Meet my Character blog tour

AS Above coverThere’s a new meme going around writers’ blogs. Each author is invited to interview a character in one of their own recently published or upcoming works. I’ve been tagged to participate by Laurel Anne Hill (http://www.laurelannehill.com), author of Heroes Arise and a new “spirit meets steampunk” novel called The Engineer Woman’s Light. You can read her character’s blog interview here.

Since As Above, So Below is on my mind at the moment — what with the release of its namesake film this weekend — I thought I’d interview Lorelei, the succubus heroine.  Well, she thinks she’s the heroine.

In the beginning of the novel, Lorelei leaves the human she was dancing with to buy a drink for an angel hunched miserably over the bar at her master’s dance club. Lorelei can tell by looking at him that he has been cast out of heaven, but isn’t yet fallen. Never one to back down from a dare, Lorelei makes his fall her mission.  Of course, the angel has plans of his own…

1.) What is the name of your character?

Lorelei. No last name needed, like Madonna or Cher or Pink.

2.) Is she fictional or a historic person?

She likes to think of herself as historic.  After all, she bought Jimmy Page’s soul (in my short story “Never Bargained for You”) and warmed Joe Stalin’s bed.

3.) When and where is the story set? 

As Above, So Below takes place in modern-day Los Angeles: in its dance clubs, burned-out churches, a storm drain beside the LA River, and in a park up by the Hollywood Bowl.  My co-writer Brian Thomas lived in LA while we wrote the book and did a lot of work to ground it in real places.

4.) What should we know about her?

Lorelei loves a challenge.  She doesn’t like to contract herself with one person, unless that person’s downfall is going to drag a whole lot of other souls along.  She’d rather flit from person to person, sowing damnation as she goes, looking for a much bigger score.  A melancholy angel is just too tempting for her to resist.  She takes enormous pride in being a succubus.

5.) What messes up her life?

Countries crumble easier than angels fall, even angels of questionable morals like Azaziel.  Once Lorelei sets her sights on him, Aza injects a mortal girl’s soul into Lorelei’s infernal flesh — and our girl spends the rest of the novel fighting her dual nature and preparing for her exorcism.  Azaziel says he wanted to show Lorelei love, but what she really learns is empathy.

6.) What is the personal goal of the character?

Lorelei’s goal changes over the course of the book.  She starts out wanting to bring Aza down for the glory of Hell, but by the end of the book, she’s recognized that Hell isn’t worthy.  She’s changed by the friendship she develops with the girl who possesses her.  In the end, Lorelei wants Azaziel for herself.  She feels like they deserve each other.

7.) Where can we read more about Lorelei’s story?

As Above, So Below is available in paperback and ebook from:

Two of my Lorelei stories have appeared independently, as well:

“Never Bargained for You” was published in Demon Lovers, edited by Dana Fredsti writing as Inara LaVey.

“The Angel’s Lair,” an earlier version of the novel’s first chapter, was published in Sins of the Sirens, edited by John Everson.

8.) When was As Above, So Below published?

In February this year.

LINKS AND BIOS OF AUTHORS WHO WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO THEIR OWN CHARACTERS ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014:

In the tradition of internet memes, I’m supposed to tag 5 more authors and invite them to interview their characters.

MARTHA ALLARD:

Mart Allard is a writer of Dark and Urban Fantasy fiction. She has published short stories in places like Talebones, Not One Of Us, and a handful of anthologies. She is working on a steampunk novel with the vilest villain I’ve ever read.  You can get a taste of her fiction for free on Wattpad — and I strongly recommend that you do.

BRIAN THOMAS:

BrianThomas is the co-author of As Above, So Below.  He served a decade-long stint as a researcher at 20th Century Fox, specializing in religion, arcana, death, and creative violence.  He contributed his expertise in matters celestial/infernal to such projects asThe X-Files, Millennium, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Order, and The Omen, to name a few. He currently operates Rogue Research, a freelance research and technical advising service for filmmakers, authors, and artists.

S. G. BROWNE:

S. G. Browne is the author of the novels Breathers (2009), Fated (2010), and Lucky Bastard (2012), as well as the novella I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus (2012) and the e-book short story collection Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel (2012). I count myself lucky to have met Scott at the first Haunted Mansion Writers Retreat.

JOHN PALISANO:

John Palisano’s short stories have appeared in anthologies from PS Publishing, Terror Tales, Lovecraft eZine, Horror Library, Bizarro Pulp, Written Backwards, Dark Continents, Darkscribe, DarkFuse, Dark House, and, likely, one or two more ‘Dark’ places in there. Hard to say. They’re all so . . . dark. His novel Nerves was put out by Bad Moon Books and promptly placed in the “What the hell category is this?” section of Amazon.

MYSTERY WRITER #5:

I’m supposed to tag one more writer, but I’m not one of those people who tag others to participate in something without asking them first. We’re all busy people, right? After asking four additional writers to participate and finding out either they don’t have time or have already done the meme, I’m throwing in the towel.  If you’re a writer and want to interview one of your characters, be my guest.  Comment below or through the Contact Me form above, and I’ll send you the rules & questions.

Thanks again to Laurel Anne Hill for letting me participate!

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As Above, So Below trailer

In honor of the opening weekend of the horror movie that shares the title with our succubus novel, I finally finished the book trailer.

I’m still learning my way around iMovie, but this one was easier to assemble than the Haunted Mansion trailer I did earlier this summer.  Five or six more of these and I may know what I’m doing.

One of the things that made this trailer easier than the last was a the great blurbs I had to use.  Thanks again to Dana, John, and Jeremy for their kind words!

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Experiments in Publishing: Wattpad

morbid2For the last month, I’ve been playing with Wattpad, a site where writers can post their own work free for readers. In the last six days, since Wattpad featured my short memoir All You Need is Morbid, it’s gotten more than 3,000 reads. The book has climbed in their nonfiction ranking from #187 to #4.

This publication is an experiment. I’m curious to see if the jump in readers on Wattpad translates to sales of my books at Amazon or an increase of readers on this blog. So far there doesn’t seem to have been a big crossover, but it has been less than a week. If nothing else, all those new readers have skimmed over my name.

The 3000-reads number sounds great, but it’s deceiving, because that’s the total number of times the essays in the book have been opened. It works out to 2400 reads of my introduction, 150 reads of the first essay, and between 50 and 100 reads each of the following essays.

My takeaway from this is that my introduction isn’t doing its job to draw people in to the rest of the book. I’m going to have to revise and punch it up some.

I expected that the reading numbers would be highest at the beginning of the book and drop off for each successive essay, but that’s not the case.  Instead, people are reading out of order. They seem to be pulled in by titles. The “Anatomical Venus” essay has done better than “Love for Rent,” even though I would have suspected that love hotels would be more of a draw to Wattpad’s 20-something readership than waxen medical models.

I have gotten a big increase in followers on Wattpad, which led to an increase of readers when I put up a cemetery essay yesterday. This leads me to think that Wattpad might be a good way to get the word out, when I have something new for sale — but that I can’t necessarily expect a big bump in sales.

I’m curious to hear from other people who’ve fiddled with Wattpad.  Have you found it useful or frustrating?

Oh, if you’re curious, you can read All You Need is Morbid for free here: 

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The Death Salon is coming to San Francisco

Loren Rhoads:

I am really honored to be speaking at the Death Salon in San Francisco in October.

Originally posted on Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around the World:

This is lifted from the Death Salon events page:

We’re bringing our first ever one-day Death Salon event to San Francisco October 11, 2014. Deathlings will be taking over the Fleet Room at the Fort Mason Center. Just like our other Death Salon events, we’ll have speakers and performers from various disciplines informing and entertaining you all day and evening on diverse topics related to the culture of mortality and mourning. There are three ticket options:

Combo ticket for day & night sessions (best price, limited quantity)
Day Session only ticket
Night Session only ticket

TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.

Please Note: This event will be filmed, upon purchasing a ticket, you are consenting to being filmed. Questions? Email us at info at deathsalon dot org. Below is the tentative lineup of speakers and performers.

***LINEUP SUBJECT TO CHANGE***

DAY SESSION emceed by Death Salon co-founder, mortician Caitlin Doughty of The…

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Split in spirit

Rhoads_The Home Place_2647I came back from Michigan on Wednesday, but I feel like I left half myself behind.  Both my parents haven’t been well in the last month.

My mom had hip replacement surgery yesterday morning.  She’s 73 and arthritis has been attacking her hip joints.  She had the first replaced five years ago.  She refers to the surgery as the best thing she’s ever done.  She was certain this surgery would be just as easy, but I kept thinking that every surgery is dangerous.

Mom read or heard somewhere that hip replacement is the bloodiest surgery.  Her doctor prescribed six times the regular amount of iron, so her body could make extra red blood cells in advance.

My dad didn’t call yesterday.  By the time I realized, it was too late for me to call.  So I called his cell this morning and happened to catch him in the hospital room.  Everyone sounded very chipper. The surgery was an hour and a half shorter than the doctors expected.  She actually went to physical therapy yesterday afternoon.  The expectation was that she might be sent home tonight after dinner.

Dad hasn’t been feeling well lately, either.  It’s probably dehydration, since he doesn’t like to drink water when he’s driving — and he’s been driving a lot this month, since he’s hauling livestock to county fairs.  I hope it’s only dehydration.  He had his first heart attack — and first bypass surgery — more than 20 years ago.

I wish I could be home taking care of them, but they didn’t let me take care of them when I was home.  Mom finally relinquished her car keys so she could take her pain meds.  She let me cook for them occasionally, but then she insisted on cleaning the kitchen afterward.  I was forbidden to do laundry or housework.  I wanted to help, but they didn’t want to let me.

Instead, I am back in San Francisco, squiring my daughter to medical checkups, cleaning house, getting ready for school to start.  The new school clothes have been washed and put away.  We’re reviewing our math.  I need to sort out the after-school classes.

Added to all that, her best friend is moving away in a week, so there is a lot of processing and mourning going on.  I know what’s she’s going through, because my best friend moved away in 5th grade — and my replacement best friend moved away in 7th grade.  It’s hard to be the one left behind.

All the emotional work and worry is making it hard to think about settling down at my desk to write.  I’ve been chipping away at my email and slowly sifting through my desk.  There are deadlines coming up and pieces that I’ve promised and things I really should finish up.  Realistically, though, real writing isn’t going to happen until the first week of September.

I’m trying to be okay with that.  I could beat myself up for not being productive now, but frankly, I’m still somewhat jet-lagged — and I have a birthday sleepover to survive tomorrow night.

Sufficient to the day.  That’s what I keep telling myself.

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