Monday, July 14, 2014

#MyWritingProcess Blog Hop

Thanks to the always on-point J.P. Sloan, I was called out on his blog to join in on the #MyWritingProcess Blog Hop. J.P. is not only an awesome writer of Urban Fantasy, but also is Pagan, and an all-around awesome human being. So to appease him I decided to jump right in. It’s funny that just last week my Mom pointed out that since I had a lot more free-time now with the wedding over, house settled into, and a break from class, I would have more time to write. So what is my writing process? How do I get those thoughts crammed into my brain? Well I sought out to answer the four questions posed on this Blog Hop to explain my process.

1). What am I working on?
Oh how loaded this question is. Most of you know that I’m always working on something; no matter how inundated I am with all the other things in my life I always find time to write. The two big projects I’m working on however are the sequel to Summer’s Hollow (Return to Summer’s Hollow) and the follow-up to Dark Cell (Dark Hall). Beyond that I have my short story series Loose that I am also working on, but I don’t have plans yet to publish.

I’m about seven chapters into Return to Summer’s Hollow. I’ve touched it a little bit since the wedding but haven’t gotten much in way of progress; most of it has been filling in the gaps and cleaning up the plot/character development so far. Dark Hall I’m about halfway through. The outline is already set for that one; I just need to sit down and get to it. Once I start I’m sure I’ll finish it by the end of the summer.

2). How does my work differ from other in its genre?
Horror is a genre that can be all over the place; my horror focuses on the people and how they react to their environments around them. Whether it’s Rylie’s psychic connection with the spirit of a witch, Aer’s journey into becoming the ruthless temptress of a vampire, or Penn’s discovery that his powers can be used to unearth the truth, all my books focus on the horror within people. This horror within of course gets spurred on by magic, paranormal occurrences, and monsters.

My books are inspired by my studies of culture, biology, and artifacts. I love to delve into the minds of my characters and frankly, scare the living crap out of them in more ways than one. This translates to the reader; if you aren’t freaked out after reading my books then I haven’t done my job as a horror writer. The anxiety that I felt reading a Poe work or a Stephen King book is something that I want my reader’s to feel. I take a lot of the ideas I see in classic and modern horror and put my anthropological spin on it.

3). Why do I write what I do?
In all honesty I write for myself. I write to get all these crazy stories out of my head and onto paper. The fact that I get to share these stories with people around the world is just an awesome perk. I’m like a giddy little school girl anytime someone tells me they got creeped out while walking home, have had to sleep with the lights on, or will never look at a clock tower the same way.

4). How does my process work?
My process differs a lot from the way that other writers write. For me, I can’t force my process. When I get inspired though watch out; I’ve been known to write for a day straight. Sometimes I come up with jumbled ideas and have to go back and clean them up, while other times the plot and the characters just flow perfectly into a combination of pure terror and psychological curiosity. My characters are really the ones that determine where the story goes. I start with a basic story, a setting, and then let my characters run amok. It’s as if I’m watching them from above as they live their lives. Sometimes they take me on twists and turns that even I didn’t see coming. My short story series I’m working on (Loose) is the prime example of that.

Loose is not a horror story series. It is a story that follows the mind of a very troubled woman who uses her influence in her biker gang, her boxing skills, and her sexual promiscuity to survive in this life. She lands in jail multiple times, commits murder multiple times, and is the victim of sexual assault multiple times. Her story weaves through so many different avenues that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with her. Many times I have had to fight her on the direction her life is going. Sometimes I feel like a mother to her, scolding her on her choices. In the end though she will do what she wants. She has grown into much more than just a character in one of my stories. She is very real to me and because of that I have a hard time thinking about publishing her stories. Still, lately I find myself running back to writing more of her story, especially her backstory. Currently I have 45 short stories as part of the series.

As part of this blog hop I’ve been asked to call out some authors of my own but you know what, rules have never been my style. I want to know what all my readers’ process is for creating; doesn’t have to be a writing project but it can be. What are you working on, how does it differ from similar works, why do you create, and how does your process for creating work?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Realities of Rape Culture

For the past few months I’ve been struggling with the right way to write a blog post about this topic. I mused writing about the historical significance, about society’s views on rape, and even about writing my own experiences. Then yesterday I read four words that have made me more disgusted than perhaps anything I’ve ever read: “her rape went viral.” What kind of society do we live in that this would be even remotely okay? I’m referring to the events that surrounded 16 year old Jada who was not only raped and that rape posted all over the internet, but people turned that rape into a joke.

Rape is NEVER a joke. There is no part to any person’s violation that is funny. There is no variance, no grey area here; it is black and white: NOTHING about sexual assault is funny. If you think that it is then you are what’s wrong with society.

The amount of women in my life, including me, that have been sexually assaulted is staggering. These are women of every ethnicity, age, religion, and creed; all who have been victims of some version of sexual assault. As I said above though, there is no grey area; there is absolutely no scenario where sexual assault is justified. Yet we live in a society where a rape culture is alive and rampant. Remaining silent about rape culture, ignoring it because it makes us feel “uncomfortable” is doing a disservice to the women who have been assaulted. (That being said, I know a lot of women out there who don’t share their assaults for their own personal reasons and I respect that.)

There was a part of me that thought putting this on my anthropology heavy blog wasn’t the right avenue. The reality is rape culture has everything to do with anthropology which at its core is the study of people. If we teach boys from a young age that women’s bodies are not objects, that you can’t treat them like garbage then we can eliminate this rape culture. Yet here we are talking about a 16 year old who had her assault splayed out on the internet and instead of people taking it down or reporting it, they shared it and made fun of it.

Jada though didn’t ignore it, didn’t just retreat into herself (like I did), she stood up for herself and shared her story with the world. That’s when the movement started to #standwithJada. This young girl is braver at 16 than I am at 24. No more though; no more will I simply keep my mouth shut about what happened to me 5 years ago. No more will I allow my experiences to scare me into thinking that I did/am doing something wrong by talking about it. I will stand with Jada and all the other women/girls out there who have had to go through this.

Image part of the #jadacounterpose hashtag on twitter from user @taasa

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer's Hollow Dream Cast

Last night I had a dream that Return to Summer’s Hollow was made into a film (which is crazy since I’m only about one third of the way through it). The cast that played the characters in my dream was pretty spot on; my subconscious is pretty good at casting. Naturally, I thought it would be fun if I shared the cast with you. Some of these characters you’ll recognize if you’ve read the first installation in the Summer’s Hollow series and others will be new (images courtesy of

Rylie: Lyndsy Fonseca

Jake: Anthony Mackie

Andy: Oscar Isaac

Josh: Peter Mooney

Brian: Chris Pratt

Isabelle: Amy Acker

Mr. Bradford: John Schneider

Mary: Caitlin Stasey

Edward: Michiel Huisman

Judith: Katey Sagal

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Resurrection of Mr. Potter

Most of you know that my obsession with the Harry Potter books is pretty bad (like I wrote my own multiple, novel-length fanfic bad). So when J.K. Rowling wrote a follow-up piece to her famous series, I jumped for joy. As I dug up my Pottermore username and password from the catacombs, my heart thumped with both excitement and the hope that it wouldn’t disappoint. Thankfully, it didn’t.

The way that it is written actually is quite brilliant. Sure it is a stereotypical “Where Are They Now” that at times has some cheesiness to it, but nevertheless it satisfied my want for more of the wizarding world I escaped to as a kid/teenager/adult. It is written as a gossip article for the Daily Prophet; none other than Rita Skeeter was the pen on this piece. The “article” is about three pages long and highlights the “VIP” attendants at the Word Cup Finals. We get to hear about all the major players that we fell in love with and there are quite a few nods to the past, present, and even future.

So please follow this link to read the short story: You will need to log into Pottermore in order to read the story.