Finding Inspiration for Your Writing With Christian Freed

Christian W Freed novelAuthor Christian W Freed shares the inspiration behind his latest novel.

Inspiration comes in many forms and degrees. The origins of one of my favorite books: Beyond the Edge of Dawn, came from my time in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005.

Stationed at Camp Victory- situated beside Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), I used to run around a large lake at night. In the center of the lake was a bombed-out palace that one of Saddam Hussein’s sons once owned.

I was in Mosul, Iraq in 2003 when Saddam was captured, and his sons were caught and killed in a gnarly firefight. Much to my chagrin, Saddam himself was being held prisoner in the bombed-out palace. Each night I would run around the lake and try to catch a glimpse of the Hitler-influenced dictator.

I never did get to see him before he was tried and hung by an Iraqi court, but during those nights a name entered my head. Wheels began to turn.

Who was he/she?

What did he do?

Why should I write a story about him?

The answers kept coming and each night when I finished my run I would go to my notebook and write the details down.

By the time my third tour of duty in Iraq was finished I had the outline for Dawn. Inspiration can be found everywhere, if only we open our eyes to see it. Continue reading

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Book Talk with Jeannette de Beauvoir

Author Jeannette de Beauvoir shares her process of naming her main character her newest novel, The Deadliest Blessing.

Jeannette de Beauvoir blog tourOne of the joys of writing fiction is being able to populate your own world. Seriously, how cool is that? You can choose who lives next to whom, what they do for a living, explore quirks and personalities that are as familiar or as foreign as you like. And that process includes selecting names.

Okay, so it’s maybe not such a joy, after all. The truth is, I hate selecting names.

My characters come to life as I write, not before. They shift and morph and often change the entire narrative arc of my stories. They become who they are in chapter five, or eight, or ten. So, the name I started with generally just doesn’t fit the character as they emerge, as they talk with other characters, as they make choices, as they tell me where the book needs to go. Ah, but word processing makes that easy, doesn’t it? Just do a global search-and-replace, and voilà! Kate Stewart is now Miranda Weatherby.

The exception is the name of the protagonist in my current mystery series. I found a name for her and it… just worked. The third book in the series, The Deadliest Blessing, just came out, I’m writing the fourth book, and Sydney is still perfectly, marvelously, appropriately Sydney.

I have to wonder if her name works because I didn’t make it up. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it ahead of time. It was a gift from the gods of travel.

I’d gone up to Québec to do a talk about a prior character and series, Martine LeDuc, the protagonist of my novels Asylum and Deadly Jewels. I live on the tip of Cape Cod, so this is a long drive! But I was prepared: I had a set of CDs from The Great Courses, and I was good to go. I’d already taken their class on the Vikings, the history of London, women in medieval literature, and a few I’m probably forgetting, and I was looking forward to the new set on the history of espionage. Continue reading

Emma Calin Talks Seduction of Wealth

Emma Calin book tourMy new book Seduction of Wealth is a standalone story – as are all the books in the series. They follow a theme: sassy female London police officers get involved in international crime-action adventures and fall in love. Woven through the thriller/mystery is the steamy love story of how they get together with a character involved in the drama.

It’s not always clear at the outset if the object of their affections is on the side of good or evil, but of course, they always turn out to be good guys so readers are guaranteed a happy ever after ending.

Although they are stand alone and could be read in any order, there are characters from earlier books that pop in and out of the later editions – so if you’ve read the others in the series you’ll recognize previous cop heroines and heroes – but you don’t need to know about their stories to enjoy the current book you’re reading.

The books are mixed-genre – a love story woven through a ‘whodunnit’. I’ve had great reviews from male thriller readers as much as lovers of suspense romance.  Having said that, the books are currently pitched far more at the romance market as some thriller readers find the steamy explicit nature of the romances too strong for their tastes.  I’ve not found any romance readers complaining that there’s too much action and adventure in solving the crime elements.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that these books are definitely for the over 18s – they are not erotica, but the bedroom door is very much wide open throughout the intimate moments in the story.  So, for readers, they should be aware these books feature hot steamy scenes – not kinky or illegal – just straight forward passionate sex between consenting adults in a loving relationship.

As well as this, because of the police action, there is occasional bad language and mild violence (those criminals just don’t always give up gently without a fight!).   My partner is an ex-London cop and Interpol detective, so I have a wealth of stories from him and he’s always very keen for authentic behaviour.

So, whilst I know some folk don’t like cussing and hard action, it’s there to be true to the story – and is often the truth as most aspects of my book are based on real-life experiences of my partner.

This next book will be the sixth title in the collection. The story starts in London and journeys through France and Italy by way of the USA.  I have worked a lot in the USA and currently live in the UK and France and visited locations in Italy last summer, so I hope this gives an authentic feel to my stories.

I know that the international flavor is one of the aspects of my books that readers enjoy – taking them back to fondly remembered cities or introducing them to places they haven’t yet been. Continue reading

Jim Ringel talks 49 Buddhas

Jim Ringel interviewJim Ringel is the author of 49 Buddhas: Lama Rinzen in the Hell Realm featured below.

What inspired you to write this book?

Buddhism teaches me the importance of seeing the world as it is, without the overlay of my own ego and emotion.

The same way a cop views a crime: objectively, without personal interpretation. That’s what I wanted to explore in 49 Buddhas, the first in my Lama Rinzen Mystery series.

I’m a big fan of detective fiction. Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Carver, the Martin Beck novels. The story always seems pinned to the detective’s ability to cope with a world too grimy for his own personal ethos or code of honor.

Like so many detectives before him, Lama Rinzen in 49 Buddhas has an ethos that he carries like a weapon into the Hell Realm. But weapons often turn on us and become our undoing. What Rinzen considers his strength becomes the very thing that keeps him from seeing what he needs to see.

I wanted to explore this Buddhist mystery in the context of a traditional detective mystery. That’s why I am writing the Lama Rinzen series. 49 Buddhas takes place in the Hell Realm on Denver’s Colfax Avenue. But it’s really a Hell of the lama’s own making. A projection of his own mind. He tries doing what he believes is right, but it only leads him deeper and deeper into confusion. That’s the Hell of it.

The confusion, and the world’s refusal to conform to our own viewpoint. Rinzen tries to bend circumstance to his own will, but in the end finds himself being bent. Absorbing into a bigger world not of his own making is how he truly comes to understand.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book? Continue reading

Get to know Sandra Hurst

Sandra Hurst, in her own words

Sandra Hurst Peace outWhen I was little, we had a burgundy set of children’s encyclopedias and I would pick out stories and poems from them to put on performances in the living room, insisting that my family listen to the stories and legends that I had read. I grew up on the stories of Robin Hood, King Arthur, and the Fae. What else could I ever be?

I write because the words are my way of exploring a world I can’t see. I’m a myth-maker, there is nothing that gives me more creative juice than asking a question and then building a world to find the answer. Myths and fantasy give us the opportunity to look at ourselves in new and often unusual ways, to play a huge game of ‘what if’ and see where the answers will fall.

My mind isn’t healthy if I’m not writing, it really isn’t a choice for me.

I think that one of the hardest things to do as a newer author is to explain your writing style. It’s probably a question that would be more appropriately asked of someone who has read your work, and at the beginning, no one has. It’s hard to describe yourself without being either self-congratulatory or somewhat delusional. If I had to say something about my own style, I think I would call it lyrical. I was a poet long before I accepted the challenge of writing prose. I would compare my style to current writers I think I would say that it is somewhat like early work by Guy Gavriel Kay, although I think I smell the self-delusion rising on that one.

I now live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband and son, both of whom I love dearly, and have put up for sale on e-bay when their behavior demanded it.  My day to day life is a balance between my outside life as a paralegal counselor and my inner life as an author/poet. In between writing projects, I work on improving my craft, write book reviews, try to keep my blog current, and study mythologies from around the world. Continue reading

Author Marci Boudreaux Conquers Book Marketing

Author Marci Boudreaux Conquers Book Marketing

Marci B authorMarketing can be an author’s worst nightmare. We’re creative types which doesn’t always gel with strong business sense. One of my favorite ways to lure people into my web…I mean expand my reading audience, is offering free reads on my blog.

I’ve done short stories for Halloween in the past, and I’m currently posting a contemporary romance chapter by chapter.

In Dreams Collide, I’m having a little fun mixing romance and reality television.

 

Here’s the blurb: Dreams Collide

Kendra Michaels has landed a much coveted spot on Music Star Dreams–the Reality TV show that has made past winners musical sensations. She never expected to make the cut, but now that she’s there, she’s trying to make the best of it. The last thing she needs is Jax, her team coach and country superstar, distracting her.

Jax Landry’s shining star was tarnished in his divorce and he’s just trying to get back what he lost. Somehow that doesn’t seem nearly as important when he realizes that Kendra has what it takes to make it big–if only she believed it. He doesn’t intend to pick favorites, but he can’t seem to stop himself.

When the producers and fans see the spark between them, any chance of playing it cool goes out the window.

I’d love for you to stop by and check it out. Not only do you get a free chapter each month, but you get to respond to the posts and offer feedback on what you’d like to see happen. When this wraps up, I’ll release the ebook for free online so readers can download the final product and know they had a part in its production. I think that’s a nice way to thank everyone for participating as well as saying, “hey…come see what I have to offer…” Continue reading

Writing advice from Rebecca Burrell

Meet Rebecca Burrell

Rebecca Burrell book tourIn her own fictional world, Rebecca Burrell is a secret Vatican spy, a flight nurse swooping over the frozen battlefields of Korea, or a journalist en-route to cover the latest world crisis. In real life, she’s a scientist in the medical field. She lives in Massachusetts with her family, two seriously weird cats, and a dog who’s convinced they’re taunting him.

On Writing What You Don’t Know

Somewhere back in caveman times, I envision a young, creative soul with a fistful of ochre and torch soot. As she ponders the limestone, instead of bison or aurochs or deer, her head fills with great creatures who live under the sea and though she’s never seen them, she knows exactly what they look like. How they move. The way they shimmer when sunlight hits their skin. And then, an elder comes up behind, and after a dismissive grunt, tells her ‘stick to what you know’. It’s maybe the oldest pieces of writing advice out there. And it has its merits.

If our aspiring cave artist can only manage a soggy-looking bison, she’s added very little to the world. Or maybe she paints a respectable dolphin, except it’s blood crimson with snaggly tusks, and no one is the wiser until some seafaring stranger happens by and says it’s all wrong. Still, our intrepid artist hasn’t committed any harm. But is that always the case?

In the real world, when we tackle a topic outside our experience, we own the force of our words. For a reader in a marginalized group, a depiction which rests on unwanted stereotypes can feel more painful than the lack of representation itself.

The main protagonist of At Shutter Speed identifies herself as biracial, which I do not. However, I am an adoptive mother who’d been watching her non-white, immigrant child struggle with the changes that have occurred in America over the past few years. (Although that’s his tale to tell someday if he chooses, not mine.) Writing this story became my window into how scary and uncertain all this feels to him. Continue reading

How insomnia caused Anna Lores to write her own novel

Author Anna LoresAnna Lores started writing romance as a by-product of insomnia. After a year of late night reading, she borrowed her son’s laptop after he went to bed and set about breathing life to her very own characters. After a month, she was surprised with a new laptop of her own to pursue her dreams.

With a B.A. in English Literature and a desire to fill her world with wonderful stories she and her close friends could not just talk about, but gush over, she shed her job as mom of three in the midnight hours and began her journey into the publishing world.

Now, Anna is a multi-published author of spicy contemporary and paranormal romance [novels].

Anna Lores, in her own words

Most people don’t know that when I came down with insomnia I became a writer. I read one to three books a night for more than a year when my husband suggested I put my English Literature degree to use and write my own novel. I took the challenge and began writing anytime I had a free second from homeschooling my three children. Continue reading

Nathan Burrows talks Blind Justice

Nathan Burrows blog tourWhat inspired you to write this book?

In one word, insomnia!

I was working over in the Middle East for a 6 month fixed period, and I was living in a very small accommodation. Basically, it was a tiny shipping container with a door, not unlike a prison cell. I couldn’t sleep, and was lying there one night comparing it in my head to being in prison.

Now I’ve never been in prison, but one of the things that I thought about while I was trying to get to sleep was what would it be like to actually be in prison? Then, from there, what would it be like to be in prison for a crime you didn’t commit! And from there, Blind Justice was born.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m currently writing a dark comedy called ‘Meat’. It’s a very different book to Blind Justice, but it’s such a good story that I just have to get it out there! It’s set in a post-Brexit United Kingdom, and involves pig farming. I’m not going to say any more than that, other than the tag line for the book is

‘That Wasn’t Pork’…

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

It was more a case of they came to me. Once I had the overall concept, some of the characters were obvious. I introduced one a bit later on – Laura Flynn – to avoid having an all male ‘cast’, and she quickly became one of my favourite characters. We’ll definitely be seeing more of her in the future!

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

I use a fantastic writing tool called Scrivener to write with. One of the features it has is a character name generator. I used it to come up with names that I liked, and that I thought fit the characters. Continue reading

About Best Case Scenario with Dirk B Sayers

Dirk Sayers interviewAuthor Dirk B. Sayers shares the behind the scenes action from his latest novel Best Cast Scenario.

Q: What’s Best Case Scenario about

A: It’s a contemporary New Adult/Coming of Age story following six months in the life of Nyra Westensee, a college graduate in Los Angeles’ South Bay. A year beyond graduation, Nyra is embroiled in the multi-faceted questions of personal and professional identity. On a professional level, she’s trying to sort out a career path, which stubbornly refuses to get started. On a personal level, much like her mother, Nyra’s had awful luck in love, despite being intelligent, witty and attractive. This continuing frustration has her second-guessing herself, even wondering if her mother’s loneliness is a predictor of her own. It is a theme that is one of the motifs woven into the story.

Q: Okay, let’s dive into the obvious. You’re a guy, writing about a young woman. How did you go about putting yourself inside Nyra’s head to write a convincing tale from a woman’s point of view?

A: Very, carefully! (Lopsided smile.) Seriously, I think writing a convincing story about anyone, regardless of gender, demands that the author care enough to want to understand. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been raised a woman who was a feminist, long before the term was in vogue. I’m also the beneficiary of some incredibly preceptive women in my author’s group, who keep me honest. Last but certainly not least, my editor is a millennial woman with a sharp eye for detail. It has been really gratifying to have my critique group, beta readers and editors all tell me they find Nyra believable and that they’re looking forward to more of Nyra’s journey.

Q: Where did the idea for Best Case Scenario come from?

A: It’s been brewing for quite some time. Best Case Scenario seeks to weave the contextual realities of our time—particularly the impact of sweeping and often bewildering change—with the challenges confronting emerging adults in the 21st century. Nyra’s journey is mirrors the complications of our age and the factors that help make the world today a more uncertain place than perhaps at any time in our history. Best Case Scenario, is first and foremost about one woman’s journey, but it’s hard to miss the inherent conflicts between the entrenched interests of the old ways and the evolving new. Each generation faces this, and I’ve tried to personalize those issues in Nyra’s struggles, both professionally and personally.

Q: It sounds like you’re signaling that readers should expect social themes to show up in Nyra’s story?

A: Yes. And right from the beginning. Nyra story is fundamentally about Nyra and the people in her life, but there’s no missing the social and economic implications implicit in her struggle. Anyone young or old can relate to those conflicts, but young women in particular are likely to relate to Nyra’s self-conscious search for her true identity. And I’m using self-conscious in its most positive, deliberate sense. One of the things I really admire about the millennials I’ve gotten to know personally is their consciousness of and sensitivity to the issues of our time. While Best Case Scenario doesn’t advance an agenda, there’s no missing the social thread running through the story. Continue reading