HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY!

bones coversWant to win a copy of my brand new novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE? It releases this very Valentine weekend. How exciting! Read the rules below:

RULES:

Leave a comment on this post telling about your most memorable Valentine’s Day or just the one that sticks out the most. Tell me what you like or do not like about this holiday. Write whatever comes to mind pertaining to Valentine’s Day. Lets keep this PG (we don’t need those kinds of details lol). The winner will be chosen and announced on the morning of Monday, February 17th, so please also give me an email address to contact you should you be the lucky winner. It’s that easy!

You can read an excerpt and blurb for the book, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, here.

OTHER RHIANNON MILLS NEWS:

Not much info as of yet, but be looking for updates on an anthology called HER DARK VOICE. Filled with stories from many different female horror authors (including CYNDI AND THE DEMON ASMODEUS, which I wrote), this one’s going to be a must read!

Bones Of Willow Lake to be released on Valentine’s Day!

bones covers
Back cover, front cover. Both originally artwork by Mark Hogg. Link to his fanpage can be found at the bottom of this post.

Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since forever (no really…FOREVER! LOL) is finally upon us. My most recent novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, has a release date! And, of course, the novel will be released on the very same day my awesome novella, THE DEMON KING, was released. FEBRUARY 14th! That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you didn’t know. Also, it’s my son’s 7th birthday, so Valentine’s Day is special to me for many reasons. Not just book releases, although I do believe I should probably just go ahead and reserve that day every year to release a new book because it looks like it’s just my day.

I promise I won’t just sit here and prattle on and on about how absolutely enamored with myself and my release date I am, though. I promise! Instead, how about I give you a blurb and an excerpt? Will that appease the masses? I sure hope so. We’ll start with the little blurb intended to be printed on the back cover.

BLURB:

Celia Burne bought a house in LaGrange, Georgia, thinking she’s found a place for herself and her dog, Barnibus, to find rest and solitude–a break from the heartbreak of her mother’s death and the resulting incarceration of her younger sister. What she finds in the beginning of her new life, however, isn’t what she bargained for.  Celia discovers two of the house’s former residents still live there decades after their deaths.  

 Although artist Paul Gray only wants Celia’s friendship, and perhaps a little bit more, Celia begins to feel that finding Gray’s body would allow him to pass over into the light.  In order to find the body, however, Celia has to solve a 1947 triple murder mystery, and the angry spirit of Ruth Wilkins doesn’t want this to happen.  With help from an elderly neighbor and her cartoonist grandson, Celia wrestles with the mystery until she’s thrown into a tailspin and is forced to decide whether she is willing to let Gray go or if she would rather keep him for herself.  All the while, the story begs the question of who is helping whom? 

EXCERPT:

The fire is warm and I like to sit in front of it, but the sound of boxes shuffling around is still distracting me.  “Gray!” I shout again. “What on earth are you doing up there?” Frustrated, I push the covers back off my legs and get up to wander to the attic.  I stomp up the stairs, as though my noise is going to aggravate him enough to stop making his noise, and stop at the small opening to the attic at the top of the stairs.

To the left, there is a small broom closet where I keep my ladder.  I pull it out and open it up.  As I climb the few steps to the top, I push the attic opening back and poke my head inside.  It’s dark, but I can see a blue glow from the window.  “Gray?” I whisper as I push myself into the attic.

He doesn’t answer, but I knew that he wouldn’t—he can’t.  “What are you doing up here?”

I walk to the window.  Gray is sitting in the windowsill as still as a picture.  In his hands, he holds a lady’s hatpin.  It is a blue flower, but plain and ordinary.

“Ruth’s.” I say.  It isn’t a question.  There is no one else it could have belonged to.

Gray nods and shrugs before peering back out the window. He is lonely, I think to myself, feeling a bit discarded.  Doesn’t my company mean anything to him—the way his does for me?

I want to shake him.  Ruth is dead.  Henry is dead. They’re obviously not here, but he is.  What’s the connection?

I sigh and rest my hand on his shoulder for whatever comfort I can offer him.  I don’t know what happened to my sweet Gray, but whatever it was, it scarred him for his entire afterlife.

I am going mad, I tell myself.

Gray turns from the window and looks up at me.  There is hopefulness in his eyes and he rests his head against my chest. He raises a finger and sits up.  He begins to trace a word in the dust that’s settled on the glass. I give this one hundred percent of my attention.  His fingertip begins to curve around on the glass until he’s formed a perfect C.  He traces the letters very slowly, as though it’s been a very long time for him—and I’m sure that it probably has been.  Eventually, he’s written my name in the dust.  When he’s finished, he looks up at me and goes back to tracing.

Next, he traces the word alone and looks to me for approval.  I nod.  “I am lonely.” I say.

He folds me into his arms and pulls me close.  He is cool, but not cold.  I allow him to do this because I feel no fear whatsoever in what the dead can do—it’s the living that scare me the most.  Gray rests his cloth-stitched face against my cheek and I feel the weight of each horrible, likely painful stitch and wonder why the bits of dark blue material would be stitched over his entire face like that, but it’s not likely that he’ll tell me anytime soon and I’m too polite to ask. I smile at the awkward ridiculousness of the situation—I have no one alive on this earth save for Velma, but it seems I’ve made a really great best friend in this dead man.

I look up and realize that Gray’s hair is showing today. Typically, he keeps it back somehow and I can’t tell if he even has any.  Gray, it seems, is/was a ginger. I reach up and roll my index finger around in an unbelievably soft lock of reddish-blond hair.  It’s short, but neat, and combed out of his blue-gray eyes.  His face tightens rom under the cloth and I realize that he’s probably smiling at me.

“I like your hair.”  I tell him with a playful grin.

Slowly, he reaches around to teasingly pull at my long, dark ponytail.  Then, he holds his finger over where his mouth should be to tell me to be quiet. Or to shut up.  I’m not sure which one he means, but it makes me laugh and I am enjoying his company.

I wonder if, wherever they are, Ruth and Henry Wilkins can see what Gray and I are doing tonight in the attic—playfully enjoying the night. Then, another thought creeps into my head and I have to ask Gray another question. I’m positive that my questions are an annoyance, but I want to know anyhow.  “Did you know Velma Beatty?”

He nods, but doesn’t look at me.  Instead, he’s staring out the window again. I don’t push the questions further.  Something I’ve said has made him sad.  I wonder if maybe he might have been a lover of Velma’s so many years ago.  I shake the idea from my head—she had a husband and he died in the seventies.  Sometimes, he was all she ever talked about.

Gray releases me and I take that as my cue to leave him to himself.  I back away, but as I reach the little crawl hole over my ladder, I see that the ladder is gone. It isn’t down there at all, so the possibility that my larger than life dog has knocked it over is out of the question and there isn’t anyone else in the house—or at least I thought there wasn’t up until now.

“Gray?” I breathe.  He turns to face me and shifts his weight in the windowsill.  “Gray, my ladder is gone.  I can’t get down.”

It takes only a few seconds before he materializes at my side.  He looks down the hole and then at me.  He is just as puzzled as I am.  He groans as he lifts me in his arms.  He’s cradling me like a baby and, with his index finger and middle finger, closes my eyelids.  He holds his fingers there for a moment and when he removes them, I open my lids and see that we are standing at the top of the stairs and he is no longer holding me. It’s as though time was temporarily erased.

I have no idea what to say, but manage a quick thanks and a nod.  Gray disappears in a low flash of blue light and I look up to see the opening to the attic shut behind him.  He’s up there again, all by himself, and I have no idea where my ladder is.

I go to the broom closet and open the door.  Cold water flows out of the closet as though it’s been submerged.  Some of it falls down the stairs like an indoor waterfall.  My feet are freezing cold now and I see my ladder folded carefully inside the closet. I’m shaking as I step forward and inspect it.  The top rung has a spot of dried blood on it and a discarded sewing needle with twine laced through it.

Of all the houses in LaGrange, I had to pick the one with dead folks, I think to myself. I pull my flannel pajama pants down and pick them up as I  wander to the upstairs bathroom and push them into the hamper. I go to my bedroom and pick a clean pair of sweats from a drawer and put them on before going downstairs to the kitchen and reluctantly pull the mop out of the corner and grab my bucket.  I take the mop and bucket back upstairs to clean up all the water, but when I reach the stairs, the water is gone.

I swallow hard and walk up the stairs to the closet to see that the ladder is back underneath the opening to the attic.  There is no spot of blood or needle on the top rung.  There is no water damage to my closet.

It’s as though the entire thing was a figment of my over worked imagination.

EXTRA STUFF: 

As promised, here is the link to Mark Hogg’s fan page on Facebook, Mr.  Markzilla Artist! Go give him a like and check out all of his artwork!

STAY TUNED FOR: Okay, so we’re going to have a contest called the HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY. Yes, we’re giving away a free copy of BONES OF WILLOW LAKE! Stay tuned to this blog because this is where the contest will be posted FIRST.

 

 

 

How to prepare for Nanowrimo and other crap…

nanoHow many of you are planning on participating in Nanowrimo 2013? I made a post on Facebook today asking what others were doing to prepare for the month of November and all the National Novel Writing Month entails, but mostly the responses I got leaned toward planning and plotting. Makes sense, right? What else can you do?

Well, I have a list of things that may help you. At the very least, it may make you laugh or give you some food for thought.

1.) Hook yourself up with a good writing playlist. A lot of writers need some music to help them along while others would rather write in complete silence, but if you enjoy a tune, Youtube is a great place to start. But, if Youtube is too much of a distraction–what with their shiny, sparkling videos and all–then you can try a site called Grooveshark.com. No videos, just music and the ability to make playlists and save them.

2.)  I refuse to get into a long debate over the concepts of plotting versus pantsing, but if you’re a plotter, perhaps now would be a good time to jot down some notes or get a few key phrases or reference photos for characterization rounded up and put together in a folder on your computer.

3.) Consider using Google Drive to make your documents or creating a profile and downloading Dropbox to keep everything organized. I use Google Documents through Google Drive because I’m constantly bouncing back and forth between my laptop and my desktop computer. However, Dropbox is equally as accessible and very helpful. I’ve heard great things about both.

4.) On about October 30th or so, go to the grocery store and buy what you need, be it toilet paper and coffee or snacks to nosh on through your adventure into Nanowrimo. You should also make sure you have a few legal pads, pens, pencils, a sharpener, highlighters, or whatever else you may need.

5.) If you’re making your participation in Nanowrimo official, head over to the website (Nanowrimo.org) and make a profile. It’s free. However, you can take part without creating a profile and making it “official” because the greatness behind this particular month is that it gives you an incentive or a special drive to FINISH THAT DANG NOVEL already! LOL.

6.) If you already know you’re going to need some reference materials for your project, locate those things now. Bookmark sites on your computer you might need, locate books you might need as desk references, and get everything together in one spot (or in a folder on your computer). Great places to bookmark would be baby name websites for naming characters and maps of places you’re thinking of including in your story. Another great resource for reference books or other books you might need is Thriftbooks.com. I buy a lot  of used books there because they’re cheap and in great shape and there are no shipping fees in the US (and I just happen to live in the US).

7.) Don’t do any of these things. Just wing it. Some of the best books were written that way.

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

Bones Of Willow Lake has a cover artist! The very talented Mark Hogg will be creating a wonderful cover for my pending release and I’ll report more when there is more information available. Other than that, I’ve been listening to you people. One of the most searched keyterms for this blog is “Demon King Rhiannon Mills sequel.” Somebody really wants more Draken, huh? Well, I hear you and I’ve got something coming.

The Bones Of Willow Lake playlist…because every book should have one.

I’ve been working on a new novel, so I haven’t really had a lot of blogging time. Tonight, however, I have decided to take a moment and share with you the playlist I listened to while writing The Bones of Willow Lake. All my books have an unofficial playlist lol. Here it goes!

1) You Are the Ocean — Phantogram

2) In the Air Tonight — Phil Collins

3) Linger — The Cranberries

4) Dancing In the Dark — Matt Kearney

5) We Are Trees — Sunrise Sunset

6) Crestfallen — Smashing Pumpkins

7) The Day We Never Met — The Crash Test Dummies

8) It’ll Never Leave You Alone — The Crash Test Dummies

9) Gravedigger — Dave Matthews Band or just Dave Matthews (not sure which lol)

10) Never Let Me Go — Florence and the Machine

11) Hans Zimmer — Time

12) LOTS of Michael Nyman songs

13) Haunted — Type O Negative

14) Paradise — Coldplay

15) I Go To Sleep — Sia

16) Paper Route — You Kill Me

And there you have it! I will try to update a little bit more. I’ve been really busy lately, so please excuse me. There is no new news about The Bones of Willow Lake, other than it is forthcoming! So hang in there with me 😀

 

 

My Advice For New Writers

Ever wonder what his advise to writers would be like? I'd be afraid to ask him...lol.
Ever wonder what his advise to writers would be like? I’d be afraid to ask him…lol.

A fellow blogger published a post earlier called 10 Things Aspiring Novelists Should know.  Well done.  The link is there for you if you’d like to read it–and you very well should–but, I thought about this over and over and there are a few things I wanted to add to that list.  I had a running commentary in my head the entire time I read the post. I’m not going to give you her post and then my response to it, but rather write an entirely new list.  After all, if I just gave you hers and then added my two cents, you would’t learn nearly as much from either of us lol.

So, without tweedle-dumming around, here is my list.

1–Write whatever the heck you want to write. Just write. And then write some more.  And, after that, write in the bedroom.  Then, move to the kitchen and write in there.  Write all over the place or keep one specific place to write.  But, just write, okay.

2– Read stuff. Lots of stuff.  Read magazines, comic books, romance, horror, science fiction, non-fiction, and pamphlets in the doctor’s office.  The more you read, the better off you’ll be.  After all, a writer who chooses not to read is like a scientist who chooses not to learn the periodic table of elements. It just doesn’t work. Chances are, if you’re not fond of reading, you want to be a writer for money and fame and nothing else.

And as you can see by my overwhelming lack of celebrity status and the missing yacht from my driveway, writers do not always become rich, famous celebrities.

3–Some folks say to write what you know, but I say write what you see.  Depending on the genre you’re writing, you may not know anything about what you’re writing because it may not have been invented or discovered yet.  Like time machines and the planet Uberdork. Some writers will see things they actually do know, which is wonderful.  But, never think you have to fit into a mold and do things by the book just to be published.

4–Create your characters first.  This is a lesson that was particularly difficult for me to learn, but my friend George hammered this habit into my head fairly hard and I think it finally stuck.  And, you know what? He was right.  Create normal people or create immortal creatures, monsters, goblins, or whatever your heart desires.  Give them depth.  Write out a character sketch for these characters and write out some background for them before you start writing your story (if you want to…but, if you’re new to writing, I would suggest at least giving it a try).  As long as you can create real, lifelike characters and really give them their own voices, your story will pretty well tell itself, sort of.  Not completely. You still have actual work to do.

5–Set up a writing schedule and try your best to stick to it.  Stop making excuses.  Sit down and write, even when you’re not in the mood.  You can always go back and change things that ultimately suck later if you have to.  Don’t beat yourself to death if you can’t stick to your schedule to a tee, but make a conscious effort.  You will be much more successful in finishing your projects this way.

6–Read some more, but this time read something in a genre you’re not used to or fond of.  Choose a book you wouldn’t normally choose.  I’ve gone through genre phases throughout my life.  As a kid, I started out reading comic books. By the time I reached eleven years old, I’d moved on to good ol’ Billy Bob Shakespeare.  After Romeo and Juliet, I phased into reading historical romances, then historical anything else, and by the time I was a freshman in high school, I began reading more horror and science fiction as well as romance novels ranging from historical to contemporary to paranormal. Nowadays, I lean toward paranormal novels of any sub genre.  I love horror–zombies, gremlins, imps, witches, and of course, vampires.  I also have a real sweet spot for books of any genre that include time travel. The more you read, the more open your mind becomes the more you’re exposed to new possibilities. Don’t cut yourself short by only reading one thing.

7–Do not limit yourself, your stories, or your characters in any way, shape, form, or fashion.  Characters shouldn’t have to fit any cookie cutter mold and neither should their plots.

8–Take some time to smell the roses.  Go on a fishing trip. Book a hotel in town for the night just to order room service and watch television uninterrupted by your normal life.  Take a walk through the park. Go to your local community center and take a knitting class.  Join a gym. Live your life.  Life experiences make you a better, more perceptive writer.

9–Take advise from more experienced authors, but don’t take it all straight to heart.  Just because bestselling author XYZ drinks 3 oz. of lizard spit every morning because he swears it helps his creative juices start to flow doesn’t mean you should do it, too.  Like most things in life, rules you were taught as children often apply to the writing business–as far as etiquette and common sense goes–as well.  Just because Bob jumps off a bridge, do you think you should jump with him? No. No, you should not. But, you could bungee if you want to.

10–Do not measure your success by comparing yourself to other authors.  Authors who write for the love of the craft are just as valuable–more, in my opinion–than writers who write with the full intent to become millionaires.  You’ll meet your fair share of each of those kinds of authors when you get started. You’ll quickly learn to figure out which ones are which. If you write romance, do it because you love it, not because romance books sell. If you write horror, write the heck out of that stuff! Don’t worry about what Stephen King is doing (but, buy his books because he is awesome).

Alternately, do not measure the worth of another author by the amount of money they make, the status of their publisher, or what their sales are currently looking like.  There are a lot of diamonds sparkling in the coal pile, just waiting to be picked. Well, read. Whatever.

me

A quick note to my followers and anyone else who happened upon my blog:

From time to time, I do post things intended to help other authors along.  We all have our moments of doubt and sometimes we need a push.  Sometimes, when we read things focused on the craft of writing, it ignites a fuse inside our weirdo brains that causes us to write marvelous things.  That’s why I do it. Not because I feel like I have to. Just because I want others to go forth and write. I do like to read, so I suppose it’s rather selfish of me to push others along if you think about it that way… Nonetheless, if you feel like something I’ve said is wrong, please explain which thing and why in comments.  A good conversation or argument with intelligence instead of nastiness is always welcome. 😀

Write on, folks.
Rhiannon Mills.

SALE!

The Demon King (kindle edition) is on sale temporarily from tomorrow until June 30th.

For UK readers, the price will be lowered to £1.49.

For US readers, the price will be lowered to $2.99.

If you do not own a Kindle, you can get the Kindle for PC app from Amazon for FREE so you can enjoy The Demon King as well as any other Kindle books you’d like to purchase (and also there are a lot of freebies available from time to time!).

Also, if you’d like to read my guest blog post at Fringe Works, please head on over with this link! 

Demon Cover

My Silly Dreams As An Author

Every writer has them–little fantasies that dance in our heads, mostly things we rarely talk about.  Except to our besties and sometimes with other authors.  For fun’s sake, I decided to write out some of mine.

1).  Probably the most common dream for writers is to have one of their stories made into a movie.  Some of us are lucky enough to have this dream turn into a reality, but that number is very few.  Some of the best book-to-movie/TV adaptations I’ve seen recently are The Hunger Games, True Blood, Game of Thrones, all of the Lord of the Rings movies, and let’s not forget the slew of superhero movies (Comic books…they’re books, too).

If one of my books could make  it to the big screen, I’d probably keel over from shock because the chances are that slim.  However, if I could choose which one, I’d choose THE BONES OF WILLOW LAKE (to be released sometime this year).  I have no idea who I’d really want to play Celia Burne and Paul Gray, but it would be awesome to have Cloris Leachman play Velma Beatty.  Velma is the character who lives next door to Celia and knew Gray in the forties. She was one of the best characters I’ve ever written in my short twenty-nine years as a writer (I was born writing with my own umbilical cord. Just ask my mom.). Whoever played Paul Gray would need to carry certain characteristics through his expressions and, mostly, with his eyes.  Paul Gray is described as having sleepy blue-gray eyes, regardless of the time of day.  Mark Ryder (Canal +’s Borgia) would be a close choice, although his hair is too dark.  The intensity in the eyes is there, though.  Also, I just have a thing for Mark Ryder.

Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman

2).  To be on the New York Times Bestsellers list.  I may never see my name there, but it’s interesting enough to dream, right?

3.) To have my book in hardcover.  Face facts, Jack.  Most small publishers do not offer books in hardcover.  Some do, but most do not, which leaves the majority of writers today pining away at their own thoughts, dreaming of the day when they can run their fingers across the spine of a hardcover copy of one of their own creations.  I have no clue why this is so important to so many of us, but it apparently isn’t just me who has this dream.  I consider myself in good company.

4).  To see your books at Wal-Mart, the drug store, K-Mart, basically anything else that ends with “Mart”, Barnes & Nobles, and any other free shelf space in stores. Independent authors fight and scratch to get their books on shelves.  It’s another thing many of us will never see.  Some will, most will not.  The digital age has everyone buying books online, which I have absolutely nothing against (Go now and buy THE DEMON KING from Amazon), but sometimes it’s nice to just shop in real stores and handle the books before you buy them.  I, for one, love going into a store and picking the book up, feeling and smelling the pages, and checking out how it feels to hold it. Honestly, sometimes I’ll refuse to read a book because I don’t like the way it feels in my hand and I’ll choose another format instead (I prefer trade paperback unless it’s a book I wish to collect and then I buy hardback lol).

5). To reach Stephen King status.  That man is awesome.  He has over fifty books in print, several of his books have been made into films and television series, and I see more Stephen King quotes on Facebook than any other author, alive or dead.  Why is he so important and special?  Because he writes greatness.  Some of his books I far prefer over others, but that man writes whatever he wants. He sticks it to the man. He wears tee shirts and jeans and he doesn’t care what anyone else things (at least for the most part).  He scares the shit out of people, which is powerful stuff!

6).  Whether or not I ever reach “Stephen King status” doesn’t matter nearly as much as this last thing on my list.  I want people to read and enjoy my books.  I want to hear from readers and for them to have positive experiences with my books.  I want to hear people say that my book made them feel something. Anything. I want to pull reactions out of the readers and make them want more.  I want to tell the stories in my head and leave them on this Earth long after I’ve gone.  Decades from now, I want my grandchildren to be able to read my books and say, “Wow, my grandma was WEIRD! But, I kinda like her…”

 

Anything else to add? Feel free to add your own dreams in comments!
Also, go buy my book, THE DEMON KING. (LOL!)

From the Torment of Dreams

From the Torment of Dreams by Iain McKinnon
From the Torment of Dreams by Iain McKinnon

I began hearing things about this book long ago.  Immediately, I thought now THAT’S a story I wanna read!  Why, you ask?  Oh, because it’s about a guy dreaming about a lost love.

Sort of. There’s a little bit more to it than that.  Lan, the main character, joins an army just to get away from memories of a girl.  Seriously.  Sound familiar?  Men (and women) do this kind of thing all the time.  It’s a very human reaction to a separation, either by your own doing or by fate.  I like to call it cutting off your nose to spite your face, but I guess you could also call it escaping, if you are so inclined. Just so you can escape (see what I did there?) my prattle, I’ll give you the description of the story from Smashwords:

Lan Agstaff joins the Terran Army to escape the memories of his ex-lover, but en route to his posting on the planet of Neotra his suspended animation chamber malfunctions leaving him to dream without end. Revived in the midst of a war of secession Lan has to fight for his life all the while tormented by dreams of his lost love. 

Also, there’s this…

Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.

And, yes, the content rating is probably needed.

Iain McKinnon’s writing style is one I can easily follow while reading.  I like that when I’m reading one of his books, I can easily see the picture he’s painting for the readers without a struggle.  The action involved in the story is wonderfully played out and the characters are very human, very likable, very believable.  Lan, our runs-away-from-women main character, gives us all a look into the human mind.  His character, while dreaming of his lost love, made me want to smack him and hug him in an oh you poor little thing! sort of way all at the same time.

The Terran army in and of itself is an element of the story I thoroughly enjoyed, also.  After all, as far as I know, this army doesn’t exist.  It came straight from the author’s imagination.  The war and the background for the story are very well thought out.  It’s fun to get lost in a book, isn’t it?  I love when an author (in this case, Iain McKinnon) creates a totally different world for the readers to lose themselves in.

In a nutshell, I’d say this book has my seal of approval for a wonderful read.  It tugged at my heartstrings, made me crazy with emotions, and made me want to scream at Lan at times–all signs of a great story.

From the Torment of Dreams, trailer.

Buy this book from Smashwords. 

Iain McKinnon’s author profile on Amazon.com.

A chat with Eric S. Brown

Eric S. Brown, author.
Eric S. Brown, author.

Eric S. Brown is one of the busiest authors I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with.  This guy is always, always, always working on something.  From Bigfoot to comics, he’s got his hands in more than one cookie jar.  I’ve read Eric’s work and I can honestly say I’m always entertained. I was lucky enough to snatch a few precious moments of this guy’s time and I asked him some questions.

Me:  What are you working on at present?

ESB:  I am working on the script for the fourth issue of Unstoppable Origins.  It’s one of two comic books I am now the writer on.

Me:  A lot of writers have to have things arranged a certain way before they can write.  For example: I know a certain writer who can’t write a single sentence without her Joe Camel beer huggy (not to name any names, here).  Are there any little quirks in your writing process?

ESB:  If I am writing something strange like Jack Bunny Bam Bam and the Weeper Apocalypse, I really like to listen to Weird Al.  Al’s music is amazing, fun, and very inspirational.

My personal favorite Eric S. Brown character. . .
My personal favorite Eric S. Brown character. . .

Me:  What was the most memorable moment you have ever had through your writing career?

ESB:  I will never forget the day I got my first two acceptance letters.  They both came in the mail on the same day and I was calling all my family and friends to say that not one but two magazines like my first short story enough to publish it.  But also when David Drake blurbed my new Military SF book co-authored by Tony Faville was a huge one too.  I grew up reading Drake and learned to write from studying his style.  I had corresponded with Mr. Drake for sometime but when he agreed to read Homeworld I was walking around on eggshells for a while.  I mean the KING of Military SF was reading my first effort in that genre.  When he wrote back and said he enjoyed it and gave me a cover blurb, well, I think I am still grinning from that.   You know you’ve made to a degree when your childhood hero blurbs your book.

Me:  Are you a plotter or a pantser? (**For definitions of these strange writer terms, see the bottom of this post**)

ESB:  I am so a pantser.  I seem to have a never ending stream of writing projects that come at plus I am a Mr. Mom with two kids.  I tend to do everything on the fly.  I also believe in letting my characters write the story as it goes rather than mapping everything out in advance.

Me:  For readers who have never read your work, which book or piece would you recommend reading first?

For those who didn't know, Bigfoot War is a series! And how 'bout those covers, eh? Nice!
For those who didn’t know, Bigfoot War is a series! And how ’bout those covers, eh? Nice!

ESB:  Depends on what you enjoy.  If you like horror, I would say Bigfoot War.  It was the original Sasquatch apocalypse book out there.  It’s intense survival horror and has over 100 five star reviews on Amazon.  If you enjoy Military SF like I do and love books like the Hammer’s Slammers series or the Honor Harrington series or even just war stuff in general, I would say Homeworld.  Both are available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats.  And lastly, if you’re just looking to see me at my best as a writer, I would try Jack Bunny Bam Bam and the Weeper Apocalypse.  That book is so crazy there are no words.

Thank you, Eric, for dropping by!  If any of you are interested in his work, I’ll go ahead and throw out Eric’s Amazon Author profile link (below) and also give my two cents.  If I were you, I’d go ahead and buy Jack Bunny Bam Bam and the Weeper Apocalypse.  It’s a great story, but also very nuts. NUTS, I tell ya! Entertainment, definitely.  

Also, don’t forget to give him a good, honest review if you do decide to check him out–which, you totally should–and share the links on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, and any other sites you frequent.  Remember, an author cannot continue to bring you awesome books if we don’t show them a little bit of support! 

Eric S. Brown’s Amazon Author Page

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**Definitions for non-writers who probably had no clue what a pantser or a plotter were–

Pantser- A person who flies by the seat of their pants. These writers just sit down and start writing with very little clue as to where their story is going, but for them, it works. 

Plotter- A plotter thinks everything out first.  They plot out every little detail from start to finish with sometimes very detailed notes and outlines.  

If ya ask me, pantsing is a lot more fun, but hey–whatever works for you!  Also, here is a neat blog post about the subject of pantsing vs. plotting. ** 

Naming characters…and I got a new book, too! WOO HOO!

I’m horrible at naming characters.  Every writer has their own method, but I figured I’d share mine since it appears I’m not the only writer having trouble with this.

When I wrote Immortal Ties, I had a perfect vision in mind for each character and had them all named except one.  The character would be a vampire that my main character, Dagan, had known for centuries and he was going to be tall, a biker, and German.  I went ahead with creating a background for him, figured out what his likes and dislikes were, created a good, thorough character sketch and THEN began researching German names.  I wanted popular names and unpopular ones, too.  I eventually settled with Simon Nikolas as his name, even though it’s not a name I’d choose for my child.  I chose a name that I knew would carry the character and serve a purpose, which it did.

But, I also chose this name because it started with an S.  No other characters in that book had a name beginning with an S.  At least not a main character and I already knew that Simon would be the hero in the next Immortal book.  I don’t like having too many characters with names beginning with the same letter unless there is a set of twins named Tim and Tom or something like that–and even then, I shy away from it as much as possible.

I also try to choose names that are relevant to the character’s background.  For example:  If your character lives in medieval Romania, I find it highly unlikely his name would be Randy. Gyorgy, maybe. Or Fitzkobal. Or Pal. Not Randy.  However, medieval Romanian people did have a lot of names that are just earlier versions of names we have today, so you can always choose a name like George and convert it to Gyorgy for your story.  It just takes a little bit of research.  And if your character is a vampire, he may have started out as Gyorgy and lived several centuries to become George.  Finding names for historical characters can take a little bit of research (and this is where Google and Bing come in handy), but finding a relevant name is rewarding in the end.  Never settle for guesses.  Your readers are smarter than that and they deserve more.

Sometimes names for characters just sort of come out of nowhere.  When I began writing Willow Lake, the name for my main character was just the first name I thought of.  Celia Burne!  I love the name Celia, though, and always wanted to use it, so I did.  After I chose her name, everything about her seemed to just fall into place.  Of course, most of her personality was already there, but little bits and pieces I hadn’t figured out began to weave themselves into the Celia Burne fabric lol.  It’s perfectly fine to pick names this way, so never feel horrible or unprofessional because the names of your characters do not have some sort of special meaning.

A good way to find names you might like is to use Google or Bing to find baby names.  When you find a name you like, read the meaning and sometimes that meaning can help you figure the rest of the character out if you haven’t already.  If you have written a character sketch already (or developed one in your head), but you hadn’t chosen a name, sometimes the name meanings can help you write out scenes or visualize this character further.

There is one thing I want to give warning about, though.  When you’re writing a book and you choose your names, be careful about the connotation that comes with certain names.

Example:  Ellen.  Just about everybody knows someone named Ellen and there is also Ellen Degeneres.  We all know who she is also.  When you hear the name Ellen, you might think of your aunt Ellen who always wins the prize for best pie at the family reunion or you might think of Ellen Degeneres, which would take a reader’s mind away from the Ellen you want to write in your story because when you write a sentence that says, “Ellen walked down steps” your readers are imagining Ellen Degeneres dancing up and down the aisles at the studio where her shows are filmed. Be mindful of things like these–most popular names already have a connotation with readers.

This is where I’d say making sure your characters are very well fleshed out helps a great deal.  This can ensure that your readers aren’t picturing Ellen Degeneres dancing every single time they read about your main character, Ellen.  (As a side note, I’m now picturing Ellen Degeneres dancing in my head because I love her! HA! )

Go through lists of names before you decide and read through those lists until you find a name that stands out to you.  Read about that name.  Google to see if anyone famous has that name if you want to (just because it’s fun).  But, you should never think that it’s harder than it is.  Don’t get me wrong, it can be a serious pain in the butt, but when you find names you like and they work with the story, it’s great and it helps your story along.

In other news today…

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I got a new book in the mail.  I won a contest recently.  Rhiannon Frater had written a new novella in the Pretty When She Dies universe, and she couldn’t choose a name for it.  The contest was that the name with the most likes (I think…) won.  Mine won. The title is Pretty When They Collide and the cover is great and I’m going to start reading it tonight just as soon as I finish helping my son with his homework.

A good book to read is what the doctor ordered, folks. Seriously, lately I’ve been running on fumes! And with that, I leave you 😀 Night, folks! ~Rhiannon Mills