Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Happy holidays, everyone! In the interest of catching all of my lovely patrons at once and not creating loads of posts that no one has time to read at this very busy time of year, I'm putting everything into one post. (This is where the shocked face goes.) That's right! Let's do it all at once, and let's all enjoy each other's levels of patronage. <3

Latest interviews

Interview with me

I was hosted on Marina Raydun's blog, and I answered questions like who my literary crush is and who my literary hero is. I've never been asked either of those questions, so you won't find these answers anywhere else. I also talked about what I've written in the past that makes me cringe now, what my favorite under-appreciated novel is, and what novel I wish I'd written. Check it out here. 

Interview hosted by me

For the last Creative Edge Writer's Showcase of the year, I interviewed YA fantasy author Jenna Greene. We covered a good range of topics, including how Jenna makes time to write, the themes she tries to include in her YA books, specific inspirations for characters and emotions in her novels, and more. 

Listen on SoundCloud: https://bit.ly/2QJn6xZ

Holiday puppy

This little girl doesn't like to be decorated in Christmas things. She doesn't like little reindeer antler headbands or holiday-themed skirts, but she let me take a couple of pictures of her draped in gold beads. Then she lay down and wouldn't look at me anymore. That's what she does when she doesn't want any more pictures taken! She also sometimes goes to the extreme of trying to hide her head under someone's arm, which she doesn't realize is equally adorable. 

So this is Christmas puppy!

All the patron levels!

Holiday haiku (Gratitude Coffee level: $1/month)

We live in a society of conveniences, and we're always looking to cut corners on time. But memories can only be made when we're willing to spend the time to make them. That's what inspired today's haiku. Don't miss out on time with loved ones because you're trying to be efficient and get everything done. Try to carve out some hours to do things you'll always remember, things that means something to you and your family and friends. 

Don’t buy cookies to
save time, bake them with loved ones
to save memories. 

Writing inspiration (In The Know Coffee level: $3/month)

I saw something a little while ago that I really liked, and it's something I'd love to put in a story. 

This ornate box is amazing! It seems like something that should hold serious secrets, and you know secrets are my writing thing. Can you imagine what someone would put in there? Sure, they could use it for show, but maybe they chose something this gorgeous because it's meant to hold a secret just as grand. 

And where would something like this be hidden if it's keeping a major secret? It could be under the staircase, in a locked drawer of a desk, or maybe in plain sight. After all, who goes around trying to open boxes in a friend's home? 

It's not definite, but this just might make an appearance in one of my books. 

My favorite holiday movies (Post-Movie Coffee Chat level: $8/month)

There are a few movies I love that have the holiday season in them. Let's skip the obligatory Home Alone '90s brilliance and move on to other things. 

The Lion in Winter, 1968

  • In terms of comedy, every year I watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with my family, and it's always a really good laugh. Chevy Chase's frustrations and failures with trying to create the perfect Christmas for his family and impossible in-laws never fail to make me laugh and put me in the Christmas mood.
  • Another Christmas comedy I love is The Man Who Came To Dinner, starring the hilarious Monty Woolley (who I'd never seen in a film before I watched this one), Bette Davis, Billie Burke, and Ann Sheridan. Jimmy Durante pops in too. It's a 1942 film about a famous author who slips and falls on the ice outside an innocent couple's house, and they offer to take him in until he heals. Well, everyone visits him while he's there, and he interrupts their entire Christmas. Oh, the drama! It's a very fun comedy-romance. 
  • Drama is headed not by It's a Wonderful Life! My choice is My Reputation, starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent, two of my favorites. This one revolves around a recently divorced widow who is utterly lonely without her husband, but she finds herself also sick of her mother's and society's expectations of her. They try to dictate how she looks, who she spends time with, and where she goes, but she's had enough. It's a very telling piece about the time with an unrealistic but romantic ending. I watch it every year!
  • Finally, let's dig into historical fiction. How about the dramatic The Lion in Winter (1968), which stars Katharine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, an extremely young Anthony Hopkins (pre-Hannibal), and an extremely young Timothy Dalton (pre-James Bond). You will die (DIE!) when you see Hopkins and Dalton so extremely young! This was only Hopkins's second appearance on the big screen, and it was Dalton's first. WOW! Well they'll blow you away, and of course Hepburn and O'Toole are fabulous as always. The movie takes place during Christmas in 1183, with Henry II bringing his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, back from the tower where he keeps her locked away. He's deciding which of his three sons will be his successor, and he, Eleanor, and the sons engage in a battle of manipulation and degradation the likes of which you've never seen. It's worthy of Shakespeare! 

Upcoming ARC (Advanced Reader Coffee level: $15/month)

I decided to hold off on sharing that ARC of "Focal Point" because it's a bit of a downer until you get to the end. That's probably not what you want to read during the holiday season, so I'll share it in January instead. That's a bleak month anyway, right? 

I'll have it for you in .mobi (trying Kindle Create for the first time!) and PDF. I'm not sure about ePub. But I'll be asking you whether you think I should release this as a standalone short story or not. I can't decide. It could be $0.99, and it could be my first Kindle Select publication, or maybe it shouldn't be since the subject matter is so serious (a woman is slashed on the streets of a city). That will be my question to you. 

How I Write Horror Stories (Love of Reading Coffee level: $25/month)

You know I've been writing horror short stories that I want to comprise an anthology, and I thought I'd be able to do that this year, but (luckily) my editing business has been swamped, leaving me no time to write. But the question is how I write my horror shorts. 

I used to watch loads of horror movies until one scared me so badly, I was never able to watch another one. That's a shame because I loved them! They have some of the most interesting story lines, twists and turns, and amazing uses of ambiance that inspire me. I've taken those things that I used to love in movies and turned them into my strategy for building written horror. 

I make sure to include unpredictability as well as things that are scary because of the unknown, because of the main character's lack of understanding of what's happening to them, and because of the lack of control for the main character. That's my checklist for writing horror. Nothing typical, the point is not gore or a terrifying monster. Take a look at "The Subtlety of Terror," my first horror short story that was released as a standalone, and see if you find those elements included. 

Levels above this are Collaboration Coffee ($50/month) and Have Your Cake Too Coffee ($100/month), and they include chatting one on one, so there's nothing to write here for that. They'd be letting me know what they want to see me write so I can do that for them or they can ask me unlimited questions about writing, editing, and creativity.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! See you in 2019!