Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Goblins, Elves, and Art

A huge and magical thank you to Megan Derr for hosting me on the Goblins blog tour!

Today I’m going to show you some of the picspiration for my fantasy series, Goblins. I am, after all, a frustrated artist. My hands suck at drawing, so I type my fantasy ideas instead. *grin*

I am obsessed with art, and photography. My favourite artists are a mix of classical and bizarre; Aubrey Beardsley, Brian Froud, Jan Pienkowski. I also love Arthur Rackham:

Arthur Rackham illustration ~ from Das Rheingold

I love anything beautiful and sinister. Fairy tale illustrations that intrigue and scare you a little bit are my favourite.

My favourite painter is J.W. Waterhouse, because I also love ancient Greek mythology. Waterhouse was famous for painting lithe and pale beauties, male and female.

Waterhouse ~ The Naiad

When I was writing the first Goblins story, my focus was very much on the goblins themselves, the ‘baddies’ of the forest. I don’t tend to write plots; once I’m going I’ll just write what comes… (ha, ha)… and in this story, one of the elves made an appearance.

What I wanted for my elves (and what I love about paintings like the Waterhouse above) is the way the pale, human-like bodies are almost at one with the trees. So the way I wrote Elfren, my elf who makes a guest spot in the tales, is that he very much blends into the forest, and materialises out of the greenery.

All of my goblins and elves wear the forest as clothes, in leaves and vines (the elves are summery, the goblins are wintery) but Elfren is also covered in faeries, no bigger than butterflies.

I loved that aspect so much; it’s both my ode to Peter Pan and also so I could get in a joke about Elfren’s faery entourage. There will be more of the faeries to come, when Elfren has his turn at a story.

Art and inspiration plays such a huge part of the Goblins series, because each and every scene is total fantasy. I wanted to create pretty and romantic images; stills for the brain, in a way. One of the reasons that we ended up with original illustrations for the first book was that imagery was so important.

I’ll leave you now with a very pretty picture. Photography that inspires my goblin characters (as they’re all shape-shifters), and I am a huge fan of masks, and/or big hair, so this one is a double win for me:


In the 17th Century, the ancient sprawl of Epping forest is bursting with magic and those who go unseen by human eyes: the elves who rule the summer court, and the goblins who rule the winter court. It is said that if a human catches the eye of one of the fey, they are either doomed or blessed.

Wulfren & the Warlock

When Wulfren wakes from a strange dream of a human captor with long silver hair, and grey eyes, his brothers tell him they rescued him from a warlock, and take Wulfren back home to the goblin king's palace. But Wulfren isn’t so sure the matter is that simple. Why was he missing so long? What are the strange dreams of the beautiful man with the silver hair? Dalliances with humans are severely frowned upon, especially by Wulfren’s father, but Wulfren is willing to risk the scorn of his family to find the human who haunts his dreams.

Quiller & the Runaway Prince

After a hard winter, Quiller is sent deep into the forest on a family errand, and is surprised when a human stumbles into his path. Quiller swoops in to pester him, perhaps even eat him, but there is something special about the human: his scent is royal, though he protests that he is not, and soon Quiller finds himself agreeing to help the human with his troubles—in exchange for a kiss.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Guest Post: Michelle Moore

Greetings, readers ^__^ I am hosting the lovely Michelle Moore today for the start of her tour. She's a new and wonderful addition to LT3. Love her story, and awesome to work with. Onward!


Writing “Wishes” fell somewhere in between “write what you know” and “make up what you wish was real”.  In clearer language (since I write and all), it meant using some real places for inspiration, and then tweaking them up a little to fit my need.  Kind of like finding that perfect recipe for boeuf bourguignon, and replacing the red wine with hard cider.  Yeah, okay, so I’m no chef, I admit it.

The story takes place in the imaginary-but-should-be-real town of Playa Escondida in northeastern Florida.  It’s between Jacksonville and Daytona, about fifteen miles south of St. Augustine, or more specifically, south of Washington Oaks Gardens and north of Flagler Beach.  You know, if it really existed.

“But Michelle,” I’m sure you’re asking, “Now we know where the town is, but what about the coffee shop hinted at in your title?  What’s the inspiration for that?” 

Direct your gaze below.

Welcome to Crucial Coffee of St. Augustine, the inspiration for Café D’Or.

I’ve been totally enchanted by Crucial Coffee since my first visit umpteen years ago, in the days before I even liked coffee.  I know, words of sacrilege there.  What can I say?  I was young, I was foolish, I hadn’t yet learned to love that magical bean.  The building itself was like something out of a novel… ancient, with dark corners and a wooden floor worn down with use, tropical gardens filled with fairy lights.  What more could you ask for in a setting?

How about this?  A spectacularly stunning Milky Way Mocha, topped with a chocolate squiggly thing made fresh daily.  Okay, so maybe a drink isn’t actually a setting, but it sure adds to the ambiance.  And we’re just talking about how it looks.  I could write epic rhapsodies about how it tastes.

So there you have it.  Imaginary-but-should-be-real places inspired by places that are definitely worth a visit.  “If Wishes Were Coffee”, the story of a special little town in Florida where it’s never too late to find love.

The second band of rain rolled in like a gray curtain, visibility dropping to less than a foot outside the door. The terracotta roof tiles amplified the sound of the downpour to a drumming roar that gave the espresso machine a run for its money, and Todd used it to cover a muttered "fuck" as he struggled to slide the door shut. It was the original one from when Café Oro had been a plantation summer kitchen, solid wood with hand-forged nails, mounted on an iron track, and a hundred pounds of heavy.
Rita's fear of change meant that once the sun was gone, the light in the shop was murky at best, the track lighting tucked up where the walls and roof met mostly hidden by bottles of syrup and the two gross of extra cups. She thought it added to the atmosphere. Todd thought it was setting them up for a trip and fall lawsuit, given the uneven brick floor. At least he knew enough to shuffle his feet when he walked.
"I love the lighting in here." The third girl (Tall-and blonde) waggled her fingers at him in a small wave. "It's really romantic. Do you do candles, too?"
Not the most subtle of questions, given the two candles on the table in front of her, samples of the ones for sale on the crowded shelves, tucked in with kitschy bits of seashell art and mugs from the local pottery. The two on the table had the least offensive smell of the bunch, though. Something called Sunset Waves, in a virulent shade of orange never seen in nature, and scented with fake citrus.
"Sure thing. Let me light those two on the table for you."
The rumble of the door sliding open interrupted his search for matches, and Todd glanced up with his first genuine grin of the afternoon. "Hey, make sure you close that thing behind you."
"Yeah, whatever. I don't work here." Daniel Connel, downstairs neighbor and poster child for the official beach bum society, laughed and flipped him off. "I'm a customer. That means I can do whatever I want." Never one to shirk on following through, he nodded to the trio in the chairs and wandered behind the counter, grabbing a cup with one hand and the coffee pot with the other.
Todd rolled his eyes. "Dude, you're going to get me fired. That whole not working here thing?" Finally coming up with the matches, inexplicably tucked in a tacky mermaid mug with a tail handle and prominent boobs, he missed Daniel's reply when he bent over to light the candles.
While the light might have been construed as romantic, the smell was anything but, an odd mixture of spoiled orange juice and industrial cleaner. Tall-and-blonde managed something that if not quite a smile, at least wasn't a grimace, and Todd felt impressed in spite of himself. If he'd been sitting inches away, instead of steadily tiptoeing away, gagging would've been on the agenda.

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
 Todd and Daniel have been dancing around each other for almost a year, both afraid to take that step past ‘just friends’. Then Todd waits on a customer who introduces himself as Joshua, and leaves Todd a strange message in the form of a spell-infused coffee sleeve, gifting him with love at first sight. Their first sight long-since gone, Todd and Daniel both see the magical present as the potential end to any chance they have together.

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Michelle Moore has a well-documented obsession with travel, television, frappaccinos and flamingos. These, however, come in a distant second to her love of writing. Most evenings she can be found huddled over her laptop at the local Starbucks, dividing her time between actually writing and pretending to be a barista. While Michelle would like to claim child prodigy status, the truth is that she’s only been scribbling words on paper since she was six. However, she’s moved beyond those initial Dick and Jane story knock-offs to slightly more adult topics (but not necessarily more mature characters).

Michelle has discovered that romance, her genre of choice, just so happens to do that peanut butter-n-chocolate thing with such varied flavors as science fiction, magical realism and historicals. No matter which mishmash she chooses, though, her style tends towards the sweet end of the spectrum.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Audiobooks and Me Trying (and Failing) Not to Freak Out

So as many know LT3 is doing audiobooks now. We have teamed up with Red Planet Audiobooks. They are pretty much made of magnificent.

As ever, I am the guinea pig. This is partly so we can work kinks out so we do not bring harm to our authors, and also because my books sell pretty well so I'm a good starting point. I always kind of feel like an egotripping jerky mcjerkface, but I promise my mad cackling is only because someone keeps letting me mix my own drinks (90% vodka, 10% sour mix) and not because I'm a power-tripping crazy person (well, not power-tripping).

Voice actors have been enthusiastically approved for Prisoner and Backwoods Asylum. They're both goddamn awesome. Prisoner will be voiced by Sean Crisden and Backwoods by Paul Morey, for the curious. The cool part was that Mr. Morey did two different readings for Backwoods and I swear to god it was like two different people.

I'm doing my first ever book reading at GRNW this coming Friday and after listening to the above all I feel is woefully inadequate ^^;;;;;  ::hides::

But back to the audiobooks, I am stoked. It's really fucking weird hearing my books, not something I thought would ever happen in a million years.

If you're curious what other audiobooks are currently on the roster, here is the list through Sept 2014:

Backwoods Asylum
Dance with the Devil
Saving Liam
Dragon Slayer
Finding the Wolf
Breaking the Shackles
Stealing the Dragon
Melting the Ice Witch
The Party Boy's Guide
The Missing Butterfly
Love You Like a Romance
Signal to Noise
A Shadow of a Dream
Midsummer's Moon
Midsummer Curse
Midsummer Law

I hope peeps inclined toward audiobooks enjoy ^__^ Thank you thank you to everyone for supporting LT3 and helping us reach this point <3 p="">
In other news, my very silly tentacle story Wriggle & Sparkle has been contracted by Yaoifix. Rin Sparrow is made of awesome and I love her to death. I've also agreed to write a second story to follow it, so if you like stories about silly paranormal FBI-type agents with a side of tentacle porn (and let me tell you, writing tentacle porn is weird. I love love love anthro, though, so any excuse to push myself on that point is fly by me and I really love Lynn and his unicorn love interest) then stay tuned and I'll let you know when it's going to go live at Yaoifix ^___^

Aaaand that's all I've got for now. Peace out, my lovelies ^__^ I hope the coming week treats you well. If you're going to be at GRNW, can't wait to see you!!!

Writing for love and money

So Tess Sharpe posted a twitter discussion recently about writing books for love vs. writing books for money . But the main take away, f...