Friday, September 11, 2015

Authors are People, too

I've been totally stalled in the fiction writing department lately. Probably from the stresses of my infant being nearly ready to walk and having an entire house to pack up before we move across the country in less than two months. Sleeping has been an exercise in frustration, so I'm feeling far from refreshed or overflowing with literary potential.

However, I'd been doing a good job of writing a little every day and I want to keep up with that habit. So here comes some blogging, y'all!

While trying to figure out what I could pop into a post that would be interesting, informative, and not too terribly wordy, I realized why I was having so many issues maintaining this blog in the first place. When you're an author, there's this immense pressure that all things in your life must revolve around the written word. You must sit around daydreaming, sipping expensive lattes, and spend your entire day clickety-clacking away on the keys as you pen your next masterpiece (or scrawling in elegant script in your Moleskine Journal, if you like keepin' it oldschool).

But the reality is this: authors are people, too. We have lives outside of our Word documents. We have children, pets, spouses, hobbies, and other interests that have nothing (or at least very little) to do with writing. What are my other life-consuming tasks? Well, my children are at the top of the list. Then I have a house to upkeep. And a dog, cat, and some fish to care for. We also have a vegetable garden that needs occasional tending. My next largest clock-eating activity would be crafting. Sewing, knitting, crocheting... Doesn't matter which. I love them all. I'm the kind of person that likes to make something with my hands, and be able to view my progress.

With all this digital technology, I don't get the same kind of satisfaction from a finished or lengthy document that I used to. With a typewriter, you could see each page add to the pile, growing as the story went on. Now, you can scroll from top to bottom with a keystroke, even if your story is 400 plus pages. I'm no George R.R. Martin, so I'm not going to revert to using an ancient piece of machinery to finish my works or anything. However, I found a bit of a middle ground that helps me sometimes when I hit a slump. Rather than getting out a notebook and pen, I have a tablet computer and a stylus for it. Combined with handwriting recognition software, this means that I can physically write the words and have them popped right into text without the added time-suck of having to type up what I've literally penned. I suppose that makes all this new fangled tech both a bane and a boon.

What's the takeaway from all this? Next time you're chomping at the bit because you just devoured a brand new novel in a day, which took an author a year to perfect for you, remember that--while they DO love and appreciate your fervor--sometimes they've got other things that need to get taken care of before they can shove you into that pool of the glittering fantasy world you've fallen so madly in love with.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Classism and Horror Cinema Collide

I just finished watching the movie "Would you Rather?" From the sudden rash of movies like this, movies where the ridiculously affluent take advantage of the disadvantaged with a "Would you like to play a game?"that's very reminiscent of the Saw franchise, it brings a multitude of questions to my mind. Firstly, why do I keep watching these garbage horror flicks, when I already know the outcome, and it involves nobody winning? Secondly, I feel like maybe these movies are setting us up for some scary shit in the not-too-distant future. For instance, some whacko with endless disposable income really making people of a lower social class compete for a hefty chunk of change. Oh, wait. You mean they already made that a reality show, called "The Briefcase"?*

You're probably thinking that anyone greedy enough to participate in such a game is deserving of whatever misfortune befalls them. Were it greed just for the sake of money, I'd be inclined to agree with you. However, wanting that money to take care of your family... I find that to be a perfectly legitimate cause. 

Regardless, this brings me back to my point. When it comes to things like this, does life imitate art or vice versa? By making films, shows, and books about these situations, are we perpetuating the idea that it's ok? That this should be socially acceptable? 

As the population of the world grows to ever more unsustainable heights, and the separation between economic classes becomes more pronounced, does it make sense for the social elite to cull the herd? Are they doing the world a favor if they do, or are they committing heinous atrocities against their fellow man? And with the increasing gaps between classes, can you even call someone in the upper and lower class "fellows"? 

Lots of things to ponder on. The movie just got my writer brain working, I suppose.

Guess Who's Back?

If you mentally finished with "Back again. Shady's back. Tell a friend" then you're probably nearing your thirties, or already well into them. I find that my husband and I have a weird tendency to fall into quoting old Eminem songs inadvertently while having totally unrelated conversations. Anyway, rap music that's no longer socially relevant aside... It's been a hot minute since I came around the website, much less actually wrote a blog post. 

Long story short, life with an infant and a toddler is insane. I'm lucky enough to be able to stay home with my children, but all the glorious time to write that I assumed this venture would afford me was clearly some insane fantasy concocted by the midnight unicorns that prance around my sleep deprived brain pan. Apparently they were smart enough to hop on the ark when Noah was ready to set sail. (Bonus points to you if you can name the tune I'm referring to.)

Coffee-guzzling zombiedom of motherhood aside, I've been getting the urge to put pen back to paper, and let the incessant babblers in my head get their stories out of me so they'll shut the hell up. Silence is golden, unless you have a toddler. Then silence is horrifying and suspicious... 

For those of you just tuning in, meaning you've never read my work or are a recent follower, I'll give you a bit of an intro to me. My name is Randi, but my wordslinging moniker is R.A. I'm a lover of music, and you'll see it often as an element in my writing. I have a bad tendency to get 90 million ideas all at once, start them all, then get so bogged down that I leave them in limbo. I want to teach myself to write shorter fiction pieces, so I'm going to give some anthology submissions a shot. I want to write a full story in 10k words or less, not just send in the start of what will likely be another abandoned series rotting on the shelves of possibility, waiting for that fabled "someday" when my children will be old enough that I get two seconds to hammer out some words while they're awake.

My primary series is The Ragnarok Legacy, a paranormal saga that throws together werewolves, Norse mythology, the local music scene, vampires, magick, and an unfortunate girl caught up in all of it who has to make a tough decision.

But in my mental story bank, there's a series with a magically inept witch who runs a cupcake shop and accidentally summons a demon (Sisters Rasputin), another series starring a hunter of supernatural creatures who've overstepped their boundaries(Eater of Hearts), and a steampunk/sci-fi number starring a saloon girl trying to keep her family's ranch from going under (Clockwork Heart). We won't even get into the short story ideas milling around and slamming into each other like bumper cars...

If any of that seems interesting to you, I hope you'll stick around and check back in frequently. I love conversing with any reader of my work, or fellow writers! If you're an avid reader and want to get insider info, read things before the general public, and have a chance to win swagalicious goodies (now gluten-free!), drop by my street team group on Facebook. The Darqling Brigade is in need of some new recruits.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Life is Crazy

I've come to the conclusion that this life is full of insanity. Insane schedules, deadlines, bills, social interactions or lack thereof, pets, neighbors, and being a parent. I've had trouble, for a long time, with the fact that my time is no longer my own. Hardly any of it. Maybe one hour daily, and it's not even sixty consecutive minutes, is devoted solely to me. And honestly, in six months, the amount of time will decrease.

Some of you may know, some may not, but I'm expecting my second child this coming November. Being a stay-at-home mom, there's a silly impression that we just sit around all day watching TV. I get about 25 minutes of TV time before my toddler is asleep, and that's an episode of "Ni Hao, Kai-lan," the only show he really shows any interest in. The rest of my day is spent cleaning, picking up the same toys some fifty odd times so I don't trip on them, entertaining my son, reading him the same book five or more times in a row because he insists, doing my best to guide him when he has a temper tantrum because he wants to communicate and can only say a few words thus far, changing diapers, taking the brief time he's asleep to walk the dog, take out the trash, take care of my flowers and garden, take a shower if I'm lucky... And if it's a day smiled upon by the gods, I might get to sit down and eat a meal without sharing every third bite with my son and have a bit of computer time before he awakens. The afternoon is lather, rinse, repeat, then my husband gets home, we do dinner, then he bathes the mini monster and puts him to bed so I can do the dishes and sometimes walk the dog a second time.

Regardless, I'm still forcing myself to make time to write. Even if it's just 500 words a day, a page or two is better than nothing. And I know that I feel better on the days when I make that little bit of time for myself. Is it rough, not being able to sit down for hours at a time, just hammering away at the keys while the worlds pour from my brain to the page? Yes. Immensely.

I guess the point I'm trying to get at is this: no matter how crazy busy and stressful life can get, you have to always make time for yourself. It might not be as much as you want, or how often you wish it could be, but if typing on your phone for ten minutes in the bathroom is what you have to do, do it. If you really want to write, dance, paint, sing, or whatever your dream is, lamenting about not having the time to do so takes up precious time when you could be doing that thing you want to. Quit yer bitchin' and get on it!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sweet Callahan Homecoming by Tina Leonard

Sweet Callahan Homecoming
by Tina Leonard

Will Ashlyn Callahan finally find her magic?  The last Callahan rides in the exciting conclusion to the bestselling series, The Callahan Cowboys!

Four Babies—and Her Whole Family—to Protect

Ashlyn Callahan has always known that her fate can only bring danger to those she loves. That's why she flees Rancho Diablo—and the ornery cowboy she loves—to hide out in Texas Hill Country. But all hell breaks loose when Xavier Phillips finds her…and her four newborn babies.

Xav finally tracks down his warrior woman—only to discover she's the mother of two perfect little boys and two perfect little girls. And he's the father! Now Ash has to marry him. With the future of Ash's entire clan at stake, Xav is ready to lay his life on the line to safeguard the family legacy. Not to mention create a homecoming—and a wedding!—worthy of his Chacon Callahan bride!

Two squad cars pulled in front of the house, and the next thing he knew, a couple of Wild’s finest were yelling at him to put the little lady down.

“I forgot to call and tell the sheriff it was a false alarm,” Ash said, apologetic, as he set her gently on the ground. She was breathless and a bit tousled from being upside down. “You’d better go.”

“I’m not going anywhere until you agree to go with me.” He could be just as stubborn as she. “Go tell the sheriff and his friends that their services aren’t needed.”

“It would be better if you go.”

She gazed up at him, and he caught a funny bit of desperation from her. “Nope,” he said, still wearing stubborn like a badge.

“Ash, is there a problem?” the sheriff asked, and Ash looked at Xav.

“Is there a problem?” she asked Xav, and he realized she was holding him hostage to her demand that he leave.

Well, he’d never been one to go down without a fight.

“Hell, yeah, there’s a problem, Sheriff. This woman won’t accept my marriage proposal. I drove all the way from Rancho Diablo in New Mexico to propose to her. Xav Phillips,” he said, shaking the sheriff’s hand.

The sheriff and his deputies snickered a little at his conundrum. Then the sheriff perked up. “Xav Phillips, Gil Phillips’s son, from Hell’s Colony?”

“Yes, sir,” Xav said politely.

“I knew your daddy before you were even a twinkle in his eye,” the sheriff said, drawing a groan from Ash. The sheriff turned to her.

“Ashlyn Callahan, you hit the panic button because some man has proposed to you? Again?” The sheriff shook his head. “He drives a nice truck, comes from a great family, practically Texas royalty. If Santa brings you a father for those four children of yours, you might treat him a little nicer than calling the law on him.” He tipped his hat to Ash, shook Xav’s hand again, and he and his deputies got back in their squad cars. “Good luck,” the sheriff said to Xav through his open window. “Probably five men in the county have offered to marry this lady, and she’s turned them all down flat.”

He nodded. “Forewarned, Sheriff. Thanks.”

“Are all of you through enjoying a manly guffaw at my expense?” Ash demanded. “Because if you are, I need to get back in the house. I have children who need me.”

“Good night, Sheriff.” He followed Ash back inside, his mind niggling with discomfort and alarm. Five men had proposed to her? Ash picked up a baby that was sending up a gentle wail and sat down on the old-fashioned sofa situated across from the Christmas tree.

He sat next to her. “Hey, Ash,” he said, “the sheriff said something about you needing a father for your children, that Santa had sent you one for Christmas. It was a figure of speech, right?” He looked at her, surprised but not displeased in the slightest that she was undoing the pearl buttons on her white sweater. She tossed a baby blanket over her shoulder, obscuring the baby’s face—and suddenly, it hit Xav like a thunderclap that Ash was nursing that baby.

Which would not be the slightest bit possible unless these were her children. He stared at Ash, and she looked back at him calmly, her denim-blue eyes unworried and clear.

“You’re a mother,” he said, feeling light-headed, and not from the crack Mallory had landed on his skull. “These are your babies?”

She nodded, and he got dizzy. The woman he loved was a mother, and somehow she’d had four children. This perfect four of a kind was hers.

It wasn’t possible. But he could hear gentle sucking sounds occasionally, and he knew it was as possible as the sun coming up the next day. He felt weak all over, weak-kneed in a way he’d never been, his heart splintering like shattered glass.

“Damn, Ash, your family…you haven’t told them.”

“No, I haven’t.”

A horrible realization sank into him, painful and searing. “Who’s the father?”

She frowned. “A dumb ornery cowboy.”

“That doesn’t sound like you. You wouldn’t fall for a dumb ornery cowboy.”

“Yes, I would,” Ash said. “I would, and I did.”

About Tina Leonard
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Tina Leonard writes with humor, sexiness, and fun. With nearly three million books sold, she plans to keep writing the stories readers enjoy. Her schedule keeps her very busy creating independent heroines and the irresistible heroes who love them. Visit Tina at,,, and

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Ballerina and the Revolutionary by Milla V

Title: The Ballerina and the Revolution
Author: Milla V

Vivienne realises she is dying. All she wants to do is see her daughter Giselle one last time and apologise. But Giselle no longer exists and it is Crow, a gender-queer anarchist, who returns to a family home that is plagued by ghosts and violent memories. Crow unravels terrifying secrets, hoping to find closure at last. But can anyone survive the shadows that lurk behind the fairy tales?

Promo video -

I struggled out of the bathroom, my arms full of what were once white bath towels and were now covered in blood.
My brother was shivering outside his bedroom door. His was face so pale and round that he looked like the full moon as he stared up at me from his seated position.
‘Sit with her, Tommy,’ I said, trying to give him my most reassuring smile. ‘Try to keep her calm while I get cleaned up.’
He stared at me then slowly shook his head. I sighed. The bundle was getting heavy and I didn’t know how much longer I could keep doing this. None of the other girls at school had to take care of their mothers and their big brothers. The limit of their responsibilities tended to be tidying their rooms once a week. Why me?
‘Please…’ I begged.
As he stood up the smell of blood must have hit him full force and his white skin turned green. He ran, away from me and away from the bathroom, out of the apartment door, not waiting to close it behind him.
‘At least let Nanny know what’s happened,’ I called after him, not certain whether he heard or cared what I’d said.
I tried to rearrange the bundle so I could shut the front door. I must have tightened my hold on the sodden cotton; blood oozed onto the skin of my right forearm. I swallowed hard and told my stomach to behave. Tears rolled down my face as I made my way towards the kitchen and dropped the towels into the large aluminium sink. I turned on the tap and water rose above the fabric, strings of pink swirling through the fluid.
I washed my arms, scrubbing them clean while Vivienne’s wails became louder. I turned the tap off, grabbed fresh towels, dark ones this time, from the airing cupboard and returned to the bathroom.
Beside the bath, crouched Vivienne. The dressings I’d wrapped around her wrists had already reddened. I sat beside her and firmly held clean towels over the dressings. She stopped crying and stared at me.
‘It’s okay, mummy,’ I assured her. ‘Tom’s gonna get Nanny.’

As I gently rocked her body back and forth she stared at my face. Her eyes were blank and I wasn’t sure she knew who I was. I could sympathise, half the time I didn’t feel like her seven year old daughter, either. I guess I had to grow up fast.

About Milla V
Milla V is the more gentle alter ego of Carmilla Voiez. Milla's YA and NA novels have more universal appeal than her somewhat extreme form of horror writing. The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, to be released on April 1st, is her first full length novel that can be regarded as Magic-Realism rather than horror.
Carmilla Voiez, a British horror writer, resides in Scotland and writes from her home in Banff, where she lives with her daughters and cats. Carmilla sold her Gothic Clothing business in 2012 and has been writing and releasing top selling books and short stories since then. A Goth for over 20 years, her books are inspired by the Gothic subculture, magic and dark desires, exploring sexual obsession and violence in often hard-hitting ways.
The first book, Starblood, which has been nominated for the Commonwealth Book Prize, is set partly in the beautiful Cairngorm mountains and partly in the city where she grew up, in South West England, she finds inspiration in local beauty, stately homes, the Moray Firth and woodlands around the Scottish town where she has lived the past 10 years.
Carmilla Voiez won the title Horror Author of the Year 2013 from HFA and FearVenture Author of the Year 2014. 

Links Amazon
Blog for Milla V and Carmilla Voiez –

Readings can be heard on Room 13 Radio Podcast -