Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meet Draegon Grey

A couple of months ago, I made Draegon Grey's virtual acquaintance via a LinkedIn group discussion.  Draegon conducts author and character interviews for those in the literary world.  What intrigued me the most were Draegon's character interviews.  After being featured in one of his interviews I asked if he would like to provide a blog posting on this topic on my blog, especially on how and why he started doing them.   He happily obliged!  Here's what he has to say:


"How did I begin?  I started conducting interviews after I had one done.  I realized how helpful it is for the author.  It supports the author and his/her audience in a couple of ways.

One - you learn not only more about the author's journey, beginning in writing, but also how a particular book was developed and, 

Two - it allows the author to become more connected to his/her audience.  They become more human so to speak.  Additionally, for the author, they in retrospect may be helpful in future projects, making modifications or adjustments that maybe wouldn't have been considered without looking back at the process. 

As far as character interviews, this was my idea.  Although there are a few out there, none are like mine (he says smiling).  From a writer's perspective, these interviews actually help the writer/author flesh the character out a bit more.  This may be especially helpful for future projects, especially if there is a series. 

From a 'reader's' perspective, it allows and encourages connection not only with the writer, but the characters.  It also provides a perspective of the character they would not normally get from reading the novel themselves.  I also like the fact that it can provide information about character development. 

From my perspective, I like the opportunity to flesh out the ideas and foundation behind the character.  I enjoy asking probing questions that provide insight to the character and the author.  This residually helps me with the writing of my books, Lorenz Traveling Diaries, E.O.T.W. and my comic Spectrum.  I utilize the same questions for my work.  It challenges me.  So it is a win/win for me and the authors.

Lastly, with the literary world changing so much, I feel this exercise gives this world variety that it needs."

Thanks, Draegon for your unique insight into your interview process.  You can read more author and character interviews on his website, draegongrey.com.  Best of luck with your continuing adventures, Draegon!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Evolution of Character Art -- From Sketch to Final Product

Ever wonder how an artist creates a character drawing?  Overlord Enterprises' Lead Artist, Paul Abrams, has done just that.  The following panels are the initial sketches for Harrison Cross, the righteous young warrior who is the protagonist in The Overlords series.

Paul provided us with the following preliminary sketch, but we felt that Harrison was a little too "buff" for what we were looking for.  Also, he appeared a bit older than the 20 year-old hero in our story.

Next came a toned down version of our lead man.  As you can see, he is leaner and younger looking, just what we wanted. 

The next step Paul took was to make a formal drawing, which is what you see below.  We're almost there!

Lastly, Paul added color to the drawing, and there you have it, Harrison Cross!

Let us know what you think about the process, Harrison, and Paul's work.  Feel free to leave a comment below or send a message directly to Mike.

Welcome, Samantha Combs!

In my effort to share blog postings with other authors, it's my honor to introduce to you Samantha Combs, writer of YA paranormal and horror.


Last week I wrote a guest blog posting on her site and today I'm returning the favor.  Enjoy!

Author Samantha Combs, serving up the paranormal…with a side of horror

Hey!  I’m happy to be here on Mike’s blog and hope you all get to know me a little better.  My name is Samantha Combs and I am the author of eight books.  Like my catch-phrase says, I write both YA paranormals and adult horror.  I started my writing journey in the 4th grade when, instead of a book report, I wrote a poem.  And then I took about a thirty year break!

When I started my literary journey (which is sooo different than a writing journey), I wrote a couple of paragraphs.  They became a couple of chapters, which became a novel before I realized it.  My first published book was born from an idea created by my four year old.  It was Twilight mania about two years ago and she announced to me she wanted to marry Edward the vampire.  Um…no.  Just…no.  I decided I needed to write a boy my daughter could love…with my approval.  So I wrote SPELLBOUND.

SPELLBOUND was supposed to be a stand-alone.  But, my protag and her sweet boyfriend would not stop having conversations in my head.  In the car.  In the shower.  In the middle of the damn night.  I thought if I sat down and wrote a few paragraphs, they would be happy.  Um…no.  They weren’t.  So Everspell was born.  And in between, I got a kicky idea about a boy-ghost, and wrote Ghostly.

So, that’s usually how it goes for me.  I am NOT a plotter.  I’m not sure I am a pantser either.  I’m a Get-a-Good-Idea-and-Jot-it-Down-and-See-How-a-Couple-Paragraphs-Feel-er.  Which is exactly how it sounds.  I get a neat tingle about something, whip out my cell and tap out the premise, or the character’s name, or just the one, juicy line.  Then I sit down later at my laptop and wait for Musina.

Musina is my muse.  She is bitchy and snarky and speaks her mind like a world-weary fifteen year old who knows EVERYTHING.  She annoys the shit out of me and makes me work like a dog.  I love her and can’t stand her.  She feels the same about me.  But, for some reason, it works.  She and I are like two peas in a pod.  She is my YA voice.

My ninth book will be published in two months.  An edgier, darker YA paranormal, I take on some themes I never have before.  Releasing in April, through Secret Cravings Publishing, this is an excerpt from THE DEADLIES:

The front of Holly Hills Academy was imposing. Callie was reminded of antebellum mansions she had seen in magazines featuring Southern architecture. She watched the other students flowing into the building and wondered why they looked so perfect in their uniforms and she looked so out of place. The scratchy plaid skirt and starched white blouse were so unlike what she was used to. She couldn’t ever remember wearing knee-high socks before this. She’d managed to salvage some semblance of her individuality by shunning the ladylike black-patent mary janes in favor of her beloved black cowboy boots. They didn’t go at all with the proper look of the girl’s school uniform, but they were much more her style. They made the stiff, itchy monkey suit halfway bearable.
            “Hi. You must be Mrs. Flood’s niece, Calliope. She told me about you.”  Callie turned around to find another girl standing there, dressed in the same ill-fitting school uniform. She had an armload of books and was appraising Callie with a friendly eye. “My name’s Suzette Price, but you can call me Suki. Everyone does.”  The girl did a little bow and finished it with a curtsey.
            “Hey. I’m Callie.” 
            “I know. Your aunt plays canasta with my grandmother.”  Callie gave Suki a wide-eyed look. Suki just laughed.  “Oh, the already-knowing-you thing?  You’ll have to get used to that. Haven Falls is a small town and everyone knows your business. We knew you were coming here to live more than a month ago. And since Holly Hills is the same school your momma and Auntie went to, we just knew you’d be going here too. You’re a legacy!”  Suki seemed pleased with her knowledge, but Callie wasn’t. It irked her to have total strangers know so much about her.
            Suki was friendly and as they stood outside the school, she waved at most students who passed them. Suki tried to fill her in on all the names, but Callie missed most of them. One she didn’t miss belonged to a boy named Cayden Welliver. Chatting animatedly with a couple of friends, Callie noticed he was a bit taller than her with dark hair that fell to just below his ears. He hung back, behind the others, as if he didn’t want to be the center of attention. He was certainly the center of Callie’s. She tried not to be obvious about it, but she found she kept peeking around people to see if he was watching her. A couple times, she thought he might have been.
                As Callie tried to take the whole new environment in, her attention was drawn away from the good-looking boy to a tight group of girls who seemed to appear out of nowhere. There were six or seven of them, she wasn’t sure, and as they glided by, they commanded the whole area. They wore the same school uniform as everyone else, but somehow, it seemed to fit them much better. Loose where it had to be and snug where it ought not have been. Beautiful hair, shining faces and such a imposing presence, crowds of kids parted as if the movement were pre-rehearsed. It was apparent to Callie that they were some kind of big deal at the school.
            “So, who’re the Barbie dolls?” she asked Suki.
            “Oh, those are the Ravens. They’re kind of a social club. Super secret and super hard to get in.”
            “If it’s such a secret, why does everyone know about it?”
            “The secret part is what they do. No one really knows.”
            “Then why would anyone want to get in?”
            Suki gazed wistfully as the Ravens drifted by. “Are you kidding?  I would kill to be a Raven. They’re the prettiest, smartest, most popular girls in the school. Everyone wants to be one.”
            “Well, I don’t.”
            “You will.”  Suki raised an eyebrow at her new friend. “You’re pretty enough, you know. They might ask you. They probably only cruised by to get a decent look at you. Are you smart?”
            “I can hold my own. But I’m not into joining things.”
            “I heard you want to be on the yearbook staff. That’s joining something.”
            “Something worthwhile. Not a social club for look-alikes.”  Callie stared at the girl in front of her. “And how did you know about that?”
            “I told you. Small town.”
            “Come on. I’ll show you where your classes are.”
            Callie followed behind Suki as she led her down another endless hallway. She saw the same pack of girls as before, the Ravens, gathered in an open area near some lockers. This time, they were openly appraising her. One of them, a tall, slender blonde girl, even raised her hand in a wave, as if she knew her. Callie was about to wave back until she saw her face. Instead of a smile, she was sneering at her. She sucked in her breath.
            “What?” inquired Suki, disinterestedly.
            “One of those creepy Raven girls was waving at me.”
            “Really?” Suki spun around to look. “Which one?”
            “The thin blonde girl.”
            “Oh my God. Don’t wave back to her. She’s psycho.”
            “Okay, well, that explains it. She was making this scary face at me. I didn’t wave or anything.”
            “Good thing you didn’t. We try not to encourage her.”  Suki stopped and turned around. “Anyway, we’re here.”

I invite you to come visit me on my blog, www.samanthacombswrites.blogspot.com, where I try and give new, aspiring, and established writer/authors tips and tricks of the writing trade.  As an independent author, I like to give attention to fellow indies and highlight their work as often as I can.  I am not usually the object of a blog, so this was fun to do.  Thanks Mike!

If you like what you read, please let me know.  Like me, follow me, add me, plus me, or whatever it is they will be doing tomorrow.  I’d love to hear from you, and about you.  And thanks for getting to know me.

Samantha Combs, Author

Check out all EIGHT of my books!



Thursday, February 7, 2013

How the Hell Did I Become A Writer?

In an effort to expand his virtual reach, Mike will be guest blogging on fellow author sites. Following his previous guest blog with Draegon Grey (you can read that interview here), Mike has a new posting on Samantha Comb's "Samantha Combs Writes!" blog.  In this article, Mike describes what it was like to begin his literary journey, as well as to inspire others that have followed a similar path.  Check out that posting here and be sure to leave a comment or two!

In the next few months, Mike is going to embark on having reciprocal postings with other authors and people in the publishing world.  We'll let you know when a new posting is available.  Please share these links with friends and acquaintances that you know would enjoy the articles.  And as always, thank you!!!