Meet the Character - Lysander

Our second character, willing to give an interview is, Lysander. Without further ado, here he is.

A tall, athletically built man casually walks towards the podium. Wavy, chocolate-colored hair frames his oval face in a messy, yet purposeful way, emphasizing the almost transparent nature of his twilight, blue-grey eyes. He exudes a power and an old world charm. From a large bag draped over his shoulder, he removes a large, old looking book.

"Greetings." He flashes a brilliant white smile to the crowd. "Ms. Salidas has asked me to speak to you this evening."

He places the book on to the podium and opens it.

"I am Lysander, and I am very pleased to speak with you all. As I understand it, you are curious about my kind, and wish to question me."

He flips through a few pages in the old tome on the podium.

"I am a historian by nature, having seen the centuries turn. I've had the pleasure of knowing many cultures as well as watching the rise and fall of some civilizations. It was only natural, I document them. This tome before you, is a mere blip in my history. I've written several such books, each containing a different era of my life. This one, which I have brought with me today, details what I think you will be most curious about...my turning."

He steps to the side of the podium, clasping his hands behind his back. One by one, he looks deeply into the eyes of each an every person in the audience. His stare is piercing and inviting all at the same time.

"I am, as you have no doubt been told, a vampire. And I have been one for more than two-thousand years." His voice is smooth and soft, carrying an almost melodic tone to it.

"Born in ancient Greece, I was turned at the age of twenty-eight, by Kallisto. We believed in many god's back in that time, and she convinced me she was one. She offered me the wine of her blood and the pleasures of her body. Unfortunately I was not aware of the price of such gifts."

He flashes another smile to the crowd, purposefully showing off his fangs.

"I spent my first thousand years with Kallisto," He pauses, the corner of his mouth rises in a smirk. "Divorce, was not really an option for our kind."

He takes a step back behind the podium again, turning a few more pages in his book.

"Kallisto and I, ruled over the largest vampire coven ever known to exist. Together, we watched the rise of Christianity and the fall of our beloved gods. We had a very comfortable life, that is, until our disastrous parting."

He looks down at his book, and closes it.

"Though we parted ways, Kallisto never truly left me alone. Sadly, I must say, she's tormented poor Alyssa because she feels she still owns me."

Lysander looks back out to the crowd. "And now, after having given a very brief summary of my early life, why don't we open up the floor to some questions. I'm sure you all have some specific things you wish to know."

Jessica says, “Do your teeth get in the way when you kiss? LOL. Um, not too many questions here. :-) I like that name too.

Lysander looks toward Jessica, his eyes seem to sparkle, and amused grin crosses his face. “I’m glad the ladies in this audience find my name acceptable. As to the question of my fangs, no, rest assured I have never had an issue with my teeth…getting in the way.”

B.J. Anderson asks, “How do you get used to moving from one place to another, over and over again so you don't draw suspicion to yourself?”

“I’m not sure I understand the nature of the question. Do you mean to ask, because of my nighttime limitations, does that make it hard to move, or are you simply asking how I adjust to moving from place to place? Just like when a human person moves, there is a period of adjustment. Before that, the area has to be scouted and a residence is usually set up. The physical act of moving is really no different.”

Lysander walks around to the side of the podium again. “Unless you are concerned with the, 'how' of moving. Perhaps your concern here is my limitation to the light. Yes, I am extremely photo sensitive, but I can still stand a little light. As long as I am only exposed to minimal natural light, I am not in harm’s way. I can function during the daylight to sign legal documents and what not, as long as I remain indoors. I am not forced into the earth or meant to lie in a coffin during the waking hours of the day. I set up meetings with realtors and lawyers when it is convenient for me and normally, at my location.” He paces in front of the podium raising his hand, he extends his index finger.

“As to your second question, how do I remain anonymous? Well, that is simple. I do not flaunt myself around. Others of my kind may have fancy houses, clothes, and make a spectacle of themselves. I however, do not. I do not risk bringing down the wrath of the Acta Sanctorum on myself or those who reside in my home."

Lysander walks back behind the podium. “Any other questions?”

A hand rises from the crowd.

Lazy Writer asks, “Why did you and Kallisto part ways?”

Lysander stands quiet for a moment. His hands come together as if in prayer. Slowly he brings them to his lips. He takes a deep cleansing breath before speaking. “Ours was a one sided relationship. I gave her the world, worshipping her as my mistress. It was not until much too late, that I understood how little she felt. All she cared for was power. Only then was I able to separate myself from her. She, on the other hand, never wished to give up control. Control meant more to her then love. Even with another man in her bed, she sought me out.” His eyes close and he stands silent, breathing slow deep breaths.

“My apologies, that subject brings back some not so fond memories. Please continue, let us have more questions.”

Scott Free asks, “Lysander--how do you feel about werewolves?”

“Well Scott, I know popular fantasy has us chasing each other down only to destroy one another, but that simply is not the truth. To be perfectly honest, the human world could learn a lot from the supernatural one. You don’t hear stories of our wars all over public news. That is not because we good at hiding from the mortal world, it’s because we don’t fight amongst ourselves the way you do. Now, I haven’t seen my Lycanthropic cousins for some time, but I can guarantee if I called on them for help, the pack would be with me as soon as possible.”

"That was an excellent question Scott!"

Meet the Character - Alyssa

I'm going to try something a little different this week. An exercise in character development. I've asked a couple of my, more forthcoming characters to sit down and chat with you. Today's character is Alyssa. (Each character will have a few days to answer any questions, so please ask away.)

"Alyssa, can you please step forward and tell us a little something about yourself?"

A petite woman, with a long mane of straight auburn hair, stands up from a folding chair. In one graceful blur of motion, she joins me at the makeshift podium.

"Yeah, sure, no problem Kate," She says with a smile, flashing her brilliant white teeth. Her tiny fangs, poke out just a little, reminding me of what she truly is.

"Um Alyssa, its Katie, not Kate," I cautiously remind her.

Her twilight, blue-grey eyes meet mine. I quickly look away, not wanting to be mesmerized by her stare.

"Sorry," she says cheerfully. "I was just trying to give you a pet name. You know, a term of endearment." She finishes with a little snort of a laugh.

I shudder for a second. I don't want to be any vampires, pet.

"Anyway," Alyssa turns to face the crowd. "I'm Alyssa... but then you already know that. I am, or was twenty-five. Oh yeah, and I'm a vampire...but...you probably know that already too." Her left hand reaches up nervously, grabbing a hold of her right arm. She bites down on her lip. A tiny drop of cherry-red blood leaks out of her mouth. Her tongue quickly laps it away. She blinks a few times, takes a deep breath, and focuses again on the crowd.

"Okay, so, I was turned by Lysander. He's my, um, Mate. That's the term most vampire's I've met, use to describe the person they are with. It seems words like: boyfriend, fiance, or Husband, aren't really part of their vocabulary. Weird, I know. I guess he could also be called my master or my maker, I don't know about you, but those words just don't sit right with me. He's a pretty good guy though, once you get past the over protectiveness."

Alyssa's hand moves to her mouth, she chews on her nails for a moment, as if trying to figure out what to say next.

"Wow..Uhh...Um... I feel so unprepared for this. I don't know what else to say. I'm not really use to being the center of attention, unless Nicholas is making me the butt if his jokes. He's a bit of a jerk," she adds with a nervous laugh.

"Right, so I am supposed to be talking about myself, and here I am chatting about my clan. Maybe I'll just let you guys tell me what you want to know. Ask me anything. As long as it doesn't involve me giving away too many secrets, I'll be happy to answer. Oh and just for the record, I don't know how to turn anyone so don't bother asking me for that." Alyssa rolls her eyes. "I don't know why anyone would actually ask for that, but some people do." She sighs impatiently.

"So tell me, what would you like to know about me?"

Alyssa’s eyes light up with excitement. “Oooh great a question! I thought I was going to have to stand up here all night waiting for someone to ask something. Yes, you there with your hand up. What would you like to know?”

Danyelle asks, “How do you feel about no longer being human? Was it much of an adjustment?”

Alyssa ponders the question a little before responding. “Well, I like the idea of immortality. As my friend, Crystal likes to say, it’s the best anti-wrinkle remedy out there.” She gives a little chuckle. “Seriously though, I like being a vampire, its fun for the most part to have such power and know I am not going to die anytime soon. The hardest thing about the whole, vampire thing is the bloodlust. I can smell a mortal from quite a distance, and let me tell you, it’s a great scent.”

She closes her eyes as a serene smile crosses her face. A pleasurable sigh escapes her lips as her tongue traces the edges of her fangs.

“Think of it like smelling fresh baked cookies, or home made apple pie. It’s really hard to resist such a sweet, warm, inviting scent.”

She blinks her eyes and shakes her head, before focusing back on the audience.

“Controlling my natural instincts, in order to not mistakenly harm an innocent person is no easy task. That’s the hardest part in all of this. I would hate to make a mistake again and accidentally kill another innocent. The other minor inconveniences are tolerable. I was always more of a night person anyway. I mean, I can always get a spray tan if I want to appear like I’ve been in the sun.”

Another hand rises up from the crowd.

“Oooh, this is fun. Yes, you there in the back.”

Scott Greenstone says, “I have a question for Alyssa; How often does she go out for a snack?”

Alyssa giggles. “Aww, do I scare you? You don’t have to be afraid to talk directly to me. I’ve already had my fill tonight.”

She flashes another smile to the crowd, purposefully showing off her fangs.

“In the beginning, I had to, um…snack,” she giggles, “every night. Now, I can go a few days without needing blood. I’ve seen some of the older ones go more than a month without having to drink.”

“Keep those questions coming. I’m having fun with this. Oooh, I see another hand raised.”

Jessica says, “Thanks for the interview Alyssa. So, now that you're a vampire, do you still care about ordinary entertainment? Playing games, dancing? Are there children vampires?”

Alyssa shakes her head. “Kid vampires, no way! Could you just imagine a baby bloodsucker running around for all eternity? That’s just not right,” She laughs.

“As for entertainment, were just like you.” She winks. “I love movies, video games, and gambling. Just not going to clubs. I had a really bad experience last time I was dragged out to go dancing. I’m not doing that again. But, yeah, were still into all the same kinds of things we enjoyed in our mortal life. I’ve been trying to convince Lysander to get me a Wii..” Alyssa makes an odd hand swinging motions as if she is holding a remote control.

“And I just can’t wait to see that vampire movie, what’s it called, New Moon? It’s always funny to see how Hollywood portrays your kind. Maybe Katie will let me come back and give you a vampires review.” Alyssa giggles.

“Well it looks like I have time for one more question. Anything else you want to know?”

Jenna Alexander says “So, Alyssa – as a vampire you now have new abilities such as speed, heightened senses, strength, etc. Which do you like the best?

It's wonderful to talk to you. I'm looking forward to hearing about your next round of adventure with Lysander.”

“Aww, thanks Jenna. Hmmm, well, since I still haven’t mastered mind reading I’d have to say a close second would be, hypnosis. I love to play with that ability. This one time I had a guy come after me with a knife and I stopped him dead in his tracks. Then I made him take the knife and…” Alyssa is interrupted by the sound of a man clearing his throat.

“Oh, um, hi hunny.” Alyssa looks at Lysander with a sheepish grin. “Guess my time is up. It’s been so fun talking with all of you. I hope to see you again.”

Alyssa bows to the audience before walking away.

Hello muse! Where have you been? Wait, let me get a pen...

So my muse stopped by and dumped a TON of ideas on me before taking off again.

There I was, at work, buried in spreadsheets, doing data entry (a job I completely loathe), when I was struck with a mass of ideas.

I've recently been turned on to, Christine Feehan (I really hope I haven't butchered her name.) My best friend, and avid reader, knows I like Vampires, and knows I was looking for more reading material. She suggested the Carpathian vampire series written by this wonderful author. I had one of her books sitting on my shelf in my, "to read" pile for a while, so I said, "what the hell, let's read a book." WOW! I loved what I read. So I picked up another. I'll probably end up picking up more from this author, I like her work. Anyway, I am getting off subject here. What this author does with each book, is tell a specific couple's tale. Each book highlights a Carpathian couple, lifemates, and how they come together.

So the muse stops by and springs a few ideas on me. The Immortalis series is meant to be a 3 book series about Alyssa's life as a newly turned Vampire, and her struggles with acceptance as well as her dealings with other vampires and hunters. But there is so much more to tell. My other characters all have stories, wonderful stories filled with romance, history, and danger. Each couple in the Peregrinus clan has a unique story. My muse clued me into this. Nicholas and Rozaline (who come together during the black plague, in London), Crystal and Drew (a human couple who befriended a pair of wayward vampires), as well as the original tale of Lysander and Kallisto (which dates back to ancient Rome, during the time of Caesar). There is a wealth of information here. I have enough material to spring another 3 book series about these characters and their lives.

Now, I'm not saying I've got it all figured out, but I definitely need to sit down with a pen and paper.

Now, if I could just get that muse to sit still long enough to help me organize all of these ideas...

Does this ever happen to you, getting way to many ideas all at once?

The family that writes together

I’ve mentioned it a time or two before; I’m not the only writer in the family. I have a Sister who writes and, as I just found out this weekend, a cousin who writes too!

We’ve been swapping our queries and synopsis’s back and forth this weekend, hoping to polish out all the rough spots and make our work shine! I really enjoy being able to do this with my Sister.

It’s such a joy to be able to share the passion of writing with a family member who, “gets it.” It’s comforting to have someone so close to you, who is going through the same frustrations as you are. It’s great swapping tips and tricks we learn along the way. It’s a bonus too, to have a family member who can not only read your work, but also critique it as harshly as you need it. (Most family members will tell you how wonderful the book is, because they want to bolster your fragile writers ego, they won’t nitpick the way a critiquer would.)

And of course…

It’s awesome to be able to cheer each other on as we submit our work to agents and editors.

How about you all out there in the internet void. Do you have someone close to share your writing passion with? A family member or a buddy that is taking the journey to publishing with you?

Read This

I’m spotlighting another blog today. Liana Brooks made an excellent post that speaks to all of us frustrated newbies out there in cyberspace. Querying is frustrating and fraught with rejections. We know deep down we are good writers and yet no one else seems to agree. Rejection letter after rejection letter, we slowly move (or quickly for the impatient ones)towards the only other alternative we think is available. We reach the end of our limits and decide to just “do it ourselves” and self publish.

As she as so succinctly put. Before you attempt to self publish, “Do the checklist.”

9 times our of 10 there are things we still need to do with our manuscript. There is more editing, more refining, and more pitching work to make us publishing ready. So before you throw in the towel and invest the money to self publish, try going down the list and seeing if there are still some things you could be doing.

Here is the link.

Multiple Character Scenes

I think I know why writers block is rearing it's ugly head. I've hit a small snag. The chapter I am currently writing is a mess of characters all together. It's an ugly fight/meeting of sorts and I am just having such a hard time keeping my characters in line. Each one wants to be in the spotlight and have their actions on center stage. Each character feels they have something important to say and they will not be pushed to the sideline. I'm finding I am failing to get to the point because I am spending so much time on each character's involvement in the current event. Each character is demanding too much time and I'm a bit full of it so I have decided to ignore them all.

"If you can't play nice and share page time, then you won't play at all," I say in my meanest 'mommy voice'."Time out for all of you characters!!"

Clearly they haven't listened and I have not been able to get past this chapter.

So while I continue to leave them in time out, I'll pose the question to the internet void. How do you handle chapters/scenes that require all of your characters to meet in one place? How do you get them to all play nicely together?

Reading more, writing less

Since I have been in a writing slump I've been trying to read more. My muse loves it when I read. Sometimes seeing what others have done before me helps me to see things I could do, or sparks an idea for a story.

What do you do to help yourself relax and let your muse find you?

Music?
Tv?
Movies?
Reading?

Speaking of reading... What are you reading right now? Any good book suggestions? I just finished the first Charlaine Harris book, Dead Until Dark, then I followed that up with the first Laurel K. Hamilton book, Guilty Pleasures. I'm thinking I'll start reading a Christine Feehan book next. I've had Dark Legend hanging around on my bookshelf for a little while now.

Maybe?

Throughout my submissions process, I’ve prepared myself to hear, “no.” I’ve heard it quite often actually. I’m getting use to the feeling of rejection really. In fact I must commend Agents on the soft approach most of them use to let an Author down easily. Rather than a “thanks but no thanks,” approach, most wish the author well and tell them “good luck in their search.” I’ve yet to run into a rejection that felt insulting.

So I’m prepared for “No.”

I’m also very hopeful for a, “yes.” I’d love to hear those magic words “I want to represent/publish your book.” I have beautiful daydreams about getting a phone call or an email from my dream agent/publisher. I’ve fantasized about signing contracts, practicing my signature so it looks perfect on the page.

So, I’m definitely prepared to hear “Yes.”

But what if the response you get is neither? What if the response you get is a maybe?

I’ve started looking at smaller publishers, since my list of Agents has dwindled down to almost nothing. I sent my submissions package off, fully expecting it to take weeks to hear anything back.

To my great surprise I had an email from said publisher waiting in my in-box this morning.

“Thank you for your query....This is a tad on the "light" side for a page count perspective but I've been running across some interesting marketing opportunities for vampire fiction as of late so I'm not going to "pass" on it out of hand. I'll move it to the top of the pile and give it a look.

Thanks.”

It’s not a yes, it’s not a no, it’s just a maybe. I wasn’t prepared for a response like this. What do I do? Do I allow my self to get my hopes up? Do I wait with baited breath for another response? Do I pretend I never saw it and act as if nothing has changed until I hear further word?

I want so badly to get my hopes up and be excited, but I know it will only crush me if I do this and a future response comes back, “no.”

Argh, I so wasn’t prepared for this!

Blank

My muse has left me and I am left staring at not only a blank "book" page, but a blank "blog" page too. I'm sure I'll come up with something interesting to say soon. For now though, I will be holding off on writing while I search for my muse.

Katie frantically searches through her couch cushions. "I know I left that muse somewhere..."

=p

Alas, Monday again!

Seems the weekend is never long enough.

I'm in a lazy mood today, so I don't have much to talk about right now. The weekend was wonderful. We went to a great BBQ at a friends house. Ally was the life of the party and stole the show when she sang, Eye of the Tiger, on Rockband.

How was your weekend?

Take it one word at a time

I was on a critiquing site the other day and on the front page they had a random quote. It really hit home.

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.
- John Steinbeck


When starting a new project, it feels like such a daunting task. How are we ever going to write 80k + words? How will we develop characters that readers will fall in love with (or hate if it's a bad guy)? How will we craft new worlds, romances, and dangerous situations?

When thinking about all of this, it's enough to make a person run screaming from their laptop.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

The end goal, the target word count, that's not what we should focus on. Part of the magic in writing is not just the journey of our characters; it is the journey we as writers take along with our characters. Being the first to see the story unfold as it leaves your imagination and takes form in words is a wonderful thing. It should be treasured; so take it as slowly as you need too. Enjoy the worlds you create and the characters that inhabit them.

If you are a goal oriented person who has to think in numbers and daily targets, then focus on small writing goals instead of the big picture. This will help relieve the pressure that the larger word goals create. Take it one word at a time, and before you know it, the story will be there, finished and ready to share with others who will enjoy it too.