Author Interview from Words in Sync

My full tour schedule and links can be found at Dark Minds Book Tours (<–highly recommended).

The following interview was part of my bumper post for Day 3 of 7 on the BLOOD LIFE blog tour courtesy of on her personal blog. I am extracting the interview portion only here in case you missed it, but for the full experience and to read her impressions of my book, or to enter a giveaway, visit Words in Sync.

Otherwise, here’s the get-to-know-me-a-little-better part of it. Enjoy!

The Interview


The Personal Questions

  1. What’s your idea of total happiness?

Riding a horse bareback through the woods on a clear spring day.

  1. Which trait do you most deplore about yourself?

Sometimes I can be very indecisive, and I don’t like it at all!

  1. What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?

Chastity!  haha

  1. What’s your worse vice?

Probably impatience.

  1. What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty.

  1. Do you have a mantra or motto?

Don’t ever be afraid to make sure you’re happy, too, regardless of what that may mean.

  1. Which living, and which dead person, do you most admire and why?

Living: my mom. She is the strongest person I know and I love her and look up to her with all my heart.

Dead: Marilyn Monroe.  She was beautiful and tragic.  Intelligent and talented.  Never afraid to speak her mind, and despite her addiction and her past, she tried her hardest and gave everything her all.

  1. What is your greatest regret?

I guess I’m supposed to say I don’t have any, but that would be a lie.  I have a few regrets in my life.  But I’d say the greatest one so far was giving an ex a second chance that didn’t deserve it.  It ruined a great flow I had built in my life, and it was a mistake.  I lost things because of it.  One of those things being my horse.

  1. When are you most likely to lie?

When I might get in trouble if I don’t.

  1. What is your favourite (song) and why?

I have so many favorite songs!! This is a very hard question for me to answer because I really love music.  At the moment, it is Conjure One – “Extraordinary Ways.”

  1. What is your favourite cuisine?

Veggie burritos!!

  1. Have your personal experiences (or situations) influenced you, creatively? Give us an example.

Oh yes.  In all of my writing, there are personal experiences past and present scattered through the text.  For instance, Devendra, my witch/vampire heroine, is loosely based on me.  Her looks, her actions, her strengths/weaknesses, her favorite things.  She’s my inner witch.

  1. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate and how much is   learned?

Most, if not all, of my creative abilities are innate.  =)  Though, I always pay attention and learn things from others.

     14.  How often do you read? What are you reading now?

I read as much as I can.  Sometimes, I’ve just got too much work and life things that get in the way.  But I love to read.  Right now I’m reading: Possessing the Secret of Joy: A Novel

15. What other interests do you have?

Health and fitness, eating and cooking healthy vegetarian/vegan cuisine, horror films, animal advocacy, yoga.

16. What was the last movie you went to see?

Cabin in the Woods.

       17. Do you have a favourite genre?

HORROR!  =)

The Writer Specific Questions.

  1. What got you into writing?

My lifelong love of words, the paranormal, and storytelling.

  1. Are you an indie or traditional author?

Indie.

  1. Did you publish the first book you wrote?

Yes, I did, under my own imprint: Bright Eyes Press.

  1. What is your biggest problem with the writing process? How do you tackle it?

Finding the time. I do my best to put aside at least a couple of hours a day for writing, whether it is in a story I’m working on or blogging. Also, stress slows me down creatively, so making sure I’m taking care of my whole self is important.

  1. Do you feel writing is something you need to do or want to do?

Writing is hands-down something I need to do. It nurtures my soul like nothing else can.

  1. Whose writing inspires you most and why?

Edgar Allen Poe.  He was my first ever inspiration and will always hold that spot in my heart.

  1. If I gave you a license to brag, what would brag about? Give us the links.

Well, myself, of course! ;-)  I am a writer (obviously), so my first book should definitely be looked at, as well as my website: http://www.giannaperada.com – and I am also a proofer, light copy-editor, and book interior layout designer for small publishers and indie authors. I’ve been doing that for several years: http://www.brighteyes.org

  1. How does your creative process benefit you?

It allows me to write my stories with my own unique voice. I sit down at the computer and channel the muse. My fingers move to their own rhythm. I’m just along for the ride.  😉

  1. Do you believe that creativity and genius go hand in hand?

I think it depends on the person, but mostly, yes.  =)  You are your own creative genius.  Each and every one of you.  Whether you use it/see it or not.

Tour Stop #1: Sassy Book Lovers Interview

I’ll re-post any interviews that happen along the way for my Dark Minds Book Tour, just in case you missed them. But you should really visit the site if you’d like the full experience.  =) They all have giveaways to offer, and some give their review of the book as well.

This interview courtesy of Sassy Book Lovers.  Enjoy!  I’m always quite the candid one. 😉

Q1. What or who inspired you to become a writer?

Early on, I was drawn to paranormal stories and dark twisty movies. My family is full of creative genius; I guess it was always in my blood and there wasn’t one single trigger to get me going on the thought. Although, Blood Life was inspired by a paper I wrote on vampires in junior college. The professor hated my topic and gave me a D, even though it was a great paper. So, I left her class after telling her off and went home to start writing the first draft. 😉

Q2. Who is your favourite Author & what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have many favorite authors. I guess the author that truly inspired me to write about vampires was Anne Rice. Her intricate, romantic, and dark alluring worlds intrigued me. Her way with words really spoke to me and resembled mine (at least I thought so).

Q3. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Letting it be finished. I couldn’t let it go. I kept revising and reediting it. That’s why it took me 15 years from start to finish. That won’t happen with the next book. The first born is always a little special.

Q4. Has the paranormal been something that has always interested you?

Always! Ever since I can remember; even as a little tiny girl.

Q5. What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

I’d say my favorite was the first sex scene between Roman and Alexandria. I am a very passionate person, so writing erotica like that came so naturally and exciting. I’ve toned it way down since the first draft, let me tell you… only because I felt what is there now is enough for that story. Had it been a straight erotica story, I would have left it as it was originally.

Q6. What was the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing your book?

That I can really tell a story from beginning to end! It was such a trip to piece it together, and this particular book, since it was written over the span of 15 years, has undertones that tell the story of my life and growth as a writer and a person. It’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Q7. Do you ever experience writers block?

Yes! Usually when I’m stressed out in my daily life. Stress really affects my writing.

Q8. What is the last book you read?

“Inside the Outside” by Martin Lastrapes. Excellent book!

Q9. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?

My inner witch, Devendra. She’s the bomb. I love everything about her.

Q10. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Exercise. Watch movies. Have coffee/tea with good company. Watch live music. Read. Cuddle.

Q11. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I wanted to be was a nun (I went to catholic school). That quickly turned into a bus driver (WTF?) and then a veterinarian. Writer came next and stuck. =)

Q12. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Me… Or Madeline Stowe. Or Sherilyn Fenn. Or Monica Bellucci.

Q13. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, always remain true to yourself. Don’t write for others; write for you. And write with all your heart.

Q14. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thanks for giving my debut a chance and for your amazing support! More to come, even stronger than the first, so stay tuned! =)

Some quick questions…

Q15. Light or Dark chocolate?

Dark

Q16. Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset

Q17. Dogs or Cats?

Cats

Q18. Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Q19. Favorite Colour?

Purple

Q20. Favourite Disney movie?

Old Yeller

Win A Free Digital Copy of BLOOD LIFE!

Greetings!

Because I love to share, and want as many people as possible to read BLOOD LIFE before DEVENDRA is released, I am giving away three digital copies for free! Winner can choose from kindle, ePub, or PDF formats. The entire world is eligible (as long as the winner has an email address).

The only thing(s) you need to do to enter is share this giveaway via twitter, facebook, or blog (reblog) with your own followers, fans, and friends! That’s step one. If you just want to help me spread the word, but don’t need to enter, stop here.

Step two (IMPORTANT FOR ACTUAL ENTRY) is to come back HERE to this blog post and leave a comment letting me know that you’ve shared the news and where! Viola! You’re name goes on my list. 😉 If you only share, that’s wonderful and thank you!! But if you want to enter the contest, you must complete both steps.

I’ll put all entries into a randomizer and pull three lucky names on Friday, July 13th, at midnight. Let’s go!! Spread the word… and thanks for playing.

Blood Life is a vampire/witch thriller full of blood, magic, love, violence, and sex. The witches and vampires of the fictional world of the Spectrum have united and created a race of half-breeds called the Combined. These are very powerful entities, but their race has been threatened by a rogue vampire with very old, powerful blood named Lokee, son of the Great Witch, Devendra. This story is about letting Fate play out, but in all its turmoil, trying to save one woman who will be the key to saving the Combined.

Can the Combined’s strongest adversary form an army to defeat them, or will the power of three keep the race on top? Centered around the lives of four integral characters, Blood Life is a fresh and unique paranormal adventure. Meet Devendra, a powerful witch descended from one of the first lineages; Lokee, her son and worst enemy; Roman, her friend and companion; and Alethea, the key to it all…

Blood Life is a full-length paranormal horror novel that will appeal to lovers of paranormal, dark fantasy, horror fiction, witches, vampires, and supernatural horror.

An Excerpt from DEVENDRA

The prequel to my debut novel, Blood Life, is Devendra, which I am working hard on at present. I decided, just to test the waters a bit, that I’d post a few excerpts until its release. Things may change a little, but these excerpts are very close to final form, if not final.

My planned release date for Devendra is Halloween. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, so that hopeful date could be pushed. However, if I can help it, Halloween it is.  I’ll keep you posted either way. For now, an excerpt of Devendra. Please feel free to post your thoughts! They are not only welcomed but encouraged. And, above all else, ENJOY!

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“Nooo!” she screamed, the tone reverberating off the stone walls, vibrating in her chest. “Leave him alone!!”

The sound of jingling keys echoed down the hallway as footsteps drew close to her cell. There was a moment of hollow silence before a burly, iron-clad guard moved swiftly in her direction. He unhooked the keys that dangled at his side, used one of them to grant himself entry to her cell, and moved squarely in front of her. Without warning, he raised a powerful arm into the air; she had only a moment to think to lift her hands to guard her face before the back of his right hand landed hard across her cheek.

Devendra saw a white flash behind closed eyes before she lost her footing and fell to the side. In the eerie silence of the strike, with ears ringing, she fought to pick herself up from the ground as quickly as possible, to show him a semblance of strength. Devendra ignored the enclosing darkness and tiny dots of light in her vision, struggling to steady herself in front of him. Her head spun gently as she fought the urge to faint, lifting a cool hand to comfort her injured cheekbone. It felt good resting against the swelling, a cool and cold palm to soak in some of the heat.

In her magical mind’s eye, she willed the fluid of the swelling to be reabsorbed by surrounding cells as quickly as it had risen. But, as bad luck would have it . . . nothing happened. She swallowed rising fear, feeling naked suddenly before her jailer.

The man they called Stoughton towered over her, a shadow of evil, threatening to strike again. His hair was short but full against his head, peppered with grey and black, collecting at his temples in white cotton wisps. If not for his malice, he was quite a handsome man, strong and lean standing at what she gauged at about a foot and a half above her own five-foot-four stance. But he was infused with evil. He carried a scent of it that sickened her. It hovered around him like a dense fog, suffocating to those with an ability to sense it.

Releasing her incapacity to conjure up the protective magic she needed to resist another strike to mere happenstance, she tried again. She reached inside her soul and called up a force, a mystic shield to protect herself so that his hand might just fall asleep and he would merely decide not to hit her again.

Devendra found that mental manipulations worked well when a quick, secret summoning of magic was necessary, but this didn’t work either. He repeated his attack with even more vigor than before. Reeling as she picked herself up a second time from the hard stone ground, she realized she was empty. Her magic, usually responding with vibrant force at her cue, made no attempt at all.

She panicked, quietly, fighting to maintain a mask of calm before him. Once maybe, but twice? Her magic refused to move two times in the matter of seconds. Instead it whirled within her solar plexus, the eye of a great storm, watching and waiting. For what?

Quickly coming to terms with the newfound failure to call on her gifts, Devendra made the decision to ignore the stinging vibration of the hit. The will of a mortal was strong, but the will of a witch had to be stronger. At least strong enough to will away pain. Strong will demanded no illusion, only focus and determination. But even this didn’t work. A new little sack filled with fluid under the original tingling warm spot left behind on her face. She could feel it rising, throbbing with her heartbeat.

“Stoughton!” a voice rang out, ricocheting off the walls, causing Devendra to flinch. Their eyes remained locked for a moment before he whipped his head in the direction of the call. “Give me a moment,” he yelled over his shoulder.

Turning his head to look back down at her, he said, “I’ll deal with you later,” and turned to walk away, leaving her to as much peace as she could find in her current situation.

Sobbing in whispers, Devendra closed her eyes and lowered her head, muttering, “Oh Viktor.” Lifting her head once again and inhaling deeply, she curled her right hand into a fist and pounded hard on her chest once, twice, leaving behind a pink mark. She pounded a third time, hoping the action might begin to calm her racing heart. Her heart muscle responded by palpitating fiercely in her chest.

Moving on, she reached down with both hands and clutched at her dirty ivory chiffon dress, pulling on it fiercely, feeling crazed. She wanted desperately to ease the anxiety by ruining something beautiful. She ripped and tore at the dress until Stoughton returned to her cell, his eyes ablaze, lustful even. She stared back at him, defiantly, daring to challenge him in silence. Her hatred hung in the air between them like stagnant tobacco smoke, seemingly connecting them in the space.

“Don’t look at me like that, Witch,” he warned in a dangerous tone, moving so close to her that she could feel the heat rise from his body. His pheromones tried to seduce her, unseen tendrils daring to reach out and request an audience. Repulsed, she averted her eyes slightly, just enough to ease his stance, but not to indicate submission.

Stoughton reached down for her arms, lowering his face in line with hers, and clutched her wrists viciously. He squeezed them until she looked up into his face again. Her sapphire eyes burned bluer than they had ever been, but there was no lust there, only pure, unadulterated hatred. His eyes held hers confidently for a moment before tossing her wrists away with a snarl. Satisfied with the moment, feeling in complete control of his witch prisoner, he smiled wickedly before leaving her once again to herself.

When Stoughton was gone, Devendra exhaled dramatically, shifting her thoughts to her magic, or lack thereof. Since it was somehow blocked in that awful place, she could not use any spells to release herself from captivity. She could only watch and swallow the rage. She chewed on her nails, looking once again to Viktor’s cell across the dark stone-tiled hallway from her own.

Devendra’s sad eyes traced over her battered lover, caressing him. Viktor sat in a slump against the stone wall. His torso hunched over and his legs slayed out in front of him. He was completely motionless in the corner of his musty cell, half hidden in the shadows and light that crept in through the small window above, reflecting onto the walls around him.

She didn’t need much light to adore his beauty. His chocolate brown hair and olive skin lived bright and beautiful in her memory. She craved the morning look she received each time she opened her eyes for the day to his vibrant hazel eyes. Even in captivity, Viktor was magnificent. Pulling her hand from her mouth, she moved slowly to the bars and extended it across the empty void that separated them, longing to touch him, to save him.

My First Author Interview

I am so excited this morning.

I woke up to an email from Martin Lastrapes, award-winning author of Inside the Outside, letting me know that he had posted my first-ever author interview. That’s right. I’ve now been officially de-virginized and you can “read all about it” on his blog.

He asked me 10 questions which I answered with raw honesty, added links and pictures, and truly made me feel like a star. I can’t thank him enough for being a great new friend, an amazingly talented author, and a generally super cool person.

So if you have a few minutes this morning (or afternoon or evening), please check out my interview and let me know your thoughts. Ask me anything and I will answer honestly. ❤

Growing Pains (of life and writing)

By now, if you are following my blog at all, you’ve learned that I am a writer. Duh, I say it constantly (haha!). Also that I wrote and self-published my first full-length, horror fiction novel, Blood Life. In case this is your first visit, the book is about vampires, witches, magic, violence, and sex. It is set in a fictional world (which was designed to be forgiving of language style and surroundings). It is much different than Twilight, and there is no sparkling Edward Cullen. There are, however, weak protagonists, like Bella Swan, but mine become much stronger with time, aging like fine wine.

Character interactions are vast and intriguing, maybe even infuriating at times. There is Roman and Devendra, Roman and Alexandria, Roman and Alethea (he sounds a little slutty at this point, but when you read it, you’ll see how that works). There’s also Lokee and Lorien. Seth and Lorien. Lillith and Silas.  Just throwing names out there because I love these characters and their crazy relationships.  My point being, there’s a lot to this book. It is a deep, multi-faceted thriller adventure in disguise. It’s magical and unique for a debut, but also true to form, there are some issues with the plot and I’m not too proud to admit that or to point them out.  It’s part of becoming a better writer, after all!

Although I pull everything together nicely in the end, I’m prepared for heavy critiquing from some readers, and just plain love of the story from others who are just reading and getting hooked (and not reviewing, per se). I let the book out there knowing this full well. I had to release it, because I had been writing it for such a long time, and until I finally let it go, I could not focus on anything else.  It was almost therapeutic to do so. And if you read it closely, you might see the 15-year span of growth in me as a writer peppered throughout in rewrites.  If I’d tried to revise any more of it, I may have just scrapped it, and it was too good of story to do that.  😉

Why am I saying all this? Well, because the prequel, Devendra, is coming out so well! It is written completely in my present frame of mind. And I don’t think it would have been channeled from brain to fingers quite as deliciously had I actually written it first.  As I write it now, I’m moved in a way I cannot describe, and moving yourself is key (moving others is the ultimate goal, but you catch my drift). And I have so much more to come: two more vampire/witch books, a female serial killer by the name of Z (you’re gonna love her), and a phantom ghost lover of a girl living in a place much like hell on earth.

So as the reviews are rolling in for Blood Life, I’m feeling motivated and fulfilled. I’ve heard things from “It reads like a movie!” to “I don’t read this genre normally, but the story really hooked me!” to “I love your mind!” to “Please keep writing!” All of those bits of feedback have really satisfied my ego. And not in a conceited way, but in a pleasing, humble way. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. And most of all, I thank you, the reader, for reading my story and giving it a chance! Whether you love it, like it, or hate it, I appreciate you for taking the time to look at it and consider it. Hats off to you. ❤

The Inner Muse(s)

Last night I got to thinking: How crazy must I sound to people when I try to explain that Devendra, the heroine of my vampire / witch series, kept chattering away at me (picture my arms up next to my face mimicking chattering mouths with my hands and a crazy look on my face), keeping me up at night, until I agreed to write her story? CARRAAZZZYYYYY?! Seriously, when I say it, I feel a little nuts, especially in the moment of silence it produces to the unknowing and understanding person. There’s a look in their eye, a faint glimmer of a question, but it never comes. That action, or lack thereof, causes this curiosity for me.

Do I really care? No, not really. I mean in all honesty, as a writer, I know this is normal behavior. I realize that without Devendra’s constant chattering, I’d have no story. Doesn’t matter how creative I think I am or can be, without her as an inner voice, a character to channel, I’d more likely be a dry well.  I have everything to thank her and the other characters for. They help my stories come to life. I do not write outlines; I sit at my computer, wait for them to make an appearance, and my fingers move to their rhythm. Period.

Also yesterday it occurred to me – aside from a few glorious hours spent with an old friend I rarely get to see – that Z is trying to fight her way into the forefront. She’s resurfacing too soon, as Devendra is at center stage in my mind just now. Z is another character from another world in a completely different story. She is not a vampire or a witch. She is psychic, in fact a psychic profiler for the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide division (specializing in serial killings)… but she is YET TO COME! Her story is only in the infant stages, a whisper in my mind’s eye, sitting in the to-write filing cabinet. And although extremely important and close to my heart, Z needs to wait her turn! What to do, though? She’s being very demanding. She threw out some great ideas yesterday as I was having my eyebrows threaded (nice timing!) and I did not write them down if nothing else but to tell her NOT NOW. And as I sit here thinking about it, refusing to give her that moment to write down her musings only hurt me. I wonder if she will repeat herself? Poo. I still have two vampire books to write before I can get to her story. Unless I take a break after Devendra and piss off my readers by making them wait an extra year before Book 3 comes out. Dare I chance it?

While patience is a virtue, I don’t believe my characters care, much less abide by the thought of patience or virtue. They want out, all at once, caring not for my time or my lifestyle or the money-making priorities. They say, “Eff all that. It’s time to write all the time.” Nice. Thanks, guys. Love you, too. ❤

5 Best Things About Writing Horror and Supernatural Fiction

Since I was seven years old, when my mom bought me a hello kitty diary for Christmas, I’ve been penning stories of the supernatural kind. I didn’t use it as a dear-diary-ramble-fest. Instead, I used it for bringing various fictional characters and ideas to life on the pages in short story form. Driven by my two favorite TV shows: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone, as well as the dark tales of Edgar Allen Poe and Radio Mystery Theater, a little writer was growing within me. Two of those stories will become novels at some point, because looking back at them, I think they’re pretty darn good! Reading past the adolescent mind, the undertones are chilling and exciting! Almost “creepy-kid” level, but not quite. I like to think of it more as “astounding and intelligent imagination and creativity.”

I’m no expert, but I have been writing in this realm long enough that I feel my opinion on the “best of” might matter.  😉  So, without further adieu…. here’s my list!

5) People think that horror writers are strange, even downright weird. While I disagree (I think fantasy/sci-fi writers are way stranger), it’s a nice cover, especially if you find yourself in a funny situation. Merely act weird! Works every time and you’re forgiven because, well, they sort of expected it so life goes on without incident.  😉

4) This one might seem a little weird, though, contradicting what I just said in #5, but I’ll say it anyway. Ever get so mad at the human race that you just feel murderous? While it’s most likely just horrid PMS (and men get that too, so it works both ways), here’s your chance to get out some aggression in story form without ever actually harming anyone.  Have a ghost possess and destroy a person’s body, wreaking havoc on their innards like nothing else can.  OR, even better, put them in the path of a killer or let a zombie eat them for dinner. Voila! Problem solved and you’re not in jail.  Did I just say that?

3) If you love to be scared, watch horror movies like they’re going out of style, and totally get off on the thrill, but feel like recent horror has been lacking in the true terror department, here’s your chance to set it straight! Write your best frightening sequences, pull them together into story form, and scare the hell out of yourself (and others) while doing it! It most likely won’t disappoint you, since you wrote it, and it may even get considered by some of the best horror directors looking for fresh, new, raw material.  Maybe they’ll even stop remaking every great horror film in history and just leave them alone while creating new classics. Just a thought.  😉  Oh, and a bonus to this one would be having a super hot horror writer or director with a fabulous mind and mad voodoo skills, like let’s say Eli Roth or Steve Niles or Rob Zombie or Dario Argento (I don’t care how old he is, he’s hot by nature!) approach you, review you, tweet you, or praise you in any way, shape, or form.  That would be honor enough for a lifetime.  To me, anyway. ❤

Eli Roth on the set of Hostel.

2) There’s no limit and there’s no right or wrong in horror writing! You can get as brutal or keep it as clean as you like in your descriptions of scenes or kills. There’s probably a line somewhere in there, but who’s to decide where that line is?  If you’re writing dark fiction of any kind, the reader typically knows what they’re getting themselves into when they pick up your book, so you’re pretty safe either way. Although some of them still break the cardinal rule and say something like, “Oh, it wasn’t my type of story, but I read it anyway and now feel the need to give it an unfair bad review because I couldn’t take the violence.” Um, okay. Thanks for reading it anyway. It still struck a chord and that’s a writer’s goal anyway. :-p

And finally, my number 1 favorite reason for writing at all, especially in the realm of horror and supernatural…

1) You get to turn nightmares into reality. You get to pull them out of your head and throw them out there into the world, thus terrifying everyone else and sweeping your psyche clean. It’s self-hypnosis. Self-healing. Self-therapy! Set it free; it sits right at your fingertips and hovers in the depths of your mind. Pull it out, detox, and terrorize others instead. Pure. Simple. Fun.

The Birthday Girl in her Birthday Suit with a Birthday Wish or three.

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Little me: 1983

Today is my birthday. Yes, that’s right. I like to tell everyone because it makes the day extra special. Today I leave another lower-numbered year behind in favor of “the climb.” What are we climbing for again?  Oh, yeah, the aging process!  The normal, humanoid, earth-bound curse of getting older. DUN DUN DUUUUNNNNNN… Can’t I write in that I’m immortal?  Who’s editing my story of life over here?  Hellooooo?! Slow it down, wouldja? Geez.

No, but really, it’s okay. 38 ain’t so bad, especially when everyone gasps in dismay when you divulge such information because, “YOU DON’T LOOK A DAY PAST 28!!!”  Thanks, heh… *blush*  Sometimes they even preface with, “OMG, YOU’RE OLD!”  haha, uhhh, thanks?

It seems like just yesterday I was on the video arcade game show, Starcade (anyone remember that one with MC Geoff Edwards?), with my older brother, Cayo. We were on two shows. We won the first one and lost the second one. If you want to see a clip of our shows, go to the Starcade remembrance site and do a search on that page for my first name, Gianna.  Click on that thumbnail and you’ll get a one-page site of our shows. You’ll get a kick out of it. I was TINY and oh-so-young!  I swear that feels like yesterday to me. I still get… I want to call it fan mail but I’m not sure what it is, from people who used to watch the show to ask if I am THE GIANNA from those episodes. It’s cute.

Anywhoo… today, on the date that marks my birth for the 38th consecutive time in a row, I will make a point to tell everyone I come across that I am 38 years old, and then wait for the inevitable, “OH NO! I’D NEVER HAVE GUESSED IT! YOU DON’T LOOK A DAY PAST 2__,” to make myself feel better. All day. Yep. That’s my goal.  *giggle*

Have  great day everyone! And to all the Taureans out there: you seriously rule, bull! Keep rockin’!  xoImage

Writing Research, Book Signings, and Excerpt Readings… oh my!

Have you ever wondered how some writers get their research, or if they even research at all in their writing?  I know I do.  I LOVE to research topics that I write about. For instance, I’m working on Devendra’s book now, the life and times of my witch heroine, my own inner personae, and it starts out with a witch trial set in the Witch Court of Burgundy, one of the colored towns of the United Spectrum. The United Spectrum is a world I created so that I didn’t have to worry too much about accuracy and time… a little lazy on my part, I’ll admit, but so forgiving and lenient! As a writer, it’s nice to have a little of that.

However, with the actual trial, I wanted some accuracy.  So I purchased books (including the “The Hammer of Witches”: the Malleus Malificarum) and read a ton about the European Witch Craze, and of course, the Salem Witch Trials since they made it mainstream public in works like, “The Crucible,” and, “Three Sovereigns for Sarah.” These were excellent adaptations and stories based on the witch hysteria of the small village of Salem, but the witch hysteria infected inquisitors far beyond Salem. In books like, “The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe,” by Brian Levack, and “Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts,” by Anne L. Barstow, questions are explored pertaining to why women and men were accused in the first place (most often out of greed and religious disagreements – one only had to point a finger at that time and a person could be burned), and how they were handled, tortured, and killed. It was madness!

I took from these ideas and used them in my writing. I put Devendra there in that dilemma but in Burgundy, accused and on trial for her life. I used names of some actual people of the time in Salem and placed them as the executioner, Devendra’s personal jailer, etc. and played on real facts, working in the fiction, to build the scenes and overall storyline.

Although it takes time, the research was/is fun and I’m looking forward to doing it all over again with another book I’ll be working on, “The Butcher’s Daughter,” about a female serial killer set in late 80s / early 90s San Francisco.  I’ll need to contact the SFPD about interviewing or “riding along” with officers/detectives to gather insights on the day-to-day workings of the homicide department when it comes to serial killings.  Fun, scary, and exciting!  The first chapter of that one’s written but put aside in favor of finishing Devendra and getting it out by Halloween. 😉

This week, I’ve put up a promo on my Facebook Fan Page. Get your vampire and witch loving friends to “like” my page and post to my wall that YOU referred them, and get entered to win a signed copy of Blood Life! I’ll run this until Saturday at midnight, so get your booty moving if you wanna win.  ❤

Below is a small gallery from the book signing I did in Petaluma, CA, on April 22nd.  What a great turnout! We sold out and had to take special orders.  That felt good.  Next up: I’ll be reading an excerpt from Blood Life at Redwood Cafe in Cotati on Tuesday, May 22nd. It’s an intimate event from 6-8pm. Five other authors will be presenting their work.  I’m assuming I’ll be the only one reading from a horror novel.  Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb!