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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

We're welcoming PAN author, Michele Hauf.

That subject line applies to a few of our heroes, especially the wolfie ones. But today I’m focusing on us, we, the writers. I’m interested in hearing how everyone decides what their comfort level for taking on new projects is. Are you a writer who likes to focus on one story from beginning to end? Or are you the sort who enjoys having two, three, or even more projects going at one time?

Myself, I’m the multiple project writer. I need that option project going because there are days I’m not always interested in the main project. And I’ve learned that to force myself to work on something that isn’t calling to me results in dull text and uninspired characters. I don’t normally veer from a main project for long. Sometimes I take a day to work on other things, but it can be as long as a week. And the really great thing? When I return to the main project it feels fresh to me.

I’m going to guess that the majority of us are multiple-projects writers, for those same reasons I mentioned above. Escape from a project not calling to us, and the joy of sitting down to an old project that feels new again.

But do you ever get in over your head? Besides being the sort who will juggle many projects at once, I also have this frustrating habit of never saying ‘no’ to new projects. Oh sure, I can squeeze that one in between Project A and Project B if I stay up 24/7 for the next week. No problem! Have any of you ever done that? And then you find yourself struggling to finish the new project and not compromise the integrity of current projects. And sunlight! Sunlight becomes a thing of myth and legend. And in the end, is it really worth it?

I’m learning my lesson on that one. Sure, it’s awesome when new opportunities present themselves. But we, as writers, only have one set of hands, and one over-worked brain that loves to feed us the wyrd stuff, but seriously, they need a break once in a while. So today I said ‘no’. It hurt because I was passing up an opportunity, but at the same time it felt freeing. I will see the sun before winter comes! I will find a few moments away from the keyboard to just sit outside and remember what a tree looks like. :-)

What I’m trying to say is we’ve got to start taking care of ourselves and understand that sometimes the big bite isn’t as good for us as nibbles. Does that make sense?

So tell me, are you a multiple project or single project writer? And do you ever bite off more than you can chew?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

PAN Guest Blog - JL Wilson

Today we welcome J L Wilson as our FF&P PAN blogger.
I have two books out this month. One released on Sept. 3 and one released on Sept. 4. I didn't plan it that way, my two publishers did. I usually have four books release a year, and this year it’s five, with two of them back-to-back. So I'm going to be very busy in the upcoming months, talking about both books.
In an odd way, they couldn't be more different and yet they're both very much the same.

Temperance is my third History Patrol book in which two lovers are sent back through time to the place where they died. In this case, Theodora was killed because of something Will did. She's reincarnated as a shape-shifting cat and is paired with him as his Companion in the Patrol. They're returned to 1934 America around the time of the John Dillinger shootout in St. Paul. Will thinks they’re returning to rescue a stranded time traveler, but Theo knows the truth.

Human Touch is set on another planet, far in the future. Isbel Kensington is a researcher who discovers a terrible secret about the original settlers on that planet. What she’s found may topple the government, run by her father and her sister. Cyrus Durant is an undercover agent – and also a cloned human – who is sent to spy on her.

You can see how different they are? What do they have in common? Two things: love and telepathy (that sounds like a good name for a song or a cafĂ©, doesn’t it?) In the case of Temperance¸ Will and Theo are true lovers who are given a second chance at life. They have to decide if they have the courage to take that chance. The only way they can communicate is via telepathy since Theo is a cat and Will is a human. Of course, she’s not always a cat. Sometimes she’s a falcon, sometimes she’s a squirrel, and once she shifts to mouse-form in order to be carried in Will’s pocket. I would LOVE to be able to shape-shift, which is why I give the Companions in my books that possibility.
In Human Touch, Isbel has to decide how important the truth is – is it worth hurting her family? Does she dare share what she knows with the population? As she uncovers the truth, she also uncovers Cyrus’ humanity, the humanity he didn’t know he possessed. It’s when they start to form an intimate psychic bond that she realizes he’s becoming fully human, and she realizes that what truly means.
Both books required an incredible amount of research and world-building. I had to come up with rules for History Patrol, reincarnation, and Guardian Angels as well as figure out how to put my two characters in the path of John Dillinger at just the right time. For Human Touch, I created a planet, a culture, a political system, a vocabulary and a shocking secret that needed to be hidden for generations. These people are human but they’re the result of decades of psychic training and breeding. What would that do to our race?
There’s one other thing they have in common: both are part of a series, but each stands alone. Temperance is the third book and characters from the previous books are alluded to, but don’t appear (okay, they do, but briefly and in a way you really can’t expect). Human Touch is the start of a three-book series, which continues next year in Living Proof and concludes late in the year with Leap of Faith.
----------- Here’s a brief excerpt from Temperance, in which they discover why the time traveler they’re chasing, Marcos Darby, needs to stay in 1934.

Theo scrambled out of his way as Will lunged for the dresser. He pushed clothes impatiently aside and pulled out his foldable computer.
Did you charge it? Theo asked suspiciously. Will was notorious for forgetting to put the solar-cell in the sunlight.
“Of course.” He put the device on his desk and unfolded the flexible pad. Words sprang to life on the wall in front of the desk. “Let’s see…Darby…” He activated voice mode. “Family history, Marcos Darby.” He pulled out the desk chair and sat down, staring intently at the computer screen.
“Marcos Darby, born 2217 in…”
Will hastily turned down the volume as the voice droned on, “…New Florida. Father, Nobles Conner. Mother, Mathilde Darby.”
“Great-great grandparents and preceding ancestors,” Will interrupted. “Display family genealogy.”
Names began appearing on the wall in front of Will, superimposed on a tree-like structure.
Theo jumped lithely onto Will’s knee, barely pausing as she made another leap to the desk. What are we looking for? she asked, peering at the text.
“I’m not sure,” he murmured, eyes darting from one side to the other as the names spread further and further apart on the wall. “I think our tourist might have a reason for being here and—there.”
Will touched a name on the wall. The computer said, “Carter Baum. Born, 1904. Died, 1934 in…”
“That’s it.” Names continued scrolling down the wall. “Stop history,” Will said.
That’s what? Theo stretched, reaching up to tap a name on the wall. That?
“Carter Baum. Marcos Darby is related to Carter Baum. He’s the FBI agent who was killed by Dillinger.”
“Stop history,” the computer confirmed.
Will nodded. “Yes. He’s trying to stop history.”

----------- End excerpt ------------------------

------- And here’s an excerpt from Human Touch, in which Cyrus, undercover as a Paid Male companion, first meets Isbel, the woman he may have to kill.

Cyrus glanced at the woman next to him. She wasn’t what he expected. He’d seen vid of her sister, Dru, and he expected the same—a walking fashion plate with stylish hair, an angular figure and that air of disdain Dru Carter wore like a second skin. This woman was small with large breasts and wide hips. Her eyes were level with his chin and her face was oval, with high cheekbones and a wide, full mouth that looked red even without obvious cosmetics. Her long, uncolored hair was bundled into a bun on her head.
His Paid Male programming had prepared him for the technical part of his job but not for the nuances of how to act as a woman’s companion. Cyrus knew how Part A fit into Part B. But he’d never touched a woman, been close to one, or held one in his arms. Unless he counted the ones he’d killed. He was curious about the sex thing. It might be pleasurable. The idea was interesting.
Her assigned cottage was on the far edge of the island, perched on a tall bluff in a tiny cove. Cyrus had investigated the place earlier, checking the two small bedrooms, the bathing facility and the living and kitchen space. It was rustic, charming, and isolated. He’d be stuck with her for ten entire daes, not to mention the evenings. Cyrus flicked a glance at her, wondering what people did together with all that time. Surely they didn’t talk the entire time? Maybe she’d change her mind and go shopping.
He set the car on the landing pad at the base of the hill. The woman sprang out and hurried up the footpath, her pale brown skirt tangling around her legs. He could easily see the outline of her body as the ocean breeze pressed the fabric against her. She wasn’t under-dressed, as was the fashion, but she wasn’t hiding anything, either. Cyrus plucked out the bag she’d tossed in the back and followed her up the path.
He could hear her in the bedroom when he entered the living room. She came to the doorway and looked at him. “Do you want to sleep with me or in the spare room?” Her dark brown eyes examined him with a disquieting coolness.
Cyrus stopped, uncertain. “I’ve never slept with anyone before,” he said before thinking. “I don’t know if I would like it.”
“Really? You are inexperienced.” She went back into the bedroom. “The bed is big enough. If you’d like to sleep with me, it’s fine. I should tell you, though, that I won’t require sex.” Her voice drifted out to Cyrus.
Disappointment surged through him. He’d been looking forward to trying the sex thing.

----------- End excerpt ------------------------

For more information about the world-building, the releases, my juggling act (working full-time and releasing 5+ books a year), check my web site (jayellwilson.com). I’m also signed up for some chatting to help you PRO folks boot it up to the next level. Believe me, I remember my PRO days! They weren’t that long ago -- my first book released in June of 2007 and here I am, 13 books later. I’ve got 5 books slated for release next year and 5 for 2011 and I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way that I’m happy to share with you.
I hope you can join me!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Releases to Look For

A day later than normal, but look at the fantastic books that are available from our FF&P authors.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
by Leanna Renee Hieber
Released 8/25/09
Dorchester Publishing

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death….

"Tender. Poignant. Exquisitely written. A gem of a book." - New York Times Bestselling Author C.L. Wilson

"A strangely beautiful tale indeed! An ethereal, lyrical story that combines myth, spiritualism and the gothic in lush prose and sweeping passion. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker will keep readers guessing and greedy for more as they desperately turn the pages.. This Dark vs Light battle in Victorian London will send a shiver down your spine one minute and put a smile on your face the next. I can't wait to read what Hieber has in store for future books!" - USA Today Bestselling Author Kathryn Smith

This novel begins the Strangely Beautiful series, sequel to release in March 2010

by Susan Kearney
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
September 2009


Healer and high priestess of her people, Lady Cael is fated to life without a mate. But a mysterious explorer named Lucan Rourke doesn’t know her secrets, and his touch makes her crave a future that her extraordinary birthright has forbidden her...


Lucan has just one mission on Pendragon: to find the mythical Holy Grail, Earth’s only hope for survival. His powerful attraction to Cael is a distraction he can’t afford, unless he convinces her to join forces with him. Yet working so closely together only heightens their passion...even when the terrifying truth of Cael’s heritage threatens to shatter Lucan’s every belief—and the galaxy itself.

/USA// Today/ Bestselling Author A Pendragon Legacy Novel

by Michelle Hauf
Silhouette Nocturne
September 2009

Escaping from bloodthirsty vampires, Belladonna Reynolds ran straight into the arms of a werewolf. As a man Severo drew her in with his dark good looks; as a beast he astounded her with his insatiable sensual appetite. Whether afraid or aroused, Bella fled to his lair when threatened by an evil monster of the night...Severo tried to keep Bella—his mate—safe from the vampiress who held a malicious desire for revenge against him, but he alone wasn’t enough. Now Bella had taken the form of his most cursed enemy. How could he desire the very thing he’d spent his life destroying? And even if he did, what would the werewolf do to Bella on the next full moon?

“After The Kiss”
by Michelle Hauf
Nocturne Bites
September 2009

He kissed her. They married. Now all she asks is that he let her bite him. Check in with Severo and Bella six months later. Are they still in love? Can they get beyond their extreme differences?

Drawn into Darkness
by Annette McCleave
Release Date: September 1st
Publisher: Signet Eclipse

For centuries Lachlan MacGregor has battled demon thieves for the souls of the dead, carrying out his pledge to deliver them into Heaven or Hell. But his greatest challenge as a Soul Gatherer is now among the living.

Struggling to connect with her troubled teenage daughter Emily, artist Rachel Lewis turns to her enigmatic yet strangely compelling neighbor Lachlan for advice. As Lachlan soon discovers, the young girl has fallen victim to a seductive demon—a specter from the past using the unsuspecting women to fulfill an ancient prophesy and settle a hellish score with Lachlan himself.

In the race to save Emily and avert a disastrous power shift among the deities, Rachel and Lachlan forge an uncommon bond. But how can Lachlan tell the mortal woman he’s falling in love with that the next soul he’s been enlisted to gather—and deliver beyond—is her daughter’s?

2008 Golden Heart® winner, Best Paranormal Romance