Are You Ready for NaNo?

I am.

In fact, thanks to a post from one of the folks in the Pagan NaNo group on Facebook, I'm focused on tackling the reverse NaNo/NaNo rewards way of approaching the novel-writing process.  It's very simple - by November 30, you are left with 1 word to write to reach your 50,000 word goal.  You can find calendars of it online.

Personally, I like to search DeviantArt for a NaNo calendar to use as desktop wallpaper.

But this time I did something a little different.  There is a particular model who resembles my main character in "Project Muffin Man".  I love her photographs.  There is one that I used as a reference as I wrote the first book.  Now that I've decided my NaNo project will be the sequel to "Project Muffin Man" (I must give it a codename too), I chose another of the model's photographs and created my NaNo calendar next to it.

It looks like this:

Fabulous.  Now I have both my word count goals for each day and my "main character" featured on my desktop.  I messaged the model about a month ago to tell her that her pictures resembled the main character.  Maybe if "Project Muffin Man" gets picked up in the querying process, I can ask the publisher to use this model's wonderful photographs for covers.  ;)

I was quite pleasantly surprised when the stock photo that reminds me of Saville in Heart & Fire was used by Eternal's cover artist.  When I emailed them the link and said that the model, her clothing and gun resembled Saville, I hoped but never imagined they would actually use it.

It's nice to have that kind of input - to say "THIS girl *is* my main character" and for the publisher to go with your vision!

Yes, I will post that cover...  Maybe after NaNo.  ;)

So, are you ready for NaNo?

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

A little "Heart & Fire" tease...

The good people at Eternal Press gave Heart & Fire to their amazing head cover artist, Dawne Dominique, and I am in awe of what she has done.  When will I show it to you?  Hmm... soon... maybe.  If you like guns and gears, corsets and goggles, then you'll hopefully love the cover as much as I do!

Since I'm still fresh from the excitement of seeing The Gossamer Gate proofs and its availability as an ebook (paperback to come in 2 weeks at $7.99), I think I'll wait just a bit to share more.

Right now The Gossamer Gate is available for 99 cents at Smashwords and it should be up on Amazon very shortly.  The 99 cent price is for a *very* limited time. 

Since Halloween is the time when the veil between the worlds is thin and The Gossamer Gate is a story of the Otherworld/faerie realm and a Pagan heroine, the reduced price is in celebration of the holiday.  Once Halloween is over, it will go back to its normal price of $3.99.

If you're like me and tend to buy most of your books from Amazon, no problem!  I'll make sure I post that link as soon as I have it, and I believe the 99-cent pricing will remain in effect for at least 24-48 hours there, for anybody waiting for it.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Interview with Khiara of "The Gossamer Gate"

Me: So, why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Khiara: I don't suppose there's much to say.  I'm just me.  I'm the High Priestess of my coven, I run a little magick shop in western Massachusetts, and I'm a bit of a D&D geek.  Family and heritage are important to me, and I love to make people smile.

Me: You've dealt with one of the classic dilemmas that many people face - being in love with your best friend.  What was that like?

Khiara: (laughing) Sean is so similar to me, that I think it was inevitable that I would fall in love with him.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always work in return.  He likes these tall, leggy, model-type girls, and I'm pretty average.

Me: No, you're really cute!  Most guys think so.

Khiara: Well, yeah, I suppose you could call me 'cute', but I'm not a supermodel.  I just try to take good care of myself and be good to others.

Me:  OK, well, while you're in the Otherworld, you do meet some interesting other guys.  Why don't you tell me about them.

Khiara: (making a face)  I met Ronan when I was a teenager.  At the time he was trying to get into my pants - typical faerie trying to find a way to procreate. He still is and...  There's just something that creeps me out about him.  As for Liam, I guess he's not too bad, for a faerie.

Me: Ronan did get rather forceful with you at the time, but you managed to defend yourself.

Khiara: True, but it's how I defended myself that got me in trouble later on.  Faeries don't forget a grudge.

Me: When Ronan dragged you into the Otherworld, you had quite an adventure.

Khiara: (nods)  I met some weird things; things I'd only read about in books.  On the one hand, I guess you could say I was prepared for them, because I had to learn about them as part of my training as a High Priestess.  On the other hand, no amount of learning can prepare you to face the real thing.

Me: You also discover a rather extraordinary power while you are there.

Khiara: Here in the real world, those of us who are Pagan know that spells work.  It's all about intent and passion.  In the Otherworld, that kind of emotional and mental need is intensified.  You can see the magick working.  My own intent is represented and manifested as fire.

Me: Do you think you'll ever tell your coven all about your adventures in the Otherworld?

Khiara: (pensively)  I don't know about that...  They're strong people, but I wouldn't wish the fear and uncertainty of what might lie ahead on anyone.  Our mortal world is uncertain enough, and the Otherworld isn't all faerie-light and sunshine.

Me: If you could choose which world to live in forever, which one would it be?

Khiara: I think you know the answer to that.  (winks)

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

"The Gossamer Gate" e-version is live

I'm very excited that The Gossamer Gate ebook version is live almost 2 months earlier than planned.  The paperbacks look great and should be available by mid-November.

The price for the ebook will be $1.99 for a limited time, and then go up to its normal price of $3.99, so grab it before that happens!

The paperback will be priced at $7.99.

Hopefully this little novel of faeries, princes and Otherworld romance will keep readers warm through the long nights.  ^.^

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Of Kitties & Books & Shopping

Yesterday we adopted a new kitten.  Her name is Kobold (or, as I call her, Kobold Blue Marie Callahan - my husband says "No middle names", but this is one thing he'll just have to deal with.  ;).

She is only 12 weeks old and it's been a long time since I had a kitten that young.  Therefore, I'd forgotten how they do nothing but sleep, eat and mew.  She is *terrified* of Avery, who decided that she must be a new toy for him.  That bird...

I'm thrilled that Dearly, Departed arrived this week.  Of course I purchased it in hardcover, because the price is right.  I don't an ereader and I never will.  Give me something sturdy to hold in my hands, with pages to turn.

That said, as I said on Spooky Southcoast last Saturday, I know that ebooks are here to stay and that cannot be ignored.  So maybe I don't want an ereader, but plenty of other readers are enjoying the new technology!

Since it's Wednesday, I went to the thrift store on RAF Mildenhall.  The one on Lakenheath isn't quite as nice - it's larger and, while they both have that icky, musty smell, I find that the one on Mildenhall is easier to browse because it is smaller.  Plus, it's within walking distance.

Well, today I was excited to find "Tin Man" on DVD!  In fact, they had two copies there.  I snagged one for $2 and am very pleased.  My husband hasn't seen it yet (I don't think), and I'm sure that he will enjoy it as much as I do.

I also picked up "This is Spinal Tap" and have to decide if I should give it to my husband now or save it as a gift.  I have no idea if he has ever seen it, but part of me hopes that he hasn't.  I love, love, love showing him new movies that he has never seen, and watching his reaction.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Tonight's Appearance on "Spooky Southcoast"

Tonight I'll be appearing on the first hour of "Spooky Southcoast", beginning at 10 p.m. eastern standard time.  You can watch or listen here.

This paranormal show is broadcast from my home state of Massachusetts, not far from where I grew up.  The host and executive producer, Tim Weisberg, is friends with my sister - they went to high school together.  Tim appeared on last night's episode of "Ghost Adventures" with, YUM!, Zak Bagans as they explored the Lizzie Borden house back home.  (To this day, that woman's picture gives me the creeps.)

So maybe you'll tune in and hear me.

Maybe I'll sound like a zombie, because 10 p.m. in Massachusetts is 3 a.m. here.

But maybe that would be entirely appropriate, given the type of show it is.  ;)

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Necropolis Chronicles

It's been quiet on  my end, mostly because I'm writing, gaming (far too much), reading, cross-stitching, and working on puzzles.  So I thought I would share something a little different.

One of the projects that I've had the pleasure of working on in the past is the comic book, "Necropolis Chronicles".  This interview with Sequential Tart gives more information about the comic, which is the ongoing story of a high school student who has a rather subtle superpower, and doesn't yet know it...

I assisted my good friend, James Roberts, with editing and story ideas for Book 1 (issues 1 and 2), and contributed poetry for the Companion Guidebook.

He was also kind enough to ask me to write issue 3, which appears in Book 2.

Jim continues to upload the comic at Drunk Duck and Deviant Art, but if you would like something creepy to add to your comic book collection, you might enjoy Books 1 and 2.  The issues would also make a nice Halloween treat for somebody who enjoys a bit of YA supernatural horror.  ;)

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Lazy Long Weekend

You might have a different definition of "lazy" than me, but since I spent my entire weekend writing and gaming, didn't have to make dinner on Saturday or Sunday night, and didn't have to make lunch today, I consider that quite lazy.  :)

However, it will be the last lazy weekend for a while, as we have Social Obligations for the next three weekends.

Next weekend is a local Pagan autumn fair.  It sounds pretty relaxed and low-key: almost like a Pagan Pride Day lite with vendors and readers, and donations going to a good cause. 

The weekend after that is sketchy, with two options.  Either my husband will go to London to game with some buddies there, while I stay home, or he will stay home with me and we'll head to Bury St. Edmunds to see a friend's son's art show.

Regardless of what happens on that particular Saturday, I need to stay up late, late, late, because I am appearing on the first hour of Spooky Southcoast.  Since the show is broadcast from back home in Massachusetts and begins at 10 p.m., that means I must be ready to talk at 3 a.m. here, and I'll be falling into bed a little after 4 a.m. at the earliest.  But I'm excited about it! The show is broadcast from near my hometown and they are having me as a guest since I'd be considered a local dark urban fantasy author.  Dead Wrong is actually set in my hometown of Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Speaking of "urban", there's the amazing urban legends about the Bridgewater Triangle back home.  Oh yes, I've had a spooky experience there myself.  It's one of the places in Massachusetts that paranormal investigators visit often.  So if the paranormal intrigues you, I definitely urge you to check out the Spooky Southcoast website and radio show.

*Then* there's the weekend after *that*: Samhain weekend.  We are going to a costume party that weekend and I'm stoked.  I love costume parties and will certainly post photos.

Well, since my husband is home today (and he's cooking up quite the lunch for us), I hope to focus on writing.  However, I'm sure I'll get in a good amount of gaming today too.  ;)

How is your weekend starting off?

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Vampire Sex

This post is about exactly what the salacious title says: vampire sex.

While at work the other day, my husband's co-workers were asking him about vampire sex.  They wanted to know how it works.  Or, as they put it in their we're-just-frat-boys-in-the-Air-Force way:

"Maybe your wife can answer the age-old question... If a vampire is dead and has no blood pumping in its body, how does it sustain a boner? Does it get rigormortis of the penis, or some sort of magical perma-boner?"

Now, keep in mind two things:

1.  I wrote about vampires once.  I'm not a paranormal romance author.  I'm a dark/urban fantasy writer.  (In fact, the lack of romance makes it hard for me to find a publisher at times!)  I wrote about vampire sex twice in one story.

2.  The vampire in question was female.  There was no need for her to sustain an erection.

However, my guess based on my own personal enjoyment of paranormal romances (such as the Sookie Stackhouse serires) is this:

"I think that the blood a vampire ingests to sustain their existence probably also flows to their sexual organs.  Vampires often get excited when they feed, and they usually have sex as a part of that. They often bite during sex too, so I believe the "scientific" answer would be that the distribution of the blood includes their penis.  And, since the harder the better, the more blood they drink, the longer they last in bed."

Mind you, that's what I emailed my husband at work to share with his co-workers (one of whom is a sergeant who was thrilled to learn that there's some vampire sex in my short novella.  As he put it, "that's hot").

Also, the answer to that question has probably been tackled plenty of times by other people.  I'm sure that I'm not the only person to theorize about it, but I'm honestly not interested enough to research it.  I won't be writing about vampires ever again - they're more interesting for me to read about and don't really hold my interest for long as characters.  That's why my one vampire story is so short (though I have been working on a novelization due to numerous requests).

I wrote one other vampire story in my life, and that was heavily post-apocalyptic sci-fi.  Once again: not paranormal romance.

However, I hope I answered the question to my husband's co-workers' (all 3 of them) satisfaction.

It's a little - no, a lot - frustrating to be pegged as a paranormal romance writer, or when people *hope* that's what you are, when you are not one.  I was practically shaking my husband by the collar when he got home, saying, "I HOPE YOU TOLD THEM THAT I WRITE FANTASY?!  NOT THAT PARANORMAL ROMANCE CRAP!"


Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan 

Movies & Books

Yesterday was a lazy one, partially because I was stuck in an "I'm bored" funk.

Do you remember having those when you were a child?  They would always hit on a weekend day, and you would flop on your bed or sofa, and whine about being bored.

It doesn't happen to me as often as an adult, thank goodness!  Furthermore, it's funny to claim boredom when I am surrounded by things to do - not just writing, but reading, watching TV or DVDs, games to play, cross-stitching, crafts, my genealogical research...  My options are endless.

But I was in the "I'm bored" funk and there was no escaping it.

I was in the mood to do one thing yesterday: watch "Funny Farm".

My husband had never seen it.  I began compiling a list of movies he has not seen yet (we were able to check off "Sherlock Holmes" and "Funny Farm" this weekend.  Next up?  "Caddyshack" and the new "Indiana Jones" movie).

I think many authors can relate to Chevy Chase's character on "Funny Farm" at some point in their lives - whether it has to do with writer's block, not knowing where to start, or setting out to write something amazing only to fail yourself.

One of the best lines in the movie, and one writers can probably appreciate, happens when Andy (Chevy Chase) gets his wife, Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith), to read the first few chapters of his novel.  She *hates* it and he proceeds to give her a hard time about it.  Her response is the absolute best.  ;)

Andy: "You don't know a damn thing about writing!  You're a goddamn school teacher.  You're not an editor!"

Elizabeth (sobbing): "That's obvious.  I read the whole thing.  An editor would have stopped reading after the first paragraph."

Sometimes I feel that way about books.

No, that's not right.

Lately I feel that way about books.  It is very obvious that I am not choosing the right ones to read.  A few have been a battle, but I pushed through because I hoped the book would get better.  It's been quite a haul from here to the library.

Thank goodness I purchased Entwined by Heather Dixon.  It is a delightful retelling of the Grimm fairy tale, The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes (or The Twelve Dancing Princesses).  The language is very evocative of a fairy tale setting and it is the first book I have truly, truly enjoyed in a while.  ^.^

Well, I woke up today and decided that it would be a day to clean and organize other things for the week.  I want to write, but I think giving my brain a break has been good for it.  Thus far I spent today cleaning, doing laundry, writing letters (yes, snail-mail) to my nieces, signing a birthday card for one of those nieces, and rearranging my bookshelves.

The last one *had* to be done, because I collect Nancy Drews (from first editions through the 1960's/1970's yellow spine editions), and my caique almost always lands on that particular bookshelf.  I don't know why he favors that shelf or that bookcase - maybe because it's central to the room and the other one is in a corner.

So I swapped the books on the two bookcases completely.

I don't mind if my birdie chews on my manga, but I mind very much if he gnaws on one of the scarce WWII blue-letter cover (with dust jacket) Nancy Drews!  Even those yellow spines are precious.  Not only did I grow up with them, but I have made the effort to collect each of the picture cover variations.  So, yeah...  Not so keen on having those beaked.  ;)

My Nancy Drew collection and my genealogical research are two of the reasons my husband and I can relate so well to one another.  He's a collector too: of classic video games systems and *all* things Nintendo.

No, I'm not married to the Angry Video Game Nerd.

Just a kindred spirit when it comes to a love for childhood things and history. 

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan