What’s my villain’s name? Please vote!

Ok, fans, I need some help again! I’ve been reading a lot lately, and I’ve come across several characters (however, they are never villains) with the same name as a major character in my next work, EMPIRE. So please take a second to vote for your favorite! Thank you all.

Here’s a short description:

Samantha “Sam” Bruce is the spoiled yet neglected daughter of a top tier fashion designer. She enjoys modern dance and sailing. In prep school, she befriends Haven (the main character, named after my daughter) only after perpetrating an act that leaves her friendless. She is willowy with straight black hair, fair skin and blue eyes. She is manipulative and holds onto secrets until an advantageous moment arrives, but she has a generous spirit and a way of helping/comforting others when no one else can.

 

Update: After this poll and speaking with my editor and an author friend, we are going with Sonora Bruce! Thanks so much for your input (as I’ll be asking for it again soon!)

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Wildfire

In my second work, EMPIRE, a massive Colorado wildfire clouds the hills and colors the sunsets, but also instills fear into my main character. This detail may seem like it has great timing, however, given my firefighter husband and his working knowledge of the pine beetle infestation, the fires that are going on now (just miles from our home) are expected.

For those of you that are familiar with forest or structure fires, what is memorable about them? What do you wish that you knew (or didn’t know) before you had that experience? What is burned (pardon the pun) into your brain after seeing such a destructive force?

I remember that 10 years ago, the Hayman fire decimated large swaths of land and homes just west of Colorado Springs. The wind would carry the scent of smoke and drop yellowed ash on my windshield. There have been two fires at my mother’s house (while I was living there); they were quite small, smouldering fires that cost a lot of money to fix but there wasn’t any degree of trauma that occurred.

So if there are any details that you find interesting that I should add to my manuscript before my editor gets his hands on it, please let me know!

image credit: everythingsright.com

I need some monsters…

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

Hello friends! Since my WWII historical fiction novel Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me?? is doing so well, I’m taking some time to focus on the last two chapters of my WIP, EMPIRE (YA Fantasy). My problem is that I need some help with monsters.

So here are my questions: What scares you? Specifically, what gives you nightmares? What horrible creatures inhabit them?What makes something scary?

It’s really arbitrary for me because I can watch “Dexter” and “The Walking Dead” without any problems, but then I see a couple minutes of “Paranormal Activity” and I’m too uncomfortable to continue.

When I was little, I was terrified by a movie called “The Last Unicorn” and there was another called “Assassins” that was really not meant for children, but my parents just saw that it was a cartoon so they assumed that it was all right. These movies implanted themselves in my brain and I had nightmares about creepy faeries for months.

In my the climax scene of EMPIRE, there are demons that come out of the sea. I have been imagining that these demons take on the forms that humans find most fearsome (from all different eras and cultures) so I’m thinking manticores, harpies, skeletons, and ghosts (though I’m trying to steer clear of supernatural beings that are super popular right now like werewolves, vampires, and zombies). Also, I’m kind of afraid to research demons because I don’t want to invite that kind of negativity into my life (but I will if I have to). And better yet, what do you imagine demons to look like? So please, help a girl out and tell me what terrifies you!

Image credit: http://www.deafhooddiscourses.com/?p=155

Author interview with steampunk writer Chris Stocking

Chris Stocking’s blog Write to Perfect has thoughtful, articulate posts about writing that I’ve found useful, so we decided to do a little interview exchange. Currently, Chris is in school, majoring in journalism with a minor in English. He loves science-fiction and fantasy fiction and has written one science-fiction novel, a fantasy novella, and is working on his steampunk series.

How did you become a literary being? That is, how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been writing basic little stories that were, in a way, fan-fiction of the fantasy books I was reading, and still do read. I never took it very seriously, though. I do remember one particular story I was working on; I was so proud of it. I remember it being Arial Narrow font size 8, and over 30 pages. I also remember how devastated I was when I lost it. But, I didn’t really know I wanted to be a writer until I had a dream, (cliché, I know), which would later be the main basis for my first book, ESTRA Corp., which is now retired.

What are the facets of steampunk? What (if any) sub-genres do you employ?

I fell in love with Steampunk a few months ago. It’s a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy in that takes places in the Wild West, Victorian London, or in the future. The basis of it is that many, if not all machines are powered by steam. So, gears, cogs, inventions, and “devices” play a large role in these books. The fantasy elements can consist of magic, or fey creatures. For example, in my upcoming novel, “London Darkness: Infernal Inventions,” the main character, Ryker, has red eyes, and a watch sewn into the palm of his hand; and his best friend, Wendell, is a gnome.

Do you listen to music while writing? Do you have writing schedule?

It depends. Sometimes I’ll turn on some music when I write; but I find that, on occasion, I end up spending more time singing along to music than writing.

I don’t have a writing schedule, but it is a fantastic idea. However, because my shifts at work aren’t consistent, and because I do go to college, I can’t really pick out a certain time to write, unless it’s very late at night or very early in the morning.

Since you are a student, have you found that other parts of your education assist in your ability to write?

Because I major in Journalism, it’s a little different. AP style certainly does not apply to writing books. My newswriting teacher referred to writing books as “feel-good writing,” which doesn’t work for journalism. But, the simple practice of writing does help. I also minor in English, so that helps more than my Journalism major does.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Showdown by Ted Dekker. I started reading it in high school but never finished it, so I thought I would take a break between Catching Fire and Mockingjay and finally read it.

How would you characterize your voice? If you were to be compared with another writer, who would your work most resemble?

I’d like to think that I have a semi-dark, sarcastic voice. Not as dark as, say, Poe, but the kind of dry-humored dark. It’s really a bit complicated for me to explain, apparently.

What are the downfalls of being a writer? How do you feel society approaches authors?

One of the major downfalls of being a writer is dealing with writers block, inspiration, and time management. I don’t care what anyone says—everyone gets writers block. Inspiration can be tough to deal with because it shows up at random, and you have no idea how long it will last. And time management is very difficult in the sense that writers are busy people. Many of us don’t live off our writing, and some have families. They are forced to deal with work, a husband/wife, offspring, personal health, and writing all at the same time. That can be very difficult.

As for society, I recently posted on my blog about how someone at work asked me where they could buy my book, and a friend of theirs immediately asked “You wrote a book? Why do you still work here? Shouldn’t you be famous?” I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions. People automatically assume that just because someone wrote a book, they should be famous.

What’s the best writing environment for you?

Wherever I can bring my laptop. As long as my computer is charged, I can write. Certainly environment factors how much I write. For example, I’ll get nearly nothing written if I have the television on and I’m trying to write. But for the most part, I can write basically anywhere. In fact, I often find that I write best in class, which I suppose it’s the greatest of places to write.

Favorite author, favorite book, favorite band.

Favorite author: Margaret Weis. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview her, which was very exciting for me.

Favorite book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Favorite Band: Opeth. I have the band name tattooed on my chest.

Initiation…

Alright, in my second book EMPIRE (YA Fantasy), the MC goes to a new school, but it came to my attention that I need an initiating event! And it would be something that transpires after she transfers schools. Do you have any crazy things that happened to you in high school? A football game that you still remember? A certain special individual paying attention to you? I need some help here!

It might be helpful to know that EMPIRE has some Christian themes (but is not what you’d call “preachy”).