Archive for the 'Whatever' Category



Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
Snippet Saturday!

Welcome to Snippet Saturday.

The theme for today was “heroine’s defining moment”. I realized after I signed up to participate in this theme that most of my heroine’s defining moments come at the end of my novels and those are snippets I don’t like to share (too spoilery).

This snippet is a “defining” moment of sorts. It’s actually one of two rather large inciting incidents for Sarafina of Witch Fury (June 2, 2009, Berkley Sensation). It’s a point in the novel where her world turns on end and everything she’s known all her life changes.

Enjoy!

Excerpt from Witch Fury, by Anya Bast © 2009

The door burst inward, ripped from the hinges at the same time the uncontrolled blast of fire hit it. Sarafina screamed in surprise, stepped backward, tripped and fell on her ass.

For a hazy, confused moment she thought her magick had exploded the door. Then she focused past the smoke and saw the dark outline of a man–tall, muscular build, long dark hair, grim expression on his face.

The man glanced at her for the barest of moments. His long hair blew around his face from the force of the magickical battle behind him. His eyes were hard and dark. In his brutal expression lay control and power. Knowledge–deep and wide. Sarafina noticed all that about him in a second and it took her breath away.

What new nightmare was this man?

The newcomer turned and deflected an aggressive attack from Stefan. The room exploded into chaos. Two men barreled through the door after the intruder. Instead of using magick to defend himself, he punched one in the face, grabbed him by his shirt front and threw him into the second. Then he whirled to once again face Stefan.

The scent of white hot fire and dark, rich earth filled her nose as furniture slid across the floor and slammed into the walls. The floor itself rippled. It was like a battle of supernatural titans.

Sarafina clutched Grosset to her chest and crawled behind an overturned table, holding her trembling dog close and wishing like hell this was all some really strange dream fueled by her grief. Any second now she’d wake up and shake her head over it, tell herself she’d never eat cold enchiladas before bed again.

But this was no dream.

Shouting, cursing. Explosions. Fire crackling. Growing hotter and nearer until thick bursts of earth extinguished the flare-ups.

Silence.

Footsteps pounded through the rest of the house. Shouting in the distance. In the room where Sarafina and Grosset hid behind the overturned table there was no sound. Nothing.

Maybe the intruders–whoever they were–had forgotten about her. Maybe the hulking man in the doorway had gone away. Maybe this was her chance to get out of here.

Moving slowly, she peeked around the edge of the table and saw only a smoldering fire in a trashcan over in the corner of the room. Smoke wafted through the air. She inched out a little more, straining to hear any other sounds from inside the house. She didn’t know who the party crashers were and wanted to avoid them. With her luck they were worse than Stefan and his ilk.

Movement. The swirl of a long black duster.

The man was still there. Peeking out, she watched him circle the room, languid, lethal. His muscular body seemed tense with the desire to kill something, didn’t really matter what. The man turned toward her and she ducked back behind the table and closed her eyes, praying he’d pass her by.

“Warlock.”

A hand grasped her collar and lifted her straight up. Sarafina screamed and Grosset exploded in a flurry of Pomeranian rage. He snapped and growled at the man who’d trapped her in his big, sweaty, meaty hands–hands big enough to snap her neck in two seconds flat, she noted with unease.

“Tell your dog to chill.” The words came out gravelly, like they were forced from an infrequently used set of vocal cords. His grim expression grew even darker–his eyebrows coming together in the middle and the lines around his mouth deepening.

If she’d met this man on the street, she’d turn and walk the other way out of sheer instinct for self-preservation.

And she was currently caught in his powerful hands.

Wanna read more snippets? Here’s a list of other authors who are participating today:

Lauren Dane
Cynthia Eden
Vivi Anna
SJ Day
Moira Rogers
Leah Braemel
Mandy Roth
Viv Arend
Juliana Stone
Savannah Foley
Beth Williamson
Elisabeth Naughton
Michelle Pillow
Jaci Burton
Taige Crenshaw
McKenna Jeffries

Friday, May 22nd, 2009
Off to the zoo

I’m finally feeling better after a week of the plague. Since the weather’s been nice and we’ve been cooped up inside, I’m taking my daughter to the zoo for a while today.

Don’t forget to check tomorrow for the first round of Snippet Saturday, and then on Monday for my blog exchange with Yasmine Galenorn.

Now I’m off to commune with the lions, tigers and bears. Have a great day, all!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
T-minus 14 days

…until Witch Fury releases and I’m still totally calm. This is not a normal emotional state for me right before a release, but I like it. I really do.

My daughter goes to day care one day a week. Mostly it’s so she can run around and play with other little kids her age, but I admit the day off once a week for me is pretty nice too. The thing is, day care is like germ lollapalooza, and she’s been bringing stuff home to me and my husband. I have been sick literally every other week for the last three months.

This is of the suck.

However, as I am told by mothers wiser than I am and many doctors, too, that this has an upside. My daughter is building up her immune system (I guess I’m building up mine too, huh? Or maybe I’m too old for that now. *g*) and this will make her transition to school easier. If we didn’t go through this period of germ exposure now, she’d be doing it later–in pre-school or, worse, in Kindergarten, when it would be detrimental for her to miss school. And, so, we soldier through the germ fest that is day care. I’m just getting over a bug now that my daughter was down with all last week. My husband has it now. I have a martial death rattle in my chest right now. It’s so very attractive.

Anyway, I actually wasn’t posting to whine about germs, although I could do that for a while. I wanted to let you know that the amazing Yasmine Galenorn and I will be doing another blog exchange–like the one we did when Witch Heart released–on Monday, May 25th. We interviewed each other and will have our respective answers up on our blog that day. We’re both also going to be holding contests. So stop by and check it out.

Also, if you’re in Minnesota, I’ll be signing Witch Fury at Uncle Hugo’s bookstore on June 6th 1-2pm. Mary Janice-Davidson will also be there signing Undead and Unwelcome. So stop on by if you’re in the area. I would love to meet you. I don’t get up to Minnesota very often.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
Dedication

So I mentioned last week that I’ve been waiting a long time to dedicate a book to a certain person. Witch Fury is dedicated to him. His name was Pete and he worked in a small bookstore with me when I was college. He was an older man, retired, looking for a way to spend his twilight years without getting bored. He had Parkinson’s and his hands shook. He had skin cancer, too, and would wear band aids over his nose sometimes when he had tissue removed, but always made light of it. He was married and had a large, happy family with sons who came into the store and visited him frequently. He loved to read.

Pete and I struck up a close friendship, though we were an unlikely pair. I was a psychology and English major in college and worked the bookstore on nights and weekends. I hadn’t written my first book yet, but that would come soon. At this point I was writing more literary fare, being influenced by the writing courses I was taking for my degree. I loved writing poetry the most and took several poetry writing classes. Pete also loved to write poetry.

It wasn’t long before we were exchanging bits of our work with each other and giving each other feedback. Pete was maybe my first crit partner. At first the exchange was tentative and shy, both us a little wary of sharing our work with another person. But trust soon grew and we traded something back and forth almost every day. Pete’s writing voice was wry and happy, poking fun at the world and the people in it. Mine was on the dark and angsty side and my writing could be intensely personal sometimes. Through our writing, we got to know each other very well.

Then Pete’s personality started to change. He’d always been a relaxed, laid-back, happy guy, always ready with a smile or a compliment. But now his emotions was swinging wildly. Sometimes he would break down in tears in the back room or fly into a rage over nothing. It was terrifying to watch. The close-knit crew of the bookstore wondered where our Pete had gone.

Soon, we all knew why he was acting so strangely. Pete had a brain tumor wrapped around his brain stem and it was slowly killing him. It was advanced and affecting his emotions in ways he couldn’t control. They would do emergency surgery, but the chances weren’t good he would make it through the complicated procedure. Pete had become sort of like a father to me and I was in denial. I thought for sure he’d be okay. There was no way he could die. But he did. He died on the operating table.

It wasn’t the first time in my life I’d suffered the loss of someone close to me. It wasn’t the second or third or fourth time, even. However Pete’s death affected more than any of the rest. I really can’t say why for sure. He wasn’t a relative of mine. I hadn’t even known him long. He was just a man I worked with and exchanged my writing with. But maybe that sharing of my writing–such an intimate part of me at that time in my life–was why his death impacted me so much. I look back on Pete now with a lot of fondness and I still miss him. He was an amazing and exceptional person and the world was better off with him in it.

So, that’s the story behind the dedication of Witch Fury.

Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Snippet Saturday

blog-header-option2***

Myself and a bunch of other authors, spearheaded by the fantastic Lauren Dane, have joined together to bring you Snippet Saturdays for the next few months.

Every Saturday will have a specific theme. Participating authors will post excerpts that fit the theme, along with a list of other blogs you can visit to read more.

I might choose an excerpt from a work-in-progress, an upcoming or current release (nothing spoilerific, though), or something from my backlist. I may even offer a prize once in a while because I like to do that and I have a whole STACK of pristine paperbacks by various authors in my office to give away.

It will begin next Saturday with the theme of “main character’s defining moment”. Here are some of the participating authors:

Cynthia Eden
Juliana Stone
Lauren Dane
Leah Braemel
Michelle Pillow
Moira Rogers
S.J. Day
TJ Michaels
Vivian Arend
Jaci Burton
Maura Anderson
Mandy Roth
Elizabeth Naughton
Beth Williamson

Whew. And that’s just a partial list.

*** Header credit goes to Val Tibbs. Pretty nice, huh?

Friday, May 15th, 2009
My girls all together

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I received a first copy of Witch Fury a couple days ago (the book releases on June 2nd). My girls look good together, don’t you think? *g* I stuck it up on the shelf without looking at it much. I flip through when I get the first copy (with a blissful look on my face, I’m sure), check the back for the teaser except (in Witch Fury there’s a sneak peek at Wicked Enchantment, which will come out in January) and check the dedication. I don’t usually look that much closer, however.

I have this thing about viewing the final book too closely. I’ve always had it, even back in the earliest days of my career. Once that final book is in your hands, there’s no changing or tweaking it and, inevitably, if I read parts of the book in this stage I find tiny little changes I would like to make.

So no reading, only flipping. 😉

Regarding the dedication, I’ve been waiting a while to find the right book to dedicate to this particular person and this was the book. But that’s a topic for another post, maybe next week sometime. Have a great day, all! I’m dealing with a sickish child today.

Right now, she’s sitting at the dining room table feeling a bit better, playing with stickers, markers and crayons on a big white piece of paper. It’s a beautiful day today. Too pretty for an active toddler who loves to be outside to be sick, but what are you going to do? The germs, they have no mercy.

Today I’m working on a free story for you all. It’s sort of a post-series tale for one of the characters in the Elemental Witches series that I get a lot of mail about. That’s all I’ll say right now. *g* Any guesses about which secondary character it might be? I hope to have it finished and posted to my web site by the time Witch Fury releases.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Sinners & Saints — Readers Appreciation Weekend 2009

sinners_saints_red_sm

This week I registered to attend RAW 2009, a weekend long get-together of readers and authors in Huntington, West Virgina hosted by the amazing Lora Leigh. The event takes place September 25, 26 and 27. I went last year and had a blast. It’s very low key. Lots of time to sit around and shoot the breeze. But if you’re thinking of going you better make the decision quick! Registration ends at the end of the month. Click the graphic above for more details.

Also, anyone in the Minnesota area, Mary Janice Davidson and I will be signing our latest releases at Uncle Hugo’s Science
Fiction Bookstore
on Saturday, June 6, from 1-2 pm. I’ll be signing WITCH FURY. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
Whose Head am I in Today?

This morning I heard an author on NPR (don’t know who, sorry) say something to the effect that a writer should always put themselves in the place of their audience when writing. I got me to thinking (this is the part where you should run away and hide).

I do think of my audience when I’m writing, but it’s usually before I start a novel, when I’m the plotting/outlining stages. For example, I write paranormal romance. That means an HEA is a must or I will be strung up by my neck by my readers and left to die a slow, choking death. There also other considerations when crafting a story for the romance reader that I always take into account when plotting and planning. Sexual tension, placement of love scene, character development, ect…

But once I start writing, I’m really not thinking about y’all anymore. 😉 At least, not when I’m sitting there looking at my MS. When I write, I’m not in the head of my audience; I’m in the head of the POV character I’m writing at that moment.

Creative visualization is a must-have tool for a fiction writer. The ability to place yourself in the environment your character is in, to smell what they smell, see what they see, hear what they hear. The hardest thing about this is, of course, thinking the way they think because those characters are not you. They have different backgrounds, different ways of seeing the world, are driven to make decisions differently than you would. The mark of a skilled writer is getting the reader to believe the characters, but in order to do that (in my opinion) the writer has to be fully in the head of the character, not the reader, when they’re writing.

This is on my mind right now because I’m writing an especially tricky character right now—two of them, actually. It’s easier when a character is sort of like me. I can name a few of my heroines to whom, were they real people, I’d probably relate pretty well. Then there are characters like, oh, Daria from The Chosen Sin, who are so different from me that they’re a real challenge to write. That’s okay, I like challenges. Prefer them, in fact. Makes the experience more interesting.

Right now I’m writing a historical fantasy ménage a trois romance for Berkley Heat called JEWELED. There are three main characters in this story. The two characters the story opens with are Evangeline and Anatol. Both of them are challenging characters, who have worldviews much different than mine. The challenge is keeping their POVs true and not letting too much of my own personality seep into them. I really have to get deep into their heads to write them.

So, you see, as much as I love you all and appreciate the absolute hell out of you and HOPE like a crazy person you like the end result, I am not thinking of you when I’m writing. Or of myself, for that matter. I’m only thinking of the fictional character on the page and trying to get them right.