Today I’m sharing two fabulous posts for my in-between Friday guest author features from two of my favorite authors Sally Cronin and Tina Frisco.
My first share is Tina Frisco’s fabulous interview at Cathleen Townsend’s blog this week. For those of you who don’t know the enlightening and compassionate Tina, here’s a wonderful chance to get to know more about her and the great info she is sharing for writers in the interview.
Tell us about your latest published work, please.
What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell? Sir Michael Alan David is a vampire – an enigma, charismatic and mysterious, who weaves in and out of Phoebe’s life. Does he intend to use his title as a ruse to draw her closer to an unearthly fate, or is he a cloak-and-dagger knight in shining armor? Too many secrets have been kept for too long. Phoebe must unravel the mystery in order to survive. Two major characters from the author’s first novel, Plateau, join forces with Phoebe to battle the demons in Vampyrie.
It sounds like you’ve got some unique world-building for that one. Tell us about your other books, if you would. And what project are you looking forward to next?
A third book to complete the trilogy I’ve yet to call a trilogy.
I wrote and published my first novel quickly, because I wanted to put a message of hope into the world before December 21, 2012 – a date purported to be Armageddon by many self-professed doomsday prophets. Plateau is set in a village amid mountain ranges and rivers, sequestered from the outside world. All the characters are indigenous and lead simple spiritual lives. I had no intention of writing a sequel, although many readers have said they’re looking forward to one.
Two years later, after one niece had quadruplets and another had triplets, I published a children’s book: Gabby and the Quads. A child’s moral compass develops early, and I wanted to write a book that was ethically as well as traditionally educational.
Then one day during my morning walk, I began musing about the myth of the vampire and wondered how the phenomenon could actually exist. This spurred me to write my second novel, Vampyrie, which is set in a city that harbors historical architectural secrets. I still had no intention of writing a sequel to Plateau, but thought it would be interesting to bring two of its major characters into Vampyrie – the unadulterated meets the contaminated!
Now I’m considering a third novel where the two characters from Plateau return to their village, accompanied by a few major characters from Vampyrie. I think it would be interesting to see how that plays out.
Series are supposed to be the way to go, and I like that yours is organic and story-driven, which I would consider to be good advice for anyone writing in series. Do you have any advice for us? Any basic writing philosophy or tips?
Write first, edit later. This advances the free-flow of thought and prevents stifling creativity. Remember, this is a draft. So give yourself permission to write freely.
Have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand, as well as a grammar and style guide. When reading a book, nothing irritates me more than incorrect grammar and usage. I’ll stop reading if errors are glaring and persistent.
Before writing each day, read aloud what you wrote the day before. You can also add Speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar in Word. This is how:
- Next to the Quick Access Toolbar, click Customize Quick Access Toolbar.
- Click More Commands.
- In the Choose commands from list, select All Commands.
- Scroll down to the Speak command, select it, and then click Add.
- Click OK.
- When you want to use the text-to-speech command, click the icon on the Quick Access Toolbar.
Don Massensio wrote a great two-part article on writing tips that many might find useful: 10 More Handy Writing Tips that I Regularly Use.
And here’s a tip I learned the hard way: Track all details in your book, e.g., character traits, eye and hair color, height, dates of significant events, weather, where people first met. Chart these on a graph or in a way that provides easy access for reference as you write. Consistency in details is just as important as correct grammar. Here’s a terrific article by Janice Wald that covers the basics: How to Make Sure You Publish Error-Free Writing.
Now there are some helpful tips–thanks so much for the links. What about the pesky detail of naming characters? My story never comes into focus until I have. How do you come up with character names?
When writing Plateau, I created a language for the characters. I really don’t know how I devised this; it just happened, as if a beneficent entity were dropping the words into my mind. When I wrote Vampyrie, I named four of the major characters after my cats! For others, I chose names I like or names I felt suited the bearing of the character. I also chose names I like for the children in Gabby and the Quads, because my niece preferred I not use the babies’ real names.
Other than character names, how do you manage world-building? Is it all thought out ahead of time, or do you make it up as you go?
I’m pretty much a panster and make things up as I go. It’s as if I’m writing in sync with the Universe and collaborating with spirit. Continue Reading . . .
My second share is Sally Cronin’s heartfelt story, Xenia, she shared this week on her own blog, one of her short stories from her upcoming Volume 2 of What’s In a Name? Besides being a great supporter and promoter of other writers, Sally has a gift for touching our heartstrings with her beautiful stories. Warning: You may need Kleenex.
Last week I asked you to choose one of the new stories beginning with the letters Q V W X Y or Z to introduce the new collection. There was a stand off between Q and X at the end of the day but I tossed a coin. The winner is the letter X.
This story has very special meaning for me and I have waited over forty years to write it.
Your name is Xenia, after your Greek grandmother, whose wrinkled complexion smelt of roses and almond oil. I remember the hot summers of our visits as we played on the rocks beneath her stone house; working up an appetite for the platters of goat’s cheese, olives and warm bread. The loaves were taken straight from the wood stove; handled carefully with well worn hessian rags, and served up on the rough wooden table in her wild garden. I remember being fascinated by her hands as they sliced thick warm chunks with an ancient serrated bread knife. They were blackened from nearly 80 years in the sun, with dark-rimmed nails from digging into the soil for home grown vegetables.
She was still a beautiful woman, who loved to have her long black and grey hair gently brushed in the twilight; sipping delicately from her glass of rose pink wine. Happy sighs filled the scented air; encouraging continued effort. We dreaded her tears as we left to catch the ferry at the end of summer, with her whispered goodbyes and pleas for us to return again the next year, remaining in our minds for weeks afterwards.
But one summer only my father made the journey, to stay just a week to bury his beloved mother, with her silver backed hair brush and a small bottle of almond oil resting in her hands.
That was ten years ago and I have been saving up her name to give to you, my first child. From the moment I knew that I was carrying you in my womb, I felt certain that you would be a girl and worthy of this much loved name. Continue Reading . . .