Sunday, July 27, 2014

Don't Tick Off The Author...

This is a bit too polite for me. But you get the drift.

It's funny, but people don't know you're a writer, and you can go and create a character from someone you dislike, or someone who has angered, or annoyed you, and do whatever the hell you want with them. They'll never know they have a small roll in your book.
I know we've all done this. I don't know if I've ever actually put any one person into a character, but usually I've rolled a few people up, and created someone. I'm not sure who Penelope (Nephilim), was before I created her. She dies brilliantly in Vampire Nocturne. I'm not certain who Alucard (vampire), was--but possibly any rotten man who dared to piss me off. Huh. Drakulya kills him in the end of same book. So, I think mostly I roll up everyone who have annoyed the crap out of me, into one or two characters, and do away with them.

My WIP is coming along. This morning I've gotten to page 180. One thing to note, you don't want your readers to become bored when your MC is off doing something dull. I knew that Sabrina's visit to a dry goods store in the town of Patchwork Junction, something needed to happen. The men who come in are drunk and make a bee line to her. But I couldn't have a very long confrontation. I needed Sabrina to get out of the jam quickly and be on her journey. At this point, I was in about the center of the book. I needed to keep things happening. So, in stead of her having to endure their pawing her, she has a gun. Points it... Well, here is the scene from "Six Shades of Hell". Quickly, Virdin is the store owner who she met on the train, and Gilbert is his son.

I shrugged and strapped on the gun belt and adjusted it. It was like when I had put on my dagger's sheath, only much heavier and bulkier. I had to put my dagger on my left side, so that the gun was at my right, since I was right handed. On second thought, I'd probably put the dagger away. I didn't really need the dagger where I was going. At least not right away.
Virdin counted out the amount of bills I needed to pay him for all the things. “This should do it. Five crowns.”
Yer sure you kin handle that thar hogleg?” the old-timer asked.
I finished tying the leg thong around my thigh and with the aplomb of a gunfighter, I pulled the gun out twirled it on my finger—much heavier than a toy gun, believe me—and slid it back into place. I turned and collected my change from the counter. I knew from the cowboy's loud laughter I had impressed him because he laughed so wide I could count the remaining teeth in his head—about six.
A noisy couple of men came through the door, making rowdy sounds and one of them kicked over a bunch of shovels, which went crashing to the floor. A woman nearby darted away, her eyes big. She held a number of packages, and stood like a deer frozen in gunsights.
Uh-oh,” Gilbert said. “Not these guys again.”
Why?” Virdin said. “Who are they?”
Trouble. They're the Brayton brothers. That's all I know about them, except that when they get drunk all they want to do is tear up the town,” Gilbert said.
One of the brothers looked at the lady, and with one hand threw all her parcels up, out of her hands and they went flying everywhere. With a screech, the woman darted around them and out the door. The brothers laughed, thinking it was funny.
Go get the marshal, Gilbert,” Virdin said. Gilbert nodded, and ducked through a back doorway—where they kept extra supplies. Oddly enough, I didn't see where the old-timer had gone, but he had cleared out like a cock roach when the lights go on.
The Braytons turned our way. Upon seeing me, they stopped. One brother knuckled the other in the chest casually.
Hey, lookie thar. It's one of them girl-men.” They laughed.
How kin ya tell?” Said the larger, heavier one. They both looked like they hadn't had a bath since they were twelve, and that age had long since gone by. It was hard to tell, just by looking at them how old they were, but they were old enough. A quick read of these Bozos told me they were in her to make a ruckus, and break things. Finding me was like a cat finding a cornered mouse. Well, I had news for them. I had to stop things before they got started because they were bit, strong, and dumb as rocks. And, they hadn't had a woman in a long, long time.
They stepped toward me, still chuckling like goofs, leering at me, and nudging one another, egging each other on. It wouldn't take much, and if they crossed the store too me, no one was going to stop them. Not even Virdin.
My gun cleared leather and I pointed at them. This gave them pause and their mouths hung open. Then, they laughed stupidly.
Awww, she's gonna shoot us,,” the bigger one said. They laughed.
Look, gentlemen,” Virdin said. “We don't want no trouble, here.”
Trouble? Who says we gonna make trouble?” one said.
Yeah, we just wanna talk to the lady, here,” the other said.
Okay, these guys were getting annoying. I wasn't going to shoot them, but I had to find a way to stop them in their tracks. My gaze went above their heads. The ceiling was tall, and above was a wagon wheel with four lanterns arranged around it for light. A rope held it aloft, tied to a wall brace, and hung down, and was used to lower the make-shift chandelier in order to light it. Presently they were not lit, as it was daylight out. The rope was about two fingers thick. A steady hand and good aim, I knew I could cut it.
The two had taken another step and were directly under the lights/wagon wheel. I shot the rope holding it up. The wheel came crashing down on them. They went down, stunned. One was out on his back.
Virdin's gasp of surprise made me turn. I reached into my pocket, pulled out another bill, and handed it to him. “For the damages,” I said.
Oh, no. You needn't pay for these two—”
No,” I said, collecting my purchases. “They don't have any money, and they were going to do a hell of a lot worse, if they got a chance.” I had the riffle, amo box, and a few other things in my arms. “I need to clear out of here before the marshal comes.”
Go the back way, through the alley,” he said.
I went behind the counter, and ducked through the doorway his son had taken.
Thank you, Virdin,” I said, pausing to glance back over my shoulder at him.
If you need anything, Sabrina—anything—wire me,” he called to me.

I nodded, feeling the bite of tears at the corners of my eyes, and had to turn and move away. He'd been a great friend to me.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July Updates

This week has gone by slowly. I've slowed down time, actually. I'm not sure how I've done this, but it might have something to do with my not having to go into work, and I get a lot done in one day. I'm certainly not sitting and relaxing much.

Hope everyone had a good July 4th celebration, or whatever you do. We stay home. We don't like crowds, and it's very quiet here, and we grilled a couple of steaks. Been a while since we've done that with the cost of such things, but once in a while we treat ourselves. Besides, my husband's birthday is on Monday. He's told me he's turning 50 (again). I said if he was turning fifty again, then I should too.

I do feel MUCH better this summer than I did last. I was struggling with my weight, up until I began the Atkins diet. I've now lost 17 pounds! And I'm within 11 pounds of my goal weight (125). I have so much energy it's alarming. In fact, yesterday I worked on digging up a flower bed, moving large rocks and flagstone around--I began this around 7-ish in the morning, took a 45 minute break for lunch, and was back at it for another two hours. I built my little waterfall with the large flagstone, but that was as far as I got in getting this area ready. I later will put down brick for a walk way. I've wanted to do this for a long, long time. There used to be old railroad ties in the area where I've worked, and we pulled these rotting ties out, back in the spring. Now, this is my project, and I'm doing this by myself. The only thing my husband did was haul away the dirt in the mini cart hooked to the large mower he uses out at the park. Later that night I still had energy to cut up a chicken and fry it for Dennis' birthday meal (he doesn't know if he's going to take the 7th off or not--gets behind in the mowing out there in the park).

My raspberries have come on strong. One day this week I sprayed myself down with repellent, and went out and picked what might have been two quarts. Yum!

I've watched all the Harry Potter movies first to last. Now, I really need to work on my book. My beta reader, Jennifer Weydert now has a different job, and it's at the university. She's been able to find a little time to work on my 5th book. Hopefully, she'll continue to be able to find the time. But she claims that she loves this series, and can't really put it down.

As for the fourth book, Vampire Caprice, is now on Smashwords, if anyone is interested. Since my publisher quit the business, I've gone Indie, and I'm sorry, but I simply don't have the money to put out a soft-bound book for this. If I could, believe me, I'd do a hell of a lot better job than was done with that third one. I was actually happy that he quit, since he didn't give my third book his complete attention. My suspicion was that he was too busy publishing and promoting his own book. So, this was why he was so quick to allow me to use the book covers for all three books--he felt guilty.

Anyway, I'm working on the 8th book, working on the plot. I know when not to write much down into the main document, because I don't have a good grasp of the plot. I've had a few revelations, however--and have the plot twist--but I need the meat of it, and what sort of clues to drop and how. This is going to be a sort of Western, but it will still have fantasy elements. Maybe it's a little bit of Harry Potter, too, since I use a train ride in this from one place to another in Drakulya's realm. Oh, and she is back on Black Veil to help find Princess Aljhambra, who has been abducted by one of Drakulya's off-spring, Hawk--who HATES vampires. She's told they've threatened to kill her if Drakulya doesn't comply with their wishes. Which is to stop invading a neighboring country and taking humans. But Joha, Drakula's son, claims he is not doing this!

So, at the end of my first week off, I've got a pretty good start of getting things that need doing done. The outdoor work will get done, but I need a day off in between. I'll be posting once in a while in here, and when I can, checking out what everyone else is doing out there. In the meantime, I hope you're all fine and don't mind me while I'm in my writing cave.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sabrina Strong Interviews Lorelei Bell (me)

Fourth book in series
Today, m'dears I'm doing something different. I've turned the blog over to Sabrina Strong. She wanted to interview me. Ask the writer the questions. So, I agreed. After all, who better to do it than her, since she lives inside my head almost 24/7.

SABRINA: Okay, this is just something I've wanted to ask  you like, forever. Why didn't you make me a kick-ass avenging bitch?

LORELEI: Good question, Sabrina. And I like that you come right off the starting gate with a very good question like that.
First of all, I've never been able to relate to a kick-ass bitch. Okay? I mean, I don't like women that seem angry all the time in real life. I see enough women walking around with angry frowns on their faces, and you don't dare want to say the wrong thing to them.
But also, when I began writing the very first book, Vampire Ascending, I was seeing a lot  of those types of books where the woman becomes a vampire and goes out and avenges whatever happened to her. I didn't want that sort of book.
I also wanted to have a character that more females could relate to. Someone who was real to them. You were never going to be "turned", Sabrina. I couldn't do that to you. But you had to toughen up when faced with the vampires. Especially Bjorn Tremayne.
First book in series

SABRINA: Yeah. [she blushes] Okay, I can get behind that pretty much. So, why vampires? Why not just make me someone who falls in love with someone and then, I don't know, have some earth-shattering devastation befall me. Like, I don't know, get cancer, or something?

LORELEI: I've had an interest in vampires since I was a teenager. I always wanted to write vampire fiction. That's the reason. But I didn't want to do the cookie-cutter type of book where she falls in love with the vampire. That's always a bad idea for the human. But I like writing fantasy. It doesn't make you stick to any sort of rigid formula. I can pretty much do whatever the heck I want.

SABRINA: So, when you sent me into other worlds, like in Vampire's Trill and Vampire Nocturne, that's what you mean by having some freedom in writing?


SABRINA: I didn't like Dark World so much.

LORELEI: You weren't supposed to.

SABRINA: Why can't I remember the incubus from Dark World? I have trouble even remembering his name.

LORELEI: Must be something in your subconscious.

SABRINA: But this is your subconscious.

LORELEI: [smiles]. And I'm the writer, and I can do whatever the hell I want with you, m'dear.

SABRINA: Well, shit. Okay, never mind that. Why was it you killed off Dante in the second book? I mean we really were in love with each other. But it pissed me off he didn't tell me!!! What's up with all that, anyway?

Second Book in series
LORELEI: Just needed a nice cliff-hanger for people to want to read the next book.

SABRINA: (Swears--WTF?) That's really wicked of you.

LORELEI:  I know. (wiggles eyebrows) That's how I wanted it. But hey, Dante has come back to you in Vampire Nocturne, and in Vampire Caprice.
Third Book in series

SABRINA: I know. I know. But what the hell? He's now an Undead!

LORELEI: And he is your strongest ally. You'll see. He can go places and see things you can't. He will be with you throughout. Fair enough?"

SABRINA: Oh, I guess. (pouts). Okay. Why didn't you put me with one guy or another? Why do I get to be with the different guys. Like now I'm with Vasyl--um, sort of. I'm married to him. He's a vampire.

LORELEI: Vasyl is also a strong ally, and he's your vampire protector.

SABRINA: You put him through shit in number four.

LORELEI: I put everyone thought shit in Vampire Caprice.

SABRINA: True. Plus, I'm having more sex in this one. I'm not complaining. But Wow. Tremayne. Really? I'm surprised I lived through that!

LORELEI: Yeah. That took me a while to come up with a way he could have you and not drain you completely.

SABRINA: Wasn't talking about that part, but never mind. Okay, something that I'm confused about. Why do you call your books "Urban Fantasy" and not "Paranormal Romance"?

LORELEI: Good question, glad you asked. I, myself, didn't know what the difference was a number of years ago, until I began reading a few titles by certain authors. Urban fantasy is more gritty. There doesn't have to be any romance in it, but there can be. There doesn't have to be sex in it either. But there has to be fantasy, and lots of different paranormal creatures within the book. I don't just slap a few vampires and werewolves in there. I've place Rick in there, who is a leprechaun, basically for comic relief. He's one of those colorful characters that people like in a story. Even if he only appears on a few pages. I like to bring him into the story where he can add a little color to it.

SABRINA: Rick is in Caprice  a lot.

LORELEI: Yeah. I needed his input in this. I wanted the relationship between you and him to be strained a bit by mid-way in the story.

SABRINA: Boy. Is it! So, what is Paranormal Romance, then, getting back to the original question?

LORELEI: Right. Basically, it's a romance where they've simply placed paranormal characters (vampires, werewolves, etc.) into the story in place of the guy and gal who are obviously going to get together in the end. You know they are, because they either hate each other at the beginning, or don't trust one another. It's really simple, and I get bored with the whole plot for it. I never let you know who you'll be with in any book, or who you might wind up with at the end.

SABRINA: Like in Vampire Nocturne. I really couldn't help myself with Jett, there. (Squinches face) I like to say that the werewolf that came out in me made me do it, but...

LORELEI: Riiiiight.

SABRINA: It would seem that these books are sort of like stories about my adventures, and how I solve a mystery during the course of the book.

LORELEI: Yes. There's always some sort of mystery to solve. Sometimes its a murder mystery, but not always.

SABRINA: So, how many do you have planed? Which book are you writing now?

LORELEI: I'm actually writing number 8. I've got a beta reader working on the next book (#5), Vampire Crescendo.

SABRINA: Any chance to get an idea of what that one is going to be about. I can hardly wait... Oh, well, I'm in them, aren't I?

LORELEI: Yes. You are. You will be butting heads against Nicolas and then Ilona in Vampire Crescendo.

SABRINA: Oh, crap. Do I take care of that bitch? Finally?

LORELEI: (silence)

SABRINA; Okay, I get it. we don't want to give too much away too soon.

LORELEI: Also, you are to save Tremayne from silver poisoning from your dagger in this next one.

SABRINA:  Oh, crap, that's right! He's dying from the dagger's silver that--oops. Am I supposed to say this? That's sort of a spoiler, if I say, isn't it?

LORELEI: A bit of a tease, actually, since we aren't really saying what happened in #4, here. Tremayne gets stabbed in the heart by Dagger of Delphi. It doesn't look good for him and that's my cliff-hanger for that story. (smiles)

SABRINA: Well, I can certainly see how you've worked on these books. Number eight? Already? What happens? Where do I go in this one? I went to Colorado in Vampire Caprice.

LORELEI: You go back to Black Veil in the eighth one.

SABRINA: Really? Do I see Jett again?

LORELEI: Nope. And I want you and the readers to be surprised with what happens. But--hint--it's my western book.

SABRINA: (Scrunching up her face again) Really? A western? On Black Veil?

LORELEI: Why not? Remember. I can do just about anything in writing fantasy.

SABRINA: Wait. I'm the clairvoyant here. I'm seeing something... (closes eyes). Ooo, he looks interesting. Who is he?

LORELEI: Not telling. Interview is over.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

We Were Hit By Lighting! The shocking details...

First of all, I want you all to know that we're all okay. There was no fire, and we were very lucky, in many ways.

Here's the full story...

Thursday morning 5:30am
Thunderstorms in area

My husband and I were eating breakfast when we heard a loud POP! It wasn't unlike a helium balloon that pops. It startles you, and it's loud. The lights went out completely and we smelled something hot.

My husband, being next to the door that leads to the dining room had somehow zoomed out of the kitchen. 
"Get out of there," he said in a rather normal but stern voice.

Yeah. I was up, out of my chair, and when I got into the dining room where we waited to see what more would happen, I realized I still had the butter knife in my hand!

In the next five or so minutes Dennis located his flashlight, and went down into the musky basement to see if the circuit breaker had done its job. It had. He turned it back on and lights were working--except for the ones above the table where we had been sitting. This is a fan light. Odd thing about lightning and electricity--it is very selective as to how it travels and where to. The fan part was working. The lights were not. 

"That's weird," I said.

Upon checking the light bulbs, we found they had been fried--blackened! Then, I noticed the digital clock on the stove wasn't working. We checked the range. It was working. The oven was not.

What else had it done to the house? We were worried about a possible fire, of course, so that had to be checked out. We, living in the country, have lightning rods on this 1906 farm house that stands three stories tall. As far as we could tell, there was no fire.

My computer was plugged into a surge protector. But I had done one thing the night before, that I sometimes do when I know that there are bad storms in the area--I unplugged the phone cord from the modem. 

I went to work with the story about our oven and lights getting fried. I later learned that day that one digital fan was also fried. And when I went to check my computer (I had unplugged it for the day, worried about it being fried.) It came back to life, slowly. I kept looking at a black screen and the little boxes at the bottom where my files were. Eventually, the computer came back on. OMG! 

But when I tried to get on line--nothing. The phone was dead! I called the phone company and put in an order.
The phone technician had been out on Friday, zooming back and forth from our box to the neighbor's. I think we have three people on the same line. No dial tone on the phone by Friday night.
We went about our morning, and I wound up planting almost all of the rest of my annuals in mud. We'd gotten so much rain, even one and a half days of no rain and some sun did not dry us out. While I was out in the swamp, I heard someone driving back and forth. My husband came out to tell me that the phone guy was out there working on the phone again. Good. I was worried, since I never got a message saying my problem lie inside the house not inside.
I had taken a shower to get the grime off me from planting in the mud. A knock came to the door. We knew it would be the technician. It was and I went to speak with him. He asked me to check for a dial tone.
I did. Oh, I was so happy to hear it!!!
I went back to the young man at the door with a tan shirt that had Frontier embroidered over his heart. His face was flushed from the heat. I told him it was back up.

He said good, that the people just down the way (the Hunts), and the lady up the street, had both lost their computers. And the Hunts had a surge protector. I told him, I had unplugged that phone from the computer the night before we had those storms.

He went on to say that the lines under ground had been fried. "I don't know where it hit, but-"
"Here!" I said. And I told him what all we lost. I was taking in the fact that everyone else had lost their computer. I hadn't even known they were on dial up, but then they probably can't use anything else. I don't know.

I was prepared to call both the phone people and my Internet people to cancel, if the problem was inside the house--because they'd charge us for it. I would then write a letter to Shelly Arkon and tell her the news and ask her to keep me in her thoughts. I was prepared for the worse.

I've been living by a shoe string with this Internet thing, and so forth. If it or my computer goes I'm up the creek. The oven and light will be replaced (courtesy of the forest preserve who owns the house). My computer might have been fried, but wasn't. We might have been fried, but weren't.

Yeah, you just have to be grateful for all that you have, the bumps you get through in life, and also for being so damned lucky!