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Last weekend, the Love Romances Cafe on Yahoo Groups hosted a promotional chat for Dreamspinner Press, and as part of that, I posted an excerpt from my current WIP: The Taken Ones, which is the sequel to The Demon Catcher.

And I thought that I'd better share it with you all too. :)

Given that this is a WIP, it is, of course, completely subject to change, but as it stands, the scene below is the first scene of the novella -- in which Euan and Leon run into someone from Leon's past.

WIP Excerpt: The Taken Ones )

Thank you for reading! Any constructive comments are most welcome.
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Yesterday, I had the privilege of participating in a Meet the Author event on Dreamspinner Press's Facebook Page. in order to promote The Demon Catcher. The heart of this event was readers (and potential readers) posing interview questions for me -- I got some great questions, and hopefully, I gave them the answers they deserve. So that it doesn't get lost beneath the inevitable Facebook updates, I'm reposting the interview here -- along with answers to one or two questions that I missed yesterday.

Feel free to pose more questions in comments (anon commenting is enabled).


**************

Question from Sarah Madison
What are the things you look for when creating a hero?

Answer )

Question from @lbcubbison on Twitter
How did you decide to move toward original fiction?

Answer )

Question from Lisa Marie Davies
Do you plot everything out before you start writing or do you just start writing and let the story flow from there?

Answer )

Question from Sarah Madison
What was it about Euan [protagonist of The Demon Catcher] that made you empathize with him?

Answer )

Question from Martha Casey
I loved the story of Euan and Leon - are you planning on writing any more stories featuring them? Or in their universe? I'd love to know more about how their world fits together.

Answer -- contains minor spoilers )


Question from Phoenix Emrys
Where does the inspiration for the names of your characters come from?

Answer )

Question from Opal Trelore
One aspect of Demon Catcher that I really enjoyed was the setting. It felt very real. What do you like best about creating fictional worlds?

Answer )

Question from @ryanloveless on Twitter
What is the first story you ever wrote? Maybe something as a kid?

Answer )

Question from @ChallyZatB on Twitter
What were the main challenges you encountered in writing the story [ie, The Demon Catcher]?

Answer -- contains spoilers )


**************

Thank you to everyone who took the time to ask me questions. I really enjoyed answering them.
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NOTE: This post is supposed to be up on the DSP blog right now, but there are some technical difficulties, so it's going up here instead -- and hopefully up on the DSP blog soon!

If you head over to the Dreamspinner page for The Demon Catcher you will see that there is already one excerpt up, from the beginning of the novella. But right here, exclusively for the readers of this blog, is ANOTHER EXCERPT.



I chose this excerpt, from about 1/3 of the way through the novella, for two reasons. Firstly, it's an exciting scene set just before a very crucial turning point for Euan's character -- things are never going to be the same for him again. Secondly, this is the first scene that I wrote for this novella -- so it's special to me, and I'm glad to be able to share it with you.

The excerpt is under the cut: )
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Wonderful news, people! My novella, The Demon Catcher, is now available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, for US$3.99.


Art by Paul Richmond

Make sure you keep an eye on the Dreamspinner Blog on January 6th, from 5:30pm EST (US) onwards, for a series of posts about the novella -- some musings on how I ended up writing it, an excerpt, and, most importantly of all, a competition that gives you the chance to win a free copy of the novella for your very own!

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me during this process!
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It's all happening, folks! My novella, The Demon Catcher has a cover and is scheduled for release on January 5th, 2011 -- it will sell for US$3.99:


Art by Paul Richmond

From the website:

Brother Euan has always been skeptical about the existence of demons. He may have spent his life in a monastery dedicated to the God Ajen, but that doesn't mean he has to indulge in superstition. Even the unnatural storm that batters the monastery one night isn't enough to make Euan believe.

But superstition becomes the least of Euan's worries when Leon of Tremea arrives at the monastery to investigate the reports of demonic activity. Leon is nothing like the frightened, shame-filled monks, and when Euan is assigned to assist Leon in his work, he finds himself struggling with desires he'd thought firmly under control. After a second demon attack on the monastery—one that not even Euan can explain away—Euan's beliefs and assumptions about the world are shattered, and with nothing to hold him back, he opens himself to his feelings for Leon. But then Euan discovers that Leon is not all he seems to be....


I'm really happy with how the cover came out, and very pleased that the release date is so soon!

AND, you could win a copy before the release date, if you add it to your wishlist AND buy a title from Dreamspinner during December: in fact, anyone who buys a book from Dreamspinner during December goes in the draw to win EVERY e-book on their wishlist between December 26th and December 31st.
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I'm not doing NaNo, but over the last week or so, I've started working on the sequel to The Demon Catcher again. I don't have a working title for it yet, which is really something I should remedy.

I'm currently at the stage of writing where everything seems like a huge mess and I feel plauged by doubt. Is this story really viable? Are my characters boring? Are they believable? Am I focusing too much on plot at the expense of character development? Is my plot even working?

I have to admit, the worries about characterisation are not something I expected -- most of the writing I've ever done has been the sort that privileges character development over plot, yet here I find myself wondering if the plot I'm developing is overshadowing the developing romance between Euan and Leon.

I know that a lot of these worries will be resolved as I keep writing -- stories ALWAYS seem like a mess when one gets towards the middle, and they don't start making sense again until one gets to the end -- at which point, one can go back and fix anything that wasn't quite working. It is very difficult, however, to let go of the fear that maybe it won't work; that all this effort is going to go for nothing, in the long run.

Part of being a good writer is, I think, letting go of that fear, or at least not letting that fear stop you. So I won't let it stop me. I just need to keep going until I feel better about it again.
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I sent "The Demon Catcher" -- my original short story -- off to Dreamspinner last week. I'm extremely pleased that I managed to do this, regardless of whether or not it is accepted. I'm very grateful to everyone who took the time to offer me constructive criticism via email -- I found the editing/re-drafting process to be rigorous, and very beneficial.

I am also continuing to work on my new story set in the same 'verse, with the same characters, which is challenging but enjoyable. One thing that I'm finding new and slightly disconcerting about writing these original characters is waiting for them to reveal their motivations to me. I need to keep writing in order to get a sense of the characters, but then when I discover something new about them, I need to go back through what I've already written to ensure that it's consistent. I also find that I'm a bad judge of how much information that I need to give about what a character is thinking and feeling -- often, I like to leave that stuff implicit, but this can have the effect of making my characters seem rather detached and emotionless. This early on, I think readers need a little bit more. Of course, part of it is that I'm still not sure exactly what motivates my characters 100% of the time -- right now, I'm sketching the outline, and I'll have to come back to colour it in as things develop.

In the context of the short story, dealing with motivations was simpler. Euan (my POV protagonist) and Leon (my dashing hero) were immediately attracted to each other, they had a specific set of issues they needed to work through in order for that attraction to go somewhere (Euan's religious upbringing), and then at the end, it seemed believable enough that both of them wanted to stick together in order to explore their relationship further. Now, I need to work out how they feel about this thing lasting longer -- how do they perceive each other over an extended period of time, and how are their perceptions affected by their past experiences? I also want to avoid setting up a dynamic between them where one party is desperately in love and the other is cold and distant -- basically, I want both of them to be pretty well into each other, and for any tensions in their relationship to come from somewhere other than non-mutual-affection.

Another thing that I'm realising as I continue to write is how much I'm structuring this like a TV show, rather than a novel -- which makes sense really, given that most of the fiction I consume these days is television based. In many ways, "The Demon Catcher" is like the pilot episode, while the story I'm writing now (which I think will be novella-length) is like a three-episode arc in the context of a larger series. I imagine that this would pose some problems for traditional publishing platforms, but since I'm open to non-traditional platforms -- well, we'll have to see how it goes.

First, we'll see if Dreamspinner accepts "The Demon Catcher", and if they do, whether or not they'd be interested in more stories in that 'verse. If not -- well, I will find my own ways of getting the stories out there. :)

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