Who Is – Lisa Williamson?


Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

Today I bring you my friend Lisa Williamson.  A talented author with several different genres, all terrific.  She is also a fantastic cover artist.

Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson is a writer of odd cross genre fictional stories. With dozens of short stories, novellas and novels her fantastic worlds span the genres of fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, erotica and horror.

Her first publication was in the beginning of the Ebook movement with a short story and poetry collection from the 1990s. Writing in themes of self discovery, she mixes myths and legends from various cultures with a mystical bent. No matter that genre there will be a touch of romance, a sprinkle of nontraditional religions and a dash of enlightenment. He stories strive to let the reader open their mind to the wonder of the world around and within us.

Born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, she is currently living…

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Another week and just how much action does a book need?


Well I am finally getting moving on with Fragile Peace. The past week had me thinking how much action does a novel need?

Depending on the type of novel there is a large amount of leeway when it comes to action. I have had a few reviewers tell me that I had too much and others saying I did not have enough. So the balance is important.

In the case of action, genre plays a huge part. What would seem too much for a romance would be too little in military novel. A space tale needs things that a comedy would not. And that is all well and good but what is too much for a fantasy novel and what is too little?

I generally try to put in three action sequences in a novel. Yes I have put in more but i try not to do less. These sequences are what help the novel move along with a solid pace and style. In fantasy we have the luxury of doing both weapons action and magic action. Depending on the type of fantasy you are doing the weapons action can be very different.

Research is the key to getting things right. Writing scenes with a single character fighting lets you focus on style. Does your hero/heroine fight with a sword? A pair of daggers? A staff? Or something other?

I have written mostly sword or staff wielding characters. This comes from some personal experience but mostly from doing my due dilligence and researching. Things like anime, movies, tv shows help in ways you can use. Watching them will let you know how the bodies should move but one thing you need to do is research the weapons you plan on using. Knowing how much a sword ways or what side the edge of a blade has.  It makes fora more believable tale if you make sure that your character is using their weapon correctly. Having a five foot tall thing woman wielding a six foot battle axe might seem like something interesting but it it just is not at all realistic.

Now you might say realistic? This is fantasy, we don’t need no realistic! Well you do. If you want to have more than a handful of people reading your tales, you need to keep things close to realistic.

So if you can’t watch real sword fights there are a lot of resources out there. One of the best in my opinion is the SCA or the society for creative anachronism. This group is a bunch of people recreating and acting out things like sword fights and tournaments. While they are not in most cases using live steel they are doing actual sword fights. By watching them or even participating, you will get an idea how to move and how to write your action.

If you can’t find one of these groups then try going to a local dojo. If you ask them most will allow you to watch the classes. Some might even let ask questions. the more advanced classes will be using weapons like staves or the staff if you don’t know the word.

So make sure your action is believable and make sure you don’t over due it. While a lot of battles can be interesting to a same group, too many will leave you with no place to take your characters. Balance out your action and your development and you will have a very good tale.

Who Is – Will Macmillan Jones?


Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

Today I bring you my friend and fellow author Will Macmillan Jones, he has a wide range of writings and I highly recommend you check them out.

Will Macmillan Jones

A fifty something lover of blues, rock and jazz, I have recently fulfilled a lifetime ambition by extending my bookcases until they fill an entire wall of my home office.

When not writing short stories, I am busy with my major comic fantasy series, The Banned Underground, released by Safkhet Publishing. Starting with The Amulet of Kings and The Mystic Accountants, then running on to The Vampire Mechanic, Bass Instinct and The SatNav of Doom, the books are written as stand alone works and can be read in any order. Described by a reviewer for Awesome Indies as ‘like one long Monty Python skit’ they contain beer, pizza and an enviable joke count.

Also on the way is a paranormal series starting…

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How about we look at writing Irish?


Okay I know but today is St Patrick’s Day and all things Irish are getting their due. While we have things like Black History month and Hispanic Heritage month, those of us of Irish descent have only a day and it is a day for drunken revelry? Please!

As my readers know I am of Scot-Irish descent. Basically that means that in my family history a man from Scotland married a woman from Ireland. Yup, that is what we know. But because of that I have always been interested in Irish (and Scottish) folklore and characters.

Now it is most obvious in my book, The Traveler, which I am putting on discount starting today for the next month. I have Enya, a girl with a wee bit of a brogue and a Pooka. Pookas for those of you who don’t know are a type of fae. In specific they are a shapeshifting horse fae that has many different legends attached to them. The most common is their power to attract riders, use their magic to stick said rider to their back so that they could drown them.

Now I did not have my Pooka do that of course. The Traveler is a fantasy romance novel that I consider light and sweet. It is no where near as dark as my Loralil books but it does have the traditionally needed battle scenes and prophecy.

Now if you decide to write Irish characters you can’t just throw a bit of a brogue into the speech pattern of your characters. You need to remember that this very rich culture has many different creatures that have been used in fantasy and are greatly misinterpreted even today. Do your research.

One of the places I have on the computer for a go to is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_mythology

Of course you can just go to your search engine and type in Irish mythology or Irish myths and Legends. Now like everything on the web make sure you hit up more than one resource. You want as complete an idea as you can get.

One thing that might be fun is to look up the irish tartans. Yes I said Irish ones. A little known fact is that the Scottish are not the only people who had clan plaids. Now this is a bit harder to research but it will give your character a bit more of distinction. Even if you are writing an urban fantasy and only have your character wearing a tie or a scarf you will be adding a touch to make your story richer.

Back to work…or damn I got interrupted


As a mom and writer finding the peace and quite I need to get on a roll can be hard. Generally I am actually looking forward to Monday’s simply because my family goes off to their weekly things. The hubby is at work and the daughter goes to school, leaving me with peace and quiet till the renter gets up. Well since she is off visiting her boyfriend this week I expected to have a full six hours with no one to interrupt the flow.

I was doing all fine and good, getting about 1200 words typed up when I got the call from the school to go get the kid. And bam…there went my muse. She is still pounding on my head (yeah that is why I get headaches right?) but the flow has been interrupted.

Trying to get Loralil on her way toward the hidden GreyElf city of Tal’sin is hard enough. I am trying to decide where to toss in some action since right now I am dealing mostly with the fallout of the death of her uncle.

Now why is this important? Well as Loralil is the main character of my classic fantasy tale I need action. I need to keep moving things along, so to speak. Now if I was still doing tabletop gaming with her I would roll dice and throw in some random monsters, but should I do that? One thing you don’t want in a book is to hear the dice rolls.

But what I really need to do is to make up an actual map of Loralil’s world. Unlike urban fantasy, classic fantasy needs to have a map to help you estimate how long it will take for your characters to go from place to place. In a world that is run on magic and horsepower the average distance you could be expected to travel would be about 30 miles a day depending on the road conditions and terrain. So again a map would be a good thing. To work out the topography and little things like would there be inns and villages or are you moving through swamp, forest, hills. These things are important if you want a tale that doesn’t seem shallow.

So while i have 4300 words right now I can’t go too much further forward without a decent map. While i have had Loralil travel in the two books so far, she is going in a different direction and this is not a quest trip so far. Right now she is traveling with the mage and healer who have been caring for her since her uncle’s death. So a slow pace most likely with no really change of pace. No galloping for the fun of it as I have the healer driving a small cart which is another thing to research to see how they travel.

Once I get the map and research figured out I can move forward to the city of Tal’sin. It is a mountain city, much like Mer’Beryl was. Very different from the high elf city of course. Where the High elves are more like you would expect a Tolkien elf to be, the grey elves are artisians and healers. They build cities that blend into their environment and live deep into the mountains in pocket valleys.

Here is hoping I can find what I need and get this novel going. I have other parts ready…once i get this transition done.

Gender pairity in genre fiction


Lots of talk about equality all over the web right now so I thought I would look at in my field. Writing should be a gender neutral and colorless field of work. What a writer looks like should have nothing to do with how their work is perceived. When you look at the top ten books on the USA Today or the NY Times best seller lists you will see a lot of female names. A good thing right? Well I guess that depends. It seems when you look at lists of the so called most important books it changes dramatically. Of the top 100 novels only 15 were written by women (course what made me happy was how many Charles de LInt novels were on the list!)

Now the there are many more women writing and getting published under than own names and while there are many more books with female protagonists there is still a huge disparity. The strong female leads are mostly coming out of either YA novels or paranormal romance novels. It is like the publishers don’t think that women will read books with strong women in something other than a romantic setting. Is this true? As readers do you look at your books and notice how many of them have strong women in the lead? Do you read mysteries, romance, science fiction, fantasy or literary works?

As a writer I have done my best to write both male and female leads. To me it is important to have as diverse a character pool as possible. While I have not yet really delved into writing characters who are handicapped I have plans for that. As a writer of genre fiction I can mix and match race, color and sexual orientation as long as it fits my tale. By writing fantasy of course my characters tend to fall more naturally into the fantasy races. Elves, dwarves, dragons, etc are seen differently than humans of course.

This blog is a bit babbly, yes, but all of my blogs will be focusing a bit on this topic today. While we have a lot of commentary about racial differences I found that i wanted to comment on the disparity between the sexes. In a world where large swaths of it have more men than women we still have so many more male based stories that it seems bothersome. When you go to google and put in breakdown by sex around the world and see that the US, Canada, Mexico, most of south American, most of Europe, Australia and Russia has more women than men, you would think there would be more stories by women about women in more genres but we have just not gotten there yet.

Back to work


With all the snow and ice and bitter cold the very best thing fora writer is to stay inside and write. Thankfully I am getting words down finally. Over the past month I have tossed between four different titles and had real trouble settling down to work on just one. Been hard working on just one.

In fact at the moment I have two notebooks with complete scenes from the next Loralil book and a totally new book. The important thing is that I am writing new things. We, as writers, need to write, daily. If we can that is. The past three months I have mostly been editing work and not putting down fresh new words.

Thankfully I got them down and I will do more today. Writing can be a chore but it is also a fun thing.

Now I don’t plan on putting the new Loralil stuff here till I get more of it down but I thought how about a bit from this totally new thing I started?

***

Sherri woke up to a furry paw tapping her face. “Aw, enough, Sammy.”

“Now, Sherri.”

She grumbled as she tried to roll over and found she was trapped under her blankets. Wiggling an arm free, she sighed and opened her eyes. “Damn, did I oversleep?”

The room seemed filled with light and she looked over at the clock. It read as 1:00am. “Huh?”

“Hurry, get dressed.” The same voice from before urged her to move. Still a bit foggy with sleep, she was swinging back the blankets before it dawned on her that cats do not talk.

Sherri darted her eyes about, but there was no one in the room with her other than her cat, Sammy. “Who?”

There was an audible sigh and a thud as her cat jumped off the bed. “Me, silly woman.” The gray stripped form turned about, then sat, curling his tail about his paws neatly. “We really don’t have time for this, Sherri.”

Sherri blinked repeatedly and then shook her head. “Must be dreaming.” She started to lie back, when her cat darted forward and raked a set of claws across her knee. “I said, up!”

“Hey!” Rubbing the scratch, Sherri slowly got up. “How long have you been able to talk?” She reached for her robe when Sammy leapt up and sat on it.

“Duh, forever.” He quickly licked his shoulder, then looked back at Sherri. “Look, you really need to get dressed. Put on the stuff over on the chair.” He pointed with his chin, before settling down and closing his eyes.

Sighing, sherri shook her head and stepped over to the threadbare, overstuffed chair she had placed by her window. Lying, neatly folded, was clothing she did not recognize. She picked up and shook out a knitted silk, long sleeved t-shirt and shrugged. “Okay, looks like it will fit.” Slipping out of her sleep shirt she rummaged through the pile and dressed from the skin out.

Turning back to face her cat, she buckled a new belt into place. “Okay, I’m dressed.”

“There are boots next to the chair, put them on.”

Shaking her head, Sherri complied. “Weirdest damn dream ever.”

“You’re not dreaming.” Sammy sat back up and stretched. Just as he reached that full tendon snapping stretch common to all felines he form wavered and flowed into a man form. “But you aren’t dreaming and you are not safe. Please continue dressing. We don’t have a lot of time.”

Sherri’s jaw dropped and she paused mid movement. “Um…you sure I’m not dreaming? I mean since cats don’t transform into,” she took a closer look at Sammy, “two foot tall, hot,” she swallowed as her eyes were drawn to his abs, “men?”

A smile slid over Sammy’s face and he stretch again. Luckily for Sherri’s senses he had transformed in a pair of worn and low slung jeans. “Well, normal cats don’t, no.” He chuckled and sank down to sit cross-legged on the bed. “Keep dressing and I will explain a few things.”

“O…kay,” Sherri pulled on the first boot, lacing it up tight.

“We don’t have a lot of time before they start rounding everyone up, so don’t expect me to tell you everything.” He looked toward the blinds before continuing. “Firstly, you are no more human than I am.” When Sherri opened her mouth he held up a finger. “Silence.” Sherri swallowed, then nodded.

***

Well there is a lot more to that one. I am not sure where this is going to go but it should be fun. When I get there that is. so much to write and so little time right?

Going back and reading what you published


Over the past week when I should have been starting work on a new book I decided to re-read and re-edit some of my older works. Every author should do this btw. No matter how many times you have edited, re-edited and even had others edit your work, you will probably find something you missed.

Secondly re-reading your own work can be both educational and fun. Going over Endings, Revenge, Fall Into Nightmares and Guardians of the Gate City collection. Now, yes, they needed some editing. I am much better now at knowing where commas go and hyphens and apostrophes. Punctuation is tricky and you really need to go over your work and see what you missed the first passes through.

Now reading your own stories after a year or more is educational because you can see what problems you have, but also just how good you really are at the real meat of writing. In other words your characters, your dialog and your pacing. You can look back and go, yeah I need to work a bit harder on this or whoa I actually am not too bad at that.

As a voracious reader I have read many really good books and of course a number of stinkers. What was fun was realizing that my stories stood up to my more evolved sensibilities. I did not find those that I published were childish or lesser quality. Yes, they needed corrections, but the stories were actually pretty good.

Now the downside is after reading those four, I want to go back and write more of these. All four need sequels and deciding which to work on has been my problem for a long time. After finishing up Guardians I noticed I had put in a note that Lady of the Merrimack would be the next story in the Guardians collection. Now this one is not written in first person with Harry as the main character. This is a more traditional third person story and Jackson is the main character.

With only three pages typed up so far, I have a long way to go obviously. And hopefully it will come out as good and the Harry stories did. Don’t expect as much fun. After all Jackson is not as light-hearted as Harry. He is a serious cop, okay a cop who loves the ladies.

This will be one of the next series of Guardian tales. The Nashua Tales, as I have called them will be as follows:

Lady of the Merrimack, To Catch a Killer and Pain returns – Jackson stories

Coffee House Blues – Maeve and Daniel’s story

In the Dark – Thomas, one of the Manchester Guardians

The Ties That Bind Us All – Angela’s (the stitch witch) story

Little Unicorn Lost – two unique creatures who show up in Agnes’ kitchen for help

Hopefully I can finish these seven tales this year. They range from current to a decade back in these stories. From my typical fun urban fantasy to something a bit more of a procedural cop story. Harry will appear in these tales but only along the sidelines. He will be helpful and bring a bit of lightness to the stories that haven much heavier themes. Wish me luck.

Off to an interesting start


Mythos of Love came out on 1/29/15. My fantasy romance short story book hasn’t been selling big, but then most of my work doesn’t. But what was nice on the other hand is that so far this little book has picked up four five star reviews in under a week! That is just the boost I needed.

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You see like many I really do go through the ups and downs of being a writer. The high of coming out with a new story, the low of trying to figure out how to finish up that tale, the high of publishing it and then the low of seeing a low number of sales.

Yeah I know, all us writer types are weird. We go through things up and down just to create the way we do.

So today the plan is to go back over the new story that I plan on working on. A sequel to Where Angels No Longer Tread. Course like a fool I started writing it and got to page six before I realized that I had wrote the first story in first person. This means I will be doing a lot of editing to make this second tale from third to first person.

This will not be a direct sequel, with Zephyr as a character, so much as a in the same universe tale. Not all of the Ariels I wrote about were destroyed in the battle. They were tossed from the alternate earth I wrote of to other worlds and they are working their way back to Earth.

This story starts with a battle and will have a lot of darker imagery than Angels did. I just have to work it out. Once it is done there will be a third tale with the same family. Hopefully I can get them both done in the few months and get them out.

I am not sure how many titles I will do this year, but I plan on working steadily. Even if I never become a well selling author I will keep publishing and praying.

The need for a good blurb


As a published writer on of the hardest things for me to get right is the blurb. Now for those of you who don’t know, that is the bit you see on the ebook sites that hopefully drags you into wanting to read the book. Not quite the blurb found on the back of a paperback, it needs to be catchy, quirky and best of all intriguing.

I am, sadly, not the best at writing these. While I can write short fiction rather well (okay I know but really I do) this is almost like complimenting yourself. This week I am publishing my short story collection, Mythos of Love. One novella and five short stories that are pure fantasy and romance combined. From a very traditional Knight saves his lady love, to one tale that does not have the traditional happy ending, these are my take on love stories.

The title is a bit odd. What is a Mythos right? Well has I have put in the little bit of marketing I do on the separate tales (which I have decided will be coming down):

Mythos – A story or set of stories relevant to or having a significant truth or meaning for a particular culture, religion, society, or other group.

Now obviously the other group is what I am focusing on. Fantasy readers are very different from romance readers. We do not expect a happy ending, we do not expect the hero to end up with the heroine or to even survive our tales.

Fantasy has been joined to romance for years under the paranormal romance genre, but generally when you read those you have vampires, werewolves or angels (like in my Where Angels No Longer Tread novella). They have either a HEA (happily ever after) or a HFN (happy for now) ending. My belief is that there are powerful stories to be told where the couple may not end up together. i am sure that will get trashed for having written the tales I have, but I just write the tales as the characters tell me.

So folks how about you try out this new release of mine? It will be out by the end of the week.