Penton Snippet Sunday and Weekly Winner

Happy Sunday! Sorry to have been absent lately. Returning to the day job on a temporary basis for a three-week stint has proven to be not only busy but complicated. If any of you are Facebook friends (and if not, why not?), you’ll have lived through my Thursday night Facebook temper tantrum. LOL.

So, on Sunday, instead of a full scene snippet, I’ve been instead doing a “last lines” Sunday—the last few sentences I’ve written. Due to my four-month bout with bronchitis (the dregs of which continue, unfortunately) and the day job fiasco, I’m still tinkering with ILLUMINATION, although I’m still shooting for a late June release. We’ll see.

So this is a scene featuring two new female characters, both human, who are accompanied by a vampire all of us who love Penton know. But I won’t say who….I will say that the scene takes place in New Orleans.

             “Wait.” Ana made an abrupt stop, causing their vampire companion to fall into a motionless heap on the grass when she released his arm. “This is…”

            “Yeah, Lafayette Cemetery Number One.” Shay looked around her at the ghostly white city of aboveground tombs that seemed to almost glow beneath the lights from the street. “We have the vampire. Now we need a coffin.”

Uh-oh. Sounds like trouble for somebody! But then again, it wouldn’t be a Penton book without trouble, would it?

So, did you win a book last week? I hope to get back to a more regular blogging schedule this week, but my giveaways will be limited primarily to Reader’s Choice on Mondays (winner announced on the following Sunday) since I am now a poor retired person with no steady income.

BUBE is the winner of last week’s Reader’s Choice giveaway. Please email me using the contact form at the top of the page and let me know what you’d like, up to USD$15, and your mailing info.

Stay tuned for a new Reader’s Choice tomorrow!

Trivia Wednesday…Where Story Ideas Come From

So I had a bizarre encounter with my 91-year-old mom on Monday night. Well, early Tuesday morning. She’d taken the wrong mix of medications and was visiting other realms, so to speak. So I was trying to ask her questions and bring her back to the world the rest of us inhabit when she said, “You’re trying to make me think I’m crazy so you can write a book about it.”

Hm. Well, no. But….oh, wait, “Gaslight” has already been done. Many times, in many formats.

That’s not to say that seeds of reality don’t bounce around in authors’ heads and get reconfigured into elements of story.

So, here are 10 real-life things that have turned into major or minor story elements for me, in no order. See how many you already knew.

  1. The entire SENTINELS OF NEW ORLEANS series, particularly ROYAL STREET, was based on my own memories of being a New Orleanian moving back to the city from my evacuation spot very shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit.
  2. DJ’s evacuation spot for Katrina was the small Alabama cotton mill town of Winfield, Alabama, which is where I was born and spent my first 18 years.
  3. Winfield also served, in part, as a model for Penton, Alabama, in the PENTON LEGACY series. The real community of Penton is not a mill town (in fact, it has one restaurant and a motor speedway and a church), but that area of east Alabama was very invested in textiles and was financially devastated when the textile industry moved overseas. So Penton is a mashup of Winfield, the Chambers County seat of LaFayette  (accent on FAY), and Penton.
  4. Penton and nearby LaFayette are about 25 miles from where I live now. I decided on the location by looking at a map of the state and looking for the most isolated spot I could find. And there it was.
  5. Most of the characters in LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP are named after my and my friends’ pets. My terrier Shane became the hero, Shane Burke, and my rottie/chow/golden mix Tanker played himself.
  6. I was writing DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD about the time I discovered mixed-media art and learned how to make my own art journals, which is how hero Brody became a reclusive artist….who made his own journals.
  7. A couple of years ago, a shipwreck of a possible pirate schooner off the coast of Mobile, Alabama, became (duh) the inspiration for PIRATESHIP DOWN. Because I figure if one of Jean Lafitte’s lost ships was found, he’d want a piece of that, oui?
  8. The BLACK DIAMOND drug of the same name was inspired by the so-called “zombie drug” called Flakka that has been such a problem in south Florida and was all over the news a year or so ago. Superhuman strength, sense of invincibility, batshit crazy. Check, check, check.
  9. The standalone short, CHENOIRE, was originally written for this blog and was set in the Sentinels of New Orleans world. The lead character in the original story was merman Rene Delachaise.
  10. I don’t write more short fiction because my editor for the first four Sentinels books told me I had no talent for it and “some people aren’t meant to write short stories.” That was the response to the story “JACKSON SQUARE.” Which I might still publish just as a nice little F-U.

Learn anything new?