The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Contracting a Series

Good news on the home front, ladies and gentlemen. Crescent Moon Press has offered me a contract for the sequel to RULING EDEN entitled SURVIVING EDEN. This second book is part of a planned four book sequence I'm affectionately calling the Eden's Court series. Details on cover and release date will follow.

The news is fantastic because I love Rachel and Gabriel and want everyone to hear more of their story. Not to mention that of Tarn and Sebastian and Morven and a few others. Although Surviving Eden is a bit darker book, I finished writing this installment feeling that Rachel's character growth was well entrenched. I have a solid story conflict in mind for the third book and of course I do know how the plot arc over the entire series will end, if not specifically then in general.

Here's the tentative story blurb:

Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden's Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim, (angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches--the goddess-created protectors of mortalkind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon, stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.

Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. But is the cold-hearted goddess intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?

Like what you read? I hope so.

This contract news got me thinking about series endings. I recently plowed my way through the netflix instant episodes of a BBC television series called Torchwood, about a team of alien hunters who work above the law saving the planet Earth from certain destruction. Although there is talk of a fourth season, the show had ostensibly been concluded with season three. And in a very dark and morose manner, leaving me depressed. Now I love series. I'm an urban fantasy chic by nature and that stuff is all about series. Particularly series which feature the same main protagonists. But it takes supreme talent to carry through quality for an entire series and end it on the perfect note. I'm not sure Torchwood did that, even if the writer/producer felt he'd took the artistic risk on his vision. It had all the important pieces almost perfect up until the end. But if I walked away aching for the main characters and not feeling any hope, as I did, the end didn't work.

In book series there's an art to matching the nature and severity of the conflict and the development of characters to the perfect number of volumes. Draw it out too long and the reader feels she's getting the same old, same old. Boring. Have your characters finish growing too early in the series, already reaching their final development and the magic leaves the story. On top of it, if you can't end delivering on hope, I'd say the series has not done its job. Hence my complaint about Torchwood.

I feel comfortable with my vision of four books. I believe the number does justice to the overall story conflict, and gives me enough room to answer all of the questions and resolve the relationship issues between my main characters. If I end this series as I intend, there's nothing to say I cannot revisit its world in another form. I've even played with the idea of doing a separate third person story set in this universe once I'm finished with the first person story of Rachel and her adventures.

What do you think about series and what makes for satisfying conclusions? Who has done it well? Who has jumped the shark? There's a wide difference between authors who write a series from the same protagonists' perspectives and those who write stand-alone but related volumes. Share your opinions. It can only help this poor author struggling to deliver the goods for her readers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quickie Quirky Interview with Debut Author Carolyn Crane

As soon as I read Carolyn Crane's debut novel Mind Games, I knew I had to interview her for the Quirky Ladies blog. Why? Because her book is one of the quirkiest, coolest, most original, refreshing and bad-ass books I have ever read. It's a UF/paranormal romance about a hypochondriac who learns to use her neuroses as a weapon. Heh, heh, heh....ev-il!!!!!

Without further ado, here is Carolyn Crane's Quickie Quirky Interview.....

Penny: Hey, Carolyn! What are your top 3 quirky qualities?

Carolyn: What a great name for a critique group! Okay, quirks....

1) When I first sit down in the morning to hand write on draft (if I'm in a handwriting phase) I have to listen to at least half of this one Led Zepplin CD, or I superstitiously think things will go poorly. I am so sick of that CD.

2) I don't like killing bugs. I always trap them and put them outside, or with spiders, I ignore them. Though of course, these are Minnesota spiders.

3) I couldn't think of another, so I asked my husband. Quote: "How about that you lose things in the house constantly? You lose your keys, you lose your cellphone, you lose your purse, you lose your glasses..." The list went on from there!!

Penny: I can totally see the whole Led Zepplin thing. Any tips for aspiring writers? Any words of wisdom?

Carolyn: I think it's all about the work ethic. Plugging away every day. Being in a mode of learning every day.

Penny: Thanks, Carolyn!

Here's a link to Carolyn's website, and to her awesome blog, The Thrillionth Page.
Check out Penelope's review of Mind Games!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is Storytelling Embedded in our DNA?

A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon a new television show, Who Do You Think You Are? - the premise if fairly basic, take a celebrity and using all means possible trace their family heritage. I am not one for reality shows, in particular celebrity reality shows, so I was surprised how quickly I became engrossed with the program. In fact, afterwards I went online and started searching for my own family tree.

My family is the quintessential stoic, stiff upper lip New England family, so very little family history has been passed on down since our motto has always been, no matter what happens - good, bad or indifferent - keep moving forward and keep it to yourself.

As a writer, I have a hard time keeping things to myself - to put it mildly, so in many ways I have always felt like I am an odd fit for my family. If I was not the spitting image of my father, and more closely his mother, I might wonder if I were adopted or a random stray picked up along the way.

My quest for my family history is not unique, but as I searched and found connections to people I have never met, I was struck by how swiftly I started picturing my ancestors in my writer’s mind; how easily I could imagine their lives and their stories; and how alive they felt to me as if they were characters cast in my current work in progress instead of long forgotten relatives lost to an unknown history.

Then, I realized why the reality show and my searching had such an impact on me - both elicited an emotional response. The very point of storytelling.

My research proved fruitful in more ways than I could have imagined. My Dad, whose parents died when he was very young, now knows more about where they grew up, what their childhood nicknames where, when they married, where their families are from.

On my Mom’s side of the family, I learned that there are other storytellers in my family, in fact my grandfather used to write stories. He also played minor league baseball with the Pawtucket Red Sox. Pretty cool!

Like real life people, our characters are alive. They live in our writer’s hearts and minds and then upon the printed page. We want our storytelling to matter, to leave a trace on this Earth, to have a lasting impact of some kind on our readers, just like we want to leave a trace in our own lives.

I am comforted to know I am not the only one in the family who enjoys telling a story. I don’t feel as out of place now. I also got a kick out of the realization that I used the first name of my great-great-great grandmother in my current work in progress without even knowing it. Maybe just a coincidence, but something tells me there is more to the story - no pun intended.

I have had a lot of ups and downs with my writing, and I’m sure my journey towards publications still has a few more bumps in the road before I hopefully find my way to a contract, but my need to tell a story, to leave a trace, is revitalized.

Who knew a reality television show could do all that.

To learn more about your story, go to: Good luck!