Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
It was about a young girl who has gotten the part of an angel in her school play, but her wings are broken and she needs to find a new pair. She sees a woman, an angel, and follows her into a dark building, upstairs into the attic where Amelia finally gets the wings she's been looking for.
When I sat down to write FALLING HARD (which is available TODAY by the way!) this movie came back to me and I knew my angel’s name had to be Amelia. It’s funny how names come to you sometimes and just fit perfectly with the world you’re trying to create. Even the opening of the book was originally a scene with Amelia ascending a set of stairs in an old apartment building, her black leather trench coat flaring out behind her. At the top of the stairs she finds herself walking a dark and dingy corridor, approaching a room at the end of the hall.
This scene represented the beginning of my Angel’s journey to find herself and really earn her wings. (Yes, she technically has wings already, but there’s a metaphor there, I promise.)
Sadly, I cut the scene from the final version (it was really more of a Prologue, and we all know how editors feel about those), but as a special treat for Release Day you’ll be able to find it as an extra on my website, here.
Gabriel was another story. Traditionally, the Archangel Gabriel is known as the Messenger of God, and in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, he was the angel set to guard Paradise and when he found Satan there, he ordered him to leave. In Falling Hard, my hero carries Lucifer’s soul, and that was such a great burden to bear that I wanted him to have the name Gabriel as a counterpoint to the darkness inside him.
As a reader, how often do you read a book and really think about what the characters names mean? Have you ever thought the character in something you’re reading doesn’t suit the name he or she was given? As an author, do you put a lot of thought into naming characters and do you really think your readers notice?
To celebrate Release Day, I’ll be giving away a copy of FALLING HARD to a randomly chosen commenter here, but I’m also blogging at The Vauxhall Vixens, Maria Zannini’s blog, Julia Knight’s blog and the Romance Writers Revenge, and there will be chances to win on Twitter and Facebook.
Come Celebrate with me!
After a life filled with tragedy, rocker Gabriel Gunn thinks he's finally getting the better of his personal demons. Then he's attacked after a concert—and rescued by a warrior goddess brandishing a sword and white wings. As hard as it is to believe in an angelic bodyguard, Gabriel must face an even more impossible truth: he carries the devil's soul within him.
Amelia has been watching over Gabriel for years, using her angelic powers to prevent Lucifer's return. Now she must also protect him from warring angel factions with their own agendas. Amelia would do anything to avert another angelic war, even sacrifice her own emotions to avoid temptation. Yet with Gabriel she feels things she no longer wants to deny, and pleasure she never imagined.
But the closer Gabriel and Amelia get, the stronger Lucifer becomes. Will Amelia be forced to kill the man she's come to love to stop the war she's always feared?
J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.
Friday, July 15, 2011
A year and a half ago, I was an avid blogger. I ran a review blog called Debuts & Reviews, where I aspired to be THE source of new debut novels. Five months after my first publication, The Sevenfold Spell, I realized I couldn't run Debuts & Reviews anymore. And with great reluctance--I loved doing it--I converted D&R to a personal blog. Happily, I didn't take a huge hit in apparent follower numbers. But the number of posts at my blog are now very sporadic. I used to blog daily. Now I wonder where I found the time.
Actually, that's obvious. The time I once spent blogging, I now spend writing fiction.
My priority now has to be my fiction readers. I'm working very hard on my next story, and every evening, the hour or so I have for writing flies by, leaving little time for anything other than some minimal (very minimal) social networking.
Another thing that's changed is my agent search. It ended the day I got the call from Angela. Don't get me wrong; I'd love to find an agent. But I don't have anything novel-length to query right now (that hasn't already been seen by dozens of agents) and I'm focused on working on new stuff rather than fixing up the old.
Also, I no longer set aside works as easily as I once did. I'm writing through writer's block now--or at least I'm trying. Why? Because I need to finish another story. But it still has to be a good story. And as I write, I keep asking myself, will readers of The Sevenfold Spell be disappointed by this story? It's daunting. I do think that if you liked Talia, you will probably like Gretchen, the main character in my next retelling. But it's hard to be sure. I will only know when I finish it and see what my publisher thinks. And even if they like it, I won't be certain until it has faced the ultimate test ... the readers.
I hoped and worked toward the goal of getting published for many years. But in many ways, I wasn't prepared when it happened. I love it, but wow. It sure is a different mindset.
Have you ever worked toward a goal, only to find that everything changed once you reached it?
Monday, July 11, 2011
Recently I was a bit surprised when I read another blog someone stating something to the effect of, "M/M is written by straight women for the enjoyment of other straight women."
I've heard sentiments like that before. There are plenty of reasons--and myths--about why women in particular write M/M, anything from two hunky guys in bed must be better than one, right? to getting a chance to see guys be emotionally vulnerable to seeing a relationship without the built-in differences an M/F couple has. But--only by straight women for straight women? I don't think so.
I'm a bit of an exception to the stereotypical M/M writer. I'm not straight. Big, hunky alpha males don't do a thing for me. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a fine male figure, but more as a piece of art than an object of desire. Modern dancers? Those guys from Cirque du Soleil? Oh yeah. I could watch them all day. So why write about guys if they're not my thing?I've always liked to say I blame Mercedes Lackey for getting me started on M/M. I picked up her books in college after a long period of reading nothing at all and was hooked. And then I found Vanyel and finally understood what a gay relationship really was. Then gay characters started showing up in my fiction and never went away.
So that's one reason I write M/M. The other reason is because it's the type of relationship that makes the most sense to me. It's what comes naturally when I write, though I do have some M/F relationships in my work.
And since I don't have the requisite parts or, um, access to them, I do research. I have this nice deck of cards with all sorts of gay sex positions, including threesomes. (They have one for girls, too.) There's a fun site that uses those wooden art mannequins to show all sorts of combinations. (Sadly, I can't find the link at the moment, but if I do I'll update this.)
So what does this have to do with fantasy? One reason is that we can write characters that are gay or bi or trans or omnisexual without having to deal with the constraints forced on us by society. We can create worlds where being queer isn't a point of conflict; it's just a part of who the character is. The conflict can be the relationship, or saving the world, or rescuing a child, or whatever without having to focus on the character's need to come to terms with his/her own sexual orientation, which is what happens in a lot of mainstream books.
Besides--as SF/F writers, we get to play with magic and science when it comes to sexuality. Enter Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex. This is an awesomely cool book written in the manner of anything from protozoa to bats asking sex advice Dear Abby style. It shows a huge range of sex and procreation techniques, all of which are natural and "normal," and provides some lovely story ideas.
So, for me, M/M is not about all the hot mansex (though it's certainly fun to write.) It's got story. It's got the same human issues as "straight" romance, fantasy, mystery, whatever--not just gay issues. When the sex comes, there are reasons for it other than pure lust. And while I understand why M/M is so often a separate "genre," there's a large part of me wishing it didn't have to be differentiated. It ought to belong in the romance section, because it's romance, just with two guys instead of a guy and a girl. M/M has the same diversity within the "genre" as any M/F book, and is equally well-written.
So if straight women like my work, great, but I hope it reaches out to a vaster audience and that I write something everyone can relate to on one level or another.
And before I go, here are a few of my favorite print fantasy authors who feature LGBT characters: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series with Deborah J. Ross continuing it, Nicola Griffith, Kelley Eskridge, Samuel R. Delany, Lynn Flewelling, Sherwood Smith, Steven Leigh/S.L. Farrell, Pearl North and Steven Harper.
So why do or don't you read M/M? Why do you write it if you do?
Friday, July 8, 2011
|Lindsey, me, Toni. The people behind us are fascinated by the singer passing plates with one hand while he belts into the mike with the other.|
|Yes, the songstress is standing on the bench behind Toni. Things like this make it difficult to save publishing.|
|Bordello-style decorating at Madame X, home of Lady Jane's Salon. Yeah. I could work here.|
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I always have the hardest time in the summer writing. The kids are off their daily schedule, and so am I. But when I'm traveling, it's even harder. I want to have fun and vacation. I'm away from my desktop computer, dealing with my trusty (and old) laptop. And I don't have the familiar stuff around--the chaos of my desk, my favorite pens--to put me in that writerly mode.
I'm spending the summer with my mother out West with the kids. We started here (see picture below), in Bend, Oregon. Yeah, snow in the summer. Cool.
Then we traveled by bus to Portland, where we caught the train at Union Station.
All on our way to reach Seattle, Washington, where I've been staying for two weeks. I've been to the Gay Pride parade, seen fireworks over Gas Works Park, and walked all over the place, from Queen Anne to Freemont and then some.
I told myself I'd start working come the 1st of July. And I did. Edits, a new manuscript, more edits and proofs. I have to work at night, when the kids are asleep. It's challenging trying to find the magic to write when I'm exhausted and want nothing more than to fall into bed. But I've already finished the first chapter on a new project, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I continue to work at a steady rate. Even though we're heading back to Bend this weekend. But at least we'll settle there for the rest of the summer. And hopefully I'll get my stuff done. How's your summer going? Productive? Lazy? Or just plain tired? :)
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
So, oops, I was supposed to post yesterday. I've been doing this lately--forgetting to blog on my various groups. Which is a shame, really, because I find the group blogs a lot more fun than my personal one. Yesterday was a holiday here in the US, of course, and my husband and I went off to a local Renaissance Faire, so I have some sort of excuse, but really? I just plain forgot.
It's been that kind of summer for me. And it's only July. I really need to kick my butt back into gear. I got very little written last month, and I've got deadlines approaching. Also, when I don't write I tend to get cranky, and well...let's just say my family wants me to get back to work as well.
I think I see my brain laughing and sticking its tongue out at me from under my desk.
The problem with a creative career, like writing, is sometimes the ideas just don't want to flow, for any number of reasons. Sometimes it's when I have submissions out, and the waiting-to-hear nerves get the best of me, or right after a disappointing rejection. Sometimes it's because I'm stressed about something else in my life, like my husband's job or my kids. Other times it's seasonal, the heat of summer or doldrums of winter, but not usually this early in the summer. No matter which it is this time, (and truthfully, it's a little of each) I don't like it, and I definitely need to kick it.
My usual approach to this has been, 1) if I'm not on a tight deadline, work on another project. Sometimes switching gears will re-ignite the fuse. 2) MAKE myself sit in the chair, give myself a minimum number of words, and keep going until I hit that word count even if it's dreck. Often just the process of writing will get me jazzed to continue. My third strategy? That one seems to be sit and play minesweeper and whine.
Yeah, that's not such a good one. Bad author, no biscuit!
I think today it's going to be, "no fun for you until you hit 1K." And we'll see where it goes from there.
I'd love to hear how you manage to beat the writer's block blues. Leave a message below. If you're a reader who doesn't have to worry about that, just tell me how you're enjoying your summer. I'll pick one commenter at random by midnight tonight to receive a free download of one of my short stories (Ellora's Cave Quickies, TEB Lust Bites, or Wild Rose Press Mini-Roses.) Meanwhile, I'm off to get back to work.
Friday, July 1, 2011
When I started the book that became the world of my recent release The Devil's Garden, however, I barely had the character on the page before she started conjuring things. She was very determined to do things her way, and she insisted that to speak was to create. I got to thinking about that phrase and realized it was very godlike. Coincidentally, this was also a character who told me her name right off, and it happened to be the name of a male Egyptian god. By that point, I was pretty much under her thumb.
That character didn't end up in The Devil's Garden, though hopefully you'll get to meet her in the future. What did end up there was the system of magic, and a world in which each city-state along a vast, Nile-like river was ruled over by the god who spoke it into being. The god in this story is only a secondary character. It's the human heroine Ume Sky who is "magical" here, and it's a very ordinary magic: the power to seduce.
Ume is a courtesan at the temple of the god, and she gives her body to her patrons as an act of sacred sex; as a temple courtesan she is the human embodiment of the divine.
It's this concept of the divine in all of us that interests me more, the magic that each of us creates in the world every day simply by being alive—and always with the power of our words. A certain friend of mine would say this is a little "woo-woo." He's an atheist and a very pragmatic person. The thing is, so am I—perhaps a somewhat animistic atheist with pagan leanings, but an atheist nonetheless. I have a concept of the "divine" that has nothing to do with any external deity. (Yes, I realize this is a contradiction in terms, but I've always been difficult.)
But as Orson Scott Card says in How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy (a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to write speculative fiction), every system of magic must have a price. And the price the gods pay in The Devil's Garden is losing their own humanity. Like Ume, they give a little bit of themselves with every act of magic, until they no longer have the power even to rule their own lives.
If you could speak things into being, what kind of trouble would you get up to? Tell me in the comments and I'll choose one commenter at random to win a copy of The Devil's Garden. (Don't forget to provide an email address where I can notify you or to check back on Saturday to find out if you're the winner!)