If you are a new author working on your first book, then you need to read this blog post by Mercy Pilkington. It gives an excellent perspective on the business end of being an author!
In case you’ve missed it, this month the latest Lovers in Crime Mystery, Real Murder, was released and it is already a hit with both reviewers and readers. Still hesitant? Well check out ABookVacation’s review.
I am always thrilled to spotlight a guest on Literary Wealth. It’s like introducing my friends to another great friend that I believe they would love to get to know better. This week’s guest is Romance Author Jessica Lauryn and she is going to tell us the truth about muses. Not only is Jessica giving you the inside scoop about muses, but we are also having a giveaway. Leave a comment (plus your email address) and you might win an e-copy of the second installment in Jessica’s series, Dangerous Proposal.
Take it away, Jessica!
Thanks so much for having me back, Lauren! I am thrilled to announce the release of my forth book, Dangerous Secret, book # 1 of The Pinnacles of Power Series! I would also like to share about “muse” – the element that keeps us writers producing the pages that provide hours of endless enjoyment.
Muse can come from anywhere. That said, whenever I’m participating in an author panel discussion and I hear another author give this as an answer to the question, “Where does your muse come from?” or, if I hear this coming out of my own mouth, I become frustrated because this answer is so vague. I sympathize with the reader who is in the audience saying to herself, I meant, Author X, where does your muse come from specifically? To say that it comes from everywhere, though true as that may be, essentially tells me nothing. Though equally, I sympathize with the author who is sitting in front of that audience member and thinking to herself, I’ve been inspired by so many different things in the world that I wouldn’t know where to begin. And even if I could formulate some sort of a specific answer for you, I don’t have a cold chance in hell of recalling all of the different places I’ve drawn inspiration from!
How true that is! We authors do in fact draw our inspiration from “everywhere,” beginning with the people around us. Because of the lives we live, some of us surround ourselves with the same few individuals all the time, and others are constantly meeting new people. Whatever an author’s situation, it is more than likely that she is drawing at least some inspiration from the people around her. Sometimes authors choose to depict a character as an exact match for a person they know. But more often than not, they’ll take various aspects of that person and combine them with various aspects of someone else, or an existing character. But that’s plagiarism, right? Wrong!!! Not when the author chooses to take selected elements of a particular character and combines those traits with elements, elements from some other source, going on to then place the character in a unique story and situation that is all her own. I personally believe that many authors are afraid to admit that they draw inspiration from existing characters, be it from TV, movies, or other books, because they don’t want to be accused of plagiarism. But how silly that sounds, when you think about it, because every character under the sun is going to fall under the umbrella of some archetype no matter how unique he is. Inspiration has got to come from somewhere. And chances are that even if an author tries every way imaginable to avoid making her character like others that she’s read about, bits and fragments are going to spill out of her mind and into that character no matter what she does.
This said, I think that writers are also sometimes equally afraid to admit that they use people they know and meet in real life as inspiration for characters. We authors don’t want to offend anyone, and for sure we don’t want to reveal any of our own very personal secrets. That’s one of the many reasons why we write fiction in the first place – we want to express our emotions by getting things out on paper, things that are often real, which we possess the ability to disguise as fiction. Sneaky, huh? ;) On the other hand, I’ve met many different people in real life who’ve asked me to make them a character in a story. But the truth is, I’m much more likely to put someone in a book if they’ve hurt me, creeped me out, or are very unusual in some way, then if they’re just a nice, “normal” person. This is not always the case, but those unusual people I meet often seem to demand stories more than others because they do so much to stand out. They stay in my mind longer and therefore they have a much more likely chance of finding themselves being put down on paper. That is a fact, pure and simple.
Now, in effort to break the vicious cycle, here is a bit of my own dirty laundry! Like Abigail MacKenzie, heroine in Dangerous Secret, I worked in a hotel while it was undergoing renovation. And like my hero, Ryan, I experienced feelings of extreme frustration where my overbearing boss was concerned. I channeled these and other elements into my characters and into my story. For instance, I essentially felt like the only thing missing in my life at that time was a handsome guy to enter the picture and make things interesting, which is of course why I created Ryan Newberry. Just in case you were wondering, there was NO murder mystery to be solved in the place where I was working, or criminals, or diamond smuggling – that is ALL fiction! But you can see where the initial inspiration took off for me. And it was like that for my other stories as well. I’ve met many people in my life that I’ve turned into characters along the way, and I’ve also met people who’ve shared a freakishly large number of factors in common with characters I’ve already written. Am I psychic? Could be… ;)
As a writer, I choose to allow the muse to take me wherever it wants to go. It’s helpful to write about things you’ve experienced personally, which I have done several times, writing about places I’ve been to and characters who became some elaborated version of a person I knew. I have also tried writing about places I don’t know so well and that I’ve never been to, and characters who are purely fictitious and don’t remind me of anyone I’ve ever met. This is where research becomes helpful as does simply having a healthy appetite for imaginative scenarios, which fortunately, I have plenty of!
For me, writing is a way of seeing the world in a different way, through my characters’ eyes, and essentially creating a new world, a fantasy world where danger ignites passion, heroes confess their love and heroines are swept off their feet. There is no place I’d rather be. And I am so excited to share that world with all of you!
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Okay, now is your chance to win a free e-copy of Dangerous Proposal, the second installment in Jessica Lauryn’s Pinnacles of Power series. Leave a comment below. If you want, tell us about your muse. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you. The winner’s name will be drawn on Sunday, June 15.
About the Author
At two years old, Jessica became a devoted fan of both listening to and reciting the books her parents would read to her at night. When she was a little older (about four), she sought a greater challenge in her life, and began making up stories of her own, acting them out with her dolls. “When the dolls got “boyfriends,” she says, “I knew I was getting too old for dolls!”
A life-long lover of romance, Jessica took several writing classes in college, and told her professors she was one-day going to write soap-operas. When graduation came, she joined a critique group, and on a whim, decided to “write a romance novel.” That first attempt will forever be staying under the mattress…
Then, on a train ride to her internship in the fashion industry, Jessica finally cracked open her first romance novel. That hot August morning, she fell head-over-heels for the genre, and has been writing it ever since.
Jessica is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is already seducing the heroine from that first point of contact. “Isn’t it the hero’s job to seduce?” she says with a grin.
Jessica loves to see the sparks fly when a stubborn, domineering hero crosses paths with a bold, feisty heroine, and uses the combination frequently in her stories.
When she’s is not writing, Jessica enjoys listening to as much 80’s music as possible, keeping current with the storylines on Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless, shopping for the latest fashions and the prettiest of antiques, and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in Central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
Guest Post by C.S. McDonald
It was a lovely spring day. I was minding my own business. I wasn’t bothering anyone. My husband, Bill, had left earlier in the morning with the horse trailer to haul a cow for his father that he’d purchased. I busied myself in one of my many flower gardens, planting lemon drops around the fountain while my Cocker Spaniel, Harvey, chased after butterflies. All was right with the world.
I heard the familiar sound of my husband’s truck bumping along the road and up our very long driveway. The horse trailer clanged and the tires ground against the gravel. I waved at him and returned to my work. I heard the ramp of the horse trailer squeal as Bill lowered it, and the trailer doors creak open. The Thoroughbreds in the paddock galloped toward the gate, whinnying.
Hmmm…What did Bill drag home this time?
I peeled my garden gloves from my hands and then Harvey and I made our way toward the barn just in time to witness Bill lead a cruddy pot-bellied little pony off the trailer. His mane was long and shaggy. His tail was bushy and his lower lip hung down away from his upper. He was scowling. But worse—he was a pony.
True confession: I don’t like ponies. They tend to be stubborn ornery conniving little beings that take great pleasure in running off or bucking off children on a whim. C’mon, everyone has a story of how they were taken for a wild ride and then brutally deposited in a mud puddle by a pony.
Evil..they are just plain evil. And yet here one stood in my driveway—scowling at me.
I narrowed my eyes, cocked my head, and asked my husband, “What’s he doing here?”
Bill smiled. “This is George. Kiersten needs a pony for horse camp, so I picked him up.”
There are a billion ponies on this earth and he “picks up” this little troll?
Bill could see that I was not impressed. The right side of his mouth kicked up. “I’m gonna put him in the paddock with the horses. He’ll be fine. You’ll see, Kiersten will love him.”
I had no doubts that Kiersten, our granddaughter, wouldn’t instantly take to him. I was worried what George would do to Kiersten.
Evil—ponies are just plain evil.
Bill proceeded to lead George through the gate into the paddock with three very anxious Thoroughbreds.
George went right to work—bullying the horses who were much bigger that he was. He chased them, nipped at them, kicked at them, and let them know that he was king of not only the paddock but the shade of the apple tree that was located dead center of the area. He had immediately claimed his domain.
George was the boss.
Well, Bill was right. Kiersten loved George. We bathed him, and bathed him, and bathed him. He never came clean—he looked just as cruddy after his bathes as he did when we began.
This is temporary, I told myself. After horse camp, George can go back to where he came from. I found solace in these thoughts.
George was at our farm for two weeks before horse camp. Kiersten rode him in the indoor arena and the outdoor arena—he would plant his feet and refuse to budge, but I was quicker than he was—I gave her a crop.
Yes, the little guy was stubborn, but he wasn’t stupid—as most ponies aren’t—they are shrewd—evil.
Finally after much anticipation and preparation, the week of horse camp came. Kiersten couldn’t wait. George had no idea what he was in for, and I was filled with apprehension. Would Kiersten get dumped off George’s back at horse camp? Would I be making a trip to the emergency room? I dreaded the week that lay before me.
But, you know what? I was wrong. Dead wrong.
It turned out that George was the one who needed taking care of. It was a hot week and Kiersten decided that she was going to participate in every activity they offered. Walk/trot, egg and spoon, poles, down and back races, and even barrel racing. George simply couldn’t keep up. I found myself sitting in the stall with an over-heated pony, caring for him, nursing him, and genuinely feeling sorry for him. I scolded Kiersten for over-working him and he was not to be taken out of the stall the next day other than to clean his stall and for short walks. I was worried.
During the first few days of the camp something had happened. Could it be that this cruddy scowling stubborn evil pony had grown on me?
The week went by quickly. George won quite a few awards! I know, right? We loaded him in the trailer and took him back to our farm. Bill opened the gate, and George stormed into the paddock, nipping, bucking, scowling, and reclaiming his place at the boss.
I shook my head. To think I was worr—
Wait a minute…
I want straight to my office. I turned on my computer. I typed…GEORGE THE BOSS.
I usually write novels—murder suspense and romantic suspense novels, but I was inspired by a cruddy scowling little pony named George, and now he’s got his first book:
GEORGE THE BOSS.
Do I still think that ponies are evil? Yep. But George is a special little…evil pony.
About the Author
C.S. McDonald was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. For 26 years she was a professional choreographer; she taught ballet, jazz and tap. Most recently she has retired to write murder-suspense novels (which can be found here). Now she has added Children’s books to entertain her four grandchildren.
She resides with her husband and Cocker Spaniel, Allister on there Thoroughbred farm. George the Pony is based on real pony named George, who lives among the Thoroughbreds.
When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”
Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.
Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.
In Real Murder, best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr dives deeper into Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates’ romantic relationship. “The difference between this series and my Mac Faraday mysteries,” Lauren explains, “is that the Lovers in Crime are a couple. While the mystery is the main ingredient, and is always in the forefront, Joshua and Cameron’s romance, and new marriage, is also a key ingredient.”
While they love each other passionately, the newly-wed couple do have adjustments to make—like Joshua’s grown daughter Tracy, who returns home from college for the summer and makes no secret about her hurt feelings over her father’s elopement. Of course, there is also Irving, Cameron’s twenty-five pound Maine Coon cat, who does not like the human male who has stolen his woman’s affections.
Believing that differences is nothing more than spice sprinkled upon their new marriage, the Lovers in Crime plunge into investigating Dolly’s viciously brutal murder. Who would want to murder such a sweet old lady? Is it possible that one of Dolly’s girls knew a long-buried secret that some believed was worth killing to keep undercover?
About the Author
Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Each installment of Lauren’s hit mystery series, starting with It’s Murder, My Son which was released in June 2010, has made the best-seller’s list on Amazon. Twelve to Murder, the seventh Mac Faraday mystery, was released in February. The eighth installment, A Wedding and A Killing, will be released in September.
Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 2012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. Real Murder is the second installment in this series. The third installment will be released June 2015.