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Blood Bathory 3

At last, the release date for the third book in the Blood Bathory trilogy is nigh! It will wrap up the story arc that’s run through the previous two books. There’s room for us to return to the Blood Bathory universe — and we have a couple of ideas along those lines — but we aren’t leaving any big loose ends dangling.

For the first two books, I found inspiration for the characters I wrote (Evan and Tyr) in Evanescence songs. I hadn’t heard of the group until I heard someone perform “Bring Me to Life” at karaoke. I was sitting in a position that let me read the lyrics on the screen, and they gave me an epiphany about Evan. I’d been struggling with his characterization, but when I heard that song, I thought, “That’s Evan”. From then on, I knew who he was, what he wanted, and why he returned to Will.

After that, I bought a couple of Evanescence albums because their music is grand and gorgeous, if a bit overdramatic for someone my age. My teenage self would have eaten this with a spoon if they’d been around back then. At any rate, it wasn’t difficult to find Tyr’s song once we started working on Blood Bathory 2. “My Immortal” summed up where he was in his grieving for Aaron (who had only a cameo in the novel, but I found a song for him anyway: “Swimming Home”).

I wanted to continue the tradition of connecting an Evanescence song to my character in Blood Bathory 3, but there isn’t really one that fits him. Instead, I found a song for Ari’s character, Antonio: “My Heart is Broken”.

It captures his loneliness after losing Raphael, the Dark Guardian he was bonded to five hundred years ago. Part of his heart and soul were lost when Raphael died, and he still feels the loss of his “dark angel” to this day.

Part of Antonio’s journey in Blood Bathory 3 will be deciding whether he can move beyond his grief and take a chance on loving a man who is different from the man he lost or whether giving his heart away during such dangerous times is too great a risk.

Blood Bathory: Be Not Proud will be released on August 31 by Torquere Press!

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Big Biscuit Bottoms: Murder Ballads playlist

Last year, we wrote a Valentine’s Day story that featured a main character who is a toy store manager by day and a Bluegrass musician by night, Andy Lane. In Dandy’s Little Girl, Andy’s band, the Big Biscuit Bottoms, were hired to play at an anti-Valentine’s Day party at a popular bar, and I had way too much fun coming up with their set list because I love Bluegrass, folk music, and old Country music. Given how often love turned to death and murder in these songs, it wasn’t difficult for me to compile a “murder ballads” playlist for the band.

Last year, I posted here with the playlist enhanced by videos. This year, I’ve gone a step farther and created a  Big Biscuit Bottoms: Murder Ballads set list on Spotify!

I added all the songs from the original set list in the story and added some others I’ve found since then. I’m sure I’ll keep adding to it as I find grisly, creepy new material.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 😉

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Herc’s Mercs visual inspiration

To start on a random note, I really like my nails right now. I don’t normally go for pale colors, but I found a combo I wanted to try: In the Flesh with Vintage Confetti glitter coat on top. Both are Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, which I’ve found wears pretty well. The glitter coat caught my attention first, and In the Flesh is a subtle pale pink that picks up one of the glitter colors, so I thought it would make a good foundation. I’m very pleased with the results!

Also, I’m trying hard to cut down on processed foods, but they make it really hard when they throw things like Lays potato chips in “Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese” flavor at me.

I’ve talked a bit about Herc’s Mercs: Line in the Sand before, but mostly I nattered about how Tom Hiddleston was the inspiration for Jon and then I veered off into talking about Herc 3. So I wanted to talk about visual inspiration, which we use a lot in our writing.

Choosing visual references for our characters helps us set a clear image of that character in our minds for ourselves and each other, which means we’re both on the same page in terms of physical description. Usually, we end up taunting each other and trying to whip each other’s muses into a frenzy by linking to sexy photos of the person we’re using as visual inspiration, which is fun if a little distracting. 😉 Continue reading “Herc’s Mercs visual inspiration”

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Blood Bathory 2!

A week from today, the second novel in our Blood Bathory trilogy will be coming out from Torquere Press! The Blood Bathory series is dear to us because while the first book wasn’t the first original work we got published, it was the first  manuscript we finished (and submitted and got rejected) when we decided to try our hands at original fiction writing.

Book One came out last July, and we used it as a way to introduce the world we’d built, which involves a battle between shapeshifters who are the servants of Gaia and vampires, who are out to destroy the shapeshifters. The primary antagonist is Elizabeth Bathory, who is trying to establish a foothold in NYC and to track down Evan St. John, who risked his life to escape her.

Evan is one of the main characters of book one, a reluctant vampire who didn’t ask to be turned. He seeks help from his best friend, Will Trask, and together, they face the realization that the world is much stranger — and much more dangerous — than they thought it was.

Mild spoilers for book two ahead!

Continue reading “Blood Bathory 2!”

Diary

Speak the Speech Trippingly on the Tongue

One thing that helps keep Ari and me focused is deciding what we’re going to write, in what order we’re going to write it, and then making a list. Works with deadlines get priority on The List, and we also have a shared iCal calendar just for writing deadlines. Currently, we’ve just submitted a story and crossed it off The List, and we’ll be finishing up the rough draft of a Valentine’s Day novella this week. It’ll get a few days to marinate, and then we’ll edit it and send it off.

After that, it’s time to whip the rough draft of Blood Bathory 2 into shape! The draft is finished, but we need to add scenes we skipped over, mostly brief scenes establishing what the villains are up to, and then edit it. Considering it’ll probably be 100k-ish, that’ll take a while. We’re budgeting about a month to get that done, allowing for real life interventions, and once that’s finished, we’ll move on to the next thing on our list.

One of those things is Blood Bathory 3, the third and final novel that will wrap up our trilogy, although we’ll probably revisit that world down the road. The trilogy will be stand-alone, but the world we’re building will let us come back to it if we want to, and I think we will because we’ve enjoyed it so much.

I’m looking forward to writing the primary character I’ll be writing in BB3, and I think he’ll pose an interesting challenge. He was born in the 1500s, and for plot-related reasons I can’t divulge, he spent a rather long time more or less isolated from the world. Not cut off entirely but separated enough that his language didn’t have time to catch up completely to the modern world, so he still uses a fair bit of archaic language without realizing it. So I’ve been planning for his language — word choice, sentence structure — to be different, but I hadn’t stopped to think about how his pronunciation might be different until I saw this:

love this. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the past, and I love that there are people who are so passionate about language that they’d go to the trouble of researching and reconstructing Shakespearean pronunciation. Not only that, but now I have a pretty good idea of what my character probably sounds like. Maybe not quite to this extent but I’m sure it still impacts his speech, which should make trying to communicate with some of the other characters interesting!

Suffice to say, going to London to see an Original Pronunciation production at The Globe is going on my bucket list.

Diary

Visual inspiration

One advantage of using Evernote is that when either of us comes across an article or an image that we think might be useful either for inspiration or research, we can clip it and toss it in our planning notebook for future reference. We also have a note dedicated to an on-going list of plot bunnies in that notebook. Some of the clipped material will get used; some of it won’t, but it’s nice to have something to riffle through if we need inspiration.

tumblr_m80m40BiC61rc4k82o2_1280Images have played a significant role in inspiring our work. For example, an image of a decrepit house inspired our 2012 Halloween story, A Hundred Lonely Halloweens. I came across the image, showed it to Ari, and we both loved it enough to make it the visual inspiration for Delaney House. I don’t remember off-hand where the house in the photo is located, but based on the terrain, we situated our fictional version in the Smoky Mountains.

We often use visual inspiration for our characters as well. I’ve mentioned before that Luke Reynolds from Heart of Stone bears a strong resemblance to Captain Tightpants from Firefly, and Luke isn’t the only character for whom I’ve had a specific actor in mind while writing.

One of Evan’s biggest problems in Blood Bathory — aside from being turned into a vampire against his will — is being judged based on his appearance. He’s described as a “pretty boy”, and Elizabeth chooses to turn him because of his looks. Evan is not and never will be the rugged, macho type, and I had a specific look in mind for him: Ian Somerhalder, who is such a ridiculously pretty man, it ought to be illegal.

I first saw him as Boone on Lost, and now he’s pretty much the only reason I’m still watching The Vampire Diaries. When it comes to vampires on TV, I’d rather watch True Blood, because the characters are adults, not teens, and there is a generous bounty of adult men who roam around in various states of undress at pretty much all times. Especially Eric. I don’t even go for blond men as a general rule, but I’ll happily make an exception for him! Then again, I have a thing for snarky badasses in general, so it’s no wonder I love him. Ari and I have that in common, actually. Give us a book/movie/TV show with a snarky badass who is the anti-hero, and that’ll be the character we both adore.

As a woman of a certain age, I appreciate the scenery and the adult-themed plotlines on True Blood  much more than the young actors and teen drama plotlines on The Vampire Diaries. Last season of TVD was particularly difficult to get through because I developed a dislike for all but a small handful of characters on the show, but as long as Ian is there, snarking away as Damon Salvatore, I’ll tune in. Same thing for the spin-off show, which I’ll probably watch only for Elijah.

ANYWAY. This right here is my Evan:

ian_somerhalder_1252223858

Suffice to say, researching photos to use as visual inspiration wasn’t at all a hardship for me. *cough*