Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Renee Wildes

Welcome Renee Wildes, fantasy romance author who has never met a unicorn or elf she didn't like.

Amber: Why do you Write Fantasy?
Renee: I grew up reading Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey, so it was a natural progression for me to switch from writing horse stories when I was six to writing fairytales when I was sixteen. And I am a HUGE (totally GINORMOUS) Joseph Campbell fan. My muse is a big red dragon, so my books got darker and edgier as I matured.

Amber: Authors I've interviewed so far aren’t writing about swords/sorcery/elves/dragons. How you work that into the romance?
Renee: They totally go hand in hand. Fantasy is good over evil, and romance is love conquers all - so it's a win/win situation. I think there's a huge draw to "happily-ever-after." My heroes and heroines meet on a bigger quest and fall in love along the way. It's totally 50/50, except my heroes are elves and werewolves and my heroines are dragons, selkies, dream faeries and assassin nuns.

My villains are demon-possessed despots, genocidal royalty, and most recently goblins who don't know how to work dwarven magic properly! I'm a Navy brat and a cop's kid, so I use a lot of warrior arch-types. They say write what you know! I'm also the only vet tech in a family of nurses, so that's where all the critters come from.

Amber: Tell me about your red dragon muse.
Renee: I started my serious writing career with short series contemporaries, only the weird, twisted dragon soul who drew the short straw and became my muse knows. And she's not talking. I actually wrote two contemporaries - Second Chances and An Angel For Gabriel. Then I learned POV, and that red dragon grabbed me by the throat and said to knock the whole contemporary-thing off. Very direct creatures, dragons. And so the "Guardians of Light" series was born.

Amber: How did the Guardians of Light begin?.
Renee: It started w/an image of a girl kneeling in a burning room. (Dragon muse, remember?) When I learned she STARTED the fire, I went to my then-critique partners and asked, "Do I do something with this?" And Duality was born. When it won in the 2006 WisRWA Fab 5 SilverQuill Award in Paranormal, I remember meeting one of my judges at a chapter meeting and her saying, "YOU wrote Duality? I LOVED that story." I pitched it to Angela James from Samhain at the 2007 NJ RWA Put Your Heart In A Book Conference, they bought it. Bk 2, Hedda's Sword followed. Lycan Tides’ ebook comes out July 2009 and coming in print May 2010. Bk 4, Dust of Dreams, comes out in ebook July 2010. All the characters and lands are interwoven in a grand tapestry, although each story line stands alone.

Amber: I see from your website that you teach world building.
Renee: One of the things I've become "branded" or pegged for, as to what readers can expect when they pick up my books, is the level of worldbuilding. Culture, politics, religion, geography and description. Mostly putting my characters in the unfamiliar - having them learn as they go in a sink or swim scenario. I have a "6 Senses" class that's geared more for beginning writers, an intermediate "Deep POV" class, and a "World-building" class for more advanced writers that builds off the first two. Worldbuilding depends a lot on deep POV, because the entire story is told from one or two characters' viewpoints. I love to have conflicting cultures and religions, b/c that's what's in todays news. Readers can relate. A warrior and a single mom are going to have different priorities - how to make them compatible? Today's fiction needs more than conflicting personalities - characters are products of the world around them. Part upbringing, part environment.

Amber: Any thing special that helps to with your worlds?
Renee: One of the things I do when I write is listen to appropriate cultural music to set the story. Duality was written to Medaeival Baebes, Hedda's Sword was written to Nordic bands Garmarna, Hedningarna and Varttina, Lycan Tides was written to Celtic Lunasa & Leahy, and Dust of Dreams was written to Nightwish and Warlock. I use Axel Rudi Pell for battle scenes and Enya and Kate Price for love scenes.
I take a standard norm and flip it on its ear. Duality is basically a Cinderella story - if Cinderella were a half-dragon fire mage w/a homicidal temper. Hedda's Sword is basically Sleeping Beauty - if Sleeping Beauty were an assassin nun. (And Prince Charming isn't a prince at all.)

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Renee: I think for readers it's the escapism - the magical trip to someplace long ago and far far away. It's where things can be worse than real life but somehow good always triumphs over evil. It gives us hope.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Renee: I already have - I started when I was 16 and got published when I was 40! And when the muse strikes I write - even when I know there's no market for whatever it is... I can't NOT write.

Learn more about 
Renee Wildes’ 
Books and Worlds 
on her website.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why I Write Fantsy - Skhye Moncrief

Amber: Welcome Skhye, romance author and fantasy world maven.
Tell me why you write fantasy.
Skhye: I write fantasy because I love world building as well as pitting science against magic. I have to do something to use my formal education in geology and anthropology. I always feel my favorite quote sums up my perspective:
"Be the change you want to see in the world." ~Ghandi. Fantasy allows for setting social issues in other "lands" so you don't step on people's toes when mounting your soapbox. LOL. I have smashed toes with my book Forbidden Eternity. But most people rave instead of rant after reading it! 

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Skhye: I think readers love to escape. I've heard they prefer medieval settings in fantasy. I don't know if that's because of the power structure... Trust me. When only one or two people get to affect the lives of all the occupants of a region, that doesn't sound like fun. Nor does eating gritty gruel. And don't forget the sparrow on special occasions. But there's something about fantasy works -- romance in my case. Something probably along the lines of living vicariously through the hero and heroine -- becoming the knight's lady or defeating the dark nobleman! And who wouldn't want to pretend to get to wear those exquisite gowns? Things were terribly simpler then. Just taxes. Just do your job. See. And good always prevails is a common theme. But then there is magic... Now we're talking escape through empowerment. Nobody has the upperhand when you're in possession of an enchanted doohickey. I could really use one of those doohickeys...

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Skhye: I do. LOL It's true. And thank goodness they read my published fantasy. But I'm horrible about mixing romance subgenres. I think it overwhelms the reader. Like my werewolf space opera where extraterrestrials are psychics fighting a war for freedom of thought and the bad guys look like the common alien with the Communion-mask for a face. You know, the little guys exiting the spaceship on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. I did it. I put all the paranormal elements in one story. Well, no ghosts and fairies yet. But I played with them so much in my Time Guardian series that I told them they had to sit out of my werewolf space opera. Anyway, I'm rambling -- nothing new to those who follow my blog. :)

Amber: Thanks Skhye, for visiting Wordshaping. Hope you had fun.

Skhye: Thanks for raking me o'er the coals, Amber!

Skhye Moncrief is formally educated in geology and anthropology, she pushes the envelope writing cross-genre paranormal romance classified as paranormal or fantasy romance.
Her time-travel Time Guardian series ( deals with soul mates, astrology, alchemy, fairies, freemasons, druids, mythical creatures, were-creatures, vampires, and anything else of legend that must be explained in history... Since the Orders are from the future, they have technology and study a scientifically-based alchemy. In a nutshell, this says it all: Open the door to a new reality where legend becomes history and destined love defeats timeless evil. Her first novella, ANCIENT MUSINGS, has all the Greek muses fall in love.
HE OF THE FIERY SWORD Time-traveling shape-shifting dragon becomes King Arthur by saving his soul mate, a Druid, from mischeivous fairies... A man must live before becoming king.
FORBIDDEN ETERNITY Shape-shifting Native-American shaman and a Druid outwit a changeling and Hell Hounds by hiding on an astral plane
THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON A shape-shifting were-assassin must stop her soul mate, a renegade Time Guardian, from disrupting the timeline... One must die so the other can live
NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE Time-traveling ex-Legionnaire Cowboy and a Druid defeat a psychic vampire... A Time Guardian Halloween Tale
SACRIFICIAL HEARTS A Time-traveling Scot from the future faces his biggest challenge in earning the love of a 21st Century American woman... A Time Guardian Valentines Tale

Skhye’s Contest
Leave a comment and tell Skhye 
which of her first chapters is most intriguing 
for a chance to win one of Skhye’s available titles in pdf
Contest ends Thursday, April 22nd!

And - If you love reference books, visit –
Skhye’s blog where Skhye talks about
reference books, writing, and features guests.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Kris Neri

Welcome, Kris Neri, Mystery writer who has come over to the world of fantasy 
Tell me, why do you write fantasy,
Kris: Nothing is as much fun for me as a writer as imagining what could exist in our world, and actually putting it there. Such as the dolphins my character, Annabelle Haggerty, talks to, who really save things in HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE. Or the dragonfly that transports Samantha, when Marshall Law is declared and she can't leave the house. Magic doesn't make things easier - it actually complicates stories. But a writer can come up with the most amazing solutions using it. It's make-believe for grown-ups. I think it was a big mistake on our parts to give it up when we grew up.

Amber: As an author and a bookseller, why do you think readers love fantasy?
Kris: Readers love it for the same reasons writers do. Because nothing takes us out of this world as well. We all know this is a pretty tough world to live in today. And fantasy takes us away from it. What's not to like?

Amber: Would you still write fantasy even if no one read it?
Kris: A writer never has a guarantee about what will sell. I write what I love to write, and what I'd love to read. I've been very fortunate that my books have all been published, and I've garnered lots of readers. But I never know.

Amber: Thanks, Kris, for visiting Wordshaping.

Kris Neri latest book is the Lefty Award-nominated HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE, featuring fake psychic Samantha Brennan and genuine Celtic goddess/FBI agent, Annabelle Haggerty.
Kris also writes the award-winning Tracy Eaton mysteries, including the latest, REVENGE FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE. She's published some sixty short stories and is a two-time Derringer Award winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for her short fiction. With her husband, Kris owns The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona, AZ.

Books by Kris Neri

HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE The First Samantha Brennan & Annabelle Haggerty Supernatural Mystery - Featuring fake psychic Samantha Brennan & genuine Celtic Goddess-FBI Agent Annabelle Haggerty. Read an excerpt

REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN The First Tracy Eaton Mystery. Featuring Tracy Eaton, mystery writer, detective wannabe and the offspring of eccentric Hollywood stars.
DEM BONES' REVENGE The Second Tracy Eaton Mystery. 
REVENGE FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE The Third Book in the Multi Award-nominated Tracy Eaton Mystery Series. So much fun, it ought to be a crime! 

NEVER SAY DIE Featuring enigmatic triathlete Zoey Morgan.
What Zoey doesn't understand about her own past could get her killed. 
THE ROSE IN THE SNOW TALES OF MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM. A collection of thirteen of my short stories...some are new, some are my old favorites, and two are Derringer Award winners.

Kris blogs at Femmes Fatales, Ferociously talented women dedicated to the fine art of crime fiction.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flying Free is a WisRWA Write Touch Finalist!

Here’s a Message from your Sponsor!

Is a finalist in the
Wisconsin Romance Writers of America
Write Touch Readers' Award Contest
In the
Mainstream with Romantic Elements Category


Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Arlene Eisenbise

Amber: Welcome Arlene Eisenbise, tracker of crystal skulls. Tell us a little about yourself.

Arlene: I’m in my third year as Vice President (Programs) with the Professional Writers of Prescott. It is exciting to contact, meet, and introduce guest speakers to our PWP members.

When I was very young, we lived on a farm. I remember that a very thick dictionary rested on a pedestal in the basement. I poured over the pages believing that, if I knew every word, I would know everything. I do love the writing process—all those words. At age twenty-eight I took my first creative writing class at a vocational school in northern Wisconsin. I wanted a challenge but didn’t expect it would last a lifetime! In the days when they paid and published freelancers, I wrote articles for Wisconsin’s leading newspapers. My poetry was published in various periodicals, including the UW-Stevens Point publications. Love of dialogue came from writing plays. But fiction beckoned.

Amber: What type of fiction have you written?
Arlene: After moving to Arizona in 1997, I joined a Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators critique group. I wrote a series of chapter books about a mischievous red fox named Lolly. They were followed by a young adult novel set during World War II as seen through the eyes of a teen-aged girl. However a turning point in my writing direction had already entered my life.

Amber: Can you share with us what happened?
Arlene: Over the years I learned to use a quiet, contemplative time as a key to open a door to the creative flow. On a day in 1996, I tried a new spiritual exercise and was flooded with information about a trilogy of books. Over time I was given characters, places, and scenes. I made sketchy notes even though I questioned what any of it meant. Hundreds of years separated the Atlantean civilization, the Late-classic Maya and the Traditionalist Hopi that I was to write about.

After a three-year wait another turning point—the missing connection—manifested. As I listened to a late-night radio program, A couple vacationing in Belize, who made documentaries for BBC, learned about an ancient crystal skull which was discovered nearby in 1924. The skull had been unearthed from a fallen temple by Frederick Mitchell-Hedges, a British explorer with the reputation of being the model for Indiana Jones. The skull was later left to Mitchell-Hedges’ adopted daughter, Anna, who (according to the book written by the couple) lived in Canada. The about-to-retire director of the Canadian Royal Museum helped me track down a contact close to Anna, who had moved back to England. I got her address. I wrote. I waited. Months later Anna responded. She had returned to Canada. I felt destined to meet her and the world-famous crystal skull. I don’t write mysteries but by then I felt that I was living one.

Amber: Have you completed the crystal skull trilogy?
Arlene: Ridiculous as it sounds completion isn’t my biggest problem. With each of these books, getting started scared me senseless. “I don’t know anything about Atlantis,” I wailed to a friend before writing even one line of the first book. “Draw on your past lifetimes,” she advised.

I would contemplate and ask my “spirit muse” to take me to Atlantis. I’d feel myself descending, descending until a scene opened before me, sometimes an entire chapter waited for discovery. The writing process for each book is different, but somewhere along the way, the characters take charge and I become anxious to read where they’ll lead me next. The Atlantis and Mayan books are off to publishers and my Hopi characters are stirring up tension in Chaco Canyon.

Amber: Where can we read your stories?
Arlene: None of the books have been published, yet. But a short story titled “Mississippi Myth” was published in February in WritingRaw, an e-zine. I wrote it from a “merbaby’s” point of view even though it was based on a true experience. Publication really is thrilling.

Amber: Do you consider yourself a writer of myth?
Arlene: That depends. Many think of Atlantis as a mythical place. To me The Keepers of
Atlantis is historical fiction.

Amber: Do you also do research reading?
Arlene: I love research—both the inner and the outer sort. So I read a lot and search the Internet. This trilogy has required extensive research—the characters’ food, their clothing, their settings—for nearly every page. The books are about the empowerment of women, who struggle as the storytellers and keepers of the ancient crystal skulls.

Amber: When do you find time for pleasure reading?
Arlene: A writer has to make time to read which, I believe, is also writing. I steal time away from writing, marketing, and research to escape into a good book. Jewell Parker Rhodes recently gave an animated reading at Yavapai College. I had already booked her as guest speaker for our August PWP meeting. I know that once I open the first page of one of her books, I’ll be hooked until the last page. Years back I devoured Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. That book introduced me to multiple point-of-views. Recent reads were The Road, Where Rivers Change Direction, The Memory Keepers Daughter, and Stones From the River. My interests are broad. But when I peek at what young adults are reading today . . . all that blood!

Amber: Thanks so much for sharing your story with Wordshaping! I can't wait to read your trilogy.

Read Arlene's "Mississippi Myth" story about the merbaby in Writing Raw!