Izzy’s Insights – Interview with Character Dage Kayrs…Take 2

on January 26, 2012

 

Sergej Khakimullin
Shutterstock

My name is Izzy and I interview book characters.  Many people say I’m a character, myself.  *Snort*.  That’s nice of them.  I’m hoping Rebecca lets me interview a bunch of her characters–I can’t wait to be in the same room with all of the Kayrs brothers.  MEOW.

So, I tried interviewing the king once before, and his brothers showed up to cause havoc.  Talen is particularly tiresome when it comes to interviews…who knows why.  But Dage agreed to meet me again and this time we met at a very quaint coffee shop that’s off the grid.  The coffee is spectacular and there’s free WiFi, so even if our meeting got cut short, I was happy.  For those of you who haven’t met Dage yet, he’s about six and a half feet tall, packed hard, with black hair and incredible silver eyes.  Frankly, it shows he trusts us that he’s not hiding the odd color.  Here’s the transcript of the interview, with a couple of my thoughts thrown in:

ME:  So.  Thank you for trying this again.  I’m sorry about last time.

DAGE:  That certainly wasn’t your fault.  Sometimes my brothers are a handful.

If that wasn’t the understatement of the millennium, I don’t know what was.  But I nodded and gave him my most professional smile.  He smiled back…not fooled a bit.

ME:  So, I wanted to talk to you about Max’s mission – I believe he left the other day.

DAGE:  Interesting.  Why do you believe that?

Okay.  Vampires can be kind of scary and this one scarier than most.  Even though his tone stayed calm and no expression crossed his face, an odd tension made the air around us kind of heavy.  The king probably didn’t like his information getting out.

ME:  My sources are pretty good.  And this interview won’t run until Max has finished his mission (but about a month before TEMPTED, Max’s story, comes out—don’t tell the king), so there’s no reason not to talk about it.

DAGE:  Hmmm.  Okay.  We’ll discuss Max and then we’ll discuss your sources in my organization.  Basically, there’s a woman named Sarah Pringle who has created a blog and website about the Kurjans.  They’re after her, and we need to get to her before they do. 

(The Kurjans are the bad guys–pasty faced bad vampires afraid of the sun.  Unlike the good vampires).

ME:  You’re going to let her keep the website up?

DAGE:  No.  Jase already took it down and posted information about her writing a good book.  The website has been taken care of.  Now we just need to get her records from the insane asylum because I’m sure she told them all about the Kurjans.  We can’t have that information out there.

A bit of concern had me sitting back in my chair.  What exactly were the vampires going to do to poor possibly-crazy Sarah Pringle?

ME:  I find it odd you sent Max.  I mean, he’s Janie’s bodyguard now.  What did he used to be?

DAGE:  Max has always been part of the family…serving as my bodyguard as well as one of my best hunters.  The guy is a Russian bloodhound when it comes to hunting.

ME:  Ah…okay.

To be honest, I’ve met Max.  The guy isn’t just a hunter. 

ME:  But why Max?  Many of your people are scouts, including Conn.  Why send Max?

DAGE:  Let’s just say I think Max is the right guy for the job.

A really cute twinkle entered the king’s eye at this point and for a second, I could just stare.  Then I shook it off and got back to business, reminding myself that I was a professional and the guy had a mate.  I mean, really.

ME:  Are you matchmaking, king?

DAGE:  I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

At this point, a barista sauntered up to give the king a free muffin.  I mean, seriously.  It’s a coffee shop.  You order at the counter and take your own food to your table.  Okay, I’m not just irritated that she didn’t bring me a muffin.  I’m irritated on Emma’s behalf.  Dage politely thanked the woman, keeping his attention on me.  She returned to the counter, her butt swaying the whole time.

ME:  I bet that happens a lot to you.

DAGE:  What happens to me?

Man, guys are clueless.  Even immortal deadly ones.

ME:  Forget it.  So, I have to know, does Max get a happy ending?

The peace was too good to last.  I should’ve started with the main question.  Guess who showed up?  NOPE!  It wasn’t Talen.  Jase, the youngest brother, hustled inside, his brown hair ruffled and eyes flashing.

DAGE:  What’s happened?

JASE:  Something’s going on with the witches…Conn is leaving now.  We have to go.

Darn it.  My source in the Realm hadn’t reported anything about the witches.  I mean, we all knew Conn was heading to Ireland to collect his witch soon (and I fully expect she’s not going to allow any sort of collection), but I hadn’t known it would be this quickly.

DAGE:  Izzy, I appreciate your time, but I need to get going.

The darn barista, who had somehow lost a couple buttons on her shirt, hustled over, her gaze on Jase.  So, yeah.  The guy is seriously hot.  But I mean, come on.

ME:  I’d like to talk about Conn and his mission to Ireland.

Dage flashed a smile as he stood to join Jase. 

DAGE:  I’ll arrange for an interview with Conn when he gets back.  You’ll enjoy meeting him.  And we’ll discuss your sources in the Realm next time.

Okay, it was kind of a threat.  Then, well…the coffee chick made a move.  Not a kill ya type of move.  But an almost genuine trip to basically land in Jase’s arms.  They got all tangled up, and he ended up just picking her up.  The woman beamed.  Then she pouted really pretty when he put her down with a smile and whispered something in her ear.  The Kayrs men left.  I took a look at the flushed waitress.

ME:  What did he say?

NEARLY TOPLESS WAITRESS:  He said he’d be back next week

Excellent.  So will I.  🙂

Ten Things I’ve Learned after My First Book was Released

on July 28, 2011

1) Romance readers have some serious depth.  I spent several emails with one fan about the philosophy of good vs. evil and whether the Kurjans even had a chance to be good.  Loved it!

2)    Any jackass can leave a review on goodreads or amazon.  My favorite was the gal who sent people to buy her book instead.  Classy.

3)    Readers like the heartwarming stuff…even in a sexy book.  I’ve had more comments about how cute the big, bad, vamps are with little Janie. 

4)    People who tell you the ‘sex is too much’ in book one…have already preordered book 2.  Yeah.  You know who you are.  🙂

5)    If someone tells me how wonderful the “world building” was…the sex may have been too much for them.

6)    Getting stressed about aspiring authors dropping your name to your editor or agent is just silly…they’re used to it.

7)    It’s a high-low profession.  One day a national magazine recommends your
book…the next day another national magazine doesn’t like your characters.  Keep it steady by remembering…it’s all about the story.  Forget the rest.

8)    Promotion and social media are a must.  But writing the story should always come first.

9)    Your editor is on your side—completely.  Anyone who thinks it’s a battle between the author and the editor…probably doesn’t have an editor yet.

10)  It’s okay to say ‘no’…even if you’re a nice person and really do want to help people.  Unfortunately, there’s only so much time in the day, and hopefully you have a life too.  Protect that.

Max gets a love…

on July 21, 2011

I’ve been a bit quiet lately…under deadline.  This is what happened:  When I was in New York, I talked to Caitlin about maybe writing an e-book novella for the Dark Protector series to be released between HUNTED (book 3) and book 4.  Now, we haven’t negotiated for books 4-6 yet, so I was being optimistic.  Early August is when we start talking the next deal.

Well…Caitlin talked to Megan, who liked the idea of a novella and would like to publish it in April, the month before HUNTED is released.  This is very exciting…but…Megan needs the novella by the end of August.  So, after several emails back and forth with Caitlin, I decided the novella should be about Max, who is Janie’s bodyguard.  He is in both FATED and CLAIMED, so seemed like a good choice.

Max is actually a rather funny guy, originally from Russia.  Yeah, who knew?  His love, Sarah Pringle, is a teacher who, ah, just escaped from a mental institution.  Really. 

Anyway, this is why I’ve been away from the blog a bit.  I’ll do better.  🙂

Carina Press Author Bonnie Paulson is giving away a book!

on July 19, 2011

UPDATE:  Congrats to Maw25 for winning the copy of BREATHE AGAIN!  Bonnie will contact you with details. 🙂

!I’d like to welcome my friend, Bonnie R. Paulson, whose book BREATHE AGAIN will be released next month by Carina Press.  I asked Bonnie to blog a bit about emotion in contemporary romances.

I’d love to give away a copy of BREATHE AGAIN to one commenter today–there’s a question at the end, but you can comment on anything you want.

Romantic suspense and paranormal romances own a level of intensity to their emotions. Dark, deep, dramatic feelings with highs and lows and rare in-betweens pushed with urgency and fear.

Contemporary romances have the capabilities of exploring the subtle nuances of growing love among responsibilities, day-to-day difficulties and modern conveniences without the drama of fangs, claws or mind-reading (which I’ll be the first to admit I like a bite here and there).

World-building is important in the contemporary style but word count can be used more for scene building since the reader already understands the rules and idiosyncrasies of the time period. Plus, the laws of physics aren’t altered, so we don’t have to worry about the hero sucking her neck for sustenance, instead for pleasure – hello! And the heroine is strong but not enough to break a telephone pole in half. Characters are easier to identify
with… although let’s be honest. I ripped apart a telephone pole last week and no one, not one person, was impressed. I guess it’s been done.

There are still rules in contemporaries. You don’t want to read a book where the heroine sleeps with everything male. Too much sluttiness makes it hard to believe the sexual relation with the hero is special. And the hero doesn’t want to be too roughly physical because then wouldn’t he be physical with her or in jail all the time? And, let’s face it, wooing the heroine is difficult when he’s strapped to anger management classes.

My favorite aspect of contemporaries is the chance to take a controversial subject, spin it and then make my characters live it. Maggie deals with suicide in Breathe Again.

Breathe Again will be released August 22, 2011 from Carina Press.

Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she’s suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.

Fortunately, her friend, Ryan Stewart, offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn’t want to like Maggie, not when he questions Ryan’s feelings for her.. But it’s hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she’s sleeping under the same roof.

Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she’s haunted by the past, she can’t open herself up to the future… 

Excerpt:  

I remembered my promise to stay away. Kneeling beside the pool spotted with lily pads, I pressed my fingers into the soft ground beside the mirror surface. Numerous large fish colored with brilliant orange, white and black highlights shimmered under the water. Lazy swimmers, the beautiful creatures hid in the shadows of the random leaves, the sparkling afternoon light finding their gliding bodies in the dark.

Watching the fish, I avoided being the first to speak. Why waste my time getting familiar when I planned to distance myself the first chance I got? I bit back a laugh. Not that I’d get the opportunity while I joined him on walks to sweet
settings.

My hair escaped again from the ponytail and fell past my shoulder. I pushed the mass behind my back.

“You’re part Irish, right?” Brodan’s deep voice fit in with the outdoor surroundings, rumbly and rugged.

“Yep. How’d you guess?” I smiled, lightening the sting my words could bring.

“Your mom or dad?” He stretched his legs out, crossing them at the ankles and relaxing his arm along the backrest.

“Dad.” I stood, feeling mulish for not sitting beside him. Wandering around the water, I asked, “Brodan sounds Irish. Can you claim the luck?”

“Not a lot. Dad drank Guinness, does that count?”

Humor between us, how odd. A few steps and I was beside him, attempting nonchalance.

We sat together, studying the man-made scenery, the silence long yet somewhat comfortable. A fish surfaced, poking its mouth into the air only to disappear into the shadows once more.

“I don’t want to like you, you know?” His quiet voice shattered the calm with more impact than a scream.

My favorite part of writing Breathe Again would be the fight Brodan and Maggie put up against the attraction between them. Sometimes I would laugh and call them both idiots
as I wrote. Other times, I would actually tear up a bit – no one thinks true loves should be apart. 

I was pregnant when I wrote it and tears came easily, but writing a scene at the end, outside the hospital, tore me up, even more than the Allstate commercials I’d been watching.

When you read a novel do you enjoy sad parts throughout or do they create bitterness toward the author?

Thank you so much to Rebecca for allowing me to swing by today. I would like to offer up a digital copy of Breathe Again for a randomly selected commenter today. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks about Brodan. 

BIO:  Inland Northwest bred, Bonnie has a degree in radiology technology as well as multiple experiences in the medical industry. Four children and a terrific husband ground her as they rev around the countryside on their dirt bikes. Food, reading/writing romances and family make up just a small percentage of her favorite things. 

Countdown to the RWA Conference – Part II – How to Schedule and What to Bring

on June 14, 2011

This is part two in the Countdown to Conference blog series.  In the last blog we talked about what to wear to the conference.  This entry is about how to schedule your time and what else you should bring, besides clothes.

Try to have a game plan before you arrive.  I go through the conference schedule, read about all the workshops, note when the spotlights and signings are and then create a FLEXIBLE schedule for each day.  Then I schedule a meeting/lunch/coffee/dinner whatever with agent/editor/pr person/pals, etc… so I can see how my days have filled out.  Then, taking note of publisher and agent parties, I look to see when the chapter parties are and if I have time to hit a couple.

    • Spotlights:  Most of the publishers will have a spotlight.  (See conference schedule).  During this time, the editors will usually talk about what’s hot, what they’re looking for, and how to submit to them.  It’s very handy.  They’ll also sometimes highlight what releases they have coming up…so you can see what’s hot.  They take questions…and I’ve seen people line up to do a quick pitch when the presentation is finished.  Also…look around the room.  AGENTS attend these spotlights.  The one you want to pitch to might be sitting next to you.
    •  Book signings:  Besides the literacy signing the night before the conference actually starts, the individual publishers also have signings.  Translation:  FREE signed books.  (Though you end up with tons of free books even if you don’t make it to the signings.)  NOW…I will be participating in Kensington’s book signing on Friday from 12:00-1:30, so I hope to see you there!
    • Workshops:  I love workshops.  Just love them.  So I create a schedule with my first choice, second, and so on…and often end up going to my third choice because it may be about craft, and the ones I’d attended already were about PR. 
    • PRO Retreat:  If you’re a member of PRO – definitely go to some this.  They have cool workshops.  (See guidelines for PRO).
    • PAN Retreat/workshops:  There’s a list up now of the workshops for PAN members – looks awesome!  (See guidelines for PAN).
    • Goody Room:  Don’t forget to check out the goody room for pens, books, notebooks, candy…
    • Free Time:  Give yourself some.  Trust me.

So, there’s a breakdown of the conference and how to schedule your time.  Now…what should you bring besides clothes? I always bring:

  • Granola bars.   You will be unexpectedly hungry and running from workshop to workshop…and who wants their stomach to growl in the middle of the presentation?
  • Emergen-C .   Some people bring that Airborne instead.  You’re in a place with a lot of people, maybe not eating right, and probably not getting enough sleep.  I drink one of these every day of the conference and haven’t come down with that ‘conference cold’ so many people go home with.
  • Comfortable shoes.  By day three, your feet are freakin sore.  Yeah, bring the pretty shoes for night and even the first day.  By day three, you won’t care how your feet look.  You’ll wear the flip flops.  Trust me.
  • Safety pins.  You’ll be a hero.  There are always wardrobe malfunctions…and safety pins are necessary.
  • Sunglasses.  You may end up venturing outside with Cynthia Eden because she wants to check out the ducks in the middle of a pond.  You don’t want to go blind.
  • Pen and notebook.  You’ll be surprised how many notes you’ll take at the workshops…you can even blog about them later.  And you’ll be getting email addresses for new friends.
  • Laptop…if you want.  I bring mine.  Many people will tell you they don’t write while attending conferences.  I do.  I’m usually inspired by something and will need to type something…but you could always just write it in your notebook.  J
  • Prepaid USPS (or Fed Ex) labels.  You’re going to get a lot of stuff.  Books, postcards, pens…so many!  They’ll have boxes and labels at the conference, but if you have your own, you can pack the boxes in your room and drop them at the mailing place WITHOUT waiting forever in line.
  • Ones.  If you’re going to the cocktail parties, you’ll want to tip the bartenders.  Bring ones—you can usually fit those with your cell phone in your conference badge so you don’t have to carry a purse.
  • Your book on a flashdrive.  If you’re pitching (see later posts), bring this.  Don’t bring a hard copy. We’ve all heard the urban legend of the author who pitched and the editor asked for a digital copy to read on her kindle during the plane ride home—loved it and bought it.  Have the flashdrive…just in case.

Okay, that list is by no means exhaustive.  But it’ll get you started.  Next time (on Friday) I’ll blog about pitching…