Beware. The Grim Reaper Has A Novice.

Wow. These indie author interviews have been amazing, if I may say so myself. Hell, I DO say so myself. And we haven’t even started The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour yet.

Today, Cecilia Robert is going to razzle and dazzle us with more information about her book The Grim Reaper’s Novice: Soul Collector Series Volume 1.

1. When it comes to writing about the Grim Reaper, death, and collecting souls, do you find yourself depressed or sad while writing these scenes? If so, how do you overcome this, yet still write compelling scenes?

CeCe: Actually, writing the Grim Reaper’s character was fun. I tried to lighten him up a bit by adding a fun part of him so it’s not all depressing and dreary, move away from the sickle carrying Grim. For example: He doesn’t like people calling him Grim, he prefers being called Ernest and has no problem reminding anyone who tends to forget, he enjoys matchmaking. His motto; everyone  needs some love, even the ghosts and djinns. His door is always open to dinner guests.

Writing the death-scenes was not easy for me. For example, there’s a scene on the first chapter when Ana Maria – the MC – goes to collect the soul and has to watch as life fades from the lady she is meant to collect her soul, and her taking her last breath. Man, that wasn’t easy.

Music goes a long way to clear my head and of course chase away the heaviness in my heart. And not the angry kind of music. No. Something danceable and cheerful, of course.

Dicey: The Grim Reaper prefers to be called Ernest and enjoys matchmaking? Ha! That’s different. And probably more appropriate for the YA genre than the vision I have in my head of him.

I know what you mean about death scenes not being easy. There’s a scene in my taboo fiction that I cried while writing and every time I read it. When you think about someone being here one day and gone the next, it can be really sad. Lively music certainly helps.

2. As a writer in the Young Adult genre, what do you mostly want young adults to gain from reading your book?

CeCe: First and foremost, I’d like readers to enjoy reading my book, to have fun. I’d also like readers to know  they can succeed in whatever they put their mind to, and overcome any challenges that come their way. My Mc does make mistakes, and bad decisions. In order to become wise, one needs to learn from their mistakes.

Dicey: Preach!

3. As an assistant nurse, does your experiences in your profession enter in to your writing? For instance, do you see patients die and think about what happens to their souls? Or is there some other way your profession impacts your writing?

CeCe: In this story, I’d say the experience as an assistant nurse does play a part in my writing. I have been in a room when a patient takes their last breath, and I have to say it is the hardest situation to be in, to see the life fade from someone who moments ago was smiling at you, or chatting with you. Yes, the thought has once occurred to me. Where do souls go when someone dies? I seriously have no idea, but I can only hope someplace good.

So, yes, my profession does play a part in this story. It does help in creating believable scenes, I’d say.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Dicey. It’s been fun.

Dicey: I hope our souls go to a good place too, CeCe. If I see Hitler there, I’ll know I went to the wrong place.

Thank YOU for sharing your work with me and giving a unique perspective on The Grim Reaper Ernest.

Blood, Corpses, and HELL.

I have another creative mind to share with you today. In the spirit of showing love to indie authors, and in support of our upcoming The Day the Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour, I present the following interview with Georgina Kamsika, author of The Sulphur Diaries (UK).

Without further ado…

1. Since your story involves blood and hell, how would you feel if a reader said they found it too scary or too gory to read? Would you be flattered, pleased, insulted, upset, etc.? Why?

Georgina: One of my earliest memories is of watching an old Dracula film. I loved it, I loved being scared and enjoyed watching and reading scarier things as I grew older. However I know a lot of people don’t really go for horror or being scared, so if it’s too scary for some people, I can live with that. I think knowing that my writing has affected someone, be it good or bad, is enough.

Dicey: Know what you mean about that old Dracula film. The older ones were pretty scary. There are dozens of them now. Apparently, lots of people love to be scared out of their minds.

Mine was–can you believe it–Fright Night (1985). When I was young and it was four o’clock in the morning, and it was dark and I was alone. *shudders* But I was fascinated. Now, I’m pleased when someone mentions my vampire novel is too gory.

2. Did you model Detective Inspector after anyone in particular? If so, who and why? If not, how did you prepare for this character?

Georgina: I try not to model my characters after any one person, mainly because I like to steal bits and pieces I overhear and turn them into a person. Visually I imagined DI Mehta to be very pretty, like the Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, but with a stern and serious personality, partly because she is a woman of colour in a very male-dominated profession. Preparation-wise, I did some research into the social services in the UK, and how the police interact with them. It was interesting to learn more about how our detectives work, it’s not all CSI Miami here.

Dicey: Ah. I enjoy literature that feature women of color in something other than stereotypical urban fiction.

3. Your story involves a village that is over a gateway to hell. How would you describe your vision of hell in detail?

Georgina: I’m actually writing about Hell now, in my sequel ‘Pandemonium’. While the first novel, set in England, is all about British myths and legends, my vision of Hell has allowed me to draw from wider sources. I spent some time researching Hell, or limbo, across many religions and cultures. There’s some surprising similarities and quite a few differences, so it’s been fun trying to mesh them together into a consistent place. It’s not a nice place, that’s for sure, but it’s also not the prevalent Christian idea of damned souls burning in flames.

Thanks for the chance to answer these questions. I liked them, they made me think about why I’d done those things.

Dicey: Pandemonium is a cool title. With your vision of hell as “not a nice place” but “not the prevalent Christian idea of damned souls burning in flames”, you’ve piqued my interest. I always find theories and speculations on hell intriguing, especially because of my own religious background. I work out my imaginations in fiction as well.

And, thank YOU, Georgina. It’s been a pleasure.

See you on the tour.

Warlocks, Wizards, Occult Powers and…WWII?

I love networking with indie authors, mainly because we believe in supporting each other. And because we have the common goal of sharing our art with the world without a large publisher’s budget.

One such networking event is The Day the Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour, which I mentioned here. It officially begins Dec. 26th, but I’m getting a head-start by featuring author interviews.

Today, Alesha Escobar and I are discussing how she mixed paranormal elements with historical ones in her novel The Tower’s Alchemist: The Gray Tower Trilogy Book #1. You can check out her blog here.

1. In writing about wizards/warlocks and occult powers, how much of your own religious views entered in to your writing?

Alesha: Now that’s an interesting question. I mix in a little bit of mythology, philosophy and spirituality from my background as a Catholic and a lover of the Classics. I approach it from the question of “What would this all look like if magic was out in the open during this time?” In the story, people trained by the Gray Tower see magic as a natural ability that some humans are born with, while the Church would explain it as remnants of preternatural abilities lost after the Fall of Man. One of my characters is a sword-wielding priest who believes his magic is a gift from God–he clashes at times with my protagonist, Isabella.

Dicey: I get it. Mythology + Philosophy + Spirituality = More interesting, relatable concept.

2. Since your book is based in an alternate WWII era, did you find the paranormal or historical elements more difficult to research and write for your characters?

Alesha: The historical element was a bit tricky in the sense that I wanted to give a grounded and rich feel to the environment of the story without alienating my reader. For example, just the slang and language used sixty years ago–a bit different from now, but I have some of that slipped in so that the dialogue and inner-monologue of my protagonist is authentic yet flavorful. There was also the issue of balancing historical fact with creative liberty. Hopefully the WWII experts won’t whack me for certain things, but it was one hell of a ride imagining what it would be like for wizards to have a showdown with Nazis and their occult forces.

Dicey: Very brave. I imagine you spent lots of time researching the WWII era in order to keep it “authentic yet flavorful”. To strike a balance between pleasing the experts and entertaining readers. Hats off!

3. If you could have been a wizard during WWII, what one power would you have used to defeat Hitler?

Alesha: Isabella is an alchemist–I think I’d want to have her ability. Alchemy is all about harnessing the powers of nature and creating certain balances–I would definitely see defeating Hitler as restoring balance to the world!

Dicey: Restoring balance, indeed. And I’m glad you explained what an alchemist is. Think I need that power around my household where my kids pay no bills but have completely taken over.

Thanks for the interview, Alesha!

More interviews to come.

Writing Sex Scenes.

Well-known authors and those published through traditional publishers, get plenty of exposure. And though I’ve read, and still do read many of those books, I also support indie authors. In fact, I intend to feature several on my blog via guest blogging, interviews, and reviews.

Today, Thomas Bryant, indie author of LONG GONE, answers a few questions about writing sex scenes. You can follow his blog here.

And this is where I post a WARNING TO READERS: IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT SEX, STOP READING NOW.

Because that is what Thomas and I are discussing. I mean, the title should have been a tip-off.

You’ve been warned.

1. How do you prepare to write a sex scene?

Thomas: I get out a bottle of wine and make sure I’ve a condom or five. LOL seriously I put myself in the frame of mind of the partners. This will vary, depending on whether it’s married sex or single-sex. Married sex might go something like this: Marge came out in her good robe and when she bent over, I thought ‘hell I can watch Bonanza any time.’ And single-sex might go something like this: There she was, with a saddle and a pair of jumper cables.

Okay, this time I’m really serious. This is the scene that I wanna do as soon as I begin writing for the day because my energy is high and, like sex, I want to take my time. I will expend a lot of energy on this scene as my partners take each other in with all of their five and maybe even six senses.

Dicey: Okay. Honestly, you really had me rolling with the first line.

2. Do you find it easier or harder than writing an action scene?

Thomas: I wouldn’t classify it under easier or harder. I would say it is a lot more time-consuming and more critical than any other scene. More than any other scene, my words have to flow like poetry. And it is most critical that my characters and their surroundings appear absolutely vivid and multidimensional while the tempo in my writing must reflect the rhythm and pace of the scene as well as the characters.

Dicey: I find pacing and vividness very critical too.

3. Is there anything you refuse to write in a sex scene?

Thomas: Yes! I could never write scenes that might be considered kiddie porn or male homosexual sex. I have to be able to put myself in the frame of mind of my characters and that would be impossible to do in these scenarios. Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘well what about lesbian sex?’ And the short answer is, I could write those. I never have, but I know that I could put myself in between those characters. I think most guys have put themselves in that position, in fantasy or reality at some point. I’m sorry, did I say short answer? For some reason, I seem to have belabored my point. And I meant to say in the frame of mind of those characters and not in between them. Must’ve been a Freudian slip.

Dicey: LMAO! Belaboring your point was effective in this instance.

I do have to say that we differ on the male homosexual sex though. I can’t wait to write an upcoming scene of the sort. I love reading these scenes from other authors and this will be a first at writing one for me.

And man…I sure hope the scenes in my novel SHAMEFUL between Joanne (39) and Alex (16) aren’t considered kiddie porn.

Thanks, Thomas!

More indie authors to come.

Read Part II here.