Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Bound by Jen Colly

UFI welcomes Author Jen Colly. Thanks for Joining us!!

Jen Colly: On the spot!

This is probably out of the norm for most authors, but I'm terrible when put on the spot to write anything. Even a short message in a birthday card. It's partly due to the amount of expectation heaped on 'the writer' to produce something fantastic, but mostly, outside of my own stories, I just don't write. You won't find me throwing out my opinion in a local magazine, pushing out a column for the local newspaper, writing blogs, or short stories in my spare time. I'm amazed by the many people who can do those things, but I'm not one of them. If I can't put my heart into it, then it's not for me. So I've asked my Facebook crew to come up with some questions for me, and did they ever rise to the challenge!

How did you get the idea for your books? (Sigrun O.)

I was part of an online book club when a thread called 'pick a picture and write a scene' popped up. A friend asked me to post with her. I caved to peer pressure and found a captivating picture of a man in black slacks, an unbuttoned white shirt, and long black hair that disappeared behind his back. My perfect pirate. After staring at him for over a week (such a hardship), I had nothing. Not a name, story title, plot, or even a heroine. Just him. Why could I picture him speaking, moving, and wielding a sword, but could never place him on a ship? Then it hit me. He was a vampire. Looking at him in this new, moonlight, all the answers fell into place. My pirate turned vampire started it all. He is the hero of Beneath the Night (The Cities Below, book 3).

Do you worry people who read your books in decades to come won't understand your references to movies or shows? (from Amy K.)

Great question. I can only think of one I've used off the top of my head. When I wrote In the Dark (The Cities Below, book 1), I referenced Peaches & Cream Barbie. Those old enough to remember her will get an instant and distinct image of what I'm trying to describe. Yes, I just gave away my age, or at least the ballpark number. Generations to come will recognize Barbie, thopugh maybe not the specific reference. But at least in this instance, the color scheme and fluffiness of the gown were the important points.

What was your first romance novel? Did it change you as a reader? (from Jenn B.)

Wow, that's digging back years! I don’t remember the exact first romance I read, only that mom hid about six Zebra romances under the bed. The one I remember making an impact was The Pirate's Captive by Dana Ransom. A pirate with a secret identity plotting revenge on the fiance of the woman he loves? That's my kind of story. From that point on, I was always waiting for another book to live up to the complexity of this story. It made me a picky reader.

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? (from Jenn B.)

For those who aren’t familiar with these terms, plotter is exactly what you'd expect. An author creates an outline and basically follows the directions. A 'pantser' is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, starting at the beginning and going straight on through to the end. Whatever happens, happens. I've found over the years that I'm neither. I'm more of a quilter. When I dig into a story with the intent to finish, I already have over a dozen awesome quilt squares, or scenes. I read through them, place them in sequential order, then sew them together and fill in the gaps. I rarely have the first or last chapter in mind when I kick things off. I don't necessarily recommend writing this way, but it works for me. Probably because I have children and can only get so much written before I’m interrupted.

Any tattooed, bad ass women? (from Amy K.)

Okay, I'm going to split up this question. Tattoos: In my series, when a vampire finds their fated mate and are in agreement to be together forever, they bite their mate's neck, leaving the bite to heal on its own.. When this happens, black mating marks stem from each puncture wound to create a unique design. Now, when the mate bites back? The mark matches. The marks are permanent.

Bad ass women:

Only a small handful. Surprisingly, I've caught a lot of flack for this, but you have to remember this is a secluded world, a culture steeped in ancient traditions. I can't just write what you want to see, because it wouldn't be true to the world they live within. In The Cities Below series, women do not take part in any sword swinging, gun toting, or law enforcement in general. At least, not initially. But...I do gradually introduce you to the ground-breakers, because what fun is female empowerment if you don't get the chance to watch these women change their world?

Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires.

She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.

Find Jen and her books

Guest Blog: Secrets: In Wolf Lake by D.K. Davis

UFI welcomes Author D.K. Davis. Thanks for Joining us!!

What’s in DK Davis’ Writer’s Tool Shed?
Hello everyone. Welcome to Urban Fantasy Investigations. Please settle in, grab that cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea and join me as I share what’s in my writer’s tool shed with you. Please feel comfortable asking questions or leaving comments as I’ll respond to every one of them.   
I’m DK Davis, a new author to the Books We Love family. I pen young adult supernatural, sci-fi adventures with varying degrees of romance.  My first book, Secret: In Wolf Lake is the first in the Secret Series, published January 1st, 2017. An excellent way to kick off the New Year; )
I live in Southwest Michigan with two nine-year-old cats who own me (Izzy and Crocks), and a sassy ten-year-old Sheltie (Dusty) who does his best to herd them, along with me and my husband too…or anyone who enters our home. He’s definitely a bark-aholic and not afraid to tell you so. LOL
It’s so nice to meet you...and now on to what brought you to this post…  

A Writer’s Tool Shed
What does that even mean? Laptop? Pens? Notebooks? Websites? Links? Books on the Craft?
NOPE, none of the above. Well, I do have all of those things…just like every author does, but what I’m referring to as my “tools” is something more specific to me.
Every author has their own system/process of writing. What works best to stay in the flow, that forward trajectory, driving them around the final lap called “the end” of a story.
Don’t we as writers want that for ourselves – anything that speeds things along for us?
Now, I own a shed with writing tools that keep me on track, help me to eliminate “most” struggles or obstacles before they paralyze my progress.
My Tools of the Trade
  • Character Sketches: a complete biography of the main story-stars including the villain. The biggy here is to list any trauma or shattering moment that changes/shifts the story-star’s perception. Use a lesser degree for secondary story-stars. (check out Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field, amazing book for fiction novels also)
  • Plotting: Index cards (14 beginning, 28 middle, 14 ending = 56 cards) also given in great detail in Syd’s book. It’s a line-up of events, plan of action that keeps me moving forward, although sometimes the characters change those events, my momentum and drive remains until the end. Plus this story lay-out doesn’t take very long to do once you get started with the brain storms.
  • Timeline: Writing this as I finish each chapter. Listing the day and also time (if relevant) of the characters story, word count, page numbers, and highlights/events of each chapter. It is a godsend when referencing back to a scene or dialogue or event as I’m writing.
  • Research Notations: Rather than doing all the research before I start my book (I can spend a ton of time doing unnecessary research for the sake of having “everything” before I start that first chapter – talk about a procrastinator) I use the “Review” comment tool to make notes throughout my story as I’m writing. That way I know specifically what to research and where it needs to go after the story is completed.
I’m still honing my story-writing skills, and my tools may change or I might add more of them…but for now, I’m totally impressed in all of them listed here – they sharpen my process, speed things up, and I love all of them for that; )
Thank you Urban Fantasy Investigations for having me and to all of your readers for stopping in, hope you find this post helpful. If you have a tool in your writer’s toolbox that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment; I can always add another tool to my arsenal.

DK Davis writes YA sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy with a good dollop of all the relationships woven in between. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, spending time with grandchildren or her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

Find D.K. Davis and her books