Thursday, February 23, 2017

Meet My Characters: Dacey Sinnett & Marcus von Rottal

Joining in again with the weekly blog linkup hosted by WhimsyAndNoir!  This week's characters are ones that I've written about before here.  However, I know I have some new readers, so I'd like to reintroduce them!

(vibes // Dacey Sinnett & Marcus von Rottal)

Dacey Sinnett & Marcus von Rottal

Dacey Sinnett and Marcus von Rottal are my leading vampires.  Well, one is much more than that but I'll leave it to the books to give you that story.  They are featured in the ROAM series and helm their own story as antihero protagonists in the prequel, The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett.  They're also perpetually entwined in, an admittedly, unhealthy and deeply passionate relationship.  I tend to refer to them as my "problematic favorites" for a reason.

The invention of Dacey's character was rather serendipitous for me.  At the time of writing the first ROAM book, I had a vague plan in mind for Ethan Roam's journey.  I won't post spoilers but those that have been reading along with the newest book, HUNTER, will probably know what I'm referring to here.  It was an "idea" but the roles hadn't really been cast, so to speak.

Enter a chapter where I have to tackle a definite issue in Dr. Grady Hunter's life.  He was always meant to have a literal tryst with Death (*wink*) in the form of a vampire.  It was a solid life event for his character that I wasn't going to back down from.  In order to move the story forward, I had to create a vampire that I felt would have been compelling enough to entice someone as guarded, jaded, and sharp-witted as Grady.  And thus, Dacey was born.

I definitely looked to the works of my favorite writer, Oscar Wilde, for inspiration.  In many ways, Dacey is my take on a vampiric iteration of a mixture of Oscar himself and his most famous character, Dorian Gray.  Then, I sprinkled a bit of 80's neo-romantic goth vibe on top and ended up with a character that I absolutely adore writing.  And definitely one that would keep Grady, and pretty much everyone else, on their toes.

Dacey is a natural telepath and insatiable flirt.  Wouldn't you be too, if you could easily read the minds of everyone that was attracted to you?  He was born in 19th century France and worked as a cabaret pianist and street illusionist until he became a vampire.  From there, he joins forces with his sire, Marcus, as the second half of a deadly duo of dandies bent on commanding an existence based solely in pleasure and luxury.  That is, until everything begins to go wrong. 

(vibes // Marcus von Rottal)

Once I had made the big decision about Dacey's ultimate destiny, it became quite clear that I needed to map out his backstory and share it with readers as well.  I felt the best way to do this was to ease the audience in with a moment that would link both the prequel and segue this "idea" into the sequel.  Marcus' appearance at the Halloween party in ROAM was precisely for this purpose.  At that time, he's simply introduced as Dacey's sire and former lover.  The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett tells that story in full and establishes the setup for the events that will transpire in HUNTER.

 ("The Picture of Dorian Gray" ~ Oscar Wilde)

Marcus is an Austrian aristocrat that took up procuring and dealing occult antiques (Usually "black market" as they're almost always stolen.) in order to maintain his preferred lifestyle.  Circumstances lead him to meet Dacey and, for both, it's love at first sight.  He finds himself spending the rest of his existence with a chaotically possessive obsession for keeping Dacey at his side.  He's clever, manipulative, and not the least bit afraid to leave a situation with blood on his hands or his dinner jacket.

Whereas Dacey wants to explore everything and everyone that the world has to offer, Marcus has a sharp singular focus -- and that's Dacey.

Where do they go from here?

Currently, you can read more about them in HUNTER, which is available chapter by chapter, bi-weekly on Wattpad.  I'll be releasing the Kindle and paperback editions later this Spring.  They will also be returning for more action in the forthcoming novel DREAM WEAVER.

Don't be afraid to leave comments letting me know which characters you'd like to see featured here.  I'd love to hear your suggestions or thoughts on the ones I've already posted!  Also, please feel free to play along with the blog linkup.  I can't wait to meet your characters as well!

As always, thanks for reading! ♥


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Meet My Characters: Ethan Roam & Dr. Grady Hunter

WhimsyAndNoir is hosting a new weekly blog linkup for creators to share their original characters!  You can join in on your own blog by using this graphic and linking back to her and/or sharing your characters through social media with the hashtag #MeetMyCharacters so that everyone can find each other.

This week, I'm featuring my two main leads.

Ethan Roam & Dr. Grady Hunter

(Dr. Grady Hunter & Ethan Roam)

Ethan & Grady are the two main protagonists of the ROAM series.  If you're reading the books then you probably already know them well.  I also illustrate them from time to time, which you can see on my IG.

Ethan is one of the first original characters I'd ever created.  His first iteration came into being over a decade ago in a role-play group.  His powers were much different back then (He used to just be a telepath.) but his personality was exactly the same. (Fun Fact: Benny the Werehuahua was another character I created at the same time for the same group.  So, they've actually been friends for a while. *wink*)

I loved his character so much that I knew I needed to bring him to life in story format.  Creating that story was a long on and off process over the past few years but everything finally clicked together and I began officially writing ROAM in 2015.

(Ethan "vibes" // Inspiration)

Ethan is a musically inclined college student that very quickly finds his life turned upside down by the onset of inherent supernatural powers that he was previously unaware of.  He has the ability to dream travel, among other things, and his powers only intensify as the story moves forward.

Ethan isn't exactly shy but he is a bit clumsy and self-deprecating.  He's also adorably innocent and overly optimistic; traits that both impair him and bolster him through his life's journey. 

(Grady "vibes" // Inspiration)

Early on in the story, Ethan meets Dr. Grady Hunter in a peculiar introduction that ultimately teams them together as partners (both professionally and intimately).

Grady's backstory is as interesting as his current one and I won't lie, I have definitely thought about writing a Grady-based prequel.  No promises.  For now, his personal history is divulged to the reader through dialogue and memories.

Grady is another character that I first created several years ago.  Originally, I'd planned to write my first novel about him and what is now his past.  Ultimately, that never came together but once I thought of combining his story with Ethan's everything fell into place.

Grady, a bit older than Ethan, is a mysterious and charming alternative healer.  At least, that's what he wants you to believe.  Really, he's a British monster hunter haunted by personal demons with questionable motives of his own.

He's quick-witted, handsome, and fairly formidable in a fight.

Together, Grady and Ethan find that they make a rather dynamic duo; whether that means facing paranormal foes or finding balance and comfort in each other.

Where do they go from here?

I'm currently on the last few chapters of writing HUNTER and then you're going to have to wait a bit for more of  them.  I know, I know.  I'm evil.  BUT it's really important to the timeline of the overall story that I go ahead and write the spinoff, DůO, before rejoining you with Ethan and Grady in the third installment, DREAM WEAVER.  They won't be disappearing anytime soon, however.  I'll still illustrate them and I'm sure they'll show their faces in other projects that I have cooking up.  I honestly can't imagine not working with them in some capacity on a fairy regular basis because (though I love all of my characters) they are my favorites.

If you're a writer, artist, etc. that has created original characters and would like to join in, please visit WhimsyAndNoir for more details!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Author Q&A: Getting Into Character

Today I'm taking the time to answer a few questions I've received over social media so that the information is available to everyone.  Recently, I've mostly been asked about my characters so I'll devote this post just to them.  Here goes!

You deal with a lot of different characters in your books.  Do you have an organizational system to keep up with them?

Instant guilt trip.  I wish I were more organized!  haha
What I have are several notebooks filled with character details.  They are not curated in any sane or functional manner.  I just know where each one is in which book if I ever need to refer back.  I really do need to make an actual character compendium at some point to make my life easier but for now my process is flipping back and forth through various spiral notebooks. 

I'm an aspiring writer but I feel like I need to improve at making my characters relatable.  Your characters feel very real when I'm reading about them.  Any advice for a beginner?

Thank you!  Knowing people feel that they can relate to my characters means a lot to me.  As far as advice goes, I recommend fleshing out your characters as deeply as possible.  It's much more than just their appearance or what will happen to them in the story.  You have to know their hopes, fears, passions, distastes, and quirks.  Above all, give them each a central motivation that they never stray from in all of their actions.  I plan on writing a blog post about character creation in the near future, so I'll get more detailed with this then.  Another helpful practice is to "run scenes" with yourself.  You will sound crazy but do it anyway.  Speak the dialogue out loud; act it out.  It's a great way to decide how you'll describe their expressions and tone.  If you want your characters to feel real, you have to convince yourself that they are real.

Dacey was my favorite character in ROAM and I enjoyed getting a story all about him [in The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett].  Are there any other ROAM characters that you plan on giving their own books to?

It's something I've considered but that I don't have any definite plans for.  There are two spin-off stories in the works that I've mentioned before but neither will feature a ROAM character as the lead. Although, they will have cameos or play supporting roles to the new characters.

Feel free to send questions my way any time!  I enjoy hearing your feedback.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spirits At Tea Time - Interview with Gaby of Whimsy and Noir

Everyone loves a good webcomic, including myself, and my friend Gaby of Whimsy and Noir just so happens to write and illustrate an extremely cute and spooky one!  Spirits At Tea Time introduces us to a very friendly ghost named Misty that isn't quite ready to leave the world of the living.

The newest installment releases today and I had a chance to ask its creator a few questions about her creative process and what we can expect.

Dez: What made you choose to create a webcomic?  Any tips/advice for other artists that might be considering this route?

Gaby: I love drawing and creating characters and stories, so a webcomic seemed like the perfect way to blend the two together. It's just something I'd been wanting to try my hand at for the longest time, after really getting into comics a couple of years ago. And in researching how they are put together: so many of the comics and the artists I most admire do the work digitally, and so I figured, "it's now or never". I bought a graphics tablet and haven't looked back since. Writing itself is not my strongest point, (and also takes more time for me), so instead of writing a novel, drawing this story idea I had in my head and releasing it in bits and pieces at a time seemed the way to go. I'm still very new at this whole thing and learning as I go, so I don't know what kind of advice I really have to give other than "go for it!"  One thing I've come to realize is that there's really no 'wrong' or 'right' way to do this webcomic-creating thing, it's just a matter of finding what works for you. It doesn't *have* to be drawn out digitally.. it doesn't even have to be drawn that well! Like all things, it's something that takes practice and evolves over time. It's fun to see yourself improve as you go forward, so if you have an idea but are too scared that you aren't "good enough" for it, (like I was/sometimes still am), don't let that hold you back and just try it! There are so many resources and places out there where you can get started and upload your work. Just have fun!

D: The ghost in your story, Misty, seems pretty sweet and friendly.  Is there anything about her past human life that you can give us a peek into?

G: Misty is the sweetest! To be honest, (at this point in time), her back story is as much a mystery to me as it is to you guys, (the readers)! If we go back into the Prologue, we had that whole scene with Misty getting scolded by the older ghost-lady about how she's not supposed to actually interact with the living. Like most ghosts in other stories we are familiar with, Misty has 'unfinished business' down here on Earth. What that business is, however, she doesn't know. It's sort of her mission to figure it out herself, so that she can cease being a ghost and 'cross over'.  But she currently can't actually remember anything about  when she was alive, (not even her real name), and she certainly isn't in a rush to find out!

She is a lonely, restless spirit, and still technically a young girl who left this world too soon.. and she still wants to live. She loves being around people and wants to help and be everyone's friend.

Like I said, I myself am not sure how this part of the story will all play out yet. I have ideas, but I want Misty to have some fun adventures before she gets down to business.

D: Do you personally identify with any of your characters or are they all much different from yourself?  I'm pretty sure I already know the answer but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

G: It's so funny that you're asking this, because lately I've been getting some serious "Teenage Me" vibes when writing/drawing out the character of Melissa. And it's been completely unintentional!  Outwardly, she definitely reminds me of me at her age: I was totally that punk rock/emo/Hot Topic kid in high school, and I really wish I had good enough photos to show you.. I was super influenced by the emo and goth musicians in the bands I was into at the time, (AFI, My Chemical Romance, Avenged Sevenfold, to name a few),coming up with similar outfits like they wore, or how I used to dye my hair pitch black. And I did have this awesome AFI hoodie that I loved, (but that ended up stolen and I never saw it again!).

Also, I don't know how clear it is yet from the little interaction we've had with her so far, but it will become apparent in Chapter Two just how moody of a teen Melissa can be. I'd like to say that I wasn't like that at all.. but I definitely had my moments! (sometimes still do..) Other than that, though, I can't say that I was gutsy enough to skip school to go and have a one on one seance with a Ouija board in an alley behind a haunted tea shop. Melissa is definitely more of a badass than I'll ever be!

D: I love how Spirits At Tea Time really embraces your overall dark whimsical aesthetic.  In developing your original artistic style, are there any specific inspirations that you feel definitely shaped your vibe?

G: Thanks, I'm glad that my spookiness is apparent! And, yes, it's why I chose to go with the name "Whimsy and Noir" for my brand/aesthetic. Light but dark, cute and spooky. Honestly, it's been a part of me since I can remember. Even as a small child, I always loved scary stories and Halloween and dreamed of being a cool goth-chick ever since the third grade! Like all goth-inclined folk, a huge inspiration is Tim Burton. All of his movies have his signature imagination clearly in them, and I love losing myself in his worlds. As far as story-telling and art go, Neil Gaiman is one of my biggest idols. He started with his Sandman comics, and now writes the most amazing novels and children's books, and all with a distinct 'spooky' feel to them. My favorites of his are 'Coraline' and 'The Graveyard Book' - these are meant for children, but at their core deal with things that most people would deem frightening and dark, but he manages to make them magical and whimsical. So I'm definitely trying to take that route with Spirits at Tea Time. It's a ghost story, but I don't want it to be considered 'creepy' or put people off. Whimsy and Noir: my whole THING is essentially about finding that balance between light and dark.

I also mentioned the band My Chemical Romance in the last question, and in a way they've been a huge influence in my overall artistic creativity as well: the lead singer, Gerard Way, would come up with these huge concept stories behind each album, like in "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" there's the tragic story of two dead lovers, with the guy more or less making a deal with the devil so he can try to bring his girl back to life. Or "The Black Parade" has the concept of death itself showing up to a young boy as a parade because it was his happiest memory. Just the way Gerard used his wild imagination to create entire worlds and feelings for each of his band's albums gave them so much more meaning and wonder. And they were *dark* stories, but still so relatable, in a weird way. Also, Gerard is a comics-creator, himself, so he's kind of a kindred spirit in that sense! I've admired him and his work since I was a teen, and he still influences and inspires me a ton. 

D: What can we expect to see in the newest installment of Spirits At Tea Time?   Got any teasers for us?

G: For chapter two, I wanted to sort of rewind the whole story just a little bit, and have it concentrate more on Melissa. All we know of her so far is that she was trying to make contact with the spirit world, and asking about a guy named "Martin Spencer".. so who is this guy? And why does Melissa want to find him? And how did she even know to go to that particular area of town with a Ouija board to ask? So we're going to get to know this girl and her back story, and it's going to lead up to other things!

D: This last question is actually going to be two and, obviously, I MUST ask them.  What is your favorite tea?  What's your favorite ghost story?

G: Oh, I'm so bad at choosing 'favorite' anything! But okay: for tea? I LOVE tea! I start each morning with a cup of chamomile, with a bit of honey and lemon juice. I also really love peppermint tea, or soothing lemon balm. A friend once gave me this dreamy lavender flavored tea, and I once bought this blend from a British goods store that I absolutely loved: it was made with rose petals, and turned the water a dark crimson! And as weird as it sounds, I love all those fruit-combo ones that come in the boxes at the grocery store. Peach and mango, or raspberry flavored tea! So long answer short: my favorite kinds of tea are flowery and fruity ones!

Favorite ghost story? Well, this isn't really a ghost 'story', but Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Annabel Lee" changed my life when I first discovered it as a teen: about a guy who is so in love with a girl that even after she dies, he still sees her everywhere and  in everything and only makes his love for her grow deeper. And in more recent times, I became obsessed with Cat Winters' novels "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" and "The Uninvited" - they blew my mind! 

You can get caught up on Spirits At Tea Time HERE and be sure to follow Gaby on Twitter & IG for more behind-the-scenes!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 3, 2017

February Updates

I've been keeping myself as busy as possible this past month.  I have a long goal list for this year and I'm glad to say a few things have already been checked off.

January Round-Up

Paperback Release of The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett
    You can now obtain a copy for your book collection on Amazon & Barnes & Noble!
Reviving Redbubble
    I mentioned this a few weeks back but one of my goals for the year is to produce more original art.
    I've already added my first new piece, a Dacey Sinnett illustration, and updated my best-selling Dice Dragons design.
Goodreads Challenge
    I read two books toward my yearly goal.  You can check out my reviews here:
    The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday
    Also, if you're not already, please feel free to follow me on Goodreads!
Writing Contest
    Syfy & Wattpad are hosting a fanfic contest for The Magicians!  You can read my entry here. 

Coming Up

- I'll continue to work on my art and reading goals and update my progress regularly here and on IG.
- Roughly 4-5 chapters left to write of HUNTER!  I can't wait for you to see how it ends.  You'll either hate me or love me.  Please, do inform me either way.  haha
- I'm looking into hosting some sort of giveaway soon.  Details to come.

I think that pretty much covers everything!  I'd like to do an Author Q&A post sometime soon, so if you have any questions you'd like to shoot my way in the comments or through social media then please do!

On the personal side of things, my husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary!  I've started a 30-Day Ab Challenge because no workout is more legit than a pin from Pinterest.  lol  I'm also trying to play "catch up" with everyone that I owe some hang out time with. *slings coffees down the bar at you all*

Thank you so much for all of your support and I hope February treats everyone well!