TEN DAYS OF SUPERSTITION…DAY 4

My first eleven books were Historical Romance.  I wanted to do something different–something I had always wanted to do.  I wanted to write a Contemporary Paranormal Romance about vampires.  Switching from writing about the people and lifestyle of the 1800s to present-day shouldn’t be a big deal, right?  WRONG!

In my humble opinion, I was pretty familiar with the customs, language, mannerisms, etc., of the Old West.  As I’ve talked about before, I was so lucky to have a ‘real’ cowboy dad, who lived by old-fashioned values, and loved to tell stories about the days of the American West.  It was fairly easy to write my own stories of romance and adventure in the Old West based on tales I had been hearing all of my life.

It only took me a couple of chapters into my new book (and new genre) to realize I was in trouble.  Writing in a contemporary voice as opposed to a historical voice was a whole different writing style.  I rewrote those first chapters over and over again. They just didn’t sound right.

I decided to write the entire book and then I would worry about finding my contemporary voice.  Easier said than done.  After writing a chapter or two, and sometimes even just a few pages, I would delete it all and start over again.  I wanted to give up.  I desperately wanted to write this book. It was a vicious circle.

My beautiful daughter-in-law, Heather Blake, was my oldest son’s wife. She was also an avid reader and one of my biggest fans.  Ever since she had became a part of our family, she was my writing mentor.  I would call her constantly while writing a book and bounce ideas off of her.  Heather was always straightforward, and I knew I could rely on her to tell me exactly what she thought.  We had talked many times about my idea to write a vampire book, but when I was finally ready to give her a rough draft…whoa…I was not prepared for her response.

I will just write the highlights of her comments the way I remember them.  Keep in mind, this book was also my first attempt to write erotic romance.  “Oh my God! Why didn’t you warn me that this book was so explicit?  Do you know how hard it is to read that stuff knowing that your husband’s mom wrote it?  I just skipped those parts.  Okay, so Mateo is magnificent.  I can picture him clearly in my mind.  What a hunk.  Love him!  But, Dawn…yuck.  She’s supposed to be this experienced camper and big-time hiker, but she can’t remember to bring matches?  Please!  What a ditzy blonde.  Can’t stand her.  Mateo deserves so much better.”

Ditzy blonde?  Yuck?  Mateo deserves better?  Oh my God!  By the way, there is another blog post here called ‘Ditzy Blonde’ that was inspired by Heather’s reaction to that first draft.  Needless to say, it was back to the drawing board.  I started over again, virtually changing everything but the locale and the names of my characters.  Heather had also mentioned that she wanted to know more about the history of Mateo’s vampire clan, so I worked hard on developing a story about the Blood Clan and their origins.

Motivated (and a little gutted) by Heather’s candid remarks, I rewrote this manuscript over and over again.  There’s another blog post here entitled ‘The Death of a Manuscript’ that was inspired by my relentless quest to find the voice I needed to finish this book.

It took me five years to write this book, which was just insane.  I gave up completely on it several times, and stubbornly refused to work on it for months at a time.  But, I thought about it constantly, and my love for my characters, Dawn and Mateo, kept drawing me back in.  They had a story to tell and they deserved a chance to tell it.

Throughout all this time, my wonderful daughter-in-law was my constant sounding board for all the story changes and ideas.  Tragically, she suddenly became ill two years ago and passed away on July 29, 2015.  I loved her (and still love her) like my own child and one of my best friends.  Her loss is indescribable for all of us, but especially for my son and their two boys.  How I wish Heather could be here now to read the finished book, and to celebrate the release of Superstition with me.  I would give anything to hear one more ‘brutally honest’ critique from her.  On release day, I will be looking up at the Heavens and whispering, “Thank you, my beautiful angel.”

Tomorrow is Sunday Funday.  I’m going to be posting some fun (and silly) stuff about Superstition.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Now available for pre-order in eBook and paperback! Watch for news about the upcoming release of the audio book.  Release date: June 9, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Superstition-Blood-Clan-Book-1-ebook/dp/B071VPQSY7/

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Ten Days of Superstition…Day 3

Mateo Two Moons.  He is compassionate and loving; tender and protective.  Of course, he’s drop-dead gorgeous and a magnificent lover.  He’s an Apache, and oh, did I mention he’s also a centuries old vampire?

Dawn Malone has got her act together.  She’s a woman looking for adventure and loving life when she relocates from Colorado to Arizona.  She only wants to concentrate on her teaching career and explore her new surroundings.  Falling in love with an ancient, but irresistible, vampire who plans to take her to a hidden village in the Superstition Mountains and make her his eternal mate was definitely not in her plans.

Although I knew the Superstition Mountains were the ideal location for my clan of vampires to dwell, in the beginning I was not sure about having a contemporary vampire hero who was Native American.  I had read many books about vampires and seen lots of movies about immortal blood suckers, and a present-day Native American vampire just didn’t seem to fit the part.  It only made sense he would be an Apache if he lived in the Superstitions, but I still struggled with this when I first started writing this book.

In my previous historical romances I’ve had several dynamic Native American heroes, but this one had to be entirely different.  As I finally started to envision this unlikely leading man, I could see a gorgeous man dressed casually in jeans and boots, but still with long raven hair, a shimmering dark gaze, and smooth bronzed skin.  He would drive a big truck that would be as sexy as he was.  A modern-day vampire hero of Native American descent was starting to look pretty darn good.  The name Mateo Two Moons just popped into my head somewhere along the way and it seemed to fit.

Once my hero starts to become real to me, it’s easy to create my heroine.  She just needs to be the woman of his dreams.  That’s easy, right?  I knew I wanted Mateo to have an Apache name to call her by once in a while, so I did some research.  I found  the name Udaya, which meant Dawn in the Apache language.  It was perfect.  Both of my main characters were now ready for their story to unfold.

When developing characters for a book, I sort of feel like I’m giving birth.  In my mind, I know everything about these people that I’m creating—from the time they are born until they die—even though I’m only writing about a brief period in their lives. While I’m sitting at the computer writing, I literally become these characters and feel as though they are just letting me be the instrument that chronicles their story, because they truly do write their own narrative once they become fully developed in my mind.  Even though they are like my babies, and I give them life, I never know what path they will take us on until they lead me there.  I love them as if they are real.  If they are sad, I cry.  When they are happy, I rejoice.  If they are in the throes of a wild sexual escapade…well, I wish I could join them.

While surfing the Internet one day I saw a picture of a guy that took my breath away.  The instant I saw him, I knew he looked exactly like I pictured Mateo.  Not long afterward I saw a picture of a beautiful blonde girl that looked just how I imagined Dawn Malonemateo 1Dawn.  This was the first time I had actual pictures of the characters I was writing about.  In my past books, they were only images in my mind or resembled an actor/actress in the movies or on TV.  It’s been so fun to be able to look at those pictures and feel like I was actually looking at Dawn Malone and her sexy vampire, Mateo Two Moons.

I learned that the man in the picture was a model from Sweden named Filip Gustavsson.  If he only knew how his picture has inspired some of the most erotic love scenes I’ve ever written, well, he’d either be flattered or embarrassed.

Recently, I found out the picture of the girl is actress Kate Upton.  I’ve never seen another picture of her other than this one that looks like my heroine, but in this picture she is my Dawn.  After seeing the cover that was created by my publisher’s artist, though, I realize that Dawn and Mateo have never looked more perfect than they do on the actual book cover.

Although I’ve loved all of my heroes and heroines in my other books, I have to admit, Dawn and Mateo are my favorite.  I hope you enjoy their passionate love story as much as I do.

Tomorrow I will talk about how hard it was for me to switch genres from Historical Romance to Contemporary Paranormal. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Now available for pre-order in eBook and paperback! Watch for news about the release of the audio book.  Release date: June 9, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Superstition-Blood-Clan-Book-1-ebook/dp/B071VPQSY7/

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TEN DAYS OF SUPERSTITION…DAY 2

When I decided to write about vampires I knew I wanted them to live in a secluded and mysterious locale.  My original plan was to set this book in some exotic place like a Greek island or the beautiful country of Montenegro (still a possibility in a future book in this series).  Then I started thinking about all the places I had studied while doing research for my other books, or the places I had actually visited.

The most extensive research trip I’ve ever taken was when I was writing my third and fourth historical romances, Savage Dreams and Apache Tigress in the early 1990s.  Those books were about the Jicarilla Apache who lived in Arizona.  I was so fortunate to know a wonderful lady who had once been a teacher at the White Mountain Reservation in Arizona.  When I asked her if she would tell me about the area she said, “Let’s just go there.”

We loaded up my two youngest kids (ages seven & thirteen at the time) in the car and took off on a road trip from Colorado to Arizona that turned out to be an extraordinary adventure for all of us.   My awesome friend, Jan Johnston, took us to places on the reservation I’m sure most tourists never have a chance to see up close.  We explored everything from remote desert rock formations covered in shiny black stones called ‘Apache Tears’ to ancient ruins that can only be seen from a certain spot on the reservation.

During one of our excursions, we stopped at a MacDonalds in the town of Apache Junction, about 35 miles from Phoenix.  I was looking out the window when a rugged looking mountain range off in the distance caught my attention.  I asked my friend about them and she superstion 3told me they were the Superstitions, and were also the location of the legendary Lost Dutchman Goldmine.

Since I loved reading anything historical about the American West, I had heard of the Lost Dutchman Goldmine. However, I didn’t know a lot of the details regarding the mine or the history of the area.  Looking at the spooky mountains from inside that fast food restaurant, though, my imagination was fueled with the idea of what a great setting they would make for a book.  At the time, I was consumed with writing my two historical Apache romances, which took place on the White Mountain Reservation and in Mexico. But, I told myself someday I would write those creepy mountains into a future book.

Seven more books followed my two book Apache series, and truthfully, I sort of forgot about using the Superstitions as the setting in one of my books.  Occasionally, I would come across an article, or see something on TV about the mysterious disappearances that have been occurring in those mountains for the past couple of centuries, or someone who had found something that might be a clue to the location of the goldmine.  Then my interest in this area would flare up again.

Around the time I decided to write about vampires, there were a couple of shows on TV about significant new discoveries that were drawing attention to the Lost Dutchman Goldmine again.  I remembered how menacing those mountains had seemed to me over two decades earlier.  Immediately I knew I had found the perfect location for my new book.

Sadly, my beautiful friend, Jan, passed away long before I started writing Superstition.  I wish I could share with her the exciting news that I finally wrote about those mountains that I found so intriguing all those years ago on our remarkable trip.  But, I have no doubt she knows.

Tomorrow I will talk about my hero and heroine.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Now available for pre-order in eBook and paperback! Watch for news about the release of the audio book.  Release date: June 9, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Superstition-Blood-Clan-Book-1-ebook/dp/B071VPQSY7/

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TEN DAYS OF SUPERSTITION…DAY 1

Today begins my ‘Ten Days of Superstition’.  For the next ten days I am going to share something about my soon-to-be-released book, Superstition, and the long journey that finally produced the finished novel.  This will lead up to the release date on June 9, 2017.

The first words of Superstition, which I originally called Savage Bite, were written while I was in Forks, Washington doing a book signing for my eleventh book, White Owl.  I had been invited to be a guest during the town’s annual celebration for Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series, Twilight.  I was staying at the most picturesque place at the edge of one of the most beautiful forests I’d ever seen, and there was a little deck at the back of my suite.  I was sitting out on that deck one evening staring out at the lush foliage, completely in awe of being in this magical place.

It was no wonder to me, why Stephenie Meyer had chosen this magnificent area for the location of her Twilight Series.  As I thought about her fictional vampires romping around in those thick dark woods, I knew the time had come for me to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing about vampires, too.

Years earlier, I had picked a different genre for my writing path.  My amazing father was a real cowboy who loved the history of The Old West.  I shared his love of this by-gone era.  So, when I started writing romance novels back in the 1980s, I chose to write historical romance, mostly because I had grown up listening to stories about cowboys, outlaws and Indians.  I will always be a fan of this time period, and rugged cowboys and sexy Native American men will forever make me swoon.

But, also years ago, I had become a huge fan of vampire movies and books.  When I was about ten years old I watched my first Dracula movie with my mom and aunt.  It terrified me, but not as much as it fascinated me.  That was the beginning of my vampire love and it has only grown throughout the years.

Dracula, whether he was portrayed as a hideous monster or a drop-dead gorgeous hunk, was the ultimate seducer.  With nothing more than his intense stare he could entice his victims to do anything he desired.  Women eagerly offered him their necks so he could quench his unearthly thirst.  Then, after he had stolen all that they had to give, their immortal corpses were devoted servants to him for eternity.  Wow.  I knew there was some serious romance material there.

So, on that beautiful evening, in that enchanted site in Forks, the idea for my first vampire novel was born.  I grabbed my laptop and started writing my ideas down.  Tomorrow I will talk about why I chose to write a vampire book with a Native American Hero and the location I picked for the setting.

Now available for pre-order in ebook and paperback!  Release date: June 9, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Superstition-Blood-Clan-Book-1-ebook/dp/B071VPQSY7/

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HOT BOOKS FOR COLD NIGHTS

Join the Scarlet Rose authors for a night of books, fun and plenty of heat between the pages to keep you warm on these cold winter nights!

I’m excited to be spending this Friday night with a few of the other authors who write the hot and sexy books for the Scarlet Rose line at The Wild Rose Press.  Although I don’t have a release date for my first erotic novel, Superstition, I will be talking about this upcoming book, as well as anything else that anyone might be interested in talking about.  I hope you will join us all on Facebook Friday night for this fun event!

FYI…the times listed are for Eastern Standard Time.  I’m listed at 10-10:30 pm, but in my Mountain Time Zone it will be 8-8:30 pm.

SUPERSTITION by Veronica Blake

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I’m very excited to announce that I have sold the first book in my Blood Clan Series to The Wild Rose Press.  Superstition is a Contemporary Paranormal Erotica Romance and will be a part of The Scarlet Rose Line.  The release date is pending, but will be sometime in 2017.  I will be posting lots of updates once I know the exact release date.

Thank you so very much to everyone who encouraged me not to give up on this book. I couldn’t have done it without you!  xoxo

WHITE OWL

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!!,
This review is from: White Owl (Kindle Edition)
This book was simply wonderful!!! I couldn’t put it down and was so good I read it twice!!! A native american version of Romeo and Juliet. It’s a must read! The writer wrote in such beautiful description I felt as if I was there!

A Ute warrior will risk his honor and his life to claim the redheaded beauty who has captured his heart.

http://t.co/5oDWpAljjJ

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CAN YOU GO BACK?

What if you made a life altering change that affected everything and everyone in your life and then months or years later you start to doubt that monumental decision?  Can you find a way back or has too much happened to recapture all or even just a part of the way of life you once thought you didn’t want anymore?

How do you determine if the longing to return to your previous lifestyle, ex-relationship, past job, or lost friendship is not just guilt or loneliness and depression, or if it’s a real need to bring back something or someone vitally important to you that has been missing since choosing a new direction for your life?

Facing the realization that you might have made an immense mistake can leave you in a state of confusion, sadness and fear.  What if you try to reclaim what you lost, were forced to leave, or walked away from only to find you should have left things as they are now, because you’ve also brought back all the old hurts, resentments and insecurities that caused you to make the change in the first place?  What has happened to make you want to even reconsider going back to a place where you felt you weren’t happy or fulfilled?  Has the death of a loved one or loss of something you cherished caused you to start missing or wondering about people or places that are no longer a part of your life?  Maybe something really wonderful has happened recently and you are wishing you could celebrate this happy time with an old friend or ex-lover who once shared every dream, every desire and every aspect of your life with you.

If you do reconcile with the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend you broke up with because you thought there was no future with them, do you both want it badly enough to do whatever it takes to make it work out the second time around?  Have you adjusted your attitude so that the town you thought you couldn’t wait to leave would be a more pleasant place to live if you moved back?  What about the old friend, maybe once your closest friend, that you had a horrible falling out with years ago?  Can all the bitterness be forgotten and not interfere with an attempt to renew the friendship? Perhaps the company you thought was a horrible place to work has a new opening, and you realize it wasn’t the worse place you’ve ever worked, after all. In fact, it was much better than the place you work at now.  If you were to be rehired would you be able to go back to work there without letting the old aggravations influence the way you do your job like you did when you were employed there before?

What if it was an error in judgment or major slip-up on your end that caused your life to go down a different path than you had originally chosen?  Is it remorse or a sense of obligation that has you wishing you could find a way to make amends or do you sincerely want another chance to set things right and return to the way things were before you messed up?  Are you unable to find joy or contentment in the life you live now because you constantly dwell in the past and fantasize about how things might have turned out if you hadn’t made that huge mistake?

There are just so many issues to be addressed when trying to reassess why you made a drastic change in your life.  Sometimes returning to somewhere, something or someone from your past is a comforting thought.  You already know what to expect, and time has probably softened the bad memories, so now you are able to focus on the good memories. Or, your life is worse now than it was before you made the decision to go a different route.  I think it’s only human nature to hope the problems that existed before will somehow be resolved and the next time will be perfect, but is it completely unrealistic?

Places don’t usually change much, but we are capable of making positive changes within ourselves if we are willing to face our inner fears and doubts, and maybe that is enough to make all the difference if you decide to rethink a past decision you feel differently about now.  But, we cannot change other people or circumstances that are out of our control, so we have to be willing to make compromises we might not have been willing to make before, or face the consequences of having things fail all over again.  Will this loss be even harder to cope with now?  If you regret a former decision badly enough I believe you will find the strength to take a courageous step towards reclaiming the part of your past you miss so much, which also means taking a step backwards in some ways. Hopefully, this next time you will be armed with new determination, wisdom and confidence to confront and overcome the issues that caused those changes to occur in the first place.  Use the negativity in your past to build a strong foundation for a positive new beginning.  More importantly, if it doesn’t turn out as you are hoping it will, you must be able to walk away a second time knowing you have done all that you are capable of doing.  You have to trust enough in yourself to let go of the regrets this time, to not look back again, and not to be too hard on yourself, because obviously there really were legitimate reasons you made that radical change in the first place.  You can only move forward at this point. 

What do you think?  Can you go back to a place or to a person you once thought you needed to get away from and can you make amends for your own past mistakes that will make a real difference in your future happiness and peace of mind?  Or, is revisiting the past only a pathway to renewed heartbreak and disappointment?

(I will be doing a series of blog posts about relationships, feelings and life in general as research and background material for my new book, A WOMAN MY AGE.  I look forward to hearing your opinions and comments on the subjects I will be discussing here.  Thank you.)

Photo credit: Micha Rainer Pali

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#TWEETING IS FOR THE BIRDS

I’m just going to say it….I seriously dislike Twitter. 140 characters including spaces?  Are you kidding me?  I can barely complete half of a thought in that tiny space, so writing anything profound or exceptionally witty is out.  What to post on Twitter wastes more time than I have to spare and I usually end up posting really dumb stuff that makes me wonder what the heck I was thinking.  Sometimes, I will even go back and delete what I posted.  Although, I don’t know why, because I doubt anyone noticed I posted it anyway.  Yes, this is my Twitter Pity Party post.

Much to my dismay, all the research I’ve done about building an ‘Author Platform’ says that Twitter is probably the most important of all the social media sites when it comes to getting the attention of agents and publishers.  Supposedly, Twitter is the easiest site for the publishing peeps to check out to see if an author has a following or a good connection with their fans.   Well, if that’s the case, I’m screwed.

I’ve been trying to spend more time on Twitter than I do on any of my other social media sites.  I follow twice as many people as those who follow me on Twitter and no matter how many posts I ‘favorite’ or ‘retweet’, I rarely get a response from anyone.  Now, as a writer, I’m used to rejection, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.  On Facebook and various other media sites, I’m just a social butterfly; on Twitter I’m the red-headed stepchild no one wants to talk to.

Since almost all of the people following me are other authors. I definitely feel I can learn a lot from the things they post.  But once again, the research I’ve done on ‘Author Platforms’ says that you want readers, not your peers, to be the majority of your Twitter followers, so I guess all I can hope for is that the authors who follow me will also want to read my books.  Or, once again, I’m just screwed.

With all this screwing going on, I should be having much more fun on Twitter than I am, but sadly, I just do it out of obligation.  I might learn to be a little more tolerate of Twitter since I’m serious about building a strong Author Platform.  So, hard as that is, and as much as I dislike it, I will continue to be my vibrant prolific self in 140 characters or less.   #see you on Twitter.  #follow me please?  #I follow back.

https://twitter.com/VeronicaBlake53

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