Monday, November 26, 2007

Vote Wicked for Christmas at Red Roses

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I think I used to many o’s there but I don’t care. For your information those are the perfect amount of exclamation points for the news I got today.

How Wicked Can She Go?
has been nominated
Red Roses For Authors
First Annual Christmas Awards

So I’d like to invite you all to stop in at Red Roses
to cast your ballot for the Witch with attitude
and make Nikki’s Christmas
come up Roses.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Fabulous Jackie Ivie!

Under the bloom of the Northern Lights, Morgan O and JMo braved a Survivor-Man journey for our latest interview. Jackie Ivie is an author with three bestselling novels under her belt and a fourth just hit the shelves, so we thought a dogsled trip to the frozen wastes of Alaska well worth the hardships to talk with this author. Well it wasn’t as far as that, but one little case of frostbite and JMo goes all mental. Morgan O told him about nose rubbing walruses, but he wouldn't listen so it's his own fault even if she did loan him a pair of bunny boots. At the same time she was seen to roll her eyes and exclaim, “Sheesh, we haven't even hit zero yet!” So after a cup of hot cocoa for JMo, and a stiff drink for Morgan after dealing with his whining butt for three hours, we settled down for a talk with Jackie about her newest book, Heat of the Knight.

TMD: Jackie, thanks for letting us into your lovely kitchen, and yes, JMo is housebroken - mostly. Anyhow, please tell us a little about your newest book.

Jackie: It's set in 1747, a time of depression throughout the Highlands. When I found out the English had taken away the right to wear kilts and play bagpipes, I just HAD to write about what it must have been like. Then there's my, hero, Langston Monteith, (man - what a fantasy man he is!) Monteith is a traitor to everything my heroine (Lisle) values (or so he seems), he's as black as pitch in deed (or so she thinks), and he's as gorgeous as sin (so everybody sees) I LOVED writing! Lived it as I wrote! -- then again...I always do!

TMD: As a writer of Scottish Highland historicals, how do you keep your books fresh and exciting with the genre already so congested with stories set in the same period?

Jackie: Good thing I don't read anyone else. Don't want to. As for me? I have an editor who gives me free rein. I can write any era in the Highlands that I want. Any battle. Anything. And I just want to live it as I write it. The way my writing works I just have to settle myself and I start envisioning. Scottish Highland mist. The bagpipes. The kilts. The massive, brawny Highlanders. There's so much history there. I couldn't possibly get bored.

TMD: With your fourth book coming out, do you find you are just as excited waiting for its release as you were with your first book?

Jackie: Definitely! I walk around with a copy of my new one and inhale the fantastic aroma of paperback book! There's absolutely nothing like the smell and fell and texture of your own book! Nothing. The first one, the fourth one. Same difference - I've found. Aside from which, my covers are jaw-dropping gorgeous. No trauma carrying that around! (Morgan O can verify this. I stood next to her as she handed a copy of her book to a priest!)

TMD: How much research do you enter into before starting a new book?

Jackie: I have tons of Scot books and castle books. I don't do much research once I start up the pc. I've already envisioned the setting. Mostly. Right now, I'm working on the 7th one and I wanted a jousting scene so I had to go find one. And yes. There were definitely knights in Scotland, In 1455, there was a tourney fought at Stirling Castle, where the king decided the winner (James Douglas) against a Burgundian knight. I'm putting that in my book, because I wanted a joust scene. So I chose 1456 as the setting.

TMD: What inspired you to write about the Scottish Highlands?

Jackie: Big, brawny, beautiful, rippled, sexy Highlanders in kilts! There's a wedding scene in my 6th book where the hero has to fight his way into the chapel, and he isn't in the best formal condition when he gets to the altar. What do the ladies do? Sigh. And giggle. And blush. Fun stuff.

TMD: Have you ever been tempted to jump into another genre and test the waters?

Jackie: Nope. Historical romance is it. I told my editor a couple of years ago, when everyone was discussing all the genres out there that, “I live, eat, sleep, breathe, dream, love historical romance. Sorry.” Her reply? Keep them coming!

TMD: If you could reveal one secret about Morgan O, what would it be?

Jackie: Morgan O? She's a writer, too. And she's fabulous. Duh.
(Morgan O grins - she lurves me!)

TMD: How many countries/ languages have you been published in?

Jackie: Four. English (hahaha! Got to count it), Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese.

TMD: How important do you think it is for an author to find their literary voice?

Jackie: It took me well into the second book to find mine. It's SOOOOO important that I can't quantify it. There isn't another writer like me, and I'm not like any other writer. In fact, I'm not even like the other Jackie Ivie books. The fourth one could have been written by a different person. THAT'S my voice. The characters and action tell the story. I'm just typing as fast as I can!

TMD: With the rise of other genres like sci-fi and paranormals, do you think historicals still hold a place of prominence in romance?

Jackie: Yes...and no. Historical romance will always be there. There's too much enjoyment in disappearing into the past. I think they're publishing less of them every year, though, but that could always change. Does it affect what I write and why I write it? Absolutely NOT. See the "live it, breathe it, sleep it” answer...

TMD: Do you ever see yourself writing a book set in Alaska?

Jackie: Definitely! Although I'll be leaning toward the Klondike gold rush era.

TMD: What other genres would you like to write?

Jackie: Historical. Historical. Historical. I tried a contemporary (I didn't have much fun). I tried a paranormal (I can't envision a vampire or time-travel, therefore I can't write it). It's a bit like my drawing. I don't have a plan when I set out. I just pick a starting point (if it's an animal or person, it'll be the nose) and then I draw out from there. I write exactly the same. I pick the starting point (the opening) and write from there. If I can't envision it, I can't do it. And vampires don't come brawny.

TMD: If you had the chance to kidnap one cover model to make into a love slave who would it be? (Morgan O points out to JMo that cover model Nathan Kamp’s first cover was Jackie’s first book, Lady of the Knight - oooh baby!!)

Jackie: My fantasy man is a hybrid of The Scorpion King and Conan the Barbarian. (Duane Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger). Always has been. The cover model is just that. A model. Nathan Kamp is a MAJOR babe, though. But...nah. Now, if I could just get a blend of Conan and the Scorpion King... (my new cover guy is very close, though. But without a gorgeous face? Don't even know who it is....)

TMD: Romance is a very competitive business, especially in the print side of the business. How important do you feel a personal relationship with your fans has been to your success?

Jackie: I love fans! It blows me away to actually find I have them! That's why I do book signings and personal appearances. The fans. Ultra important.

TMD: Thanks so much for letting us visit with you and JMo will clean his mess up before we leave. I told him frost bite is no excuse for dropping a one of a kind Bugs Bunny jelly glass coffee mug. Leave it to the Southern boy to get frost bite at thirty five degrees above zero. As he's mopping up, tell our readers where they can find out more about you and your books.,,,,, (I blog there).... Gee. I didn't realize there were so many!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Morgans Write

A lot of people wonder, why do writers write? Frankly, writers ask themselves that on a daily basis. The Morgans are no exception. So we thought today would be a good time to discuss why we think we write, when there’s a million and a half other things we should be doing (like laundry and ski-joring). If you ever wanted to get into the head of an author, this is your chance times two.

Jmo: For me writing is like an ongoing TV show in my head and I can’t stop watching. When a story is flowing I can’t wait for the next word to hit the screen. Even though it’s all coming from my head, I honestly have no clue what is going to happen from one minute to the next. Sure, I think I had some idea where the plot is taking me, but the characters have ideas of their own and throw me for a loop every time I write.

Morgan O: I'm a visual person, so I can see Jmo's point about the TV show, but I'm deeper into the characters in another way I guess. I don't always see the action, but I feel it. That's probably how I can get so deep into third person, I put myself in my character's body and then act out the scene as if I'm them, looking out through their eyes. What are they feeling, thinking, hearing, smelling, or tasting? These are the things I reach for when writing. Anything to avoid cleaning house!

Jmo: First person is easier for me, because I like to tell the story from one person’s perspective. I think it helps draw a reader into the story. In the majority of my books, the main character talks to the reader. When someone reads my books, I’d like them to feel like they’re reading a letter from a friend, someone they can identify with on an emotional level to a certain degree. That isn’t to say, I don’t like a third person narrative. As a writer, third person frees you to explore the psyches of all your characters and get into their motivations, even the baddies. So, it’s like letting your multiple personalities out to play.

Morgan O: First person has to be done just right, and I have to admit you've got the touch. I haven't been brave enough yet. Besides, I like to peek out of other people's eyes. Learning how to focus and drill down into a person's thoughts has been a very interesting journey. It also lets me weave a truly wicked plot. I guess the description I like best is stolen from Mel Brooks, Spaceballs I think, Unbeknownst to [so and so], but knownst to us... That saying lets my inner imp out to wreak havoc on perfectly unsuspecting characters.

Jmo: Inner imp. I like it! There are times my writing is like that. Because my characters say and do things I would never do in my life. I’m not crazy. I’m just exercising my Inner Imp. Don’t think it would work as a defense in a court of law, but for writing it is perfect.

Morgan O: The hard part is stepping away from the computer, for me at least. I love the world inside my head. It was a great comfort to me the year the husband and I were split because he was working in Alaska while I was working Colorado and the kid was finishing Middle School. The writing filled many lonely hours and my characters became very close friends. I love visiting with them and catching up on what they're doing. Sometimes I have to make myself throw a boulder in their happy paths.

Jmo: True, writing is a lonely occupation. You have to have a solitary mind to be a writer. When I was a kid, stories were always my best friends, whether I was reading them or making them up, using my toys as the characters. Growing up, pictures replaced the toys in my storytelling. It would take years for the words to take over the visual images I used to tell the stories in my head but the images are still there. I’ve just found a way to translate them into words.

Morgan O: I almost agree with your comment about a solitary mind. Almost. For me, I've found that I must have a community around me for my writing to be any good. By this, I mean like minded individuals. They may not write, or even read, what I write, but the very fact they understand the process makes their support and even critical opinions invaluable. I couldn't have improved as much as I have in the last three years by taking classes. I'm hands-on and working with very supportive crit partners has value I can't begin to put a price tag on.

Jmo: That is so true. A talented author can’t get very far without someone to rein their imaginations, and more importantly, egos in. Every time I put my name on a book, there are three or four more names that belong right there along side mine. If you’re an author and can’t say that, you’re either very good or deluding yourself. Care to guess which?

Morgan O: I’m very good! LOL. Seriously, so, really, what it boils down to is each writer is crazy in their own special way, which is why no two people will ever write the same story, even when given the same information.

Jmo: As I’ve gotten a little older—not old, just older—I think I write because the dreams of my youth have either become truth or changed in their perspective. When I was younger, the stories were about the future, wild and insane in their scope and depths. Now, the depth comes from the life I’ve led and the experiences that have shaped the person I am today and not the person I thought I’d be. Could I have been a published author, twenty years ago or even ten years ago? I REALLY don’t think so. For one thing, the inspiration for everything I write wasn’t in my life and I was too plain na├»ve to realize the stories aren’t in my head screaming to get out. I’m screaming at them to get out so I can think.

Morgan O: And I think that sums it up. Long live insane writers and the editors who deal with them.

Oh, and let’s not forget, long live Anne McCaffrey.