Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guest Blog Author: MOONDANCER DRAKE





When I was asked to talk about myself, I thought “what am I going to say that I haven’t said before?” There’s always the basics, where I grew up, where I live now, favorite color and foods. Those seemed less then interesting to talk about at my very first author chat. Then, as future would have it, I was talking to a friend about what first got me writing for more than just my own enjoyment when it hit me. Why not talk about that?

You see, growing up as a Cherokee woman, whether in the rural areas of West Virginia, or later on in the cities of the Midwest, one comfort remained constant for me. Books. They were my company when I spend summers at the library, while my mother worked. When I had trouble making friends, because we moved around a lot and I was always so different than the kids around me, stories were where I found moments of solace. Now as much as I loved reading, the relationship between myself and books was never a perfect romance. It was hard to find stories where strong, independent women were the heros, much less Native American women.

Yes later, on one of my many years as a Wiscon attendee, I was sitting in on a panel where authors like Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl were taking about their own frustrations growing up, about the fiction they loved and the fact neither they or the other panelists ever saw anyone like them in that fiction. I think it was Nisi I spoke to after the panel when I said “some days I think I should just write the stories instead of waiting for someone else to!” She smiled at me and said, “Well, maybe you should.”

So nearly three years later, and numerous hours writing and loving my new obsession, my first novel, Ancestral Magic, is finally a reality. The story started like many of my stories do, from a dream. And from that frozen moment of inspiration the Story of Sky and Meg unfolded into something I could’ve never imagined. I’ve learned character will do that to you. You have an idea for a story, even might write out what you foolishly think is w perfect outline to go by. In the end you let the characters take you where they will. It’s always for the best that way.

>>>

In a world where magic has become no more than childish fantasy or cinematic illusion, secret towns exists beyond the sight and understanding of mundane humanity.

Green Grove is such a town.

Sky Hawthorn is a single mother struggling to support herself and her blind son, on nothing more than a waitress’ salary and hardheaded determination.

Meg has spent years watching Sky stumble through one doomed relationship after another with the wrong men, never daring to reveal the secret love she has for Sky

When a lawyer arrives to tell Sky that an aunt she’s never known has left her a manor house in a place she’s never heard of, her family’s life is turned upside down and Sky is left with a big choice to make.

At that moment, with that single decision, the three of their lives change forever.

Hidden away in northern Wisconsin, inaccessible to anyone without magic in their blood, Green Grove’s secrets prove to be big ones. There’s a dark underbelly to the friendly town called the Sect, and they want Sky’s home and the magical place called Sacru Teren, a place her family is bound by ancestry to protect.

With the arrival of Roger Thompson, a charming local doctor that seems determined to sweep Sky off her feet, Meg is left with little but jealousy and doubt. Will the handsome doctor steal away their chance to be happy together, or will visions of Sky’s past and the dark secret that past holds change everything?

Ancestral Magic by Moondancer Drake

Coming April 2009 from PD Publishing. Available online through Starcrossed productions or from you favorite neighborhood bookstore.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cover change for the new Brenda Strange book, XIMORA


Since the new Brenda Strange suspense starts with a new publisher, Black Car Publishing, I wanted a whole new "look" for the series book covers.

This cover screams feral....demonic....and deadly. Will Brenda Strange finally face an evil more ancient and horrifying than she can handle?

Watch out for the new Brenda Strange supernatural suspense, XIMORA.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guest Blog Author: RICK R. REED












Getting BASHED: Where Book Ideas Come From

By Rick R. Reed


It doesn't matter what you write, whether it's crime, suspense fiction, literary fiction, or some other genre where you make stuff up, the most frequently asked question writers get from readers is: "Where do you get your ideas?"

Usually, I give them some smart ass answer, like "Off eBay. Some guy there sells plot ideas, six for a hundred bucks, minimum bid." Or, "The dollar store. It's all I can afford." But the truth is there's usually a different inspiration for every story or book I write, so the question is one that's truly difficult to answer, without sitting down and taking it on a case by case basis. Ideas come from all over. It seems the more of them I get, the more of them I have. Inspiration comes from dreams, snatches of conversation overheard on public transportation, a news item on the 'Net or in the paper, and asking myself the one question writers ask themselves more than any other: "What if..."


And sometimes, ideas come from real life. Such is the case with my just-released novel, Bashed, from MLR Press. For a lot of gay men and women, hate crimes are a fact of life. Many gay people have either themselves experienced the terror, violation, and persecution of being attacked simply for who they are (and whether the attack took the form of words, fists, or something more lethal) or, at the very least, they know someone who has. I've been lucky. I have no permanent physical scars. But I did come very close to experiencing a hate crime up close and personal (and I suppose one could argue that what I did experience was actually a hate crime) and that formed the basis for the inspiration of my novel, Bashed. The title, of course, refers to being fag-bashed.

My close call came one October night several years ago back when I still lived in Chicago. I was once into what's affectionately called the "leather scene" and owned chaps, biker jacket, boots, and other accouterments that passed the dress code in either a gay leather establishment or a biker bar. That particular night, I had been hanging out at the Eagle, one of Chicago's foremost leather establishments. I had stayed late, arriving after midnight and leaving near closing, at close to four o'clock in the morning. I had made a new friend and we were making our way to my car, which was parked on a side street that ran parallel to St. Boniface Cemetery. It was a very dark and quiet side street, made all the more so by the late night hour. My companion and I weren't thinking about things like fag bashers or hate crimes. But we suddenly were when we noticed an idling old car parked just opposite from my own. The car was a souped up muscle vehicle of some sort and inside it, we could see several dark figures, all turning their heads, alert, as we approached. Both of us tensed and quickened our pace. Even in the middle of a metropolis like Chicago, it was easy to feel vulnerable and alone. And we felt even more vulnerable when the still of the quiet night was broken by the sound of car doors opening. Suddenly, my friend and I stopped, feeling exposed in our leather gear, as four young men emerged from the car. To the man, they all sported shaved heads and were dressed in uniforms of baggy jeans and hoodies.


And one of them was carrying an aluminum baseball bat.


They didn't call us "fags" or "queers". They didn't say anything. Their silence was perhaps more frightening than if they had hurled epithets our way. To reach my car, we would have to walk right by them...and it didn't appear as though they were planning to let us pass.


It was like being confronted by a Grizzly in the woods, or a lion in the jungle. What do you do? Run the other way, knowing that four strong men are on your heels? Try to get to your car and hope that the baseball bat was for a late night game of sandlot?


We froze. The four, as a unit, moved closer. One of the guys, the one with the bat, grinned, swinging the bat slightly.


This was a moment of irrational fear. My heart pounded. A trickle of sweat ran down by back.

In books, they call what happened next predictable or deus ex machina, but at just that moment, one of Chicago' finest rolled down the quiet street, very slowly, toward us. The men got in their cars quickly. And so did we.


Thankfully, I do not know what the outcome of that night would have been had not the police come along on such a fortunate patrol.


But the incident did stick with me for many years, until I got around to dramatizing the incident as the opening to Bashed. But in my fictional world, no police car came to the rescue and the pair of guys emerging from the leather bar end up bashed very badly...with an aluminum baseball bat. Its chilling to think that one of your characters could have been you, a you that might not have survived to tell a tale again.


BUY your copy of Bashed.

Rick R. Reed is the author of ten novels and has short fiction in more than twenty anthologies. He lives in Seattle, WA. Find out more about the author at his website.


BIO

Rick R. Reed has been hailed as "the Stephen King of gay horror" (Unzipped magazine, October 2006) and his dark, suspenseful fiction has been called, "a harrowing ride through cutting-edge psychological horror" (Douglas Clegg, author of The Attraction) and having a "knack for presenting the gruesome lower depths of a soul" (New City).

His most recent novels include Dead End Street, a young adult horror novel; Orientation, an EPPIE award-winning novel about lost love, reincarnation, and sexual orientation; a sexy thriller called High Risk about a bored housewife who chooses a very handsome--and very psychotic--stranger to come on to; Deadly Vision, a paranormal page-turner about a psychic reluctantly caught up in the murders of two teenage girls in her small western Pennsylvania town; In the Blood, a tragic vampire love story, and IM, a thriller about a serial killer preying on gay men using online gay hookup sites.

Past writing credits include A Face Without a Heart, a modern-day, Chicago-set version of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray; Penance; and Obsessed. Both Penance and Obsessed were published in Dell's lauded horror line, Abyss and, together sold more than 80,000 copies. Both books were reissued in 2006. His horror short story collection, Twisted: Tales of Obsession and Terror, was published in 2006. His short fiction has appeared in more than twenty anthologies. He lives in Seattle, WA with his partner.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Calendar of Guest Author Blogs....APRIL 2009

FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2009
For April, we kick off our Guest Author Blogs with none other than Rick R. Reed. He's been called "The Stephen King of gay horror." Rick will open up about himself and his new novel, BASHED. Mark your calendar and be here on Friday, April 10th. He's dark and handsome and totally into horror and suspense.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009
It's a real treat to welcome Moondancer Drake on Friday, April 24th, for an interactive day of comments or questions with Moondancer. Her first book, ANCESTRAL MAGIC, has just been released by PD Publishing and she will share a bit about herself and her paranormal book and be available live, in between her busy schedule, to interact with readers and comments for the whole day. Don't forget to jot down the date to come and meet Moondancer Drake.