Death’s Garden Revisited

Loren Rhoads:

Please tell me about the cemetery that changed your life. I’ll collect the best stories into the second volume of Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries.

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

Death's Garden001Twenty years ago, I was given a box of miscellaneous cemetery photos. They had been taken by my best friend’s husband over the course of his travels around the Americas. Blair was 28 years old and dying of AIDS. He wanted to know his photos had a good home.

I decided to put together a book that would feature those photos. Initially, I was going to write all the text, but as I talked to people about the project, everyone seemed to have a cemetery story to tell.

The book title expanded from Death’s Garden to Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries. I was thrilled to discover that people I knew — even complete strangers — all had a graveyard they’d connected with, either because a family member was buried there, or because they’d visited it on vacation, or because they’d grown up in a house near it, or for a whole bouquet of…

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The Dangerous Type is on Goodreads

Selfie at the Exploratorium

Selfie at the Exploratorium

I checked in on Goodreads yesterday, planning to review the book I’d just finished reading the night before — and got the most wonderful surprise:

The Dangerous Type: Book One of the Dangerous Type Trilogy

The publisher had listed the first book of my science fiction trilogy!

The listing was my first opportunity to see the back-of-the-book text and the new publication date (July 2015). It was my first solid assurance that this really, most sincerely is going to happen.

The best thing about the listing: the publisher clearly got what I am doing with the book. I was surprised to see it called military science fiction, but that certainly applies. I think of it as a Hong Kong revenge space opera, but yeah, lots of military tactics.

The last sentence filled my eyes with tears of joy: “With a supporting cast of smugglers, black market doctors, and other ne’er-do-wells sprawled across a galaxy brimming with alien life, The Dangerous Type is a fantastic beginning to Loren Rhoads’s epic trilogy.”

Epic.

All my life, I’ve longed to see that word describing something I’ve written. I kept whispering it to myself throughout the day yesterday, trying to grow into it.

If you’re on Goodreads, you can add The Dangerous Type to your to-read shelf by clicking the link above. That will guarantee you’ll know about the book giveaway, when it’s scheduled. While you’re there, you can also check out my Author Page, look over my book reviews, or friend me. I’d love to know what you’ve been reading. See you there!

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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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