Fantasy Demon Within Movie Casting: William Moseley as John

One of the questions I get asked a lot as a writer is, “Who would you like to play [insert character’s name] in a movie?

This is always hard for me, because I have very specific ideas about what these characters look like, and very rarely does an actor look/feel exactly right enough for me.

But one actor I’ve seen gets pretty close.

Presenting William Moseley…a.k.a. my fantasy casting pick for John.

 

John Pic

Picture by Faye Thomas, from William Moseley’s IMDB page.

 

You may remember him as Peter Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia films, but as you can see he’s grown up quite a bit since then. (And the years have been quite kind!)

He’s not a complete match for John: John has light brown eyes in the books, while Moseley’s are blue. And if you decide to do a Google image search–which I wholeheartedly encourage–you’ll have to sift through a lot of pubescent photos of him to get to the more recent ones where he has more of a John vibe–John looks like he’s in his mid-30s, so the younger Moseley just had too much of a baby face.

But this is the first time I’ve seen a picture of an actor that I’ve felt that spark, like, “Yes, that’s who I’ve been seeing in my mind!”

Have his people call my people. We’ll do lunch. (More important question, do you think he can do a passable American accent?)

Word Constipation

 

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Do you like it?

 

So…Embracing the Demon. Dale, book 2.

I’m frustrated.

The good news is, the book is coming along. I’ve got about 40,000 words right now. I’m not stuck, and I don’t feel like I’ve written myself into a corner. My editor read a good chunk of it, and he’s happy with how it’s coming. This is good news. When we were working on The Demon Within, I basically had to rewrite the book from the original manuscript I submitted to him. Then after his feedback on the rewritten draft, I still had to go back and gut the entire middle section. It was an arduous process, and there were days when I felt like giving up completely. I figured maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a professional writer. For perspective: I signed my contract with California Coldblood in May of 2014. I submitted the final manuscript to my editor in November of 2015. Even after that, there were copy edits and minor changes, but I was mostly out of it by then.

That’s not what’s going on here.

This time, I did a lot of the work up front by writing an extensive outline of the story ahead of time and submitting it to my editor. As much as my pantser heart hated to do it, I have to admit that it is helping considerably, especially now that I’m truly in the middle section of the story (which has always been the hardest part for me). Whenever I get stuck, I just refer back to the outline. I’ve got a map to give me directions.

The problem I’m facing now is that the story is not coming fast enough, and because of that, I’m looking at the very real possibility that Embracing the Demon won’t be out until 2018.

When I sit down to write, I average about 1,000 words. On a good day, I might be able to push it closer to 1,500 or 2,000. On a bad day, I might only write a few hundred. Some days, I don’t write. I’ve heard so many writers give the advice to “write every day, no matter what,” but that has never worked for me. Writing is a job–on top of my other, full-time job. I love it, but some days, my brain just needs a break. Other days, I just don’t have time to write. Maybe I’m busy at work (the full-time job, the one that currently pays the bills) or I’ve got other appointments that don’t bring me home until late. Most weeks, I’m averaging about 4-5 days of writing time, 2-3 days off.

I know this about myself, though, so I know I should have started sooner. I was very burned out after finishing The Demon Within–and then once I’d recovered enough to write again, I was smack-dab in the middle of buying a house and wedding mania. But even beyond that…I got married in July. I didn’t start working on the outline until October. That’s on me, I know.

I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m not so great with either time management or focus. I’m distracted easily, and tend to fall down the internet rabbit hole too often.

The first draft of The Demon Within was about 100,000 words; the final was about 85,000. Then you need to factor in time for rewrites–which probably won’t be as extensive as they were on the first book, but there are still going to be scenes where my editor says things like, “Add more cool weapons” or “Be more descriptive.” In order to get Embracing the Demon out this year, my editor would have to upload it sometime in the next couple of months. You don’t have to be great with numbers to see that the math doesn’t work out.

I follow other writers on Facebook and Twitter who says things like, “I wrote 10,000 words today!” or “I only wrote 2,500 words today, I’m so disappointed in myself.” To which I’m like, WTF?!? I don’t even know how it’s physically possible to write 10,000 words in one day, and 2,500 words would be a great day for me!

Mostly, though, I’m just oozing jealousy. I genuinely don’t know how one can manage to be that prolific, especially with a full-time job (or kids, or family obligations, or volunteering, or pets, or whatever).

I wrote faster back when I was living on my own, but back then I had fewer demands on my time and distractions. It’s so much easier to write when you have no life!

But, since I have no intention of giving up my husband, my family, my friends, or my cats anytime soon, some mitigating strategies are in order.

–I’m going to be deactivating my personal Facebook account soon. It’s temporary, and I will reactivate when my draft is done. My public author page will stay up, but it’ll probably be less active. This is both for my mental health as well as time management: ever since the election, Facebook has been a hotbed of political activism and discussion. Which is great, but it’s causing me stress I can’t handle right now.

–Twitter will stay up, but again, I may not be around as much. (Twitter has never been my poison.)

–I’m going to try (emphasis on try) to start getting up early in the morning before work to write. I’m not a morning person, so this will likely be the biggest struggle. But I’ve done it before.

–I’m going to try to get to the gym more. Doesn’t directly have anything to do with writing, but it clears my head and makes me feel better.

–After I finish the draft of Embracing the Demon, I’m going to work on some things that aren’t Dale-related. I love Dale, but I’ve been in her head exclusively for way too long now. (The last non-Dale project I worked on was in 2013.)

–And if it does come down to delaying the publication, I’ll have to think about some things to put out in the meantime. Short stories? A Dale novella? A non-Dale novella? Deleted scenes? (God knows I’ve got plenty of them.)

I know that building a writing career is a long process, and it feels better to have a plan. But right now, I’m still grumpy and frustrated with myself. Damn kids. Get off my lawn!

 

#lifegoals

So the coolest thing happened to me on Facebook tonight…

Some background information first: I keep my personal Facebook page and my author Facebook page separate, partially for privacy reasons and partially because I’m very outspoken and I know book readers might not want to hear my opinions on politics and social issues. I do have a few professional acquaintances on my friends list, mostly people I’ve met through various conventions and people I worked with in my CC2K days. But mostly, the people I know on Facebook are people I’ve met socially, and some of them date all the way back to high school. In other words, I figure most of them haven’t read or heard of my book, nor do they care.

So anyway…

I got into a discussion on a friend’s post, and by discussion I mean “minor, non-heated disagreement.” Yes, those are possible on Facebook, however you’d never know it once politics becomes involved. Thankfully, this one was not political, so the vitriol associated with those kinds of arguments was absent.

Then the person I was going back and forth with said this to me:

lifegoals-pic

So for the very first time in my life, I got to say, “Yes, I am that Beth Woodward.”

Seriously, this is probably the coolest thing ever. (On a side note: see, reviews really are important!)

And then I thought, “Hmmm, maybe I should have disagreed a bit less vehemently.”

Thankfully, he followed up with this:

lifegoals-2

At least I know he didn’t take our argument non-heated disagreement personally!

So, to the person whose name I redacted for privacy: thank you in advance for reading, and I hope you enjoy the book. And you seriously made my night. Hell, maybe my whole week!

It’s definitely good motivation to get my butt back to work on book 2, which is what I’m going to do right…now.

A Writer’s Christmas Wish: Reviews

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If I could have one thing for Christmas this year, it would be more reviews of The Demon Within on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and other retail and review sites.

We are in an era where new books are being published in hard copy and electronic format every single day. But what that means is that any individual book has a harder time standing out from among the masses. We’re competing for people’s time and entertainment dollars with not just other books, but with television, movies, computer games, smartphone apps, etc., etc., etc.

With so many books out there, it can be hard to separate the ones we’ll like from the ones we won’t. It’s easy to be skeptical about a book when it only has a few reviews, and it makes people less likely to want to spend their money on that book.

Andi Cumbo-Floyd, an author and editor I’ve gotten to know this last year through her blog and social media pages, posted a video a few months ago about the importance of reviews, particularly Amazon reviews. (Amazon uses its review system to do a lot of cross-promotion through those “You May Also Be Interested In” links and their direct e-mails.)

So that’s why I’m asking if you could do me a solid this Christmas. If you’ve read the book, I would be super duper grateful if you posted a review. It doesn’t have to be long or involved. Just a couple of sentences saying what you thought about the book.

And hey…even if you didn’t like the book, I’d still appreciate the review. Don’t get me wrong: I’d much rather you liked the book. But I get that my book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. What you disliked about the book may be exactly why someone else likes it. All reviews are helpful, because they give people different perspectives.

I’ve got to admit, I’m a pretty negligent reviewer. I read a lot, but I don’t review nearly as often as I should. But I’m going to try to remedy that this holiday season. I’ll be spending some of my time off writing reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year, especially for the authors who are not as well known.

Whether it’s for me or someone else, it’s a small thing you can do that will make a huge difference to an author.

 

 

Sale on THE DEMON WITHIN

Amazon has The Demon Within paperback on sale now for $4.73. I have no idea how long the sale is going to last. So if you’re thinking about buying the book but you’re short on cash, now might be a good time.

Second…I sent out the Goodreads giveaway books on Saturday. US residents should have received their books today. Canadian residents should get them in another week or so. If you don’t receive your book, please feel free to contact me via the e-mail listed on my website.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I’ve been a little busy of late, but I promise a more substantive update soon.

Goodreads Giveaway Update

I finally signed and addressed all the books from the Goodreads giveaway. They will be in the mail tomorrow morning.

Winners were notified by Goodreads. If you don’t receive your book in the next few weeks, feel free to contact me via the e-mail address on my contact page.

I hope the winners enjoy! Stay tuned for more giveaways soon.

Five Reasons You Should Read Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Books

rosemaryrue

The latest book in Seanan McGuire’s long-running October Daye urban fantasy series, Once Broken Faith, came out a little over a month ago. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a McGuire fangirl. I love her writing, and I recommend this series every chance I get.

But now we’re 10 books in…and frankly, it can be a little intimidating to start a long-running series. I’ve seen many series lose steam and direction after a few books are out.

That’s not the case here.

I thought I’d break it down, point by point–the five reasons you should pick up the October Daye books if you haven’t already:

1) The long-term payoff. One of the big problem with long-running series is that they often lose focus as they go on. Not true with the October Daye books. You can tell that McGuire has a firm hand on her world and characters. Information will be revealed in one book that may not pay off until several books later. Even 10 books in, we are still waiting for answers to a lot of important questions. A lot of the tension in the story builds from the fact that other people know things that Toby herself does not. McGuire uses this tension skillfully, and it’s very much to the story’s benefit.

2) Fantastic worldbuilding. One of the things I’ve always admired about McGuire’s writing is her amazing ability to build worlds. Whether it’s the ghostly Midwest of yesteryear in Sparrow Hill Road or the mythological creature-rich world of her InCryptid series or a boarding school for kids who have been sucked into parallel universes in Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire has an incredible ability to create a world out of the fantastic that feels real in its vividness and complexity. In this series, fae live among humans, hiding in plain sight. There are rules, social norms, dress codes, territories, and conflicts, and they are all drawn out so vividly that you feel like you’re there.

3) Slow-burn romance. These books definitely sticks more to the urban fantasy side of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance spectrum, but that doesn’t mean Toby is completely romance-free. But it takes a long time to get there, and it may not be with the person you initially expect. But by the time you do get some payoff from the romance, you really feel like they’ve earned it. In addition, it’s not—shall we say—graphically depicted, so those who prefer less explicitness in their fiction are in the clear.

4) Real consequences. Some writers seem to believe that “fantasy” is essentially a “get out of jail free” card. Killed off a beloved character? Just bring them back to life! Burned down a major city during your epic battle? That’s okay, you can just use the magic restoration potion to fix everything. But in the October Daye universe, things stick. Bad things happen, and there are sometimes long-term consequences. McGuire is also—be warned—willing and able to kill beloved characters…permanently. But the bad things in Toby’s world make the good things seem all that much more special.

5) Great side characters. Sometimes in urban fantasy, the side characters don’t feel as complex or developed as the protagonist. Not so here. Everyone from the King of Cats to the ancient sea witch to Toby’s teenage squire to Toby’s death omen (long story, don’t ask) have rich, compelling inner lives. As a bonus, McGuire has written several short stories and novellas set in Toby’s world featuring many of these characters as protagonists. (Many of these stories are free on McGuire’s website.)

And as a bonus…

6) LGBT representation. McGuire is a very outspoken advocate for inclusion in fiction, and she practices what she preaches. Bisexuality is the norm in fae culture, particularly among pureblooded fae, so you get to see many of the characters engage in same-sex relationships. One of the secondary characters is also transgender, but we don’t find out until well after the character has been introduced, and it’s dropped into the story so casually you might forget about it. But the coolest part about the inclusion is that it’s not a big deal within the story. Nobody makes an issue of it, and it’s not the defining characteristic for any of these characters. They are not included in the story as the “token” queer characters; they each play roles in the story that have nothing to do with their sexuality or gender identification.

So there you go. If you haven’t done so already, pick up Rosemary and Rue. It’s a great book, and the books get stronger as you go along. And if you have, let me know what you think!

 

DemonWithin CoverOn another note…

My Goodreads giveaway is still running through November 11. I’m giving away 15 signed, personalized copies of my urban fantasy novel, The Demon Within, about a young woman who finds out that she’s half demon–just in time for the entire angelic population of Manhattan to start hunting her down. If you’re interested, you can enter here.

 

Demon Within Giveaway!!!

DemonWithin Cover

I am so excited!!! I am giving away 15 free copies of The Demon Within on Goodreads. The giveaway runs from now until November 11, and I will sign and personalize each copy for the winner.

The Demon Within is what I’d consider “dark urban fantasy”–it has paranormal elements, and it’s set in a contemporary, realistic world. But it’s darker and grittier than some other urban fantasies you may have heard of, like the Sookie Stackhouse books (on which the “True Blood” TV series was based). It’s not YA; I’d say the appropriate age group is probably 16+.

Here’s the book description:

Heaven is hunting Dale Highland…

For 10 years, she’s been on the run, plagued by violent blackouts and increasingly baffled by a growing array of superpowers–mind control, super strength, enhanced healing abilities.

What Dale doesn’t know is that Heaven’s greatest bounty hunter, John Goodwin, has been on her trail the whole time. When John finally corners her in New York City, he reveals the source of her powers: her mother was a demon.

The forge an unlikely connection and go on the run. In pursuit are his fellow bounty hunters, a deadly guild of angels known as the Thrones. Their goal: eradicate all demons–which includes Dale. As they flee across New England, Dale delves into the mystery of her own heritage and discovers that she’s a key figure in the ancient war between angels and demons.

Only this time, the angels are the bad guys.

Fine print: the giveaway is open to readers in the United States and Canada. Winners are selected at random by Goodreads, and I won’t get the winner list until after the drawing.

I’m very excited about this, and I hope to have more giveaways coming up in the near future.

 

 

Appearing at Love Our Local Authors Festival on September 10

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I’ll be appearing at the Love Our Local Authors (LOLA) Festival this Saturday, September 10, at Hooray for Books! in Alexandria, Virginia. The event takes place from 1-5pm, and my author panel will be from 3:30-4:00. I’ll also have copies of The Demon Within for sale.

Hooray for Books! is a recent discovery of mine, and it’s one of the coolest bookstores I’ve ever been in. The staff is incredibly friendly, and they’ve got a great selection. I don’t know what other authors will be at the festival, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the other authors. I have a feeling that my TBR pile is going to grow exponentially this weekend.

So if you’re in the DC Metro area, I would love it if you could come out. The address is:

Hooray for Books
1555 King Street
Alexandria, VA  22314

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Two Reviews, and an Interview with Dale Highland

The Demon Within got two really awesome reviews recently:

ZombieJoe at Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog gave the book 4.5 stars, saying the book had an “excellent, punchy opening” and that he was “deeply entrenched in the story.”

Michael D. Griffiths at SFReader gave the book 5 stars–his first five star of the year!–saying, “If you like Dark Fantasy, I’m not sure if you would find a lot of downsides here.”

Finally, ZombieJoe at Wicked Lil Pixie also interviewed Dale. You get to find out whether she’s Team Batman or Team Superman, what her favorite curse word is, and what her dream demon-power augmented job would be.

I know the blog has been inundated of late with promotional stuff. I will have a non-promotional post up very, very soon, I promise!