What Draws Us with Kendall Grey

Everyone has one genre they hold dear above all others. Me? I’m drawn to paranormal and fantasy books with steamy relationships between the hero and heroine. In essence, I like hot urban fantasy. Emphasis on the HOT. 😉

What attracts me most about urban fantasy is the escape from reality. My life is real enough on its own. When I read or write a book, I want to get as far away from reality as I can. “Run for Delusional Hills, Forrest! They’re just north of Out-of-Touch Mountain!” Maybe it’s the slacker in me that craves the fantasy. *Shrugs*
Immersing myself in a good urban fantasy is like entering another world for a short time. A quickie vacation, if you will. I can imagine I’m right there with the characters. And when I’m writing, I can even be the characters. Considering all the hot smex I write about, you can see the allure: “So, I get to ‘be’ Zoe Morgan in this chapter and have sex with rock star Gavin Cassidy?” You don’t have to ask me twice! #NoBrainer

A reader once labeled my books “intelligent smut,” which I think is the perfect term for them. The smut part is pretty obvious, but the “intelligent” part of this equation comes with a side of massive world building. I love to be challenged when I read a book, and well-written urban fantasies do just that. They throw us into a brand new place with new rules and new societies to deconstruct. Figuring out the intricacies of an unfamiliar world is crack for my mind. I guess I’m just a geek with a literary boner.

The final aspects of urban fantasy that yank my chain and fondle my brain are the characters. In UF, characters tend to be pretty…un-normal. (Though I am a mere mortal, I can totally relate to being un-normal.) Who doesn’t want to have special powers or abilities that ratchet life to a new level? Fyre Elemental who can annihilate Aers with a quick burst of flamey goodness? Kickass! I’ll take three of those and a couple of Wæters just in case the Fyres get outta hand.

Urban fantasy characters also tend to have darker streaks than “normal” characters. I like that, too. The darker, the better. To me, conflict is king, for without it, you have no story. I love to unwind characters with a tragic past or a terrible secret—the ones who appear to be pretty well-adjusted on the surface, but who rage a bitter war with themselves or their pasts beneath the veneer. Those freak-on-a-leash characters totally do it for me.

Now you know what gets my literary love tool throbbing when it comes to books. What draws YOU to a particular genre?

Happy Thanksgiving from a Grateful Writer

The Body on the T FCWe just reviewed Mike Martin’s Walker on the Cape and are privileged to have him back on the blog. Thank you, Mike, for visiting with us!

I am always reminded how grateful I am to be writer whenever Thanksgiving rolls around. I try to be grateful at other times of the year, too, but Thanksgiving is a good time to think about the good things in my life. One of the best of these, for me, is that I am a writer. I just finished the third book in my Windflower Mystery Series, and as it winds its way into the hands of my friendly beta readers, I am reminded how lucky I am to be able to write and to have other people read and comment on it. As Thanksgiving approaches it is a good time to give thanks, even with all of the changes and challenges of the book and publishing world.

I am grateful that I am a seat-of-the-pants writer rather than someone who has to plot the whole story out before they can even begin to write. This way I get to discover the story the same way that readers do. The characters show up and they tell the story. I just write it down. It may be bigger and deeper than that, some great flow of creation and imagination that I’m tapping into, but I like the simple version. They talk, and I write.

I am grateful to be writing fiction. I think that it must be very difficult to write about all of the trials and tribulations of the world. There are so many problems and so few solutions, so many war-makers and so few interested in peace. I can see why some columnists and editorial-type writers seem so bitter. They probably find it hard to find good things to write about. And probably harder to sleep at night. I sleep just fine.

I am grateful that I am a mystery writer. I didn’t know I was going to be one, didn’t even think about it really. I kinda just fell into it. But what a great genre!! There’s tons of great writers and even better readers already here. I try and follow the basic tenets of the genre but I have realized that it’s just another way to tell a story. And that’s what writing is really all about.

Technology also lets me make new ‘friends’ every day on social networks, and to share with them some small pieces of the same journey. I know it’s impersonal and anonymous and people do tell small fibs and major lies on here, but it is a medium to communicate that we never had before. That’s pretty cool.

Finally, I am grateful that anybody, anywhere, can publish their own stories, for free or very little. And for e-books because they have opened the doors to many more writers and many more stories. By the way, my latest book, The Body on the T, is now available in Kindle and Kobo version. Check it out on Amazon.com. Oh, yeah I’m grateful that I can come on here and offer a blatant self-promotion. That’s even cooler.

So if you are a writer, or an aspiring writer, be grateful to be alive today. It could be worse. You could be still trying to get a publisher to have a look at your quill and parchment document. Yes, it could be better, but it could be worse.

Mike Martin is the author of the Windflower Mystery Series, set in small communities on the east coast of Canada. His latest book, The Body on the T, is now available in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com

http://www.bodyonthet.com

 

Writing to the Stars with Pippa Jay Green

The indies gals would like to welcome back Pippa Jay Green to the Indies Books R Us blog. She’s here today to share her author journey. We last spoke with Pippa when Cate and I reviewed her book Keir. Since then she’s released another delicious sci-fi adventure with more on the way.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, from the day I badgered my dad into showing me how to write out my full name–a long WP_001151winded affair to be sure. As for when the stories started…well, they must have come soon after that. From stories about ponies when I went through that stage of my childhood, to fantasy inspired by The Lord of the Rings and The Dark Crystal, then the shift into scifi after Star Wars: A New Hope hit my TV screen one Christmas. I went from wishing to be a magic-casting, arrow-shooting elf to a lightsaber-wielding, mind-influencing Jedi Knight in the space of a hundred and twenty-one minutes.

But it’s another cult scifi with a very British origin that sparked off my first novel. The story behind my debut Keir started as a Doctor Who adventure waaaay back in the 90’s when I was a teenager and a devoted fan. Now, I have seen a lot of controversy over the writing of ‘fanfic’. Some declare it to be ‘not proper writing’ and a waste of time. Others claim it as a writing release, to be able to free write about favourite characters and explore ideas without having to create whole new worlds and people. Frankly I think writers should be able to express themselves in any way they wish, but back then I’d never even heard the term ‘fanfic’. All I wanted was to be the Doctor’s latest time-travelling, non-screaming companion (as the ‘becoming a Jedi and building an X-wing’ ambition hadn’t worked out for me). So I wrote an adventure called The Shadowshaper over a three week Christmas holiday–featuring a red-haired teenager by the name of Quin–and sent it off. It didn’t get published, but it was the first complete book I’d ever finished, and I had some fantastic feedback from the then publishers of the Doctor Who books. Enough to feel that perhaps I wouldn’t completely be wasting my time to keep writing and submitting.

keir (2)

Real life got in the way after that, but the ideas never stopped coming. One night I dreamt of a broken and beaten man trapped in a dungeon. I woke up with the name Keir in my head. I didn’t know why he was there or what had happened to him, but as I wrote I found all that out. He needed someone to save him, and that someone was Quin, my time-travelling, red-haired heroine. Of course, the Doctor himself doesn’t feature in Keir, but he’s there in spirit. Because if it wasn’t for him, I don’t think Keir would ever have existed.d teenager by the name of Quin–and sent it off. It didn’t get published, but it was the first complete book I’d ever finished, and I had some fantastic feedback from the then publishers of the Doctor Who books.

gethyon_300Enough to feel that perhaps I wouldn’t completely be wasting my time to keep writing and submitting.

As for my first love… My latest scifi novel Gethyon pays a passing tribute to Star Wars in feel, more than Keir did. My hero is a young, troubled would-be adventurer with unknown powers, who has to combat his own divided nature as much as he must master his abilities. If it hadn’t been for those early scifi influences, perhaps I’d be writing fantasy now instead. Maybe I’ll revisit that genre one day…

Keir Pippa  Jay GreenBIO:

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction

Review: The Cage Legacy- Landra’s Take

Genre: YA Horror

Rating: Maybe

Ethan Cage is a teenage boy who’s only legacy is the fact that is fall is a serial killer known as ‘The Mutilator’. The book starts with his father’s arrest when he was 6; when everything changed. Then through a series of diary entries and personal 1st person experiences we get a look at Ethan from 6 to a junior in high school. The main plot is based around Ethan coming to terms with his father’s actions, and his own sense of discovering who he, Ethan, is. The secondary plot is on Ethan’s father who escapes prison and is hell-bent on starting up his insane murdering ways once again.

From a character perspective Ethan, his girlfriend Whitney and his family are three dimensional, and full of dark and light issues of their own. There is plenty of internal struggle for all the main characters. Ethan’s friends and other secondary characters appeared less detailed and more fitting to a pattern that left those in authority the ‘bad’ guys and his closest friends willing to do anything for him.

The secondary plot, with the father, was the most engaging part for me. I found the thriller/horror aspect of Ethan attempting to somehow stop his father endearing as well and almost wish this angle had been played more.  I will say these parts of the book are far more graphic then other YA’s may be, but from the reading I got the feeling this book was meant to dig into darker territory and touch on the less rosy aspects of growing up. My biggest problem with the story telling is that too many questions were left unanswered, I felt this area could have used a bit more.

On the major mechanics: Pacing read a bit uneven, descriptions varied and I found Ethan a bit more poetic then I’d expect most 17 year old boys– yet Ethan is not the typical teenager. I enjoyed several of the characters, including Ethan’s little sister Mary who’s more an innocent victim. The plots, both had some potential, but during the reading Ethan’s own internal conflicts tended to muddle up the story telling for me.

Overall, I think this story will appeal to those who enjoy coming of age tales and stories about self-identity. If you like horror there are horror elements, but the horror portion is not the main part of the story.

This Week’s Read: The Cage Legacy

cage legacy cover halfWho is Ethan Cage?

Is he just a troubled 17-year-old high school student? A quiet, intelligent kid with a bad home life? Or is he a shattered human being, a boy who lost his faith in the world when he discovered that his loving father was secretly a psychotic serial killer?

As Ethan’s world suddenly spirals out of control, he must confront the reality of his dark past and finally make the decision that will either define his life – or cut it short prematurely.

You can get your copy at:

Amazon- Print Version

Amazon- Ebook Version

Author Interview – Mike Martin

Cover WalkerToday I have Mike Martin in the IBRU hot seat, spilling the dirt on his upcoming books.

Mike, thank you for stopping by to chat with us. Could you please tell the folks at home a little bit about yourself?

Hi there. I’m a long-time freelance writer, now turned mystery writer. I am Canadian and live in Ottawa. I’ve been writing fiction for the last five years and have two books published in the Sgt. Windflower series, with another coming out next year. The Walker on the Cape is my first fiction book.
 
We get to follow Windflower through the Elias Martin case from start to finish. What did you have to keep in mind as you were constructing it?
I am a ‘pantser’ which means that I don’t really know what is going to happen next. The Characters talk and I listen and write it down. I just have to make sure that I let the story lead and not try and predict what is going to happen. It’s fun, but kinda like a roller coaster ride. I scream a lot!!
 
Obviously, you are quite familiar with RCMP protocol. How difficult was it to research what the RCMP does through murder investigations?
There is a lot of research required to make sure that you get it right. Luckily I have a few ‘experts’ as part of my reading and editing team who point out mistakes before I get too far. A lot of this stuff is actually common sense, and it is one of the areas where it’s much better to be simple and stick to the facts. Creativity here could get you into a lot of trouble.
Getting glimpses of Windflower’s personal life–his native heritage and his relationship with Sheila, for example–help to round out his character. Will we be seeing more of those aspects in future novels?
Absolutely. The second book in the series, The Body on the T, focuses much more on character development so readers will find out a lot more about Windflower. His character and mettle are tested personally and professionally and he has to rely on his culture and traditions to find strength and support.

What’s next for Windflower and, of course, you?
Book #2 in the series, The Body on the T. is just out in e-book form on Amazon.com and Chapters.ca so that means a lot of online visiting and blog tours etc. And I am working on the next book in the series. Book # 3 will have a special focus on Windflower’s native background including a visit from his uncle who helps him interpret some of his dreams.
That sounds fabulous!
The Walker on the Cape is available at:

Book Locker 

Amazon

Review: The Walker on the Cape – Cate’s take

Cover Walker

Genre: Mystery

Rating: Maybe

When the body of Elias Martin is found on the Cape overlooking Grand Bank, Newfoundland, RMCP officer Sgt. Winston Windflower embarks on an investigation that threatens to shake the foundations of the small coastal town. I have to say, I did enjoy this book, though it reads more like a police procedural than an actual mystery. We follow Windflower’s every move from the beginning of the case to its surprising end, and at points, the story is bogged down in technical detail. Where I thought Windflower might offer some kind of insight, he doesn’t, and I was a little disappointed in that aspect. I would have liked more from the protagonist.

What Martin does give us is a by-the-books (mostly, because what’s the appeal of a guy who does it by the books all the time?) murder investigation. We get to play along with Windflower and his side-kick Eddie Tizzard as they work the case, interrogate suspects, and put the pieces together. We also get glimpses into Windflower’s personal life through a friend who has connections to the pretty owner of the café he frequents, but the focus is on the murder of an old man with few friends.

All in all, this was a good story, but l really wanted more from the narrative. I felt too much like an outsider looking in on the book, and it was difficult for me to get into Windflower’s mind.

 

The Walker on the Cape is available at:

Book Locker 

Amazon

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