Picking a story to write…

December 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm (General, Lori Devoti) (, , )

I have been in a weird place the last couple of weeks. First, I haven’t been on deadline. It has been MONTHS since I wasn’t on deadline. This, I’m afraid, left me in a kind of euphoric stupor…yay! no deadlines….plenty of time to do…nothing.

But then time keeps moving–darn it. And I do have things to do. I have a class I’ll be teaching in June for Write by the Lake, a manuscript to revise (not contracted, but two editors requested revisions), and a short story for my debut at Book View Cafe (I’m giving away a short story in January…assuming I get it written.), and I bought two new writing programs to play with…Snowflake and Liquid Story Binder.

I can not tell you how much time I have spent playing learning Liquid Story Binder. BUT it has been work…it HAS. Except, there’s a problem…I have plotted two stories and decided neither of them are right for the free story I need to write. The first turned out to be a novel and not even a romance novel. The second a Nocturne Bite. And because of contract considerations I can’t publish a story appropriate for a Bite without first submitting it to Nocturne. So, back to the drawing board again. I need something different…something fun, maybe almost experimental (for me) and not so complicated I turn the thing into a novel.

This just isn’t as easy as it sounds….but I think I have it…and hopefully, next week I WILL write it.

How about you? When thinking up stories which is the bigger issue…too many ideas or not enough?

Oh and check out my covers! Three, count ’em three….

Lured, January 2010 Nocturne Bite--Werewolf paranormal romance,   The Hellhound King, Silhouette Nocturne, February 2010, Hellhound shapeshifer romance   Amazon Queen, Pocket Juno, May 2010, urban fantasy w/shapeshifters
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Interview with YA author, Maggie Stiefvater…a new twist on werewolves!

August 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm (Interviews, Lori Devoti) (, , )

Interviewed by Lori Devoti

Maggie StiefvaterMaggie Stiefvater has a new release! I discovered Maggie not long after her first book, Lament came out. I loved it, my mom loved it, you would probably love it too. 🙂

It’s YA, as is her new book, but definitely something adults who like fantasy will enjoy too.

So, when I heard she had a new book, part of a new series that features werewolves, coming out, I definitely wanted to have her stop by the blog to answer a few questions, and she nicely agreed.

Q.) First can you give us an overview of your new release Shiver?

M.S.) Yup. The spiel: It’s a bittersweet love story about Grace, a girl who has always loved the wolves behind her house, and the Sam, a boy who has to become a wolf each winter. Each summer he gets fewer and fewer months as a human, so when they fall in love, the countdown begins.

Q.) How is this book similar/different from your first book Lament?

M.S.) It’s a lot more character driven. There were a lot of scenes where I thought “this scene really ought to have a corpse or something to move it along” — but it wasn’t that kind of book. It’s a slower, more detailed book. I think you could speed read LAMENT and get the gist. I don’t think you could speed read SHIVER. Well, you could, but I think it would be pretty boring.

Q.) Where did you get the idea to have a character whose shifts are tied to the seasons?

M.S.) I was trying to think of something cyclical, like the phases of the moon, but that would give me more time to play with inside the cycle. The seasons worked perfectly, plus it gave me built in, easy to understand tension as the temperature dropped.

Q.) Is Sam part of a group who also shift like this or is he affected by a curse or something similar that only affects him?

M.S.) In my version of werewolf lore, it’s contagious — you’re bitten, you’re screwed. I mean, you become a wolf. So Sam is part of a larger pack, all in varying states of their shifting. He’s one of the few that still becomes human in the summer.

Q.) Would you call Shiver a romance or something else?

M.S.) I think of it as a love story — a romance guarantees a happy ending. Also I think of romances as a bit grander. Shiver is a very quiet, understated novel. Or at least I like to think so.

Q.) Is Shiver part of a series? What characters will we see again in future books?

M.S.) It’s a trilogy — I just finished writing LINGER, which comes out next fall, and FOREVER will finish it up the fall after that. Readers will see some of the characters from SHIVER in LINGER — not saying which ones!

Q.) What formats and where can readers find Shiver?

Shiver, Young Adult Fantasy

M.S.) It’s available as a hardcover and as an audio book (and as an audio download). The audio was very cool — I went to NYC and in this very swank and beautiful studio they had me record some extras for the audio book, like an interview, and me reading the first chapters. Also, they have two narrators — one for Sam and one for Grace. I was very pleased!

Q.) How long have you been writing? What was your first sale experience like?

M.S.) I’ve been writing ever since I was a tiny, evil child. I remember writing novels (terrible, terrible things involving the death of all unicorns at the hands of evil, evil wizard-kings) on my dad’s word processor, in the days before cheap PCs. I first started submitting for publication when I was 16, which was not the world’s best idea. And I sold my first novel to Andrew Karre, an editor at Flux, shortly out of college. I had submitted it to him the year before and he’d asked for revisions, which I’d twiddled at. I didn’t really go far enough — I didn’t really know enough to revise properly anyway — and just went ahead and wrote another novel, which I submitted to him. He said “how about that first one? feel like tearing it apart this time?” So I did, and with a year’s experience under my belt, I was able to really rip it apart. On just three revised chapters, Andrew offered a contract, and I was off. He said “this is your foot in the door.” He was so, so right.

Q.) What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

M.S.) Sort of a combination. I absolutely need to know where I’m headed before I start, or I guarantee you I will get stuck. So I write a two page synopsis before I start writing my novels — the ending is true, and the beginning is mostly true, and then in the middle I stuff in lies and damn lies. I like to pretend I know how I’m getting to the end, but really, it’s just guessing until I get there.

I do a lot of plotting along the way — meaning that I cannot write every day. I will write a scene or two, and then the next day I will brainstorm and think about where I’m going next. I won’t sit down and stare at a blank computer screen. Nothing will happen. Nothing good, anyway.

Q.) I saw the cute and creative book trailer for Shiver. Can you post a link and tell us where you came up with the idea for it? Did you create it yourself?

M.S.) I got the idea for this after seeing the initial art for the cover — the gorgeous silhouettes of the trees. I’ve always been a fan of stop-motion animation and I really wanted to try it for myself. I thought a cut-paper stop animation video would be less work than hand-drawing (I did a hand-drawn one for BALLAD that I’m putting out there next month, and trust me, it was more work doing the cut outs), so I cut out the trees and the people and the wolves and wrote the music for it. My sister and I went to the studio and recorded the track and then I assembled it. It took . . . um, a lot of time. I’m afraid to admit to how much time I spent doing this when I should’ve been writing LINGER on a deadline.

(Note from Lori: A link to Maggie’s blog where she tells how she made the trailer..)

Q.) What other things do you do to promote yourself?

M.S.) Well, I have my blog (both the Blogger version that I just started: maggiestiefvater.blogspot.com and the LiveJournal version that I’ve had for years: m-stiefvater.livejournal.com), and I do library and school visits. I sent out a ton of review copies of LAMENT, my debut, for review. And other bloggers have been great about guest posts and participating in contests that get the word out.

Q.) Why young adult? What about that age attracts you?

M.S.) I have a Peter Pan complex. I love writing teen protagonists because everything’s still new for them — the world stretches out with endless possibilities. I think that it could still be this way for adults, too, if they saw the world that way — but a lot of adults get into their rut and just keep going through the motions. I can’t see myself writing about desk jobs or normal adults . . . so teens it is. Also, I love reading YA and they say to write what you love to read.

Q.) What is the last really great book you read? Why did you love it?

M.S.) I read Stitches, a graphic novel memoir by David Small. It was absolutely wonderfully observed and funny and dark and brilliant. I loved it.

Q.) What’s next for you and where can readers find you on the Web?

M.S.) Next up: LINGER, the sequel to SHIVER. And BALLAD, coming out this October — the companion book to LAMENT.

And websites: www.maggiestiefvater.com
LJ blog: m-stiefvater.livejournal.com
bi-monthly short fiction: www.merryfates.com

Thanks for having me, Lori!


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Does Paranormal Romance Rate its own sub-sub-genres?

July 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm (General, Lori Devoti) (, , )

Two or three years ago (or so) I remember going to RWA National and hearing everywhere…Paranormal is hot! Vampires are hot! BUT don’t write them…vampires that is…because publishers are overloaded. The speech would then go on to include the bit you hear a lot, that what you are seeing on shelves now was probably sold two years earlier and while vampires were dominating the shelves editors didn’t really want to see them anymore. Or, if they were still interested, they were being so selective the chances of your vampire making it to print were about the same as him surviving a bath in holy water in full noon day sun.

So, yeah, by now vampires should be dead, right?

But just like the heroes we love, dead or not, they are still going strong. (And not just in romance. Have you shopped for urban fantasy? There is a category that is seriously dominated by vampires–half-blood, full-blood, dhamphir, they are all there.)

Which is making me wonder….is paranormal romance becoming mature enough that it can support its own sub-sub-genres? Are there enough readers who search out vampires that they at least qualify as their own sub-category of paranormal romance? And most importantly, are they here to stay?

Historicals have Regencies, Scottish, Medievals, and Westerns. Contemporaries have Romantic Suspense, and Romantic Comedy. Can we now talk about paranormals the same way? If so, what would those sub-subs be? Vampires, werewolves…???

I say paranormal lovers should rise up and claim our place among the big two–contemp and historical. We deserve our sub-subs too! Who’s with me? And what should they be?

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Amazon Ink is in the wild…

May 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm (General, Lori Devoti, New Releases)

Amazon Ink, urban fantasyYesterday was the official release day for Amazon Ink, and I wanted to blog here today about the shifters in it, but there is a tiny problem…the fact that there ARE shifters in AI doesn’t come out until a really good way into the book. So, I can’t really talk about how I used them. Sigh.

Instead, let’s talk totems. Animal totems are hugely important in Amazon Ink. I’ve used them in other books too, but not as obviously.

Animal totems are frequently used as spiritual guides. Seeing a bear in a dream, for example, may mean you need to take things slow and give them more careful consideration. Bears are courageous and strong too—perhaps that is the power you need to tap into. A leopard, however, is more active and aggressive, and snakes may be charismatic but vain. (And all of these will vary a bit depending on which culture you look at.)

In Amazon Ink, my Amazons have two totems–one for their tribe and one for them personally. They choose their personal totem and have it tattooed on their right breast around puberty. Their family totem is whatever their mother’s family totem was and there are only twelve animals used. Through these tattoos they gain the strength of their totems. So, choosing their personal totem is a huge decision.

In the book, I don’t divulge every characters totem–it is rather personal information, but for example I gave a hearth keeper a bee and a warrior a horse because to me those are the strengths those characters would have wanted to play up.

So, if you could pick your personal totem, what would it be? What animal strength or talent would you like to add to your own? Here’s a web site to help you with your choice…

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To Love a Trickster…

May 4, 2009 at 9:35 am (Lori Devoti)

Last weekend I was on a panel at OddCon titled People and Animals. It’s a pretty wide topic and the conversation varied a lot, but one thing that came up (Okay, I think I brought it up…) were tricksters.

I love tricksters. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the trickster (or don’t think you are, I’m sure all of you have seen a trickster or two), tricksters are(quoting Terri Windling) “contradictory creatures: they are liars, knaves, rascals, fools, clowns, con men, lechers, and thieves — but they are also culture heroes whose tricks can do great good as well as great harm, and whose stories serve to uphold the very traditions mocked by their antics.” They are also frequently shapeshifters.

In Norse mythology (which I base my Unbound series on) you have the god Loki. Loki is always poking a stick at someone. In Native American lore you have coyote and raven. In African the god Anansi, a spider. Rabbit is also a trickster in various cultures–obvious U.S. examples are Br’er Rabbit and Bugs Bunny. In literature Neil Gaiman had an entire book about the trickster Anansi (Anansi Boys). Terri Windling edited an anthology The Coyote Road and Tony Hillerman wrote the novel Coyote Waits. In Amazon Ink, I use rabbit in the form of an actual rabbit, but I also have a character who plays the trickster role.

The trickster is often seen as mean, but really he is teaching a lesson. Without the trickster, other characters would go unchallenged and without challenge we get comfortable with the status quo. Tricksters promote growth and from an author’s point of view, provide conflict. But they do it in an entertaining way. They don’t walk up and poke a finger in the hero’s chest saying “You need to change.” No, they, knowing the hero’s weaknesses, set him up. They provide the setting for the hero to be his own downfall. And in the end, the hero (hopefully) grows from it.

So, that’s a brief overview of trickster and where you might find him today. Where do you find him, what books, movies and TV shows do you see that still use him, and do you love him or hate him? (As I said at the beginning, you can put my check firmly in the love column.)

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Lori Devoti’s Newsletter

March 20, 2009 at 9:34 am (General, Lori Devoti, New Releases) (, , )

by Lori Devoti
Apologies if you actually get my newsletter, but in the interest of writing a book that is due May 1, with spring break looming, I’m duplicating…

News
  Contests   Appearances  
Visit my Website   On the Web

What’s Happening…

It is a crazy busy spring around here. In April I have three releases in bookstores (one out now), and am taking part in two group contests. I will have another release, my first urban fantasy Amazon Ink, out May 26. 

In other news, there will be a follow-up book to Amazon Ink, Amazon Queen. Look for it May 2010. 

Dark Crusade

Now the April 2009 releases: 

Dark Crusade, 4th in my Unbound series. Is in stores today!

Blurb:

Evil forces…a forbidden love…a deadly witch hunt.

Don’t miss Lori Devoti’s dark, mesmerizing romance..

Exiled rogue shapeshifter Kerr Vik once saw being transported to Gunngar as a
fresh start. Until the one person he most regretted leaving behind—captivating
witch Heather Moore—stumbles through the portal…and finds herself right in
the middle of a witch hunt. Heather has courageously come to Gunngar to redeem
herself. But Kerr knows that if she braves it alone…she will die. He must
somehow send her back through the portal. And it’s not long before a collision
of truth, love and duty complicates Kerr’s mission by forcing him to choose
sides: should he save this forbidden love or protect his honor?

Also available is Midnight Cravings, an anthology of Nocturne Bites with my short story Captured (also part of the Unbound world). 

The dark elf who slashed him must have graced the tip of his sword with a
drug. Because that was the last thing Gray Barsk remembered until he awakened in
a dark cell…and he was not alone. Immediately he sensed a female nearby. Then
she attacked!

After years of captivity, Leve refused to surrender. This male was the
latest in a series of hellhounds they’d forced on her. But Gray was
different…unlike the others, he somehow had control over his primitive
instincts and could not be manipulated by their captors.

Now, for a chance to turn the tables on their tormentors and escape the
nightmare of Kamp Arena, where hellhounds were bred for fighting, Leve would
have to overcome her fear and distrust, and join forces with this singular male.
But to fool their captors, they had to pretend to be avid mates…and their ruse
was stirring very real passion in both of them.

My third release for April is When Gargoyles Fly, my story in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance. As you can probably guess from the title, it is not part of my Unbound world, but it does feature a sexy, tormented shape-shifting hero. I’m really pleased with this story; so, if you have a chance, I hope you’ll check it out. 

My next full length work will be something new from me–an urban fantasy novel where Amazons are real and living in Madison, Wisconsin. Amazon Ink will be in stores May 26, but is available for preorder now

Meet Mel: Business owner. Dedicated mom. Natural-born Amazon.

It’s been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order
to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor
in Madison, Wisconsin while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess
grandmother is not everyone’s idea of normal, but Mel thinks she’s succeeded
at blending in as human.

Turns out she’s wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who’s
targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel is going to let Harmony become
tangled in this deadly web. With her mother love in overdrive, Ms. Melanippe
Saka is quite a force . . . even when she’s facing a barrage of
distractions—including a persistent detective whose interest in Mel goes
beyond professional, a sexy tattoo artist with secrets of his own, and a
seriously angry Amazon queen who views her as a prime suspect. To find answers,
Mel will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do: embrace her powers
and admit that you can take the girl out of the tribe . . . but you can’t take
the tribe out of the girl.

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Contests

I have an event and contest going on at my blog, Full Moon of Werewolves. This link will pull up all the Full Moon posts. This one will get you to the schedule.

Here are the official details… 

Starts MONDAY, March 23!!

Grand prize of $100 in werewolf books! To enter comment on individual Full Moon posts. You can comment as much as you want; one comment per post will be counted as an entry. There will also be some daily prizes. (Prizes shipped to U.S. addresses only unless otherwise indicated in post, all contests end Saturday, April 25th at midnight.)


Also the Midnight Cravings authors are hosting a contest too! We are each giving away a copy of Midnight Cravings to one lucky reader. Just stop by each author’s blog on
their day to enter. 

April 6th – Michele Hauf

April 7th – Bonnie Vanak

April 8th – Karen Whiddon

April 9th – Lori Devoti

April 10th – Anna Leonard

April 11th – Vivi Anna

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On the Web

Here are a few other places you will find me on the web. If you are a member of any of these–friend me!

Appearances

Find me every Friday at Something Wicked!


You can keep up with upcoming appearances, at my page at Booktour.com.

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February Shapeshifter round up…

February 12, 2009 at 6:00 am (Deborah Cooke, General, Lori Devoti) (, , )

by Lori Devoti

I sat down with my RT magazine and searched for February shapeshifter releases. If I missed any, make sure and add them to the comments. And if you are particularly looking forward to any this month, let us know that too. We all like a good recommendation. This is for February; I’ll post March in a couple of weeks. I got behind this month..sorry…
(WARNING NOTE on links…some of these take you to the Kindle editions. Make sure you know what you are ordering if you are inclined to buy them through these links. 🙂 )

Science Fiction

Madman’s Dance by Jana G. Oliver. This is part of her Time Rover series. It doesn’t say specifically there are shapeshifters in this book, but I sat next to Jana at a conference and know her series does contain shifters. This one got a Top Pick!

Shadow Queen by Christine McKay. Another Top Pick! DRAGONS.

Kiss of Fate

Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy

Kiss of Fate (Dragonfire, Book 3) by Shapeshifter Romance’s own Deborah Cooke. DRAGONS. “Cook keeps the pace intense and the emotions raging in this powerful new read. She’s top-notch, as always!” Jill M. Smith, Romantic Times Magazine.

Coyote’s Mate (Coyote Breeds, Book 2) by Lora Leigh Part of the Breed world series.

Night’s Pleasure by Amanda Ashley. WEREWOLVES.

Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost. WEREWOLVES.

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand (Kitty Norville, Book 5) by Carrie Vaughn. Top Pick! WEREWOLVES.

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4) by Patricia Briggs Top Pick! WEREWOLVES & COYOTE.

Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks 4 1/2 stars! WEREWOLVES.

Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong. WEREWOLVES.

Pride by Rachel Vincent. WERECATS.

Wow! There are some great ones this month. What did I miss? Which ones are you looking forward to or have you already read some of these and can give us a quick rec? Let’s hear from you!

I’ll post March releases in a few weeks….

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Amazon Ink cover is here…

February 7, 2009 at 6:00 am (General, Lori Devoti)

Amazon Ink 250
Meet Mel: Business owner. Dedicated mom. Natural-born Amazon.
It’s been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess grandmother is not everyone’s idea of normal, but Mel thinks she’s succeeded at blending in as human.

Turns out she’s wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who’s targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel is going to let Harmony become tangled in this deadly web. With her mother love in overdrive, Ms. Melanippe Saka is quite a force . . . even when she’s facing a barrage of distractions—including a persistent detective whose interest in Mel goes beyond professional, a sexy tattoo artist with secrets of his own, and a seriously angry Amazon queen who views her as a prime suspect. To find answers, Mel will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do: embrace her powers and admit that you can take the girl out of the tribe . . . but you can’t take the tribe out of the girl.

Order: From Barnes & Noble
From Powell’s
From Amazon

p.s. This is the “secret/somewhat spoiler” of a shape-shifter book. Shhhh….

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Favs and Firsts…

January 23, 2009 at 6:00 am (General, Lori Devoti) (, )

Rejar by Dara Joy
by Lori Devoti

Do you remember you first shape-shifter hero? I’m not sure he was my first, but the one that stands out in my mind is Rejar by Dara Joy. He was…I’m not sure I have the words…let’s just say he was sexy, really sexy.

Since then other favorites have been Patricia Briggs’ weres from her Mercy Thompson series. I love how protective and masculine they are without being a-holes. I also love Clay from Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten. Do you remember the song and subsequent book/movie Ode to Billy Joe? Clay reminds me of that book. Tortured, confused, good deep inside, but not sure how to be comfortable in his own skin. I love Clay.

Next week I’m going to start plotting a new Nocturne. My hero is a dragon and all ready pretty well thought out, but after that I’ll be doing a proposal for a new contract and I’m really giving thought to what I want that hero to be like.

If you could describe your perfect shape-shifter hero, what would he be like? What makes the ones that stand out for you special?

As for me, I may just have to try and find a copy of Rejar. It’s been a while…

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Juno and Pocket in a co-publishing agreement…

January 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm (Lori Devoti) ()

posted by Lori Devoti

So, on the surface this might not SEEM shapeshifter related, but it is because it involves my book and there are most assuredly shapeshifters in it. (That is a BIT of a spoiler though, so forget I mentioned it…)

Anyway, Juno Books and Pocket have entered a co-publishing agreement and the first title for the new venture is my book Amazon Ink. Cool, no?

The book is about an Amazon artisan (tattoo artist) who left the tribe ten years earlier, but gets pulled back in when someone starts delivering dead Amazon teens on her doorstep.

Anyway, that is my news for the day! Read the release on my blog….

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