Where the Happily Ever Afters Are Always In Color

Tag Archives: Vampires

My Jill

I think most people are particular about the way they do things. I’ve mentioned before that I really, really need to have a clear picture of what exactly my characters look like in my head before I can start writing their story. When I first saw Melissa Debling, I KNEW she was my Annie. (Melissa, if you’re reading this I know you’re your own person and my casting you as one of my characters was not at all creepy. I swear)

My Tokyo/Miyoko

Once I have my characters in place, I also like to come up with music that makes me think of them and their story. I have some really depressing music in mind for VSS Book4. Sam is in a pretty dark place. I had some great R&B; tunes for Benny and Cleo, though “I love You” by Lenny Williams can and should be listened to at least several times a week just to add a little bit of drama to your day.

Yesterday, while I sat prepping for another adventure in reality tv, a song came up on my pandora station that was just too perfect for my next sorority girl/vampire lady adventure.

Readers have already told me a bit about how they feel about these two. Please feel free to read the first two books in the series to get a glimpse of what they’re getting at. Jill is annoying. So annoying, but I love her so much. A clingy little freshman when we meet her, who has issues with personal boundaries and a verbal bluntness that I personally love. Tokyo too is a bit of an asshole who has a habit of getting in the way. Am I bringing them together as a couple? YOU BETCHA! And I’m really excited about it. So what song is the perfect fit for them?

 Glowing by Nikki Williams

Why? You’ll just have to read VSS Book 3 to find out. Oh and I should probably start writing it. :)

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 Coming Attractions

05.08.2013

Thanks to the twitter nets and May over at Smexy Books, I’ve decided to do more formal updates re: what I have coming up next.

I make lists. I even posted one up here on my blog last week about what I was going to write next. That list has changed BUT now that list is more solid and I’d love to share what the rest of 2013 has in store for my typing little fingers. This list will remain that same as in I will be writing these things for sure, but I of course don’t know when this stuff will be released for sure.

1. Getting Busy on Route 66

I’ll be writing a roadtrip themed novella. This will feature a young (20′s) black lesbian couple. Sex will be had. I don’t have a title for this yet, or character inspiration because I usually write the shorter stuff in one or two sittings. The story comes to me in one hunk. I don’t outline or anything. I NEED character inspirations for outlines. I have NO idea when this will be released, but I will update you folks when I know.

*EDIT (May 15)*

See this is why I hate announcing things until I actually start working on them. So I’ve added to this list

1A. A Screenplay

I’ll be working on a treatment then screenplay for a lady-buddy comedy. I’m writing this with a good friend

1B. New Adult Romance 

Meet Shay-Leigh and Austin

 

I have a working title for this, but I’m almost positive that I’ll change it. This is a little something I dreamed up about two black kids meeting during their freshman year of college. There will be some angst as there always is with these New Adult things, but for the most part it’ll be a sweet, fun journey.

2. The Chance Encounter Trilogy

I’m kind of excited about this. I’m going to write a contemporary romance trilogy. For now I’m calling it The Chance Encounter Trilogy. Each book will feature a different couple, but all three books will be connected by the heroes’ professional relationships. They all work together.

Couple #1: Bryan Connelly and Michelle Nordin

I don’t have character inspiration for these two because Bryan is a 6’5 urban lumberjack type, with tattoos and an enormous chest. Michelle is half black/Swedish and what I like to call bottom heavy, or think in the hips. Finding people who look like that on the internet is hard.

Couple #2: David Nah and Amanda Baldwin

David and Amanda were headed toward being the stars of a really dark novella, but I like them so much as a couple I wanted to give them a brighter story. Their relationship starts on Tumblr over some fanart of their favorite show. What can I say, you write what you know. David and Bryan work in the same industry so I figured hmmmmmm maybe we can do something with these four. And that gave birth to…

#3 Theo Walker and Samita Tambe

Right now, I like their conflict the best. Parents, professional strife, SEX!

All three stories will have the sexy times. I don’t know how to omit them. All three stories will be fun and relatively light. All three heroes will be sweethearts and all three leading ladies will be all around kick ass. I’ve never come up with three books so smoothly before. Did I mention that I’m excited to write these books?!?!? As of right now, I plan to self-publish this trilogy, but I have no idea how I’ll feel when I’m done writing them, so we’ll see.

3. Soul To Keep: Vampire Sorority Sister Series Book 3

Jill and Miyoko (Tokyo)

I’m pumped to write Jill and Miyoko’s story. Jill is trying to figure out what kind of adult she wants to be and Miyoko is trying to deal with the kind of vampire she has become. I needed to get Benny and Cleo out of my system. Now I’m ready for some real angst and some demon related murder wrapped up in an x-rated vampire on human love story. 

And there you have it. I’ve done the math and all of this comes in at around 360,000 words. Can I do it? Yes. Yes, I can. Or else, why did I vote for Obama. I’ll check back in as things move along. Feel free to bug me about my progress. I need to know that people care.

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I’d like to say thank you to the amazing Jolie Du Pre for opening the invitation to join this amazing hop.

It’s fitting that this hop would fall on Valentine’s Day. So far my vampires are hopelessly in love. They kick ass when they need to, but the love their humans so much that some times they don’t have time to crack heads and this is where I’ve run into a problem. Well maybe not a problem. Something to consider that would make my books even better.

I read my reviews. I most certainly believe that reviews are for other readers, so I don’t and would never respond to them, but recently a reader left a review that got me thinking. Maybe my vampires are too nice. The other night, while up in bed this is how I pictured them with their humans.

Camila and Ginger

Cleo and Benny
I need less of this ^^^ and more of this. –>
 
Camila and Cleo are bad ass. Both would throw down in a heartbeat, but I think I love them so much and I love them SOOO much with Ginger and Benny that I forget sometimes that they are vampires. This is the tricky part about writing paranormal romance. I’m turned off by violence, but it’s different when it’s being committed by the undead. I’ve never been courted by a violent vampire before. I mean I have violence in both Better Off Red and Blacker Than Blue. One college student didn’t live through it all and there was mention or rape and suicide and other violent acts. People get choked. Benny and Cleo have a rather unpleasant and scarring run in with a very powerful demon, but there wasn’t enough carnage. WELL THIS STOPS NOW!
My vampires are blood thirsty and better yet, they do live in a world, our world, that is speckled with very evil humans. In my next book, Soul to Keep, I’m turning things around. The body count will rise, IN DETAIL. People will be killed. There might be a possession and an exorcism, even though I hate exorcisms. Feelings will be hurt and not to spare my own. There will be a vampire fight scene. Maybe even a throw down between a vampire and a human (not maybe. definitely. i already outlined it).
I have mixed feelings about Tokyo, my next vampire. She’s a total dick. But she is also bad ass and this time I am determined to let her crack some skulls. Well, more skulls that Camila and Cleo have thus far cracked. 
 
ps. i looked for a picture of a demonic looking vampire and was hit was 1000 results of Edward Cullen and the guys from Vampire Diaries. What a world! :)
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It seems I’ve been tapped for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. YAY!
The purpose of the hop is to find out what an author is working on and next and maybe get linked to authors you aren’t familiar with to hear about their next project. Yvonne Heidt and Jeffrey Ricker.  I feel special :) So here’s what I’m working on next. 

What is the working title of your book? 
Soul To Keep: Vampire Sorority Sisters: Book 3
 
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Vampire Sorority Sisters: Book 1 and 2 :)
 
What genre does your book fall under? 
Erotica Paranormal Romance
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Jill in my head is Fefe Dobson and Miyoko/”Tokyo” is model/actress Sayaka Isoyama
 
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
What would you do if finding the love of your life meant sacrificing your soul?
What is the longer synopsis of your book??
Oh, I haven’t written it yet. I hate synopsisessss. Essentially, after seventy years as a vampire, Tokyo meets the one human who only wants her for her body, with out the aide of a blood bond. In order to win over college junior, Jill,  Tokyo must face her past and the crippling PTSD she suffered as a human during World World II. She must show Jill her true personality and expose herself to an evil that could kill them both.
 
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency??
Hopefully my publisher, Bold Strokes Books, will be into it.
 
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Uh, eight weeks? Let’s go with eight weeks.
?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Jill popped up up in book two as such a vivid character. She’s sweet, but so annoying and I love her. I knew her and Tokyo could be an amazing couple if they could get over some crucial issues. Throw in some vampire sex and well, you know.
 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest??
Murder? I’m going to kill some people in this book. :) There will also be some fun sex.
That’s all I got.
 
Next Wednesday check out Zoe Archer‘s blog and read up on her next big thing!
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 Day 922

12.27.2012
BOOK BIRTHDAY SURPRISE! 

 

Blacker Than Blue is now available in paperback and ebook from Bold Strokes Books. Go ahead, spend your holiday money. Load that ereader. :)

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 Day 911

12.16.2012

Women and Words Holiday Hootenany is going strong. Today a copy of The Fling is up for grabs with a bunch of other BSB books. Go now! Win things!

Also – On Friday Better off Red and Blacker Than Blue were put up for grabs over on Smuketeers.com. I didn’t post about it because I was pretty much in fetal position all day. I’m pretty sure they are still available to head over there for a chance to win my vamp books as well.

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 Day 758

07.21.2012

First let me say, I’m having trouble picking a Tokyo/Miyoko for my Vampire Sorority Series. Check out this post here if you want to give me your two pennies worth of opinion. I need feedback people.

Updates!!!! Here’s where I’ve been. Here’s what I’ve been doing.

- The Advocate Magazine asked lil old me to contribute to this month’s I Advocate section. Seeing myself in a magazine period is amazing. Being featured in The Advocate is just mind blowing. Pick up a copy on newsstands now. :) 

- I was also featured over at Romance Cooks, sharing a recipe that always makes me think of my vampire queen Camila from Better Off Red. Check it out. Make some cookies.

- I’m taking FOREVER to edit Suzy & Pilar. I’m not under a deadline with it so I’m taking my sweet ass time. Eeeep.

- Next week (July 25, and 26) I’ll be loitering at the annual RWA conference in Anaheim. If you’re there and you see me, say hi. I’m wicked nice. Really.

- I also realized that I missed the two year mark for this blog. Ooops. I’ll do a big TWO YEAR post soon. Feel free to listen to my new favorite song while you wait.

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 Race and Fiction

03.22.2012

Day 632: Today, I’m talking about race. Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but that’s just what I do around here.

Here is my disclaimer: I am about to address the INCLUSION of People of Color. NOT, I REPEAT, NOT the exclusion of white people. INCLUSION!

So you might be wondering why I’m talking about race. This isn’t about Trayvon Martin, though I’ll get back to him. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while now, but yesterday I was pushed to it. I was in a chat on twitter and there was talk about writing characters of color/non-white characters. I did not start this discussion. And the general response was “I, as an author, do not write characters of color because I am afraid of presenting a racial stereotypes that people will find offensive.” This is not the first time I have heard this response.

Okay. Valid argument. No one wants to offend people, most of the time. And yes there are portrayal of people of color out there, but I am terrified to think that Tyler Perry speaks for me and it makes me sick to my stomach to think that Kathryn Stockett speaks for my grandmothers. So what are we left with if not the stereotypes? Omission. Here’s the problem with complete omission, when you leave characters of color out (the same can be said of gay and lesbian characters, characters of varying gender identities, etc.), they no longer exist in your world. When they don’t exist in your world, they don’t exist in the reader’s world. This is dangerous, especially for people who are only exposed to diversity through books, film and television. Just as dangerous as the stereotypes and in cases, more harmful.

Now when the reader sees themselves on the page, there is an instant connection to that character. Other people see me. Other people acknowledge that I exist, that I have thoughts and feelings and value. I loved She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb because he wrote about an overweight girl in an honest, real way. BTW Wally Lamb has never been an overweight girl. He took the time to write how difficult it is to be overweight and how one may find themselves overweight in the first place. He nailed it.

The current standard is the brunette, doe eyed, young white female between the ages of 15 and 26 who seems to be the focus of EVERY book, movie and television show. I have nothing against this, but I am against every other girl being left out. I am against the only portrayal of African American youth in the last five years being the drug dealing kids of The Wire, the kind of portrayal that leads to deaths like Trayvon’s. I’m against Amber Riley having to play the teenage version of the fat, sassy black woman.

I was raised in a very warm, two parent home in Southern New Hampshire. Both of my parents are well educated, community minded people. My father, in particular raised me, not to be color blind, but to be kind and respectful of all people. As a kid I watched as he spoke with strangers and neighbors, and you know what, my father treated everyone the same. Teenagers, children, the elderly, his peers, even people who annoyed the hell out of him (I know his “I’m pissed off” face though others don’t) with the same respect. A lot, and I mean A LOT, of people love my father. The things I’ve heard said about him would bring most people to movie of the week tears. As a father to four black children in a white town he NEVER made race an issue. He taught us to behave as any parent should. He taught us the importance of studying hard and in a timely fashion, even though this message didn’t really sink in for me until I hit college. He took us to James Taylor concerts.

Here’s the thing, my father could have made race an issue. He grew up during the 50′s and 60′s. He lived through segregation. His parents and his grandmother who had a hand in raising him, lived through worse. But not once did I ever see any sort of angry black man chip on my father’s shoulder. He’s the same way to this day and I think, even better because age has just made him wiser and even more understanding of the world around him and yes, people continue to love him.

This was my spring board. When I hit elementary school, I went out into the world with this mentality: treat people the same. And I did. I bounced between different social groups right up to college and in that time, I dealt with racism from another kid exactly once. He dropped the N bomb and I let him know about himself, but that’s another story. I had a friend ask me some silly things about my hair, but it was innocent ignorance and I love her dearly.

I did, however, face racism from adults. I’ve had adults and, yes they were white, pull my hair as they asked me what it felt like. And yes this is racist. Treating little black girl the way you would treat dog is racist. I have had a girl tell me her mother didn’t think she should use our toilet because she would get AIDS. I’ll let you marinate on that for a moment. There were countless other instances that don’t need to be rehashed, but it was the adults in my life who exhibited the most ignorant, racist behavior. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen that racism is taught. It trickles down. I have seen it with my own eyes. How do we change this? We work from the bottom up. Now I’m not stupid enough to think that racism will ever disappear completely. It’s a global issue. People thrive of superiority and separation. But things can be made better and we start with the images we show our children.

When I was a kid I was most often compared to Missy Elliot. She was big and black. I was big and black. Beyond that, I have no clue if I have anything in common with Missy Elliot. I don’t know her, but at the time she was the only woman of color my friends could identify with and that’s a shame, but the entertainment community wasn’t thinking about me. They didn’t think I needed to see my image reflected in the media. I’m sure Missy Elliot wasn’t thinking about me either. These days the defaults are Oprah and Beyonce, again two woman that I’m not sure I share all that much in common with. I would kill to be compared to Octavia Butler. Oh man. But let me get back to my main point.

I gave up expecting to see myself anywhere after The Cosby Show went off the air and that sucks. It sucks that I’m a little shocked to see an Asian/White couple in a VW commercial. It sucks that I know that commercial is not being played in parts of the country.

The main praise I have received for Better Off Red is that I have included a diverse cast of characters. As it stands, I have women who are Japanese, African-American, Puerto Rican, Bajan, Native American, Russian, British, and Scots-Mexican. I touch on their history, but I’m writing about vampires. I need to focus on them being vampires and what issues that presents. Moving forward, that I see, all of my romances will feature interracial couples. I had another author ask, with some shock (and a little disgust maybe, she seemed to be against this idea, like I was trying too hard) why I would do this. I think she was wondering why I wouldn’t just write black couple or white couples. Why? Because people ask me all the time to recommend romances with people of color or for romances with mixed couples. All the time. Because I don’t live in an all white world. I live in Koreatown. If anything I should be writing about Korean couples. I’m not in an all black relationship. Because my best friends here in LA are Latina and Korean. When we walk into a room, INSTANT DIVERSITY! Why? Because I am afrai
d to leave it up to other authors to do it for me.When people take to screen and page the default is white. Tell me I’m wrong and I will laugh in your face.

see, bestie and i being diverse.

When you say, and by you I mean the fifty or so writers I have heard say this since I’ve entered the game, when you say you are afraid to write stereotypes, you are saying that stereotypes would be your approach. I have stopped reading authors who latch on to the stereotypes. Native Americans being the most recent and horrifying portrayal. Here’s the thing about stereotypes in fiction, no matter how true you feel they are in real life, they actually don’t translate well to the page or the screen at all. If your main characters is a dumb blonde with no personality, your reader will not be interested. That’s a stereotype right? But why the hell would you write it? Exactly. Here’s a tip: don’t write them. If you want to write about an Asian character, give them an interesting journey. If you base the journey around a math competition, well… If you are writing about D

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 Day 570

01.20.2012
Coming January 15, 2013 from Bold Strokes Books!
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