Sunday, December 30, 2012

Amy Joy Lutchen Guest Post

What it means to me to be an author (besides the obvious parenthood of a block of written words):

For me, it started with one meaning: control. You see, my story, Renhala, started as a single piece of paper littered with a hodgepodge of written fears and tragic events from my life, with one very tragic event taking me the longest to write down, the very one I wrote the smallest: the assault. These very small words, which I thought had the biggest impact on who I was at that time, were sitting there on the page, laughing at me, despite their puny size. I stared, and stared at those words, often fighting with myself to roll the paper up and toss it away, but I knew it really wouldn’t be gone. Those words were going to haunt me forever, as well as the humiliation associated with them—the humiliation inflicted by the hands of a total stranger on a very dark day of my life.

But one day, out of the blue and in a moment of surprising triumph, I gathered my strength and flipped that stupid piece of paper over and began writing more words, different words. These words began as a small story about a young woman who was assaulted who loses her mother—her only support— to disease, which then morphed into another story of a young woman who suffered the same fate, but befriended some new, supportive friends. As the magic began flowing freely from my fingertips, this same young woman then mastered a new weapon and her destiny was changed forever. I finally felt better about myself—felt better about life—for I was shaping future events. I wrangled those ugly words and fought them down hard, wrestling and dodging blows, until I took CONTROL. I took control, and took those words and kneaded them, molding them into exactly what what I needed, into something inspiring and uplifting: the mystical land known as Renhala.


I know, that no matter who you are and where you’ve come from, you’ve had some kind of tragic event, or maybe multiple moments of tragedy, muddy your life. Perhaps it was the death of a loved one, or sickness, or bullying, or an assault. Whatever it was, or even is, just know that you can gain the advantage. You can wash yourself of the bad. Write the words down. Write those words down as a poem, short story, epic novel, rap song, whatever, but just write them down. This is how you’ll take the first step in control. This will be your literary therapeutic jam session. This is how you’ll change the future.

Change your life by changing the words…

If you’d like to take a journey into Renhala, you can find it here: 

Links to me:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls-with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird… 
The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, were beasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region-until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?
Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy-or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it's coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so rough. 

I really enjoyed the novella that introduced these sisters and the world they live in, I liked it so much I gave it five stars. So I was pretty excited to read the full length novel, because while I do like novellas, novels have always been my favorite. Another thing that made me look forward to this book is how all encompassing this world is. What I mean by that is there are so many books out there that focus on one set of supernaturals, like vampire books, shifter books, etc. I love when I get to read a book that has all kind of supernaturals in it, they all have to learn to coexist, which almost never happens, and it creates some great situations and cultural clashes. So now that you know why I was looking forward to the book, let me tell you what I actually thought of it. 

First off I have to say that the pacing on this book was an improvement from the novella. The novella was a great read, although it started off a little slow on the pacing, and I think that's because it had to convey a lot of information to the reader in a short amount of time. The book though is right on point for pacing. It starts off strong, and continues all the way through. I am always impressed when a book can maintain good pacing throughout, what it means for you as the reader is be prepared, you aren't going to want to put the book down, it's too much fun! 

Another one of the cool factors of this book is how much diversity exists not just in the world building, but also in the core group of characters themselves. Each sister has such different personalities, and such different abilities. It makes each one interesting in their own respect. I think the only way to refer to the sisters is as an ensemble cast. Books that tackle having so many "main" characters can be difficult, they risk becoming overwhelming to the reader, and having too many main characters can mean that it takes longer for the reader to develop an emotional connection with all the characters. I really didn't feel like I had that problem with this book. I really enjoyed all the characters, it was actually pretty easy to keep them all straight because they are all so much their own individuals. I have to say that Robson handled it like a pro. 

I really enjoyed the secondary characters too, I felt like they each brought something different to the table, and helped to keep the book exciting. There is definitely some romance in the book, so I think the PNR fans will enjoy the book, although I think as the series evolves the steam factor will probably increase in a very enjoyable manner. 

Overall, I have to say I really did enjoy the book. It was just a fun ride. I felt like from beginning to end everything was just so much fun to read and I loved the characters, all of them. I'm sure you could draw a lot of parallels from this series to others, which is the case for all books, but Robson did a great job carving out a place just for her characters and stood on her own two feet. It's a great start to a series that I can't wait to read for years to come. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Georgia L. Jones Guest Post!

I would like to start by saying “Thank You” to Urban Fantasy Reviews for having me as a guest on their blog.  I appreciate the opportunity.

I am coming up on the launch of my second novel in the Remnants of Life series, Witches.  It actually launches on Saturday, December 1.  I’m very excited about it and just did an interview with our local newspaper today.  The reporter asked me a lot of questions about the process, so I thought I would address that in this guest post. It seems to be something that many people are interested in and I believe like my books, that I have an unusual story…so here goes.

My basic story is not that of rags to riches, that would just be too easy.  I have written my entire life.  I have always enjoyed jotting things down and I recall spending an entire day, at a family gathering many years ago, using a paper plate as my easel to paint a picture with words. I created a story where everyone present had a part, some good and some bad.  I have just always written things down, usually in some form of fantasy. 

When I first began to think of Legends of Darkness, the first book in the series, I didn’t see it as a series.  I saw it as a single book with an unusual story. I wanted to create something different from everything else I was reading.  I wanted to incorporate different things into the storyline.  I remember thinking how awesome it would be to have a book that incorporated a little history, legend, and myth all wrapped up in a storyline that would be unique and unusual.  That was my goal, to create something different. I had the book brewing in my mind for a year or so before I ever wrote the first word.  I couldn’t find my beginning.  Finally, the beginning of the book presented itself to me and I began to write.  I’m one of those weird old fashioned people that have a computer, but actually enjoy the act of writing on paper with an actual pencil.  (Yes, I really said pencil.  That’s what I use for my original manuscripts.)  I was about halfway through the storyline when I pulled out another notebook and started keeping notes in it also.  There was just so much more to the story that wouldn’t fit in the story of one book.  My characters began to take shape along with other creatures that I knew I could use later.  So, at that point I had two notebooks with scribbles that nobody, and I do mean nobody, could ever understand.  In my mind it was taking shape as a series though.  I would wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and pull out my notebook to jot a reminder.  By the time I was done with Legends of Darkness, I had the whole series drafted to be a five book series. 

I have been asked if the series stays on course with my outline, as I write each book…the answer to that is “Not completely.”  As I write, things change.  Sometimes they are small details, and sometimes entire characters die, for one reason or another, but the actual plots of the other books have remained the same.  So far the biggest changes have been in the worlds that I’m creating.  As they grow and my world building talents evolve so does the future of the books in those particular locations.  By the way, I love the world building aspect. 

I write my first draft on paper then for the second draft I transfer it to the computer.  On my first novel I did so many drafts that I lost count, probably somewhere around ten.  On the second book, I did six rewrites.  I have heard authors say that they don’t like doing the edits and rewrites, but I really don’t mind it.  I like adding and taking away from the story where it is necessary. 

I was one of the lucky people that found a publisher in a fairly timely manner.  I finished Legends of Darkness in July of 2010 and I was officially picked up by Blackwyrm Publishing out of Louisville KY on September 5, 2011.  I looked for a little over a year.  I had sent out many query letters and got just as many polite rejections in the way of form letters.  I got a little discouraged and then I would revamp my query and send it again.  It was a rough process, but I still consider myself lucky.  I actually pitched to Blackwyrm at Fandomfest in Louisville KY in July of 2011, which was a year after Legends was done. I attended Fandomfest in Louisville and was able to get a spot in the “Pitch Your Project” session that they held at the convention. I got the chance to talk with them over the course of the weekend and felt really comfortable with the company and their selection of very talented authors.  I was thrilled to be accepted by them. I am very pleased with how Blackwyrm is growing and the quality of the books that they put out.  I feel like they take great pride in everything that they put their name on and as an author that is very important to me.

If you would like to know more about me, my writing, or my publisher, here is the links to the sites:
Look for me on facebook:
Legends of Darkness, Witches, and The Official 2012 Survivalist Handbook are available on Amazon or at any bookstore…