We've Moved!

The authors of FaE have relocated to the Beyond the Veil castle keep. BtV is now your one-stop blog for Samhain Publishing's paranormal and fantasy romance authors!

Come on over! Just be careful when you cross the moat. The mermaids are still getting settled in with the Cracken. The drawbridge might be a little slippery.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ogham Reading

Hey folks,

Sorry I missed my post yesterday! I was off playing with my friends at the annual Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference, and didn't have web access until today.

I'm also working on a final sweep of a manuscript before sending it off the line editor, and being the obsessive-compulsive writer that I am, I'm determined to make it as clean as possible before emailing it.

This is sort of like tidying up your house before the cleaning lady gets there. Unnecessary, but you just can't help it.

So after reading Gia's excellent Friday post, I remembered there's also a free Celtic Ogham reading site out there called Voice of the Woods. It's pretty similar to Gia's link, but you type in your question.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Who Are About To Rewrite Salute You

I’m back in the Rewrite Room of the Damned, and it’s all Diane Whiteside’s fault. Recently she volunteered to look over my current work in progress, Highway from Hell, a retelling of the Orpheus myth from Eurydice’s point of view. Greater love hath no writer than this, that she will lay down her critique for her friends.

Of course, this meant I actually had to pay attention to the crit. To make things worse—er, better—er, way scarier, Diane phrased her remarks so much like Teri Smith, my late writing partner, it lifted the hairs on the back of my neck.

“You’ve got a great character in Eurydice,” Diane said. “You’re right in there with her, feeling everything she feels, right from the start. But your readers will be coming to this from the point of view of Orpheus. Everything they've ever read has always been about him. Your challenge will be to show what Eurydice is fighting for. Is it the sex? Is it the lifestyle? Why would she go through this kind of hell to get back together with him?”

Although she didn’t get to write as much of the story as she (and I) would’ve liked, Teri helped me develop the plot for Highway. She hated Orpheus. She thought he was pond scum, and she fought me tooth and nail every time I tried to give him a redeeming feature.

But at the same time, like Diane, Teri never lost sight of the image our version of the story was going up against. Orpheus, the poet. Orpheus, the doomed and driven lover. Orpheus in Hercules, the Legendary Journeys, and Xena, Warrior Princess.

Diane’s critique also reminded me of comments I’d received from three beta readers who, unlike me, didn’t spend their teenage years in a purple fan girl haze looking for raspberry berets in the second hand store. These beta readers couldn’t understand why Eurydice got involved with Orpheus in the first place. He’s a demanding, narcissistic snot.

Well, duh. He’s also the sexiest, demanding, narcissistic snot on two legs, with a voice that makes trees dance and goddesses wail. Just hanging with him turns you into one of the cool kids. Living with him means you never have to wait in line. Bouncers and Line Nazis fall over themselves ushering you behind the velvet rope. Maitre des seat you at the best table in the restaurant, even though you don’t have a reservation and the place is booked until the next millennium. Whatever you wear, it’s in this minute. Cartier and Tiffany’s beg you to wear their bling. The hottest designers fawn over you and send you next season’s shoes wrapped in hand-printed tissue paper.

And everybody on earth is pea green jealous of the very air you breathe. Even the old farts who say they aren’t. They’re just so bitter they’re lying through their teeth.

It doesn’t hurt that so many hit lyrics come down to: “You do me wrong, but still I’m crazy about you.”

It’s part of the package. It’s expected.

Just like it’s expected Orpheus will act like a hero.

Oh *bleep*! I gotta write that in, don’t I?

Diane’s critique and my response to it also highlight another aspect of the writing process we writers tend to overlook. We don’t always speak the same language as our readers, even when we think we’re all working in English.

Those three readers were telling me the same thing Diane did. But when they said it, all I heard was: “Orpheus is a jerk, and Eurydice was Too Stupid To Live for getting involved with him.”

Well, she was stupid for getting involved with him. But music junkies like me couldn’t imagine a young woman not falling for the glamour Orpheus represents. To us it’s a perfectly understandable stupidity. We’d commit it ourselves—if only someone would give us half a chance.

But my challenge as a writer isn’t just to play to that particular choir. I need to convey that glamour, that sense of earthy divinity rock fans invest in their idols, to the people who didn’t grow up with my passions or my expectations. Otherwise, they won’t get the story. It’ll be nothing more than a race of pretty words to “The End”. I bleed too much in my stories to settle for that.


(Lyrics from "Ain't That Peculiar" by Smokey Robinson, Marvin Tarplin, Robert Rogers and Warren Moore)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Remember This Movie?

Ever watch a movie trailer and hear that ONE song and wonder where the heck it came from? Do you remember watching this movie when it came out 11 years ago? Did you ever think this movied kicked ass because it had an awesome intelligent dragon?

This clip from YouTube gives me chills. I fashioned Mynos after Draco. If you watch closely, you'll notice a few moves Draco does that I had Mynos do in the Legends of Mynos books from Samhain Publishing. Breathing fire down a straight line... Balls of fire from his nostrils...

Dragonheart is one of my all-time favorite movies. Not necessarily because it's such a wonderful plot, but because of the inspiration it sparked in me for my fantasy romance series. I really wish they would make more movies about intelligent dragons like Draco, who could maybe wield magic and shape-shift like Mynos.

Watch this clip and get chills, y'all. Oh, and that music you always wondered about? Yeah, it's part of the Dragonheart soundtrack, one of the best and well-known movie soundtracks ever, in my opinion, of course.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dragons, Dragons, Everywhere!

I don't know if I posted this here yet... My editor went above and beyond the call of duty and created a GREAT video for the I Dream of Dragons anthology, of which my story, Wings of Change, is part.

The anthology will be in print next May, but all five stories are available right now as individual ebooks. Thanks to all of you who've helped put Wings of Change on the Best Seller List over at MyBookstoreAndMore.com! :)

In other news, I spent last weekend at Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend (RAW) and had a blast! I met a lot of readers and some of my favorite authors, including Lora herself, Lorie O'Clare, Christine Feehan, and a whole bunch more! I'm still recovering from the sleep deprevation (LOL), but I had a really great time and enjoyed meeting everyone. Watch my official blog next week for a contest where I'll be giving away a T-shirt and some other goodies from the event. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Urban fantasy: Who’s your favorite?

I’ve recently learned my Netherworld series kicking off with Dark Sentinel in March will be listed under paranormal romance since it’s considered a catch all.

My goal for each story is to provide a HEA...so it’s not quite considered urban fantasy. Although, the leads change with each story in the series there will be certain characters who put in an appearance in each story. So, I’m going to cross genre market the series because fundamentally Netherworld is dark urban fantasy.

Dark fantasy, often a euphemism for horror with supernatural or fantastic elements or else fantasy with disturbing or horrific elements, can be bold tales of fantasy featuring discovery.

Urban fantasy, "contemporary" fantasy, is set in the city, often dealing with shamanism, the New Age, and/or Amerind (or other minority) cultures in today's world. Urban fantasy focuses on the human condition and magic realism.

Here are a few of my favorite urban fantasy authors.
Kelley Armstrong
Kim Harrison
Charlaine Harris
Jim Butcher

Who are some of your favorites?

Until later~

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: 13 DragonCon Pics

After teasing you with all the good stuff to see and do at DragonCon 2007, you didn’t think I would just leave you hanging did you?

Well, yes, I am that mean. But you’re in luck. Becka, Bianca, Carolan, Dayna and Gia threatened to track me down and beat me with their books if I didn’t come back with pics. (They’re so mean!)

I didn’t manage to snag any photos of the celebs I mentioned in my last post unless you count a very badly focused shot of somebody who might be James Marsters toting a “Stunt Kisser” sign across the Buffy Horror Picture Show on Friday night, August 31. Was he or wasn’t he? Only the cast member playing Buffy knows for sure. All I can say is she took an awfully long time to come up for air. :D

1. Dragons were everywhere, of course. But to my mind one of the best was this Chinese parade dragon in the Exhibit Hall.

2. Costumes ranged from twin Goth cabaret chicks to Stargate System Lords. But this Medusa was one of my favorites. I particularly like what she did with her snakes.

3. Since its inauguration in 2002, the Saturday morning DragonCon parade has become one of everyone’s favorite events. It opens with bagpipes and ends with Stormtroopers. In between you can find representatives of everyone’s favorite fantasies—including those of the participants. Shown here are some of the folks who drum and dance at the nightly Drum Circles. Leading the contingent is Joshua, whose dancing has graced the DragonCon Masquerade for two years running. Dina, a fellow Masquerader, can be seen in the second row. She’s the one wearing a jacket over a brown top and playing zills.

4. If you think most of my fantasies involve fit guys, you’re right. Here’s the DragonCon Spartans. The tans were fake. The bods weren’t.

5. Writers parade too. This year, Sherrilyn Kenyon (centered, carrying the fan) temporarily abandoned the conference rooms and Exhibit Hall to lead the characters of her Dark Hunter novels onto the streets. I can’t help wondering how the sun-phobic Dark Hunters felt about that.

6. I included this just so you’d know what a dangerous writer you’re dealing with. I’m front and center in this scurvy crew of scalliwags, otherwise known as the crew of the good ship DragonCon Press Room: (top row from left) Randi, Leigh, Phyl, Mark and Dorie; (front row from left) me and Dave (a.k.a. Silent Bob). Although I no longer attend DragonCon with the sole intent of snagging interviews, the con’s media liaison staff lets me play dress-up with them. Maybe it’s my winning personality—or maybe it’s my way with weapons. Dave, true to his Masquerade alter ego, never uttered a peep, despite the angle of my sword.
7. I didn’t stay long enough at the Masquerade to photograph the prize-winning “Wallace and Grommet” team. (Things to do. Parties to crash.) But like Masquerade MC Kari Byron (far left) of Mythbusters, I was charmed by this hookah-smoking caterpillar. The fabric costume was entirely handmade—and worn by the seamstress who created it.

8. DragonCon is many festivals rolled into one. In addition to the gaming, media guests, movies and writers, it boasts several live concerts every night. This year the musical options ranged from perennial favorites Emerald Rose and Voltaire to newcomers (to DragonCon) Lost Boys and Last Dance. But for me, the musical highlight is always the Cruxshadows show following the Masquerade. Lead singer Rogue (pictured here in a rare moment of stillness) is the only person I know who can rock the Trojan War.

9. In addition to the Masquerade and concerts, Sunday night’s entertainment included a Pirate Gathering and a Secret Room rave with a pirate theme. The Ball featured live music from Three Quarter Ale and (reportedly) Voltaire, but I got better pictures from the Secret Room’s Pirate Rave. Where else could you see a guy in a kilt dancing with a Boxtrooper?

10. After the parties were…more parties. With bartenders who delivered. The big guy on the left carried his bar in a backpack, dispensing parrot-colored libations via a small hose.

11. Ruth Glick (Rebecca York) preceded me in the autograph area Monday afternoon. Unlike the media stars, bestselling writers like Ruth, Terry Brooks, John Ringo and DragonCon 2007 Guest of Honor David Weber sign and pose for free.

12. An unadvertised benefit of the DragonCon autographing sessions—for the writers that is. Joshua came to talk to psychic Chip Coffey and paranormal investigator Patty Starr, whose autograph session coincided with mine. But he graciously agreed to be photographed with swords…and me. You know, it’s hard to look endangered when you’re grinning like an idiot.

13. For me, this is always the saddest part of my annual DragonCon adventure—packing up and going home. Good thing there’s next year.

These and more shots can be found at my Flickr page. Eventually I'll caption them too. 'Til next year!


I have to admit I groaned when I saw I was slated to blog today. Who wants to write something on the memorial of the most devestating event in recent American history? And yet, here I am. First I'm going to say to all those who lost friends or family in 9-11, our hearts go out to you all.

And then I'm going to talk about post-apocalyptic fantasy. One of the best and most popular examples is Stephen King's The Stand. Good v. evil in a world all but destroyed by plague. I read this when I was a teenager, and the world was very different then. Although the idea of the world ending was terrifying, and plausible, it was a rather distant possibility.

The world I live in now, just a dozen years later, is very different. And the idea of a world-altering catastrophe isn't all that much of a stretch. In fact, there are a lot of different ways it might happen. Imagine how it might happen! Imagine how you'd live without all the modern day conveniences. Imagine if things you once believed were only urban legends found their way into the new reality.

How terrifying.

Yet, it's also what gets fantasy writer's motors running ;)

So, with all that in mind...do readers want to read P-A fantasy? Do writers want to write it? Or is it just too scary?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Special: I Dream of Dragons Anthology

On September 11, five dragon stories will release as ebooks from Samhain Publishing. One of them is mine - Wings of Change - with the lovely cover you see on the left.

What you may not yet be aware of, is that all five of these stories will also release in print as part of a 2-volume anthology in the Spring. The anthologies will be called I Dream of Dragons I and II, and they will have two different covers (see below).

Wings of Change is one of my Dragon Knights stories and acts as a sort of bridge between the first series of Dragon Knights, which told the love stories of a mother and her three daughters, and the next set of books. Wings of Change picks up with new characters, introduces new magical creatures and will lead to a new series of Dragon Knights stories focusing more on the men. Mmmmm. ;-)

Here's the blurb for Wings of Change:

One young woman could be the miracle that heals a dying dragon—and unites a family with her love.

Lucia, born a lady in a foreign land, now waits tables for her keep. When she sees Sir Reynor wasting away, she storms the Castle Lair seeking help for the dying dragon. What she finds is a dashing rogue, a mighty dragoness, and a contrite knight who blames himself for his dragon partner’s injury.

Marcus is enchanted by the foreign beauty and intrigued by her mission. Few women will go near dragons and fewer still can communicate with them. Marcus recognizes Lucia for the treasure she is and knows she is meant for him…and for Kaden.

Kaden is wracked with guilt over the injury that has grounded the dragon—possibly forever. He knows Lucia is special, and he wants her. Lucia just might be the missing piece they all need to form a family. But with Reynor unable to fly, how can any of them be happy?

To make this family whole, they need a miracle. And love—the greatest miracle of all.

My partners in crime for the anthology (volume I) are Summer Devon and Marie Harte. I'm fans of both those ladies and can't wait to see what they've come up with in the dragon realm!

Website: www.biancadarc.com
NEW Blog: http://biancadarc.com/blog/

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Becka's World Building Workshop ~ Post #7

A little late in coming, but here nonetheless. This is the LAST post of my World Building Workshop. I know it's been a long few weeks, but I hope you guys got something out of it... :P Here are the links to the other posts just in case you missed them:

World Building Workshop Post #1

World Building Workshop Post #2

World Building Workshop Post #3

World Building Workshop Post #4

World Building Workshop Post #5 & #6



Okay, now that you have most of your world in place, and even an easy way to quickly think of names, now is the time to get down to the nitty gritty with regards to details.

First of all, we'll start with technology. How advanced is yourworld? Are they truly a Medieval society with swords and crossbows? Or is there gunpowder? Steam engines?

What about a Sci-Fi world? Do they have lazer-blasters? Ion-cannons? Aside from weapons, what kind of medical technology do they possess? Tricorder-type things? Nanosites? Or just your good ol' water & bandages?

Is magic present on your world? If so, can everyone do it? Or only certain races? Is it an inherent trait or do you need items to do magical things? If there are magical items in your world such as a glowing sword or pendant of invisibility, write out exactly what their powers are. Maybe even write some powers that your characters don't know about. Makes it fun when they use a magical item and it does something totally unexpected!

Other odds & ends would include fleshing out your cities, deciding what's a large Mecca and what's a small hamlet. What is life like in those cities? Can anyone buy magical items or are they only for the rich and famous?

Once you have the little details fleshed out, then you are ready to begin writing in your world. There are some things you can make up as you go, so don't feel as if you can't write if you don't know everything there is to know about your world. I've learned that sometimes, it can be a lot of fun for the writer if you don't know what's beyond those mountains. If your characters don't either, then hey, that's an avenue that can be explored along with them.

Sometimes impromptu world building such as that can be great, just don't forget to jot down notes on what you make up. You don't want to forget it!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Crature Feature: Cat Shifters

Cat shapeshifters offer a unique and interesting opportunity for fantasy writers. First, there are so many kinds of big cats to play with and so many of them are related to various degrees.

In the genus Panthera, for example, are the lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar. These are the only big cats able to roar and are sometimes distinguished as the "great cats" to differentiate them from other big cats who like the cheetah, snow leopard, clouded leopard, and cougar. Another little distinction is that the babies of the great cats are called cubs, while the babies of the other big cats are called kittens. (More on all of this minutiae can be found in the Wiki entry.)

The creature I find most interesting is the cougar. Bigger than the jaguar, but not considered a "great cat" it goes by many names and roams most of the Americas. Also called Puma or Mountain Lion, these cats are huge and very efficient predators. They learn and adapt to their environment and the kinds of prey they find there. I saw a show on Animal Planet the other day on bighorn sheep in the Canadian wilderness. It turns out that scientists were able to discover that one particular cougar in the area had learned how to efficiently hunt the bighorn lambs and for the last two years of the cougar's life, it ate almost nothing but mutton and put a big dent in the local bighorn population. But another cougar wasn't as smart. It fell to its death off the rocky slopes while chasing a bighorn lamb and both were found dead at the bottom, killed by the fall. So it takes a sure-footed cougar to even attempt to hunt those kings of the mountain in their rocky, dangerous domain.

In my own writing, I've created a few different big cat shapeshifters. The one you'll be able to read first is Matt Redstone, a character from my upcoming novel, Sweeter Than Wine. He's a cougar and has the cunning, speed and agility of the cat, even in human form. He's also really sexy, just like the cat. ;-) In my little world, he's the youngest of a group of cougar-shifter brothers and I plan to feature each of them in upcoming works. I'm also working on an urban fantasy world, inhabited by leopard and tiger shifters, as well as Others. More on that, when news becomes available.

For now, I continue my research in to the ways these big cats are related and the fantasy of how to make them purrrrrrrrr.

Website: www.biancadarc.com
NEW Blog: http://biancadarc.com/blog/