Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’
I first met Shéa MacLeod on an author discussion group where we were both learning the ropes of self-publishing, and have been a fan ever since. And I mean that in every way. I love her urban fantasies to death, but I’m also just a Shéa fan. Her brand of charm, sass and geekiness is irresistible. I was not at all surprised when Montlake Romance acquired Shéa’s exciting Sunwalker Saga series, making her a Montlake sister. Today it gives me great pleasure to introduce her to you. Take it away, Shéa,
Shéa MacLeod: Hi Norah, thanks for having me! This series on workspaces has been so much fun. Mostly because I’m incredibly nosey. Also, I’m a HUGE fangirl of some of the authors you’ve featured so it’s been doubly awesome being able to poke about where the magic happens.
I’m afraid my space is rather dull in comparison. I only just moved back to the US at the beginning of June and into my apartment at the end of June. So, I haven’t quite “settled in” yet. But I’ll tell you what, when I saw the Campaign Desk at World Market I absolutely HAD to have it! That was the first thing I bought for my office. My cousin and my uncle managed to wrangle it up three flights of stairs (It’s made of real wood so it’s super heavy) to the second bedroom which is now my workspace.
Along one wall I have the matching bookshelf. These days I mostly buy ebooks, but I have a few special paper books I keep and I like having them out where I can see. On the top shelf I’ve got my “plotting” notebooks where the first ideas for my novels take shape.
On the second shelf between the two ladies you can see my books in actual paperback. SQUEE! (PS. My cousin and I have decided those ladies are us when we’re older. I’m the redhead and she’s got the pink Mohawk.)
On the left side of the office I have a comfy little chair and lamp. It’s a great spot for reading, editing, or just dreaming up how to torture my protagonists!
There are a few things in my office which are really special to me. For one I always have a mug handy. Usually full of coffee. This is one of my favorites.
The little dragon box is a great place for storing important things like flash drives. It’s from my friend and fellow author Tara West. A little housewarming present. Perfect, don’t you think? It makes me smile every time I see it and it’s very inspirational while I’m working on my Dragon Wars series.
Talk about inspiration! This little knight’s dagger is something I’ve had for AGES (Used to hit every Ren Faire I could) and it inspired Morgan Bailey’s weapons in the Sunwalker Saga.
And finally, my boxes of books! I have nowhere else to keep them so they pretty much sit in boxes in the corner where I can pet my pretties whenever I want. :)
My office is pretty much a “work in progress” right now. I need more bookshelves (Who doesn’t!) and I’d like to get up some cork boards where I can tack various things that inspire me. Like this guy! (Sorry, had to slip him in there.)
Anyway, thanks all for stopping by. And thanks, Norah, for having me! It’s been fun showing you all around the Batcave. Er, I mean office.
Thank you for that tour, Shéa! I don’t know what I love more, those bookends or the dragon box! And I too am going to have to get a cork board.
Okay, on to the giveaway! One lucky winner will win signed print copies of the first two books in Shéa’s Sunwalker Series, Kissed by Darkness and Kissed by Fire. (You’ll see all three covers below, but the third book, Kissed by Smoke, is not yet out. Readers will have to wait until Christmas day for that puppy!)
NOTE that the print offer is open to winners in the US and Canada. International winners are still eligible to win, but because of the prohibitive cost of mailing, Shéa would be happy to substitute Kindle copies. Heck, if you’re in the US or Canada and simply prefer to read electronically over print, I’m sure Shéa would be happy to gift you the prize in Kindle format.
Let the commenting begin!
Please help me welcome award-winning author Lina Gardiner. Lina’s Jess Vandemire Vampire Hunter Series have netted her both a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and a PRISM award (best first book). She is published by Imajinn Books and The Wild Rose Press. As well, she recently published her first indie effort to very positive reviews.
Lina has given me some fantastic photos of her workspace, and I am going to ask her to narrate them for us. Take it away, Lina!
Norah, thank you for coming up with the great idea for Workspace Wednesday. I’m really pleased to be your first guinea pig (er…) author. In all seriousness, I can’t wait to peek into other author’s offices to see what motivates them and feeds their muse.
In this photo (below) you can see I’ve surrounded myself with things that mean something to me. First and foremost, on the wall is a watercolor painting by my friend and artist, Rik Hall. He actually painted two of these cemetery paintings based on a moody, spooky picture I used on my website. The second painting sold very quickly at an open house. I actually wanted the second one too, but was too slow making up my mind. The photo of the cemetery was taken by Troy MacLellan, a co-worker who kindly gave this picture to me for my website. I liked it so much the picture ended up in the background of my first book, Grave Illusions. Some of the other things I have on my desk besides my Oxford dictionary J my Prism (Crystal Pyramid) – best first book award, and my Washington, DC Globe from my friend Joyce, my fuzzy frog from my friend Amy, the skull pen from my son and his fiancée, they got it at the vampire club in Melbourne, Australia and I was totally jealous that I didn’t get to go. The skull, the mug and little red bag of stones are from my friend Cathy Boone, who just came back from Salem, Mass. where she had an honest to goodness ghost experience in her hotel.
This photo is me pretending to be busy at the computer. LOL In reality, I don’t have to watch the keys when I’m typing. I’ve been typing for over thirty years. I always liked the image of Stephen J. Cannell typing on his old typewriter and pulling the sheet of paper out of the platen at the end of each of his TV shows. Maybe that’s why I like the picture this way.
The bookshelves on the wall were built for me by my husband, Iggy. Everyone who comes into my office raves about them. They’re gorgeous and they showcase my library of books to perfection. And they often remind me how many books I still haven’t read. I need to carve out a little more reading time.
I see this wall the minute I enter my room. You can’t miss the three giant posters of my first three books in my Jess Vandermire Vampire Hunter series. My husband had the posters made for me and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see them as a reminder that I’ve actually not only published ‘a’ book but several books. The beautiful carved owl in the center of the desk was done by my ex-boss and friend, Brian Dykeman. He does the most amazing carvings and he has a website if you’d like to see more of his work – just Google his name. The little vase came from a co-worker, Chris Maund, who went to the Galapagos Islands years ago and brought it back for me (I’ve always treasured it), and the Baying Wolf was a gift from my husband when my newest book, Black Moon Awakening – a werewolf/shifter story was published. Then there is the award on the desk, on the left side — My Domino Divas award. We decided years ago, actually it was Norah who came up with the idea, that the writers in our little group were like dominoes; after one sold the rest would follow. How right she was and is. The two gorgeous wing back chairs were a gift from my niece Tracy and her husband Roger. They are very comfortable and I often sit in them to read or review and revise my WIPs in comfort. Wow, until I started naming the things in my office that mean something to me, I’d almost forgotten how lucky I am to be surrounded by reminders of my wonderful friends and family.
This wall to my left is my award wall (sort of). I have the Prism Award and Daphne DuMaurier Award, as well as my RWA Conference badge. These things remind me at all times that I want to be professional and I want to excel in my field. They remind me that I must always work hard to improve my writing skills, and to keep moving toward my next goal. On the filing cabinet below I’ve put pictures of my friends (my go-to place when doubt-devils are nipping at my heels). Looking at the friendly, smiling faces always lifts my spirits. I have a white board next to the filing cabinet, the place where I plot, usually after I’m well and truly into my book. I start out as a pantser and then have to plot out the bones to keep everything cohesive.
Thank you, Lina! I am officially in love with your office! It’s gorgeous! And I love how you’ve surrounded yourself with various talismans and symbols of your journey, as well as very concrete evidence of your accomplishments! Totally inspiring! Thank you for sharing your space with us today.
Okay, what’s your favorite element or object in Lina’s workspace? (You’re not allowed to say Lina because that’s a given.)
I’m very excited to have urban fantasy author Shéa MacLeod with me today. Why am I so excited? Because as you’ll soon see, she is made of sheer awesomeness.
Okay, Shéa, since I know you’re a bit of a sci-fi nerd, if you were a character in any sci-fi show, who would you be?
Aeryn Rand from Farscape. She was such a strong character, full of depth. She went from this tough warrior woman, blindly following orders and seemingly immune to emotion, to someone who loved deeply and protected those she loved. Not only did that girl kick some serious ass, she also got to snog the delicious John Crichton. And who wouldn’t want to do that?
Who indeed! What got you started writing?
Reading. My mom started reading to me pretty much in the womb. Some of my earliest memories involve books and reading and trips to the library. I loved the wonderful worlds that existed between the pages of books and longed to create my own. I was always a story teller, even before I could write. And I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I didn’t want to write novels. It just took me awhile to believe I could actually do it.
You’ve got a brand new book out, right? Tell us about it.
Yes! It’s an urban fantasy: Kissed by Darkness, Book One of the Sunwalker Saga.
I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer and thought it would be cool to have a more adult story that involved a private detective agency that investigated the paranormal. That sort of rattled around in my brain for years before morphing into something resembling an actual story. And with the morphing Morgan Bailey was born.
Morgan isn’t the kind of character to sit quietly on a shelf, so her story came a bit fast and furious. It’s the story of a woman who once had a normal life, but now must face her demons. Literally. And she does it with a grin and a snarky comment. Or two.
A girl after my own heart! How many other books do you have planned in the Sunwalker Saga?
There are six total books in the series (book 2 is finished and I’m writing 3 as we speak). Each one is key both to Morgan’s continuing development as a person, as well as the progression of the overall story arch which involves dragons, djinn, the sidhe and a lot more magic and mayhem.
Okay, I’m always fascinated to know how authors view their own characters. So let’s say someone is making a movie from Kissed by Darkness and you get to cast it. Who would you cast as your kick-ass heroine? Other main roles? And would a casting couch be required?
Oh, a casting couch is most DEFINITELY required!
There are four main characters in Kissed by Darkness who remain integral throughout the series. First is our MC, Morgan Bailey. Played by me.
Kidding! She’s actually the toughest one because I’ve never really come across an actress I thought would suit her to a “T”. Maybe Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood, but she’d have to put on about 20 pounds. :)
I’ve always seen Morgan’s best friend, Kabita Jones played by Claudia Black (the aforementioned Aeryn Sun). Very strong, very striking, a little exotic. Plus Claudia is a pretty versatile actress.
Inigo Jones was originally inspired by the Kyle Schmid from Blood Ties. Someone cute, sweet, and just a tad geeky, but underneath pure steel.
Then there’s the Sunwalker, Jackson Keel, 900 year old Templar Knight. And who else to play such a delectable role than the gorgeous Gerard Butler! (Hence the need for a casting couch.)
Now there’s a movie I want to see! [Hear that, Hollywood? That was Kissed by Darkness.]
If you were to Twitter this book in 140 characters, what would you say?
You’re getting blood on my carpet. Again.
OMG, I love it! And how perfect.
Any other irons in the fire besides the Sunwalker books?
Yes! I have two current WIPs. The first is a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance with dragons. (Everything is better with dragons.) The second is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy scifi paranormal romance with a twist of steampunk set in what was once China. Oh, yeah, there are aliens. (Everything’s better with aliens.)
Favorite kind of read? Favorite author?
Hooo-boy! That’s a tough one because I’m pretty eclectic. I guess my all-time fave is probably apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic stories. I don’t know what it is about them I like so much. Maybe the whole idea of starting over fresh, or maybe it’s the struggle for survival and the drive to rebuild. Think Stephen King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage, Ann Aguirre’s Enclave or Joss Ware’s Envy Chronicles. Next (and very close) are urban fantasy, paranormal romance, scifi romance, and steampunk romance. They’re just so much fun! Think Nalini Singh (any of her books), Ann Aguirre’s Jax series, Gail Carriger. Of course we mustn’t forget the wonder triplets: zombies, thrillers and mysteries. For mysteries, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is an auto buy. An old fave: Agatha Christie. And my new fave: N.L. Wilson! For zombies there’s Jack Wallen and Jesse Petersen. Thrillers: James Rollins (I’m a major fangirl.), Chris Kuzneski.
Told ya I was eclectic.
What was the best piece of writing advice you got along the way?
Probably this quote from Stephen King:
‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.’
What was the last movie you saw?
Believe it or not, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. What can I say? It was on cable. But it was kind of a fun movie. :)
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. I like cats, but I’m allergic. And there’s just something about a dog. Something so loving and dopey and ridiculously loyal. We could all learn a lot from a dog. Besides, they can be trained to carry barrels of alcohol around their necks. How cool is that?
Sam or Dean? (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I may have to pare back the 100% awesomeness tag to maybe 98%.)
Dean. I mean, HELLO! There IS no other answer. (Also, excuse me for a moment. I need to go wipe the drool off my face.)
A fellow-Dean girl! Okay, you might be 110% awesomeness. Any last words for readers?
I just want to say thanks to all the readers out there. Reading is such a magical and exciting thing. Without our readers, there wouldn’t be much point in writing. Stories are meant to be shared.
Thank you, Shéa, for that very fun interview!
Now, go buy Shéa’s book! It just as awesome as she is.