Exciting News!

Unspoken_revised (1)I have some really exciting news! Last week, I learned that I am a finalist for a RITA award for Unspoken. What’s a RITA, you ask? Well, it’s a very prestigious award given out annually at the Romance Writers of America’s Conference in July. According to RWA, “The purpose of the RITA award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.”

And Unspoken is a finalist in the Young Adult category. I have been pinching myself and walking around on cloud nine all week! So, wish me luck when I head off to RWA’s Conference July 13-16!

 

Now, on to this week’s blog…

Last week I listed some of the crazy things I’ve Googled while writing Miranda’s book. They also provided you with some clues as to what might happen in her book. I also asked you to tell me some of the weirdest things you’ve Googled, and believe me, there were some odd ones. This week, I’m going to list a few more things I’ve Googled for Miranda’s book. Let’s see if you can guess what will happen.

How would a person say the word rape in the early 1800’s?

How many electrical volts can a human handle?

What country uses the slang word “bloody” the most?

So, any guesses based on last week’s and this week’s lists? Spiders, guns, snakes and electricity? Hmm…all I can say is that Miranda will take you on a wild ride and leave you breathless.

Winner!

The winner from last week’s giveaway is Kylie Xiong. Congratulations, Kylie! Please send your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

 

Do you Google?

Do you Google stuff?  Do you use Ask.com?  Well, these are my search engines while writing Miranda’s book.  And I suddenly realized that if someone peeked at my search history they would wonder what the heck I’ve been up to.  Then I realized these thing are pretty good teasers for what’s coming in Miranda’s book?  Here are seven questions I’ve asked that make me look weird, but give you hints of what Miranda and the Shadow Falls characters are up to in my next, and probably my final, Shadow Falls book.

Why exactly do meth house explode?

If a meth house exploded and a person was on the front porch, how far could she be thrown?

Do snakes have eyelids?

Are snakes colder than a dead body?

What kind of spiders lurk in the dank darkness under a house?

How do you write AK 47 the proper way?

So tell me, what strange things have you Googled?

Newsletter Giveaway!

You know I have giveaways on my blog, right? Well, did you know I also have a newsletter?  This week, one person who posts about the crazy things they Googled and tells me that they either already receive my newsletter or that they have just signed up to receive it will win a signed copy of one of my foreign editions of one of my Shadow Falls books along with a Shadow Falls book bag.  So non-subscribers go to my website Home page and sign up for my newsletter and tell me you did in the comments as well as what weird thing you’ve researched.  And those who have already signed up, also let me know in the comments,, and then tell me what wild thing some cyber spoof would find if they peeked into your search engine.

Five Similarities Between Myself and My Shadow Falls Characters

I dug back into my blog archives, and I thought you might like to read this one again.


 

The one question I always get asked is how much of myself goes into creating characters. Do I draw aspects of my own personality when fleshing out the people who star in my books?  Do I give my characters my own flaws, and weaknesses, and perhaps my strengths?  Do I force my characters to take upon my own bad habits?  Are my characters simply reflections of myself?

The answer is yes . . .  and no.

Everything I write isn’t a reflection of my own life.  I haven’t faced the same kind of things that my character Kylie Galen faces in Born At Midnight.  However, I’ll admit my personal experiences not only show up in my work, they help me create real characters and write real emotion.   For example, while I’ve never seen a vampire with blood dripping from his chin the way Kylie does in the book, when I worked at a restaurant years ago, I was confronted by an angry credit-card thief with a knife large enough to skin Bambi. And the I-could-die emotion and fear–the uncertainty of not knowing if my underwear was going to come through the situation clean–was the emotional force for a lot of the scary scenes in the book.  So when writing about fear, lost love, disappointment, I recall a time in my own life that I felt drowned by that same emotion and it helps me write a scene that reads true.

Now for the five similarities between me and my characters:

1.My ability to laugh in the face of adversity.

I think it’s in my genes, because most of my family is like this.  We love to laugh during good times; but we laugh harder during stressful times.  It’s as if we follow that old adage, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”  The hardest I’ve ever laughed was at a funeral.  I give this humorous way of viewing life to all my characters. The funny moments in Born at Midnight mostly stem from my characters’ ability to laugh during tough times–to laugh at themselves and laugh at their mistakes.

2. My parents divorced at sixteen like Kylie’s parents.

I remember feeling as if someone had walked into my life and yanked the foundation out from under me.  I was angry and hurt.  How could they do this to me?  I couldn’t understand how they could just stop loving each other.  I felt they were acting childishly and as if I was the grownup.  And I saw for the first time their flaws and imperfections. When I decided to have Kylie’s parents get a divorce, I immediately remembered the emotional storm that I felt and it all went into the book.

3. Like Miranda, one of Kylie’s new roommates at Shadow Falls Camp, I’m dyslexic. My son is also dyslexic.

I didn’t learn to read until I was in the third grade.  School was hard for me.  I couldn’t seem to get the written words to stick in my brain.  I often got things backwards, like I’d call the backyard, the “yardback,” and when people would snicker, I still couldn’t figure out what was so funny.  Things like knowing my right from my left is still nearly impossible.  It didn’t help that I could write with both my hands.  When I write, I still leave out words, and I’m still a terrible speller.  I have critique partners who read and proof my work.  But I don’t think I’ve accomplished what I have in spite of dyslexia, I think I’m accomplished it in part due to it.  Dyslexics are very intuitive.  We tend to pick up on emotion and I think this has helped me in my writing.  Also, being dyslexic, I make a lot of mistakes, but I learned to keep going and I think perseverance is what helped me keep writing and growing as a writer/story teller.

4. Like Kylie, I too felt a bit invisible in high school.

I wasn’t really bullied, but I just wasn’t noticed.  Didn’t belong to any ‘In” group.  I had a few friends, and like me, they were mostly quiet and went through school unnoticed.  Now, I’m so not like this anymore.  I think my shyness was in part due to my being dyslexic.  But that feeling of never really fitting in played a big part in creating Kylie’s character.

5. Like Holiday and Kylie in Born at Midnight, I have experienced that feeling of being visited by a ghostly presence.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s happened to me several times. The first time, I was only ten.  My great-grandmother had died, and a few days later, I woke up to her hovering over my bed.  She was wearing this beautiful gown and it flowed back and forth, so much so that I didn’t think she had legs.  She said she just wanted me to know that she was fine, and that someday I too would have this beautiful gown.  My parents told me it was just a dream, but I could’ve sworn I was awake.

6. Like Della, I can be a bit of a smarta$$.

Now I wasn’t like that growing up.  It took me years to develop the courage to speak my mind.  And I still don’t do it to be mean, but when something really annoys me, I now speak up, and it usually comes out very sassy and sarcastic!

So what about you guys? Anyone here share any traits with my characters?

 

“Dellatude” and Burnett

Rachel at Fiktshun interviewed me last October 26th when Unspoken came out.  I thought you’d like to read what I had to say

Unspoken_revised (1)1. In 25 words or less, what can readers expect from Unspoken?

A wild ride of action, suspense, and love that’ll tug at your heart strings. A story of forgiveness and unlikely friendships that’ll make you laugh.

2. What has been your favorite part about writing the Shadow Falls: After Dark series/Della Tsang’s stories?

It’s Della.  Her sassiness, her spunk, her spark.  Okay, you know we all have a little smarta$$ inside of us.  And when I write her, I get to bring out my inner Della and let it party.  My husband calls it “Dellatude.” She’s loyal, she’ll always have your back, but she’s not the girlfriend, you ask, “Do these jeans make my butt look big?”  Because that girl tells the truth, even when a white lie would have been appreciated. Writing her has been . .. as my grandmother would say, “a hoot and half.”

3. Across both Shadow Falls series, who has been your favorite character to write (and why are they a favorite)? And who has been your most challenging character (and what were the challenges)?

Okay, I admit it.  I love Burnett.  He’s a grumpy, macho, sexy vampire.  He drives Della crazy by being so over protective.  But let me tell you, if he wasn’t in love with Holiday, I’d steal him.  His character has slowly evolved in all the books.  As a matter of fact, in Fierce, a novella included in Almost Midnight, [that came] out Feb. 2nd, you’ll discover a little more about his past and the reason he is the way he is.  Now Fierce isn’t Burnett’s story, but rather a story of another character that was a challenge to write.  But Fredericka Lakota demanded her own story.  She bugged me until I finally just cratered.  She wasn’t even a likely candidate, or even a likable character.  She was Kylie’s nemesis —someone everyone wanted to root against.  Yet, even archenemies have stories.  Some of them, like Fredericka, even deserve to be redeemed.  I never thought I’d find myself rooting for her, but boy howdy, when I learned her story, she got under my skin and into my heart.

4. If you had to pick one scene, or one moment, from Unspoken that was your favorite, what would it be?

That would be when Della and her father finally have their “talk.”  There have been times when writing this series that I seriously considered killing Della’s dad.  He was so hurtful to Della and it broke her heart and mine.  But she loved that man wouldn’t let me whack him.

5. Della and Chase have a rather… shall we say… complicated relationship. What do you think the biggest obstacles are for them to have a happily ever after? And, as the author, are you rooting for them or are you maybe rooting for the other boy in Della’s life?

Chase came into Della’s life under false pretenses—for good reason, but no one likes to be lied to.And Della, well, I don’t know if my readers have noticed, but she’s not exactly quick to forgive.  If Chase isgoingto win her back, he’s gotta put up with some crap.  And Della knows how to dish that out in big scoopfuls.  Now as for who I’m rooting for…Whoever Della chooses.And I’m not saying more!  LOL.But I can tell you this, in the Shadow Falls series, Della loves two guys—both are wonderful, caring and deserving of her love.  One of them is a better choice for her.  It’s not an easy choice.  But in good fiction and in life, choosing the right path, and the right person, is never easy.

6. Throughout both series, Della has had some great lines. What are your top three favorites? And has there been anything she said that made you shake your head and say, “Oh no!”?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be writing dialogue and think… Della, you can’t say that!  But she’d say it, so I was required to write it.

* From Reborn—Della defending that women can do anything guys can do to Burnett: “I will respect the authority, when the authority respects me!  And that includes my breasts!”  However, in Unspoken, she’s really tired of having to defend this issue and she puts it in another more direct way.  “Oh, please,” Della said.“Excuse me while I go and grow a penis so the sausage-and-meatball-toting gender will stop thinking I need a man to protect me.”

*  From Unspoken –Della telling a crouching man holding his boys.  “Sorry,” Della said.  “I think I’m allergic to perverts.  I get involuntary knee jerks.”

*  From Unspoken—Della’s dialogue to Miranda and Kylie when they walk in on a heated conversation between Della and Chase.  “I’m going to bed.  I don’t want to commiserate.  I don’t want a diet soda.  I don’t want to explain why it feels like the awkward fairy just came down here and pissed all over the room.”

7. I understand that Unspoken is the final full-length book in this series. Are there any plans for another spin-off series about one of the other Shadow Falls characters? Or are there plans for any new novellas?

Well, I told you about Fierce and Fredericka’s story.  Right now, I’m working on Miranda’s book. The readers have already gotten into Miranda’s head in Spellbinder.  Throughout the series they have watched Miranda come into her powers and overcome a lot of issues.  In this last book, Miranda’s newfound powers will be tested.  And she’ll have to make a decision between Perry and Shawn.   And because this is the last book about Shadow Falls, all my characters will graduate.

8. When ending a series what is the thing you miss most about it, what is the hardest thing for you to say goodbye to?

Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.  I’ve been with these characters for over five years.   They have made me cry, laugh and inspired me.  Yes, inspired me to change and to grow.  I know that sounds crazy, because I wrote them.  But when you write a character, you give them the best of you and then you can learn from how they handle the crisis that you also toss their way.

So tell me, who is your favorite Shadow Falls character and why? Who haven’t I written about that you would like to see me write a book or novella about?

 

Cover Me!

I love my Shadow Falls covers, and I think my publisher, St. Martin’s Press has done a wonderful job. I remember the first time I saw the cover for Born at Midnight, l was so excited. It was love at first sight.  So I always find it really interesting when fans send me my covers from foreign countries. Some of them are very similar to the U.S. covers, but some are quite different. So I thought I’d share me of them with you.

From The Czech Republic

 

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Born at Midnight                       Taken at Dusk

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5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whispers at Moonrise                Chosen at Nightfall

From France

FrenchBAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born at Midnight

From Germany

Hunter_Geboren-um-Mitternacht_P03DEF04DEF.indd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Born at Midnight

From Brazil

RebornBrazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Reborn

Which foreign cover do you like best? Or do you prefer the US versions? And for my overseas fans, send me more foreign covers at cc@cchunterbooks.com!