Saturday, April 29, 2017
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Victoria Craven was born to tell stories. Throughout her childhood she was a daydreamer. Growing up she told the most outrageous tales to her friends that got her in trouble now and then. She escaped the mundane to live in her fantasies: She was a mermaid, a princess, a spy, and an explorer trekking across the tundra in Antarctica. Even as an adult she saved just a little part of herself to drift into her dream world.
Then one day she said to herself “I’m going to write a book,” and that’s what she did. She had no idea what it took to be a writer, thinking all you had to do was add some words and ideas to a page and ‘poof,’ a book, and every word was golden. What a rude awakening when her writer friends took her into the light and showed her just how much she had to learn. That process is still going on today!
Victoria has published the first two books in a historical paranormal series with the third one coming out in 2017.
Currently, she resides in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area with her wonderful husband who spoils her rotten. And from time to time is her critique buddy. She is the mother of three beautiful daughters, and grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren.
When she isn’t writing, she doting on her grandchildren, or curled up on the couch with her husband, or having a sleepover with her best friends.
And she still saves just a little bit of her life for those daydreams.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Some readers think paranormal authors are hunched down by candlelight under the eaves in a dark garret while lightning flashes and thunder ominously growls, Poe's raven peering over their shoulder at the furiously scribbled prose, quothing, "A little more! Go for a vein!"
Writers write wherever they can find the time, space and energy, be that garret or grocery line. Inspiration isn't picky where it strikes, and like lightning, is swift and unpredictable. We plant those seeking rods at our comfy desks in hopes of drawing that sizzle during the allotted hours (or minutes!), but more often than not, it lights up the imagination in the most inconvenient places. In the car on the way to work. In the middle of a manicure. Watching baseball practice. Waiting for your fast food order. That flash, if not quickly seized, just as quickly fades and is gone. And even as I repeat a phenomenal line of dialog over and over as I pull in the parking lot to hold onto it, by the time I find my keys, unlock two sets of doors, find the lights and a notepad on my desk, what I have is a ghost of what I envisioned at the stoplight.
Authors need to steal their mantra from the Scouts: Be Prepared! Learn to use the recording app on your cell phone and have it assessable in the car on drives long and short (Use them at the stoplight, not while changing lanes, please!) to capture those pithy quotes. Carry a small notebook in your bag to jot gems of plot while in the wild. Consider a light weight tablet to capitalize on any available barista table or bleacher knee. The bottom of my purse is littered with Post-It notes (my drug of choice) to memorialize that clever twist of tormented backstory needed in Chapter Twelve.
There's no such thing as a non-writing trip (or moment). Who knows when those electrifying mental images will strike. I never leave on an overnight without my trusty HP and power cord . . . just in case my characters decide they have to have sex in my hotel room. And I have a lighted keyboard just in case they prefer to do it in the dark.
A missed opportunity is rarely recaptured with its original vim and vigor. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Keep an eye on the sky and have that lightning rod at ready. Here are some places my computer and I have found ourselves working in a few paragraphs:
On a cruise ship balcony in the dark watching the sun come up by the light of my monitor and keyboard while my fellow travelers were still sleeping . . .
Finishing a chapter during a power outage trying to type fast enough to outlast fading battery...
Stretched out on the floor on the Miami airport . . .
On the train . . .
E-mailing chapters of work done over the lunch hour to my home computer . . .
Over breakfast at the Cubs Bar in O'Hare during a four hour flight layover (see above) . . .
Watching the dessert come to life at sun rise in Tucson (I seem to always be getting up earlier than the sun!) . . .
Sneaking out of a workshop to tuck away in a game room with one heck of a view . . .
Monday, April 24, 2017
Sunday, April 23, 2017
They say that mystics transcend human knowledge into the mysteries surrounding life and death. Their intuitions are keenly honed to a fine edge, upon the unseen stone of the spiritual and ghostly energies surrounding us all.
I am a mystic. This is my tale of love found in the lonely shadows of desperation.
Once beautiful of face and figure, stopping hearts and conversations with my appearance at the Mad King's side, I have since marked many score of years. Now, my sallow flesh hangs in rippling folds around my face and sags like limp flags under my arms. My legs have thickened and dimpled as if filled with blood pudding and my lustrous hair, turned ashy gray and dry as autumn leaves.
This destruction of my mortal beauty has taken many long years, but taken me it has!
My place at the side of the Mad King, ended with his own mortality asserting itself one gloomy winter's night as we lay abed, among his furs and silks. I stayed on at Court, fulfilling my role as Reader of Omens and Celestial Signs, Mystic to the King's Court.
I was not particularly bereft of the Mad King's company; Kings can be rather dull when they remove their crown and robes of power. Besides, the transition of kingship was as smooth as the flow of a quiet river this time; not the turbulent rush to power of a flooding brown Nile of the last!
The fact that time had begun to trample across my visage, a shorter journey than could be imagined, and was pulling on my beautiful body like a crazed sculptor, took none, but myself, by surprise.
It only dawned upon my knowing that I was no longer the ardent beauty at Court, when the Young King passed over me as his boon companion and lover early in his reign.
I had preened like a peacock, my body soaked in perfumed oils as if I was being mummified. My straw-like tresses were treated to henna and captured the glint of sunlight when I was presented to the Young King.
He recognized my station as Mystic and Seer to the King, but nodding curtly in my direction, moved forward leaving me to wallow in the wake of his passing.
Rather than fall into the trap of other women, believing themselves immune to the ravages of time, I returned to my rooms and plotted, as any wise Mystic would.
My powers were untouched, in fact, quite enhanced over my many years. I began to study more than the stars; now I studied the dark arts.
I would harpoon the handsome Young King's affections, and haul him to me like a Behemoth of the great seas.
He would become enamored of me, seeing me as beautiful and sexually desirable; an easy feat for me, or so I believed.
I set my ritual in play and brought the darkest forces to bear.
After a long period, I returned to Court to present myself to the virile Young King, I found all facing his ivory throne, arranged like a human Stonehenge at the foot of the dais.
Approaching, I knew in my heart my incantations and dark powers had prevailed. The Young King would see me as the beauty I was once, as I had given him the eyes of the Mad King, his father.
But like all in life's planning and cunning ploys, one must keep in mind the many factors impressing themselves upon our choices. For instance; time is using all of us like balls in a game of croquet, there are no exceptions.
As I came closer to the rigid crowd of Courtiers, I heard soft mumblings and sharp intake of breath. I believed that perhaps my magic had affected all who saw me now. I was once more the reigning beauty among them. A path was made open for me and I nodded from side to side, as I passed through what I saw as my admiring fellows. They too were clearly beguiled.
When I turned my eyes at last to where my conquest was seated, I saw the Young king was as shriveled as last winter's apples. His skin was yellow and scored with deep furrows. His body sagged and smelled of old urine. He was not only old, he was now ancient!
His eyes, like his dead father's, were rheumy and red rimmed, yet he saw me clearly.
"Ah!" he said with a leer twisting his blueish lips. "Ah, here at last is my love!"
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
Thursday, April 20, 2017
1. Romance is the Key
I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about the heroine and hero must fall in love and have their relationship develop over the course of the book in a way that makes it a primary story line.
This is a personal preference. I'm not a huge fan of wimpy heroines who can't make a decision, and need the hero to save them or protect them. I do like the "development" plots where the heroine discovers her strength over the course of the book. As long as she's kick ass by the end.
The hero has to be as kick ass as the heroine, otherwise it's not a balanced romance. This doesn't mean he's an alpha-hole jerk or super bossy--though that can happen as long as the heroine is the catalyst for change in him. It doesn't mean he's the head honcho even, or supernatural himself. But it does mean he can hold his own with her, has specific values, is trustworthy, is protective, and so forth. And, most of all, he loves the heroine (or falls in love with her). There are entire posts all over the internet devoted to the Alpha Male.
I find this to be the fun part to read and write. It's limited only by my imagination. Super powers, shifters, fairies, ghosts, etc. But it's not a paranormal romance if there isn't some kind of supernatural element to the story.
Paranormal romance is set on earth in current day most typically. Other more exotic settings tend to fall into other subgenres. So the current world is already built. Paranormal romance has to build the supernatural world into it. Is it a secret? Are there societies? What dictates their norms? Is it more about the individual? And so on and so forth?
The conflict in these stories can come from a few places. You can have a villain - which, because of the paranormal elements - tends to be some kind of super villain. You can have the supernatural elements be the conflict. Remember that the romance is the key - is her ability to see ghosts freaking him out and that's the conflict? Is the world building the conflict? Is this a dangerous world for our heroine/hero to live in?
This is a romance. It has to have the happily ever after. I know there are series of books in this genre where the hero/heroine don't have their happily ever after till the last book. While this works for some, it's not my favorite. I like to have the couple end up together and happy at the end of a single book. Even in a series.