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Friday, August 29, 2014

Author Interview with Annalisa Crawford

Everyone, please welcome Annalisa Crawford to Write with Fey. She is answering my questions and sharing interesting little tidbits about herself and her book, Our Beautiful Child.


Annalisa, tell us about your current release.

Our Beautiful Child is a collection of three supernatural/Gothic novellas all set around the same pub. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. And they all find a lot more than they bargained for.

Genre: Supernatural/Gothic
Page Count: 114
Publisher: Battered Suitcase Press
Release Date: June 9th 2014

 BUY LINKS:


1.    Why did you choose the setting for Our Beautiful Child?

     The pub and the bridge that are so important in all the stories are local to me – I spent a lot of time in the pub when I was in my teens. It’s very old, and there were ghost stories attached to it. The bridge is right ahead of you when you drive towards my town. Whenever I’ve been away, that’s the sight I long to see again, and makes me feel at home.

2.    If your book had a soundtrack, give us a list of a few songs that would be on it.

      -Ella’s Story fits well with Silent Lucidity by Queensryche
      -The Traveller would be Brilliant Disguise by Bruce Springsteen
      -Our Beautiful Child was inspired by False Alarm by Cherry Ghost


3. How did you come up with the names for your heroines?

      I’m lucky in that as soon as I start thinking about a story, the characters are fully formed, along with their names. Originally, though, before the stories became the collection, Rona was called Emma. However, I already had Ella (too similar) and her name is in the title, so I didn’t want to change it. It took me a lot of searching in baby name books to find Rona, but as soon as I read it, I knew it was the right one.

4. Rona is a great name! What would women find irresistible about your hero? 

      Hmm, I’m not sure I’d call any of the male characters heroes. In Ella’s Story, the ‘hero’ dumps Ella, but he does the right thing in the end. In The Traveller, Murray is quiet, dark, sultry, and a bit of a tease – he’s probably the guy most likely to be irresistible. Our Beautiful Child has no hero – the narrator is the closest to it, but he’s dead!

5.    He's dead? Oh my! Is there a teacher (or teachers) you would like to personally thank for his/her influence

      None of my teachers particularly influenced me, but I see my old English teacher at the gym a lot. I always thought it would be cool to tell him what I’d achieved, but the timing was wrong, and eventually I’d waited too long and it would have been a weird conversation. The other day, a friend told me he’d mentioned my books to my teacher, who said I’d always shown a lot of promise – I’m happy with that!

6.    Share three random facts about you.

      - I’m a Doctor Who geek. My Doctor (the one I grew up with) is Peter Davison, but Matt Smith is definitely second. I can’t wait for the new series.
      - I recently broke my toe when a 30kg dumbbell fell on it at the gym.
      - I have five tattoos, and would love more, even though I really hate the pain.

7.    Ouch! That sounds painful. I hope your toe is healing fast. Have you ever experienced something unusual that influenced a story?

      One of the scenes in Our Beautiful Child is based on something that happened to me – when I was little there’s a possibility that I lived in a haunted house. My mother maintains I used to sleepwalk and move the furniture around, but I’m convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to do that at the age of three!

8.    If you could write anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

      On a beach, so I can hear the sea as I write.

9.    Your advice to new writers.

      - Learn the rules (grammar, style, POV etc) and then break them, knowingly. There’s a difference between that and someone who doesn’t know the rules in the first place.

      - Learn the business. I read a lot of writing magazines when I first started submitting, so I learned all the dos and don’ts. Mostly, it centres on being professional and really considering the direction you want your writing career to go in. There are so many blogs and forums full of people sharing their knowledge – use them!

10.  Tell us about your writing process.

      I get a vague idea, then I think about it for a long time – sometimes at the gym, sometimes with a pad of paper on my lap covered in doodles – then I’ll have another idea that kind of fits with the first, but not quite. I’ll doodle some more, walk the dog, watch far too much TV, and then… I’ll have another thought like “It’s not her husband, it’s her son” and everything suddenly becomes clear and I write madly, longhand. Then it gets typed up, rewritten, scrawled over, rewritten again (many times) until one day I declare it perfect. And then I send it to beta readers…



About the Author:

I live in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep to keep me inspired. I live with my husband, two sons, a dog and a cat.

Despite my location, I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along a deserted beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!

Author Links: 


Thank you, Annalisa, for telling us about your fascinating collection of stories!


Please leave a comment and show Annalisa some love. :)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Writing About: A Fashion Show

I love fashion! So it’s no surprise that a few of my characters watch a fashion show. It’s not a big scene, but it was fun to write. I draw fashion designs and I was able to use my more creative designs in the show. There’s nothing more fun than that. :) You don’t need to draw designs or even know much about fashion to write about a fashion show, though.

Perhaps your characters are rich and going to fashion shows is just part of their daily lives. Then you’re in luck! Here are four things to keep in mind if you want to write a fashion show scene in your book:

·         The Runway

Just because a runway is essentially a raised platform doesn’t mean it can’t be elaborate. A red curtain can part for each model. Strobe lights can dance on the sides. It can be indoors or outdoors. I’ve even seen some on water!
TIP: Match the runway and fashion to the theme of your story. 
So I may not be the best at drawing, but I still love it.
These boots are covered in silver spikes. Don't kick anyone! :P


·         The Guests

Celebrities always go to fashion shows. You may not be able to name a real celebrity, but you can cleverly hint at one, or make up a celebrity for your story. In my book, my heroine sits next to a woman with a distinct style. If someone were to read this part, they should be able to tell who I’m talking about instantly. And I hope they do, because I admire this person very much.

·         The Models

You can’t have a fashion show without models to wear the fashions. Are the models as tall as light posts? Are they curvaceous? Don’t forget to mention their hair and makeup! Let the theme of the fashion show and the genre of your story dictate how they look. In my story, the models aren’t human, so I gave them subtle makeup and simple hairstyles to make the wacky outfits standout more.

·         The Fashion

And of course we’re onto the fashion! If you design fashion this is the perfect opportunity for you to describe your designs. If you don’t, go through a lot of fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Let the clothing on these glossy pages inspire you.

For a full list of fashion magazines go HERE.

A picture of a woman holding a fan in front of her inspired this dress.


Just as I mentioned in my post Writing About: A Wedding regarding the bride’s dress, you don’t have to give great detail, but certain things like patterns, lengths, colors and even fabric types can paint a nice picture.

For Example: The black silk dress, with white columns along the sides, flowed down her body like water.


QUESTIONS: Do you like fashion? Do you draw fashion designs? Do you pay attention to what your characters wear?


Friday, August 22, 2014

Author Interview with Ashantay Peters

I am thrilled to bring to you the first author interview on Write with Fey. Please welcome my fellow The Wild Rose Press author, Ashantay Peters! 


Ashantay, tell us about your current release.

Death Rub was released earlier this month, and is a light romantic suspense novel featuring a massage therapist, her young lover, and a cast of characters in town for a class reunion.

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 49,400
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: August 6, 2014

BUY LINKS:

   
1.    What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve written several stories about “alternative” characters: yoga instructors, a massage therapist, and my current, WIP - organic gardeners.  Seemed like a niche no one else was exploring.

2.    I love your characters’ professions! How did you pick the title for your book?

My first novel, featuring a yoga instructor gone bad, was named Death Stretch. I wanted to keep Death in each title, so Death Rub seemed a good choice relating to massage.

3.    Death Rub is an intriguing title. Why did you choose the setting for Death Rub?

My books are all set in a small fictional town named Granville Falls, NC. I like small towns because there always seems to be a quirky character or two hanging around, along with a potential for good gossip.

4.    If your book had a soundtrack, give us a list of a few songs that would be on it.

Hmm. Hot Stuff by Donna Summer for my detective hero, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun for my heroine and her best friend, then a mélange of songs by Eric Clapton, Santana, Michael Jackson’s Thriller even though I didn’t include zombies, Cold Play, salsa, and a golden oldie or two. Definitely eclectic!


5.    What movies inspired your book?

Older detective movies – The Thin Man series especially – are films I enjoy the most. The quick, witty dialogue and B&W lighting are classic.

6.    How did you come up with the names for your hero and heroine?

I love puns, especially those related to a man’s private parts. So my hero Cam’s last name became Darrow, out of the original D’Arrow. Maggie’s name was inspired by a  woman I know who is a spa manager.  

7.   What would women find irresistible about your hero?

      I don’t know about all women, but I think Dirk is hot because he’s loyal, funny, and protective. He’s handsome but not too pretty. He has a strong need to do what’s right. And he’s intelligent – that’s a must!.    

8. Dirk sounds like a keeper! What are a few things we would find in or on your desk?

A bunch of sticky notes and scraps of paper holding ideas and word snippets. I’m keeping all of them until I can remember why I wrote them in the first place.

9.    Have you ever experienced something unusual that influenced a story?

My first novel (still hidden under the bed) was based on a ghost who shared my home in Florida. He was an older man who had built the house and died from cancer there. His “tell” was a strong tobacco smell – drove me crazy until I figured out it was the prior owner.

10.  That's creepy! What's your advice to new writers?

Have fun when you write! If you’re not enjoying the process, you’re trying too hard, and your stress will show in your work. Relax, let the words flow, and don’t try to control your Muse. She knows more than you do.


About the Author:

Ashantay Peters lives in the North Carolina mountains, where she loves escaping into a well-written book. Her reading addiction also has her perusing magazines, newspapers, Internet articles and even food labels. The last is often feebly excused as an attempt to maintain health, but her friends know the truth.

Ashantay has two other releases with The Wild Rose Press: Death Stretch and Death Under the Mistletoe and is working on a fourth, Dickens of a Death.

She loves to hear from readers and promises not to stalk anyone who contacts her.

Author Links:


Thank you, Ashantay, for being my first author interviewee! I had a blast getting to know you and your book, Death Rub.


Please leave a comment and show Ashantay some love. :)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Real Life Improves Writing

I always say, “If you don’t learn something new every day then that say is wasted.” Not literally wasted, of course, as every day has a purpose, but expanding your knowledge by learning one new thing about the world, yourself, or a topic is a magical thing.

The things we learn in real life can also improve our writing. If you’ve ever been punched in the face, I bet you could describe the pain and healing process pretty well. I had spine surgery when I was fifteen and I tend to mention the spine a lot because it’s something that is intimate to me. I’ve also come face-to-face with fire and can describe fires good enough that you might feel the heat of the flames on your skin.

I’m not just talking about big experiences though. I’m also talking about the little random things you may learn from day-to-day and brush away as unimportant.

Here are two instances off the top of my head when something I learned from real life improved my writing:

I was reading an article in a fashion magazine about Jennifer Lawrence when she randomly mentioned how her dad would lecture you if you confused cement for concrete. She went on to explain that cement is an ingredient in concrete. I took that new knowledge and checked my series for the word “cement” to see if I used it incorrectly. I did. I changed “cement” to “concrete” and now I know I won’t upset her dad, or anyone else.

Thank you, Jennifer!


The second example happened when I was reading “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green and came upon the scene when Lindsey teaches Colin how to shoot a shotgun. She tells him to squeeze the trigger, not to pull it. After I read that I recalled all the times I heard that in movies or on shows. For some reason it never stuck with me, but that time it did. So once again I checked my series, and all of my thriller stories, for “pulled the trigger”. Luckily, I only had to change a few sentences.

Before I close this, I want to mention one last thing:

I read two stories where the word “dumpster” was capitalized. I was confused, decided to look it up in the dictionary, and learned “Dumpster” is a trademark and the "D" should be capital. Well, call me silly, but I didn’t know that! It’s too late to fix anything that’s published, but I will fix my future works.


QUESTIONS: Have you learned something odd that improved your writing? Did you know Dumpster was a trademark?


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Writing About: A Character Going Crazy

I had the unique opportunity to let the heroine in my (unpublished) supernatural-thriller series go crazy. It wasn’t easy because she’s such a strong character, but I had a lot of fun doing it. She even stayed in a psychiatric ward, which is where she actually became crazy.

Exploring a character with a different mindset is a neat experience. If you ever have the opportunity to do this, embrace it and keep these tips in mind:

1.    Let your character gradually lose his/her sanity. People in real life don’t go in sane suddenly, with the snap of a finger. It happens overtime, so don’t rush this process. Ease your character into the depth of insanity as if you’re dipping into a cold pool.

2.    Reveal what causes your character to go insane. You can do this by showing glimpses of your character’s past, a sequence of events, or a medical diagnosis.

If you character is diagnosed with a disorder, please see this post: Writing About: A Character with a Personality or Psychological Disorder

3.    Show the moment your character has his/her psychotic break, pushing him/her into full insanity. In my book, my heroine’s evolution is slow, but the moment she breaks is monumental. Your character’s break can happen due to rejection, heartbreak, or anger (a fight).

4.    When your character is in this state of insanity, his/her thoughts are important because they reveal mental disorders. Give your character strange thoughts by letting your own thoughts get a little twisted.
TIP: Watch movies with these subject matters and read books to help you get into this frame of mind.
5.    Body language and how your character moves is also a great tool to express a character’s sanity. Once, when I was trying to get into my heroine’s shoes, I started to rock back and forth and tap my feet while repeating, “I don’t know, I don’t know.” It felt so brilliant that I wrote exactly what I did and said into my book. So, let your character fidget, chew his/her lip, or pull his/her hair.


6.    What a character says is as important as what he/she thinks. Let him/her randomly recite poems, babble, and repeat words/phrases over and over.

7.    Emotions are everything! And when you have a mental disorder, they are heightened. Show your character’s emotions whenever you can, such as anger, depression, sadness, but make them extreme to fit his/her sanity.

8.    Someone’s appearance can explain a lot about them. For this unique role, you can give your character long, uncut fingernails; oily, knotted hair; dark under eye circles with red eyes; and mismatched or dirty clothing

9.    Eyes can be very expressive. Along with under eye circles and red eyes, look for moments when you can describe your character’s eyes as wild or blank. Wild eyes are wide and are perfect for when a character is having a psychotic episode. Blank eyes appear devoid of expression, emotion and life, and works best for when a character is feeling lost or in the clutches of major depression.

10.    People with disorders have outbursts, so you can’t write a story about a character going crazy and not have them go through outbursts of hysterical laughter, screaming, or crying.

TIP: Make sure that what your character does and how he/she acts fits with your story line and genre. For horror, your character could have frightening hallucinations or become murderous. For romance, love could pull your character back to sanity.

QUESTIONS: Have you written about a character who could be defined as insane? Do you have a favorite book or movie on this subject?

Two of my all-time favorite movies are Girl, Interrupted and Gothika.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New Opportunity for Authors / 100 Happy Days Part 3

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds. 

NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR AUTHORS: I am bringing author interviews to Write with Fey! I have a list of 25 questions and you can choose up to 10 to answer. I tried to create some different questions than you would normally see for an author interview, so I hope you enjoy them. :)

I only do one guest post a week, usually on Fridays, and I can schedule interviews starting August 22nd to the end of the year.

If you’re interested in doing an author interview for my blog, please email me at ChrysFey(at)yahoo(dot)com and I’ll send you the questions. I’ll be scheduling interviews as the requests come in, so I’ll give you the first available date.

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In my last IWSG post, I mentioned how I was insecure about my blurb for 30 Seconds. It was an okay blurb but it could’ve been better, and the director of my marketing team agreed with me. She helped me write a new blurb and asked the head of the blurb committee (I didn’t even know there was such a thing!) for approval. And it was APPROVED!

NEW **OFFICIAL** BLURB:

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?


Add it to your Goodreads TBR list!


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Here are the photos from July for my 100 Happy Days Challenge:

I finished writing all of my blog posts for this year, and as you can see
 I started my posts for 2015. I even started my A to Z Challenge!
But don't worry, I've only written A and B. ;)

I am in the Matrix! Another creation by my
graphic designer friend.

My mom and I played a game of Scrabble and we used all the letters. Okay, so we cheated a little. Our game, our rules! Normally we make bigger words than these but we weren't having much luck with the letters we drew. And my mom put "sex" on the board, not me. ;)


Thank you to everyone who has signed up for my 30 Seconds Blog Tour (Sept. 10th - 30th)!!! I really appreciate your help and support! If you’d like to sign up, go HERE.


QUESTION: What are your August writing and blogging goals?


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Utilize the Dark

When you’re writing horror, or any story that requires tension or suspense, the dark is a great tool to utilize.

Anything your readers (and characters) are afraid of can be in the dark. Just knowing that can instill a sense of dread. Use those feelings in your story to heighten the tension, whether something comes out of the darkness or not.

If your character is surrounded by darkness (either walking home at night or in a room when the power suddenly goes out) bring out their fear and let their sixth sense (about something coming for him/her or lurking in the darkness) kick into high gear.

For more on how to use the sixth sense, check out this post: 
Use the Sixth Sense


Here are a few ways you can use darkness to its full potential:
  • Give the darkness a life of its own. Our eyes can play tricks on us, so let the darkness move and appear alive.
  • Heighten your character’s other senses. Doing this will let you give the dark a sound, smell, feel and even a taste if you want to get ambitious. 
  • Let something happen to your character(s) in the dark. This can be as simple as someone touching him/her, like a lover putting his arms around the heroine’s waist. Or it can be devious, like hands around his/her throat.

TIP: Even if it is innocent, build up to it with tension and suspense by letting your character’s imagination get the best of him/her.


Now turn off the light on your characters!


SHARE: Your tips for utilizing the dark in your writing.


QUESTION: Are you afraid of the dark? Or were you as a child?

I was as a child. I always thought a monster hiding under my bed would brag my foot when I got up in the middle of the night. I wouldn't even let my hand hang over the edge.


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