September 30, 09 @ 3:02 pm
Considering I didn’t stray too far from my couch, yesterday was jam-packed! DEMON PRINCESS was officially released into the world and I also finished the first draft of NIGHTSHADE!
(These are very different books, believe you me.)
Can I get some celebratory dancing bananas, please?
Thank you, dancing bananas!
Wow. This is probably the most violent, action-packed book I’ve ever written. And I LOVE IT. That Rachel Connor (aka: my pen name for this book). She’s fairly insane. But I think I already knew that.
There are several elements in it that mark it as a book I’ve written, though. There’s a love triangle (can’t help it. I had two SEXY guys to deal with in the plot! What am I supposed to do? IGNORE THAT OPPORTUNITY??), there’s some snarky humor (although this book is NOT a comedy), and the evil, nasty vampires…well, they might just be a little bit misunderstood. Funny, that.
Writing it in first person made me feel like I was experiencing everything the heroine, Jillian, was feeling. Which made for an interesting write that I may need a couple of days to recover from. LOL. I’ll talk more about the book when we get closer to the pub date. I don’t know why, but I really dislike talking plot specifics until everything is set in stone. Paranoid? Who me??? Nahhh.
I’m going to let it sit for a couple of weeks before I tackle the second draft. I’m praying that it doesn’t need tooooo much work. But you never know. I was surprised how closely it stuck to my original outline, actually. The ending is a bit too open, as far as I’m concerned, but I think I like it. However, there is at least one more book in this story which I’ll be writing first thing in the new year, so I guess that’s not too bad.
Now I’m taking a couple of days off to refill the well before I start on my next project. What is my new project, you might ask?? Come back tomorrow and I have some news to share here on zee blog about it.
Today I’m trying to get through some online chores including updating the website and doing a few Q&As that have been waiting for my undivided attention.
I’ve added a Writing Advice section to this website since I’m asked about this sort of thing on a regular basis lately. Check it out on my On Writing page (it’s the second article down the page. I can’t figure out how to do anchors using this WordPress template).
And I’m going to catch up on some of the shows I’ve been PVRing the last couple of weeks. My quick opinions so far on what I’ve seen so far, old and new…
Glee – Hooray!
The Vampire Diaries – Mmm hmm!
FlashForward – Hmm. Maybe.
CougarTown – Maybe.
DWTS, SYTYCD, SYTYCD Canada – I’m sick of dancing. Unless there are dancing bananas.
Supernatural – BRING IT ON!!!
Eastwick – No. Just no.
America’s Next Top Model – Love.
Movies I’ve seen lately. Same review process.
Julie & Julia – Surprisingly delightful, given that there were no vampires in it.
Love Happens - Could not have hated it more. So disappointing.
The Informant! – Blarg.
Seen any good movies or TV? Please share. I’m tired of wasting my time and money on crappy entertainment.
September 29, 09 @ 10:26 am
It’s the day I’ve been waiting for! The release day for my first young adult novel!
For Nikki Donovan, being a teenager can be hell. Literally.
As if trying to fit in at a new school and navigating the social scene isn’t enough stress for her, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands — the world that separates and protects ours from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious (and surprisingly cute) messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and that he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew — what’s a teenage demon princess to do?
Hmmm. How about I do a Q&A with myself!!? Whee!!!!!!!!
Is REIGN OR SHINE a stand alone book, or part of a series?
It’s the first book in a new series. “Demon Princess” is the series name and “Reign or Shine” is the name of the book itself. The second book REIGN CHECK, picks up only two days after the events in RoS and it’s going to be out June 2010. There’s a teaser chapter at the end of RoS for the second book.
Any fun facts about Demon Princess you can share?
Yes! The main character Nikki’s name comes from Old Nick which is a humorous nickname for the devil.
I wrote the first draft of DP:RoS for Nanowrimo in 2006. I probably revised this book more than anything else I’ve ever written because I wrote it without an outline. I like outlines. However, I really loved this story and I was willing to put the work into it to make it better. The beginning has remained mostly the same, but the entire second half was rewritten from scratch.
Oooh, demons. Sounds evil and nasty. I don’t worship Satan. Will I still enjoy your book?
I don’t write Satanic books. Trust me on that. This is fiction and Nikki at no time will be sacrificing kittens. Nor is there a religious tone to this book whatsoever. Nope. Nikki’s demonic side, while very real in the book itself, is a metaphor for being a teenager, trying to hide something you think makes you different and unacceptable. I am a firm believer than no one is born bad (except my parents’ cat whose name is, coincidentally, Nikki)…it’s the choices we make that define us, whether we’re half demon or completely human!
Why is DP:RoS released as a hard cover and a paperback at exactly the same time?
Good question. Uh…well, I think it was mostly because it was originally going to just be a paperback, then there was some interest at my publisher to make it a hardcover too. I figure most of the hardcovers will go to libraries because they’re sturdier and will last longer. The hardcover is mighty pretty though and only $1.50 more on Amazon.com!
Michael’s wayyy hot!!! Did you have an actor in mind when you were writing him?
Why, yes I did. I always picture actors in my head when I’m writing. In the case of Michael, the cute (but strange and mysterious) guy Nikki’s father sends to give her the news she’s a demon princess and bring her to see him in the Shadowlands, I had Kevin Zegers in mind.
Did you say something about a CONTEST!!?? I saw it in the blog header!
Uh huh. I sure did. Since I have several Q&As coming up soon where I’ll be giving away a copy of REIGN OR SHINE, I thought I’d try something a little different. I’m going to give away a signed manuscript of the second book in the series, REIGN CHECK, to one winner. Get the chance to read it eight months before it’s released!!
How do I qualify??? I must have this manuscript!!!
Take a picture of yourself holding a copy of REIGN OR SHINE and email it to me or post it to your blog, facebook, website, twitpic, whatever (and email me the URL so I can see it) and I’ll randomly choose a winner one week from today, Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at midnight EST. Fun, right??
September 22, 09 @ 10:20 am
Check out my interview over at the Ravenous Reader. Nancy’s giving away some horns and a pitchfork and I’m giving away a signed copy of Demon Princess! I want some horns, too! I have to go out and buy a bunch for giveaways, methinks.
It’s been an interesting week! I’m just plugging along in Nightshade and liking this book a lot (I think!!). The Big Bad has just been introduced in the flesh and we’ll just have to see how bad he is. I’m thinking he miigghhtt have a bit of a soft spot for my heroine. Yes, he just might.
I think I’m going to need to take at least a week off after I’m finished the first draft on this one. The intensity of the material I’m writing mixed with the general weariness caused by trying to be prolific is making me a bit punchy and I’ve been reacting to things a bit stronger than I should lately. This is an understatement but I’ll leave it at that. I will definitely be resting and refilling the well during the first week of October before I either start a new project or get right into the second draft of Nightshade.
Demon Princess is out one week from today! I think it’s officially released here in Canada… today!! I saw a bunch of copies out early at a local Chapters a few days ago. I’ve never seen so many of my books in one place before. They were featured on a teen fiction table — the friendly blue of my cover surrounded by a sea of black covers. It made me realize how many YA books these days are dark and dramatic and edgy. Demon Princess is dramatic! In parts! Anyway, I hope that anyone who is exhausted from dark YA fiction and needs a bit of a lighter break will check out my book. *smiles charmingly*
In TV news, I watched The Vampire Diaries with great trepidation and I’m happy to report that it rocked! At least, I think so. I’ve only seen the premiere and have the second episode taped to watch when I get a chance. Loved it.
I also taped Dancing with the Stars last night and will fast forward through that today.
Sequins and hot dancing boys like Maks, Alec and Dmitry! What could be better?? Who cares about the celebrities?
September 16, 09 @ 11:45 am
***Q&A and CONTEST……I’m over at The Book Butterfly with a Q&A and contest (separate posts) for Demon Princess (12 days till the release!!). Contest runs till October 10th so there’s lots of time to comment to win.
***UPCOMING SIGNING….I have a signing coming up with Eve Silver on Saturday, September 19th. If you’re in the Whitby, Ontario area, we’ll be at the Zellers at 330 Taunton Road East from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.
Closing in on 200 manuscript pages on NIGHTSHADE. It’s like a real book now! I even fiddled a bit with the website for my Rachel Connor name yesterday, in an act of what I like to call “productive procrastination,” ie: if you’re going to procrastinate, you may as well be productive!
This story is rather exhausting and my poor characters are going to need a vacation as much as I will once I finish the first draft. They may also need a stay in the hospital hooked up to an IV. Unfortunately for them, I’m going to be rolling right into the second book about their trials and tribulations shortly after I’m finished this one. The second one has a working title of NIGHTFALL. I think I’m happy with how the story is shaping up, but I can never tell when I’m in the thick of it.
Watched the season finale of True Blood and it reminded me a bit of season 2 of Dexter. A totally riveting, edge-of-your-seat season with a bit of a meh ending. Still, this is in my top 3 favorite TV shows at the moment (along with Supernatural and Lost) so I can’t wait to see what season 3 brings. (Much more Eric, pretty please).
I also watched the season finale of Big Brother last night and was very pleased that goodness prevailed with Jordan winning and NataLIE losing. Then again, second place isn’t really a loss, is it? If I ever happen to be on a show like BB, I have to remember to be very, very nice to the production staff so they don’t edit me poorly. I think how you come off to the viewing public is all in the editing. I mean, we all have our unpleasant moments, right? We just don’t want them broadcast for the world to see. In any case, the ending made the season worthwhile. I’ll miss Jeff a great deal. He can water my garden any day. Take that however you wish.
September 11, 09 @ 4:23 pm
The strange thing about writing full time is that it’s easy to lose track of what day of the week it is. When one has a day job, each day of the week has a different feel. Monday’s suck. Wednesdays mean you’re halfway there. Friday’s rock, etc. Now…it’s all the same. The only difference is that some days I don’t get as much email (ie: the weekends).
I have no point. I’m just stating a fact.
This is Sammy who seems to attach himself to my leg like a furry hot water bottle whenever I sit down to get some work done. FYI, Sammy was named for Sam Winchester on Supernatural. Season premiere was last night and IT WAS AWESOME!! Huzzah for season five!!
Anyhoo… I’m pretty much on track with Nightshade. Currently my heroine is in some rather hot water. The character arc for my heroine Jillian is inspired by that of Sarah Connor in T1 and T2. She starts off a regular woman thrust into a bizarre, life-threatening situation. And she slowly adapts until she can kick some serious butt. It’s all about finding the strength inside yourself you never thought you had.
Writing a book that’s a bit more actiony (for want of a better word) is seriously draining. While I feel my regular Rowen stuff has lots of action and suspense, it’s just a different feel. The voice is similar but the pacing is ramped up in Nightshade. I remember writing Countdown and being totally stressed out for the six weeks it took me to do the first draft. I wasn’t sure why, but then I realized it was because I was in my character’s head. She was stressed out so therefore I was too. Ditto Nightshade.
Poor Jillian. She is not having an easy time of it. *evil laugh*
It is kind of fun writing about vampires that don’t enjoy Tequila Sunrises and angst about their love lives. There is nothing chick-litty about the vamps in Nightshade, that’s for sure. At least not the ones I’ve met so far.
There is a lot of new TV to watch this week, but I’m still getting my words in. This first draft will be done by the end of the month. Or else! *cracks whip*
The only interruption in my writing schedule this weekend, other than potential TV goodness, is my Toronto Romance Writer‘s meeting which is tomorrow. TRW’s a chapter of Romance Writers of America. Have I mentioned that I’m Vice President this year? If not, I’m Vice President this year! It’s my job to books speakers for 2010 (which is all done, huzzah) and hand out chocolates for people with good news. If you’re in the area and you’re an aspiring or published writer of romance or books with romantic elements, you really should check us out.
Okay… I have 10 more pages to write today. Onward!
September 09, 09 @ 11:08 am
Nikki Donovan is the 16-year-old heroine of my DEMON PRINCESS young adult series, which launches in 19 little days with the first book, REIGN OR SHINE!
Also included in the book is the first teaser chapter from DEMON PRINCESS #2: REIGN CHECK that will be out June 2010.
I had an illustrator friend do up a couple visualizations of Nikki. I’ll be using these pics on various promo pieces. Check out Chris at Kitestring Creative if you’re in need of a fab illustrator. I also do illustration, or at least I used to, but wanted to get a fresh take on the character so I totally outsourced. And I’m glad I did. I think these pictures are completely adorable!
Since Nikki is half demon and half human, she has a couple different looks…..
Normal high school girl….
And, uh…not normal high school girl…. (FYI, she looks way calmer in this pic than she does in the book about this particular revelation).
In any case, Nikki says hello and she looks forward to hopefully getting to know many readers in the months ahead.
September 08, 09 @ 2:05 pm
I’m at Bitten by Books all day today giving away fabulous prizes and answering questions on my last Tall, Dark & Fangsome blog stop.
What am I giving away, you ask?
A $50 Amazon.com gift card as well as two full signed sets of the Rowen library (plus a bit of Maddox). That’s seven books in all! Times two!
**Check it out here**
I got some good writing done over the weekend to finish up the first act of Nightshade. I always write in three acts, or at least I try to. My hero ended the first act by saying something incredibly sexy and inappropriate to my heroine, thus taking us firmly into an R-rating. This definitely isn’t a YA.
But SPEAKING OF YAs, tomorrow I’m going to share a couple fun promo illustrations I had done for my Demon Princess series as I shift my focus from vampires to teenaged demons, because….
…only 20 DAYS UNTIL Demon Princess: Reign or Shine is out!!!
Also, it’s premiere week for a ton of shows. How will I ever get everything done with all these distractions??
September 03, 09 @ 6:49 pm
Today I’m visiting with Roxanne Rhoads at Fang-tastic Books for a Q&A in which I discuss keeping my pen names organized, character inspiration, mourning my vamps, and other fangtastic subjects. Plus, I’m giving away another signed copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome. WILL THE FUN AND FRIVOLITY EVER END?
No, no it won’t. But this is my last Q&A until next Tuesday. So there is a reprieve in the fun and the frivolity.
I’m starting to hit my stride with NIGHTSHADE. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. As usual, it’s turning out just a teensy bit different than I had envisioned it. This typically happens with new characters I’ve haven’t gotten to know yet. I have an idea of how they’re going to act and react on the page, so I can surmise things when I write my synopsis. When it comes time to letting them do their thing I often find that they want to do things rather…differently. But most of the time different is good and it feels truer to the character, yada yada, so I let them go on their merry way. My characters aren’t all that merry in this book, though. But I am having fun torturing them. *cackles*
I twittered this, but I’ll announce it here as well… Tall, Dark & Fangsome has gone into a second printing after being out for only a week. How awesome is that? VERY AWESOME.
And in other awesome news, Demon Princess: Reign or Shine (25 more days!!) will officially be available in Australia. A second print run of this will be shipped and distributed there. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia!! My love for Hugh Jackman has faded in recent months, but my love of the Land Down Under has not.
Oh, and last but certainly not least, I’ve started an official Michelle Rowen Books page on Facebook. This is separate from my Michelle Rowen personal page. The new page is going to have a mirror of this blog, book cover archive, updates, info on appearances, and all that fun stuff. All the cool writers have Facebook fan pages. So now I do too! J O I N T O D A Y ! !
Okay, that’s all for now and probably for the weekend as well of which I have plans to…uh, write! Hooray! Happy Labour Day!
September 01, 09 @ 1:22 pm
I’m over at Patricia’s Vampire Notes today with an interview and giveaway of a signed copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome. Come over and visit with me!
Last week was seriously jam-packed full of time consuming new release stuff. It’s all great, but I’m glad to get back on the wagon to wordy town (as I, lamely, call it) and start writing fresh stuff. It’s always interesting to do promo for a book I was completely finished with a year ago. Sometimes it’s even a bit hard to remember plot points. I’m glad to see that readers are pleased with Fangsome and are wanting more from these characters. As the old saying goes: always leave ‘em wanting more. It would be worse if everyone’s like, oh god, not another book about these lame characters. Some might be saying that, of course, but hopefully they’re in the minority.
Anyhoooo…. I’m writing NIGHTSHADE right now and finding it a challenge to get steadily into the writing, mainly because of my time restraints lately. I need complete and utter concentration, silence, and heaps of chocolate to properly get started on a new write. Alas, I have been lacking on all three counts lately. Concentration is lacking. Silence is rare. And there is no chocolate currently in the condo-o-love.
I’m actually ok with the no chocolate part, though. I’ve embraced healthy eating this year. I’ve battled with my weight my entire life and am finally (better late than never!!) doing something about it. I just wish my metabolism would help out a little bit. After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, it’s like pulling teeth to get the pounds off. However, since the end of January, I’m down 30 pounds as of this morning which is very encouraging — and actually, the most I’ve ever lost at any one time.
I’ve also even been…***cough, hack***….exercising. A little. Although, not nearly enough.
So what I’ve learned in the last seven months of attempting to change a lifetime of bad eating habits…
Smaller portions + exercise + time and patience = Success
Who the $#(% knew????
Okay, I knew. But I’d never actually put it to the test before. I’d go on a diet and do it for a couple of weeks. When I didn’t see the weight melting off I’d get discouraged and go back to how I ate before because the diets were restrictive and I needed a “treat”. Which was not good. Susan Powter once said she was in a fat coma when she had weight issues. I have to agree with that term. I’ve been in that coma for 38 years. And I’m finally waking up.
I’m doing this with Jenny Craig at the moment. They’re frakkin expensive and I’d love to be able to do it on my own, but with my dieting history, I’d rather pay the money at the moment for a program I know I’ll follow (the food is deelish!). I feel optimistic about my success in this area of my life for the first time in years.
Two things I’ve wanted since I was a teenager — to be a published writer and to be thin and in control of my body. Well, I’m a published writer. Full time. And the same traits that helped me achieve that goal are the same traits that will help me get to my weight loss goal: perseverance, patience, and the singleminded desire to achieve something tangible.
I can do it!!! And my butt will totally thank me.