Friday, December 9, 2011

Irregular Chat with Irregular Authors

Hi there, Nicole Kimberling here with day two of the Blind Eye Books 2011 Round Up and Jamboree.

Today Astrid Amara and Josh Lanyon join Ginn and I to talk about writing our shared world anthology, Irregulars.

Nicole: For those of you unfamiliar with shared worlds, basically all the authors write their own stories but in the same setting, and allowing their characters to cross over. So all the authors have separate novellas – and obviously each of us bring a different tone and point of view – but the agency for which the characters work remains the same.

My story, Cherries Worth Getting, follows Agent Keith Curry, a former chef assigned to investigate cases of questionable culinary practices of extra-humans, who all-too-often put people on the menu. It also stars Gunther Heartman, another Irregular agent who I straight-up stole from Ginn Hale. And that’s the beauty of shared worlds. You read a side character in another author’s story and say, “I love that guy. I think I’m going to swipe him.”

Josh: My story is called Green Glass Beads. I got the idea from a poem called “Overheard on a Salmarsh” by Harold Monro, which I first read as a little kid. It’s a dialog between a nymph (which is a kind of fairy) and a goblin. They’re debating about these “green glass beads on a silver ring” the nymph has stolen out of the moon. It’s a poem about obsession -- well, as much as it’s about anything -- and that’s pretty much the theme of my story.

Astrid: My novella No Life But This is set in Mexico City and follows Deven Shaw, a consultant for the Irregulars who is being paid to assist Agent Silas August in his investigation into the murder of his partner. Deven spent most of his life as a hostage in a hellish demon world, living as an assassin, and has to re-learn what it means to be human. Which is hard because Agent August isn’t really the helpful, patient kind of mentor one would desire. But he IS sizzling hot.

Ginn: [not here]

Nicole: Ginn???

Ginn: Sorry, I was spaced out looking at the donuts on the cover of Astrid Amara’s upcoming title, Miracle of the Bellskis, which is being released December 13th from Loose Id. I can’t wait for this sequel of Carol of the Bellskis to come out… also, I need to eat something.

Astrid: Yeah. Yeah do that. And while you’re eating, I’ll be reading The Rifter Part 10 by Ginn Hale, which is by the way, the LAST episode of this serialized novel. So if you hate waiting, and want to read all ten amazing parts one after another, now’s your chance!

Ginn: Yeah. And Josh’s Lone Star came out on the 5th, in Men Under the Mistletoe from Carina Press. Read that too.

Josh: Cowboys. They’re almost as yummy as doughnuts. Cowboys and Indi…er…jaded ballet dancers. Hey, it’s a Christmas story. Magical things happen. Anyway, it’s part of the Men Under the Mistletoe anthology, and all the stories are magically delicious.

Nicole: Man, I love holiday stories. Hey, wait! Stop plugging other companies you guys. This is a Blind Eye Books post!

Ginn: Maybe you should put donuts on the covers of more of your books.

Astrid: Yeah. Hanukkah donuts, bitches.

Josh: And gingerbread reindeer cookies with silver balls. The tiny shiny candy kind, I mean. That you buy in bake shops.

Nicole: ANYWAY…. Back to Irregulars. Ginn?

Ginn: Things Unseen and Deadly does not feature a sizzling hot agent and/or assassin, though Josh’s wicked cool Agent Rake does make an appearance. But for the most part my story is about Jason Shamir, a young unemployed musician who discovers that he has not been suffering from psychosis but was born with other-worldly vision. Which makes him a target of extra-human interest. It also allows him to see Agent Falk –

Nicole: - A dirty old bum –

Ginn: Yeah, but not to Jason, who can see who he really is. A kick ASS dirty old bum!

Astrid: Who swills poison and wears filthy clothes.

Josh: So hawt.

Ginn: And kicks ASS! Though I should say that Agent Rake also kicks ass. Come to think of it, Deven kicks ass too. And so does Gunther. Damn it! They ALL kick ass! This is a great anthology.

Josh: This is a kick ass anthology!

Nicole: Irregulars is available for print pre-order from our website and for digital pre-order from Buy a print copy before January 1st, you get the digital edition free!

Thanks ladies and gents for participating. Tomorrow, we’ll let Astrid loose to have her wicked way with the characters from the anthology.

Astrid: Heh. Probe.

Nicole: Ew.

Note: We’re giving away a free digital pre-order of the Irregulars to one lucky commentor today.


Chris said...

*jumps around wildly* Pick me! Please! Pick me! :)

Josh Lanyon said...

I promised Nikki to man the fort today while she's off fighting bad guys and conquering the world, so if anyone has any deep and penetrating questions, feel free to ask them.

Uh yeah.

And then I'll respond with a smiley face and we'll both wait for Nikki to get home. ;-P

Cleon Lee said...

An anthology written by ALL of my favorite authors? Pretty please, pick me!

Anne Ystenes said...

Oh, I wish you would pick me :)Fantasy and lovely men together, it can't be better.

Ginn said...

Nothing deep and penetrating here; I leave that to the fictional characters!

Just wanted to say Hi ... and Josh's Lone Star? SWEET!!!! Reading it made me go back and revisit every single one of his petit morts-- even though I'm supposed to be writing. (Don't tell Nicole!)

Now I must flee, before she finds me here.

purple_tiara said...

After waiting (worth every day of the wait I might add) for the monthly installments of Rifter, and for Lone Star, I am SOOOOO glad to have something new to look forward to! Can't wait!

Lisa S C said...

I can't wait for this anthology! I have no deep and penetrating questions to ask st this moment. I'm sure I will after I have read it though.

Josh Lanyon said...

I keep trying to "like" these comments. ;-P

S. Reesa Herberth said...

Ha! This was one of the best multi-person interviews ever. You're all kind of like ferrets on crack, aren't you? (I mean that in the best way, I swear.)

Can't wait for the anthology.

rdafan7 said...

I ordered my print copy months ago, so no need to enter me to win...the stories all sound so good and I like the variety in the settings...really looking forward to reading them all!

Eva said...

How can anyone pass on so much ass kicking in one book?
Please put my name in the drawing :)

LinNa said...

Need to find the CC that is used for the internet. Want to make sure I have a copy of the book, and don't want to wait until it shows up on Kindle. Thanks you, all, for using your talents to keep the masses (and me) so well entertained. Seasons Greetings to you. L.

LadyM said...

You can't see me, but at this very moment I am disturbingly similar to Andy Serkis in Gollum role:

We wants it, we needs it. Myyyyy precioussssss. XD

Marilyn said...

Just stopped by to say hey. I don't need entered in the contest. I preordered so long ago, I'm sure I've forgotten and will preorder several more times. Hell getting old don't you know.

My word verification is stshapon...wth!

mc said...

Is it ok to ask a question?

The character 'borrowing' is an interesting concept to me. I would think that authors are pretty fond of their characters main or secondary. How does it feel when one of them leaves home to someone else's computer to grow and live, and perhaps become someone else entirely?

Granted, you know that it's a very good home, but any feelings about that, especially once you see what direction the other author has taken that character?

Moni said...

Love Josh so I'm sure I'll love every single one of the authors in the anthology. Pick me, pick me!!! Pretty please with donut sugar on top???!!!!

Anonymous said...

Throw my name in the hat, please!

Looking forward to reading it regardless.

Sherry F from the Midwest

Josh Lanyon said...

MC, that's an interesting question. I think it could be problematic with authors who were insensitive to the inevitable sense of ownership you feel for the characters? But Nikki is very good at making sure the creator of the borrowed character is comfortable with how the character is being used.

I know I changed some of Rake's dialog in Nikki's story but then the whole scene ended up getting altered so that was moot. ;-)

That used to come up with Chance in the Petit Mort series. I enjoyed writing Chance, but I never forgot that he was first and foremost Jordan's character, and so any question of what he would or wouldn't do would be her call.

Josh Lanyon said...

Marilyn, I have been getting the weirdest verification words lately. I think Blogger is speaking elvish.

Abscondite said...

Happy holidays and congrats on the upcoming publication! Shared world anthologies are my favorite way of exploring new writers. :) Also, I enjoyed reading Josh's response to MC's question.

Ginn said...

In response to Mc's question, for me, it's a real pleasure to share worlds and characters because something more creative, unexpected and thrilling always seems to come out of it.

Of course it's easy to to be generous with authors like Nicole, Josh and Astrid; Not only are they very professional but I adore their works and would do nearly anything to get to read more of their writing!

mc said...

Thanks for the answers, Josh and Ginn.

Given how well you all seem to work together, it would be fascinating to see if you created two protagonists as a group, and then to see what each of you would do with them singly.

Not that you all don't have enough to do, and that one of you isn't on a well-deserved sabbatical :)

Nikki said...

mc said: Given how well you all seem to work together, it would be fascinating to see if you created two protagonists as a group, and then to see what each of you would do with them singly.

NK: Well, in a way we sort of did that, in that we ended up writing each other's characters into the different stories. I think maybe the only way it could be done is with characters who belonged to none of the authors--like if we all wrote Holmes & Watson stories or something like that.

Ginn said...

Maybe it could also be done if the authors wrote alternate universe versions of the same character/events ...

Ohhh! Or maybe we write a character/ pair of characters that are reincarnated. Then, each author would have the previous authors' stories as a past lives but still feel free to make his/her own story....

Eeeee! I'm getting all excited about this-- and for no reason-- dang it!
Still, it could be done...someday.

Josh Lanyon said...

So many great ideas. So little time!

Nikki said...

You is talking loco, Ginn...

I kinda like it though...

I get "Future Character" cause I wanna write a space opera.

Ginn said...


And Josh what are you talking about? All our calendars will be open for new projects in...uhm... erh...

2040 ought to be about right, yeah?

Whoooo I'm going to start writing outlines right now!

Denise said...

I can't wait until this book is released - it sounds SO cool! And what fun it is with all of you talking about it. It's going to be a great one! And, Josh and Marilyn, my verification word is "boxoms" - sounds like some strange combination of body parts!

mc said...

Well, I can assure you I'll be reading that book as well. Several years from now.

*One final thought, that doesn't need a reply. Nikki, you mention that it might be easier with already created/established characters like Holmes/Watson (slash/fic, anyone? :)), which makes me wonder how fully created your characters are at the beginning of a story vs. how much they change during the course of it, perhaps even requiring you to go back and alter some actions from the beginning.

I would assume that your MCs don't wake up fully-formed in your heads, though wouldn't that be fun. So, yes, a character that is very definable would make things a bit simpler for this type of exercise, though he may ultimately frustrate you by not doing what you'd want him to do, given your plot construct. (Holmes is bitten by a vampire and Watson infected by a werewolf. They then realize they have been attracted to each other since The Sign of Four. Discuss.)

Nikki said...

Hey MC

That is actually a very good question.

When I start writing a main character, what I usually start with is a job and an unresolved internal conflict. So in the case of Irregulars I was lucky to have 2 jobs: Irregular agent and chef (former) and an unresolved personal issue, which is the circumstances that caused Agent Curry to leave his former life as a chef.

And that's all. I rarely know what the characters look like until about fifty pages into the MS.

The one exception to this otherwise infallible rule is the Bellingham Mysteries where I started with a job, small-town free weekly reporter, a theme: art, and an implied reader, who was Josh. (This was because I initially wrote the story for a contest Josh was holding.)

Nikki said...

Oh, are RE: going back to the beginning to change characters' actions to match the end--

I write stories almost entirely out of order. Sometimes nearly fully backward so I don't usually have to change the beginning. Sometimes I have to change a couple of scenes in the middle to better fit new scenes written around them, though.

This was the case with the scene that Josh mentioned earlier that ended up getting cut.

One other thing I should mention about this project is that each of the authors did some amount of content editing on the others' stories.

In my case Josh full-on content edited my story, which was absolutely awesome. I learned a lot about the mechanics of writing a mystery, particularly about order of information and how to support the throughline of expositional information in mysteries gracefully.

As a writer it was an excellent opportunity for me to learn.

Tracy said...

And the winner of the digital pre-order of Irregulars is:



mc if you could please email me so that I will have your details to give to Nicole that would be great, thanks. redneyrae AT ca DOT rr DOT com

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