Daily Dose | Spotlight on Nancy Holzner
Daily Dose / February 3, 2010

I love Spotlight On weeks, it gives me a chance to really get to know some authors and ask the questions to the things that I really want to know about. Today, we welcome Nancy Holzner. I read DEADTOWN right after Christmas when Nancy and I both participated in BookObsessed’s Zombie New Year’s Eve Bash and the holiday week leading up to it. I really enjoyed reading DEADTOWN. The story includes some unexpected twists and turns as well as embracing some higher fantasy elements and mythology within the modern setting. If you have not read DEADTOWN, you should check it out. In the meanwhile, kick back and get to know Nancy Holzner! Daily Dose: In the early part of the novel, you describe the virus that strikes Boston. The visual and visceral reaction Vicky experiences sucks you right in – why a virus instead of a magical attack? NH: The main reason I chose a virus to create Boston’s zombies was its ambiguity. Was the virus just a weird mutation? An act of biological warfare? Something else? In Deadtown, no one knows, but as the series continues the origins of the virus become important. That is all I had better…

Daily Dose | New Authors, New Worlds, New Words, Good Times
Daily Dose / January 18, 2010

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations Catherine Spangler gave a presentation at the North Texas RWA chapter meeting this past weekend. I’d seen her book covers, but I’d never actually picked up one of her novels. When I heard she was presenting, I read up on her books. Her TOUCHED BY DARKNESS, TOUCHED BY FIRE and TOUCHED BY LIGHT intrigued me. Fortunately, a friend had all three and loaned them to me. Typically, I don’t read anything while in the midst of writing, but I made an exception to scan the first couple of chapters. I really liked what I had to read. Her writing is intense and fresh with characters that leap off the page. I am already wondering what happened to the characters in the book, so they are sitting on my shelf as a reward for meeting my personal page count. Something of a carrot and a stick: New Authors, New Worlds, New Words Good times are to be had in any new discovery — so check out this fabulous trio of books that has me so intrigued. TOUCHED BY DARKNESSDr. Kara Cantrell settled in the sleepy town of Zorro, Texas, convinced she and…

Daily Dose | Create a Character
Daily Dose / January 12, 2010

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations One of the questions I hear frequently is how do I create my characters? Where do they come from? What inspired me? This is also the hardest question to answer because characters can come from anywhere. They can spring fully formed from my forehead like Athena did from Zeus or percolate in the foamy waves generated by my sea of imagination like Aphrodite or they can simply take shape over time, like a carefully worn path through the mountains that the river cuts relentlessly. Where Do Characters Come From? Ask any author where his or her characters come from and you will likely receive a different answer. One author I met last summer described her character creation process as an introduction. Some of her characters arrive, fully formed with names and introduce themselves. Still others describe the process as getting to know their characters as they write. One author I know begins with the germ of an idea, a word, a catch phrase or even just a hint of personality and then she writes until that character takes shape on the page. She described her process of getting to know the…

Daily Dose | Do His Enemies define a Hero?
Daily Dose / January 8, 2010

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations Watching the last hurrah for David Tennant’s Doctor last night in the two parts The End of the Time. The film epic detailed the complex relationship between the Doctor and the Master. They need each other — direct and opposing forces. The Batman had the Joker and many more in his gallery of villains. Novel Heroes In Julie Garwood‘s Heartbreaker, Nick Buchanan is an FBI agent who specializes in missing children, murder and more. His villain is a serial who targets Nick’s oldest friend Father Tom and Father Tom’s sister. Nick doesn’t realize at first that the villain going after them is someone with an axe to grind with him. For Eve Dallas in J.D. Robb‘s In Death series, her villain is the father who raped and abused her as a child. She gives him the finger every day she has a moment of happiness and since she met Roarke, she has a lot more of those. Surprisingly, I don’t think of the criminals she puts away as the villains for Eve because they are the job, they are the villains in other lives that she stands up for – her…

Daily Dose | World Building for a Paranormal Romance
Daily Dose / January 6, 2010

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General ObservationsHave you ever wondered about the process of world building for a paranormal romance? Most paranormal romances are set in the contemporary world that looks an awful lot like our own with a few exceptions. The twist in most paranormal romances is the presence of the paranormal. That requires a certain amount of world building. Understanding the Rules Readers and writers have one thing in common where new worlds are concerned. They need to understand the rules of that world. In TWILIGHT, for example, vampires are created when one vampire bites a human and injects venom. If the human survives the venom’s effects, they become a vampire. If not, they die. No matter whether they transform or die, the process is excruciating and takes about 48 to 72 hours. This is important information for the audience because it’s a different take on the creation of the vampire. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the blood swap between vampire and victim is necessary and the victim must die. Then you wait to see if they rise again. Apparently, it doesn’t always happen. However, when the victim rises as a vampire, they are not that…

Saturday Smackdown: The Doctor’s Companion
Smackdown / January 2, 2010

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations Tonight ends the David Tennant run as Doctor Who. The second episode of The End of Time has already aired in the United Kingdom, but BBC America will air that episode this evening in the U.S. In honor of David Tennant and the magnificent women who served as his companion, we have an extra long Saturday Smackdown for you this week. Up for your choice, this week is which companion is your favorite: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones or Donna Noble? Billie Piper Rose Tyler played by Billie Piper is introduced in the revived series as the ninth Doctor’s (Christopher Eccleston). Rose is a working class girl who has a job as a London shop girl. She lives with her mother Jackie and her sometime boyfriend is Mickey Smith (no relationship to Sarah Jane). Rose’s enthusiastic embrace of the Doctor’s lifestyle leads her to fall in love with him. While the series typically refrained from showing the romantic relationships between the Doctor and his companions, Rose works her way under the Doctor’s jaded skin, giving him a new lease of life. Read the rest of the Dr. Who smackdown… Visit FreshFiction.com to…

Saturday Smackdown: Gandalf versus Dumbledore
Smackdown / December 19, 2009

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations Ah the beauty of the holiday season! We kick off our last week in a countdown towards Christmas with last minute shopping, sending holiday cards and sadly, a head cold for the midget. Today’s smackdown is a look at the great wizards of two fabulous series. Both wizards inspire, guide and are tremendously powerful in their own right. I can hardly choose between them and cannot compare them as which is more powerful or which is more inspirational. Therefore, I ask only that you choose which one is your favorite. I know which one is mine. Gandalf the Grey (later the White) Gandalf is a fictional character with major roles in J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novels THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head (after Saruman’s betrayal and fall) of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West. In THE LORD OF THE RINGS, he is initially known as Gandalf the Grey, but after assuming leadership of the Istari, he becomes known as Gandalf the White. Albus…

The Magic of Christmas: Books
Holiday / December 16, 2009

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. Whether you call it Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or simply: the holiday season. I love this time of year from the hustle and bustle of shoppers to the profusion of Christmas lights springing up like a verdant field of wild, glowing flowers in the night. Some areas are decorated to the nines, with specialized themes or stories told in imagery while others are simply lights spilling out like gems for the night sky to admire. Finding the Perfect Gift The season is a challenge to how much you know about the people you love. Do you find them the gifts they asked for? The gifts that they would appreciate? Do some items stand up, waving their arms and yell: I would be perfect for him or her! The retail stores are packed to the gills with new items from clothes to books to music and electronics. Video games are often popular and the tried and true stuffed animal remains a seasonal favorite. It doesn’t matter that the stores have been laden with holiday ornamentation since October (and sometimes even earlier). They take…

Daily Dose Holiday Blog Giveaway: Celebrate!
Holiday / December 15, 2009

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations Since we began the giveaway on Black Friday, the The Daily Dose with the help of many fabulous authors has given away more than 30 gifts to the friends, sons, daughters, brothers, mothers and fathers of loved ones who nominated them for gifts. What began as a desire to give back some this holiday season has turned out far better than I could ever have imagined! As we end our holiday giveaway, we have just one final giveaway left. Today, I am offering three copies of my latest e-book novel: PRIME EVIL for the ones you nominate. Come away with me to the farm rich countryside of Northern Virginia as hedge witch Chance Monroe fights for her way of life when serial killer Randall Oakes returns from the dead. Chance must confront a troubled past, a supernatural adversary and a sizzling passion that has lain dormant for years. PRIME EVIL Nearly a decade ago, Randall Oakes left hedge witch Chance Monroe for dead. Now he’s back along with her ex-lover, Jack. The FBI wants Chance in protective custody, but Chance knows it won’t be enough to protect her from Oakes. Connected…

Daily Dose Holiday Blog Giveaway: Kitty Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Holiday / December 13, 2009

The Daily DoseSmattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations What do you get with a werewolf named Kitty, a radio show and a fresh look at werewolves in literature? The answer is Carrie Vaughn‘s exciting first book in the Kitty Norville series: KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. My husband picked this up on a whim because the title sounded like something I would read and as usual, he was right. I adored the fresh take on werewolves and supernatural politics set against the backdrop of a night time talk radio show. Vaughn captures the nuances of talk radio, but adds wonderful spice with Kitty’s very “normal” reactions to the supernatural world in which she exists. Today, Carrie Vaughn is giving away an autographed KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR with a bonus homemade CD of the playlist. I think whomever you nominate for this gift is in for a real treat. KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR is the first in a series of six published novels with the seventh being released this January. If you’re looking for a fresh take on werewolves, supernatural politics and sexy, fun humor, this is the series for you. KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR Kitty Norville…