About Me

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I spend most of my time daydreaming and creating otherworldly tales steeped in myth, magic, and romance. All of my heroes have long hair, and my heroines are strong-willed. Prior to being a writer, I played bass guitar in an all-girl hard rock/metal band in southern California. When I'm not writing, editing, or reading, I enjoy practicing target archery.
 

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why faeries?

This is a question I often ask myself. I grew up with a fascination with vampires and other creatures of the night so I surprised myself by writing about faeries. Faeries do share some aspects with vampires in that they are both immortal and magical beings. I think I became enamored of faeries because there are so many different kinds and they are more mysterious then vampires. We seem to know where vampires came from, but where did faery lore first take root in people's imagination?

There are numerous legends in Ireland about faeries. People seem to fear the capricious nature of these elusive beings. Some people believe that faeries grew out of a time when people couldn't explain why some things happened in nature. Some also believe that faeries are related to the fallen angel myths. Are they gods or something else? Or just figments of the imagination?
The unknown is what drew me to faeries. I was reading a book on faery lore called A Witches Guide to Faery Folk by Edain McCoy when I came across Ashrays. These water faeries found in Scotland were thought to have been a mythological race cursed to live under the sea. This inspired me to create a story behind this myth. My third book will be a prequel to the whole series. I will take readers on a journey back to ancient Greece and a war between two nations of gods and goddesses.

Some day I may write a vampire story, but for now I am devoted to the faery folk.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Writing historicals

I would classify my books as fantasy/romance, but my stories usually take place in a historical setting. Historical settings are a challenge for me because I can learn from textbooks, but it takes more than that to get the atmosphere right. To help me understand a historical setting, I will read fiction by authors who write in the time period I am trying to re-create. In a way, this is more helpful to me than reading a textbook. I use both methods to get the historical setting as realistic as possible.

Ancient time periods (like in my books) are tricky because there isn't much information to learn from. This is where a vivid imagination comes in handy. I also weigh what I know against what I don't know and find a middle ground by filling in the blanks with the obvious. By doing some detective work and putting myself in their place, I come up with the historical setting. One thing I have learned from studying ancient civilizations: people haven't changed much throughout history, just the technology. By taking away the clutter of machines, televisions and computers, I think about what people did back then. They were in tune with the earth's cycles and they were superstitious about the unknown. Some of these civilizations were very advanced for their time. And sadly, most of these civilizations were destroyed by disease, nature's wrath or warfare with another nation. The wheel keeps turning.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Finding my writing voice

It took me a few years to develop my writing voice. I wrote short stories and I kept a journal--I wrote whenever I could. It finally came to me after I gave in and bared my soul. I didn't care about what other people would think. My editor at Awe-Struck commented that I have an engaging writing style that draws the reader into the story. I was flattered by his positive opinion of my writing because I wasn't trying to be that way. I only achieved this by not thinking too hard about it and letting my voice develop on its own.

I even fought writing romances for many years because I had never really liked reading them. My favorite authors were Stephen King, Ann Rice and Morgan Llywelyn. I always thought romances were silly until I read Diana Gabaldon's outstanding Outlander series in which she incorporates strong character development with sci-fi elements. By combining romance with the elements of fantasy and the supernatural, I developed my own style of romance. Once I accepted that I was going to write romances, everything clicked into place. I like to write unusual romances between two very different people, and I like to infuse fantasy with reality to create a surreal atmosphere filled with human and otherworldly beings.

So, if there are any new writers out there, don't fight yourself--go where your Muse takes you. You just might be surprised by what happens.

Sequel to Of Water and Dragons

I am very excited about my second book, which is a sequel to Of Water and Dragons. I never planned on writing a sequel to this book, but new ideas came to me and I could not resist the call of the Muse. The sequel is titled, RavenWolf, and will focus on the mythology that is a huge part of Scottish and Irish history. Ambiorix and Nemu struggle to stay together, but someone from Nemu's past threatens to tear them apart. Nemu also learns who she was before she was reborn as Nemu. I have created some new characters that I think readers will find interesting. RavenWolf is near completion and I hope to have it published soon. Here is an excerpt from RavenWolf:

The Raven Women surrounded the stone fortress, imprisoning me. I realized that this was the place I had dreamed of. Somewhere nearby though was the land of my mother’s people and the place of their final entombment. A silent tear rolled down my cheek as I thought of the fate of my mother.

Dark stone monoliths jutted out in the distance from the mist-filled water. I watched the sun fall beneath cloud-strewn skies, creating a burst of pink and purple. It should have been a glorious sight to me, but instead of white clouds colored pink and purple, I saw white wings covered in shadow and stained with innocent blood.

Wrapped in large black wings, The Raven Women silently guarded me. I barely glanced at them because I knew I would be ignored. Their presence was oddly comforting to me though.
There was a lot I still did not understand, but this I knew—Mine is the dark face of night, the silver moon my only true friend. Solitude is all I have ever known and will ever know. This I have come to accept as I accept that the sun rises each morning and sets each night in a fiery ball of glory. My only regret is that I should have realized this much sooner…before love.
It is strange how life can change in an instant. Perhaps I should have heeded my dreams, listened to my inner voice. But I have learned that life does not always go the way it was planned. No wonder mortals were so tormented. Of course, the Romans had again played a role in destroying my peaceful existence. But I feared that I was to blame for that. My thoughts whispered to me that there was more for me to learn about my past. By allowing the dark one to bring me here, lost memories had rushed back and I was not the same person I was before. A prisoner, I was alone again, and maybe that was my true destiny. I wanted to place the blame on others, but the truth was, I made my own choices. I could not change what I was. I was foolish to believe it could be done. Maybe I was not meant to live as a human among human beings. And I have learned a secret that has changed me forever. My eyes filled with tears at the memory of what I was and would always be.

What have I done?

How Of Water and Dragons was born

I am often asked how I came up with the idea for Of Water and Dragons. It actually started out as a short story titled, Water, and was a romance/fantasy between two very different people-a human and a faery woman. My Creative Writing teacher encouraged me to turn this short story into a novel. I changed the setting to ancient Britain and Scotland after reading about a significant battle between the Romans and the Celtic tribes. The male character changed to a Roman soldier named Ambiorix. My female character, Nemu, stayed the same. The battle was the perfect way for my two different characters to meet.

The story was built using Roman history and Celtic mythology. I love combining reality with fantasy. I feel that this gives the story a more surreal touch. I am a huge fan of history (boring to most people), but I love to see how people lived in the past, and this is what inspired me to write in an ancient time period. Mythology is also another fascination of mine, especially Celtic mythology. I can't seem to get enough of it and constantly read books dealing with the Celtic myth cycle. Magic and the supernatural is another favorite pastime of mine, and there is some of that influence in this book as well.

The idea for Nemu came to me when I was reading a book on faery lore. I found a description of Ashrays or Water Faeries that lived underwater and melted if sunlight would touch them. This is how Nemu was born. I wanted to show her as a bit naive, but with an inner strength fueled by magic. Her character will continue to grow in the second and third books in this series on Celtic Mythology.

I wanted Ambiorix to be a strong, brave warrior, but also have the heart of a poet. He is probably the most conflicted of the two characters because he is torn between his love for Nemu and his loyalty to Rome. His character goes through more changes in the second book, which reveals his true strengths and weaknesses.

My favorite romances are the ones that are complicated, and I wanted to write a romance with obstacles for the main characters. There is also an unusual love triangle going on in this book, which I didn't plan it at all. It just happened, but it enhanced the story even more. Sometimes when I am writing, my characters seem to take over and write the story for me. I just go with the flow, and let the story take me where it wants to go.

I also incorporated a couple of legends into this story. One was the mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Legion, and the other was the Loch Ness monster legend.
Anyway, that is how Of Water and Dragons was born, and from there I was inspired to turn it into a trilogy.