but definitely one worth keeping an eye on.

Worlds Without End: They have a great list of publishers on here and the whole website is a fantastic resource for this genre.

Remember when sending your manuscript to check:

1) You’re sending the right manuscript to the right editor/ contact.

2) You’ve formatted it to exactly the publisher’s guidelines. That includes right spellings and terminology for the right country. And you’re sending it in the right format – RTF DOCX etc.

3) You’ve included all relevant information about you in your covering email – contact info, previous publishing credits, links to your websites etc. Also anything the publishers have asked for: e.g. summary, one line promotional blurb…

4) The work you’re sending has been checked for any glaring errors and it’s the best work you’ve ever done!

Good Luck!

Monsters – Part 2

Dragons

Many years ago ‘Here be Dragons’ was written on maps to indicate unknown areas of land and sea. Frightening creatures, Dragons are so similar to Dinosaurs, Crocodiles and Alligators that they could easily be turned into a horrific monster who stalks your protagonist with the echo of a hungry growl. Lots of publishers are out there now putting together Dragon anthologies and they are pretty easy to make work in horror.

Fae

Ok, the Fae have started to creep into the mainstream, after all Sookie in TrueBlood is part Fae and Karen Marie Moning has been using Fae as evil alien like god creature since her Fever series. But I feel that they still haven’t really hit their stride yet. Faeries and Fae creatures dominated old English folklore – even, when I was a little girl, I was told by my mum not to dance in mushroom circles lest the Faeries take me! They are a massive race of lots of different creatures, they even have their own vampires and werewolves, so exploration of these creatures is actually fairly top of my list of research. Remember though, don’t feel you have to stick with tradition here – what’s to stop you from creating your own race of Faeries?

Gargoyles

Supposedly so ugly that they scare away evil spirits, Gargoyles are either guardians or rogue monsters. I have read stories that interpret them as both, but these guys are still peripheral to all other monsters and, to be honest I can understand why. Unlike Vamps and Weres they don’t have the handsome side that can be used in paranormal romance, and being made of stone their scare factor can be a little bland – although the stone Angels in Dr Who are pretty darn scary! If you want to utilise these bad boys in your work you’re going to have really think hard before putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard.

Incubus

Perfect for paranormal romance – a bit of a problem for horror. Most publishers in their guidelines state that there should be no rape scenes in your story, and as Incubus feed off sex, well that can be a problem; if its not consensual it can’t go in. These guys are beautiful and fantastic lovers, so for supernatural erotica they’re right on the money. Of course there are Succubus  as well – Bo in the series ‘Lost Girl’ is a Succubus and also Fae in origin – so really the world’s your paranormal romantic oyster when it comes to them – but be careful though if you’re looking to include them in horror.

Doppelgangers

I find these monsters very nasty indeed. Exact evil identical twins who want to kill you and take over your life. All your friends and family would think you’re mad and, quite frankly they could cause no end of French Farce type situations. For me – worse still, if they managed to kill me, they’d probably do a better job in managing my life than I’m doing! Doppelgangers are not used enough in horror or paranormal romance – so roll the idea round in your imagination and see what sticks!

Sirens

Also known under the broader Fae family and even Merfolk, Sirens are wonderfully rich in their history and have the capabilities of both paranormal Romance and horror – depending on how you write them.  In my opinion, to come into their own they really need to have their story line out of the ‘attack the ship’ box and perhaps should be updated into something more modern – what would happen if a Siren got an audition at X Factor?

Willo-the-Wisp

OK – not really a proper monster but the Willo-the –Wisp cartoon in the early 1980s was my very first introduction to the world of weird and when I was small I loved it! Kenneth Williams rocked!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willo_the_Wisp  But hey looking at the legends they could be manipulated into something quite nasty and, with a bit of creativity, even something ghostly romantic too…

Choosing the right perspective.

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POV or Point of View can have a dramatic effect on your story telling. Picking the right one is crucial – knowing what’s available to you – even more so.

First Person: I personally use this one more than any other. It’s all ‘I’ and ‘Me’; for example,

‘I saw the shadow lurking in the corner’.

You are the character, in your writing you talk like them, act like them and react as the character. Some people will argue that with First Person the character is more likely to be just a facet of the author themselves rather than a separate being. If you have ever read any of my work, I really hope that’s not true! Writing horrors and supernatural romance the majority of my protagonists are kind of mean and warped and have a wicked sense of humor… ok, ok, I’ll admit to being a little warped!

The bonus of writing First Person is that there is almost an instant connection with the reader. It’s easier for a reader to slip on that character and live in your world. They get to hear all those crazy thoughts, experience all those bizarre feelings and also meet your supporting characters first hand.

The downside is that your scenes are limited only to when your main character is present; they can’t describe a scene they were never in – they can be told about what happened by another character, but they can’t give the reader a first hand account. Your reader is limited to the information your character has; but remember, you the writer don’t have to be limited to this! There are subtle ways of giving information to the reader that perhaps the character has not even picked up on: a sly comment by another character, an object that the main character didn’t even notice (but the reader would) there are a number of subtle ways of wedging in information for the reader, but not for the character.

Second Person is the lesser used perspective. It’s all ‘you did this’ and ‘you saw that’ – used a lot in songs and hard to make work in prose. I read a book once that used this perspective and found it hard to wade through, it came across really clunky and accusing – I think the only genre that this works well in is horror. Making the reader the center of the story can create an incredibly tense atmosphere from the get go. For example:

“You saw the shadow cross the hall. It dipped and ducked through your old furniture heading straight toward you…”

Third Person Limited is:

‘She saw the shadow dance across the stained walls.’ or ‘He felt the darkness grow cold around him.’

However its still limited to only one character’s perspective. It’s one of the most popular POVs in modern books and although has the benefits of both Third and First, it also has all the negatives too – no extra characters, no scenes without them etc. It can be fun to use and great if, as a writer, you want to distance yourself from your main character.

Third Person Omnipotent is where the prose knows all and tells all. Here you have total power over all the information that your reader is presented with. Great for when you want to include multiple character perspectives to enhance the story, but writer beware, by indulging in this you can very easily be drawn into a never-ending info dump that can lack cohesion and more importantly heart. If so much is going on with so many characters you need to be a very talented story-teller to make the reader feel for what’s going on, not get lost along the way, and be able to subtly find your theme.

Theme is sometimes the poor relation in creative writing so my next post will talk about the importance of having and choosing the right one for your market.

Oh, and by the way, as you’ve been reading this, that shadow has moved right behind you!