Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't Fear the Research with Guest Sarah Mäkelä

Hello, Blogger Buddies! I have another New Author Friend to share with you! Please give futuristic/paranormal romance author Sarah Mäkelä a warm welcome!

Don’t Fear the Research

Research is something almost integral to any writer since while we might know a lot, usually what we write about sometimes delves into what we don’t know. That was something I did with the two series I have right now, one is a futuristic cyberpunk romance with a private investigator and a technomage (Hacked Investigations) and the other is a paranormal romance about a village in the Amazon Rainforest that mingles with shapeshifters (The Amazon Chronicles).

When I first started out with Jungle Heat, I did my research first and then supplemented it while writing. I went all out, finding out about the Amazon warriors who fought Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco de Orellana and his men, where they fought, what happened, and everything else I could about the culture of those people that I could. I also learned about the kinds of animals and weather to better wrap my head around how the women live. You could say I pretty much geeked out.

It was a good experience since I learned not to be afraid of research. I don’t have to be restricted to what I know just because I’ll have to dig around and find out more information on town/item/culture. Will you find out everything and be able to make your writing 100% believable to someone who knows the subject very well? That’d be great, but it’s important to do the best you can. Some people will spot minute details only a person intimately familiar with the town/item/culture and will put the book down. That’s on them.

Here’s roughly my process for research. First off, I go to Wikipedia, and then I’ll fact check with Google. If there’s not much information online, I head to my local library. It’s important to get the information you want while researching, but also allow yourself to delve into what you might not know you want, but then that’s easy for me since I love learning. Besides, it’s great for when you’re writing the next book, and you find a way to use what you’ve found out!

Do you find research fun or frightening? Do you have any tips that make it easier?

Sarah Mäkelä
Dark Magical Encounters of Passion...
Website: www.sarahmakela.com
Blog: http://blog.sarahmakela.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sarahmakela
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorsarahmakela

Here’s the blurb for my newest release, Jungle Heat. I hope you enjoy it! If you’re interested, the excerpt is available here.

The Amazon Rainforest still contains a few secrets. One of these secrets is a hidden village of women whose history is filled with the horror of conquering men.

Adara Rukan, princess of the Amazons, ventures away from her village to find something waiting for her. Andrei "Rei" Makarov is a weretiger and a biologist on assignment. Can Rei and Adara find love enough to bridge their two separate worlds?

Jungle Heat is available now from Changeling Press: Buy Link

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Elsewhere: Contact Infinite Futures

Over at the Carina Press SF/SFR blog Contact: Infinite Futures today talking about moral dilemmas and the brain. It's not nearly as boring as it sounds, I promise : )

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Inspiration: Getting Between the Sheets with Louisa Bacio

I love getting to know authors, especially those who are new to me. And I want you to get to know them too! In that spirit, I'll be having guests drop in now and again. Starting now :)

First up is author Louisa Bacio. Louisa writes hot (and I mean HOT) f/f contemporary and paranormal stories. Please make Louisa feel welcome.

Want to get to know me a little better? How my mind works? Slip between the cool sheets on this hot summer day, and let’s talk a little about my latest release Sex University: All-Girls Academy, which is a f/f contemporary erotic.

For those unfamiliar with the term, f/f translates into lesbian.

And immediately when one starts to write f/f fiction, many ponder the question on the writer’s sexuality and life choices. Those who have read me before must realize that I believe in equal-opportunity love. It’s not about the gender, it’s about the individual or individuals.

Now, with that out of the way … let’s move on to another topic that often comes up with writing, and that’s inspiration. With Sex University: All-Girls Academy, it began with a few characters whispering sweet nothings to me late at night. It all began with my first full-length novel in the Sex University “Universe,” Physical Education.

Strong female characters draw me. My mother always stressed not to be a “victim,” and to take control of one’s life. The character of Officer Margaret was seen briefly in Physical Education, but readers really get to know her story here. We slide into that uniform with her, so to speak. And, she shucks it off and transforms from “Marge” into “Maggie.”

Next there’s Ms. Lucy, headmistress of the schools. She’s another returning character – and her story’s not quite finished yet – but we primarily delve into the life of her niece, Savannah. Like her Aunt, Savannah wants to escape from her ultra-conservative home life, and experience something new, which brings her to the All-Girls Academy.

Also populating the Academy is a number of other strong-willed women. A favorite will be the Italian art teacher Antoinella who instructs on, among other things, the art of body painting.

Is it getting hot in here or is it just me? Anyway, thanks to the lovely Cathy for hosting me today. I’m very much looking forward to her upcoming release, too.

Now, if you don’t mind, I think it’s naptime …

Sex University: All-Girls Academy

Raised by an over-controlling and manipulative father, Savannah “Van” Morgan flees the East Coast for the West, seeking sanctuary with her Aunt Lucy, headmistress of San Francisco Sex University. Rather than staying at the main campus, Van enrolls in SFSU’s more nurturing “sister” school, the All-Girls Academy.

After visiting the main campus of SFSU, Margaret “Maggie” O’Neil hangs up her police badge in search of new experiences and hoping to awaken her own dormant sexuality.

With subject matters such as an “Art Sex-education” class with an Italian visiting professor who’s more than happy to schedule private tutoring after-hours, the All-Girls Academy invites all sorts of sexual exploration. In the end, Van and Maggie will either fall victim to the pressures of society, or come together to save each other.


Louisa Bacio enjoys soaking up the sun in Southern California, and spending time with her family.

To see how the story started, check out Bacio’s erotic thriller Sex University: Physical Education. Her story “Two’s Company” can be found in I Kissed a Girl: A Virgin Lesbian Anthology. For those who love paranormal ménage, check out the hot “The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome.”

In addition to writing and editing, Bacio teaches college courses in English, journalism, film studies and popular culture.

Drop in for a visit:

Want to win a copy of Sex University: All-Girls Academy? Leave a comment … any comment will do! One random entry will be selected to win a .pdf copy.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Family Vacation By the Numbers

My husband decided we needed to take a family vacation. Not one that focused on visiting one set of relatives or another, but a REAL just-the-four-of-us vacation. Of course we all jumped on the idea like fleas on a dog. Originally, we decided to go to Southern California for a week then drive to Arizona and New Mexico where Husband has a few relatives he hadn't seen in forever. No, we weren't going there *just* to visit them. We had plans to see the Grand Canyon and other wonders of the Southwest.

Then we realized we'd be four Alaskans traveling through the desert. In June. Yeah, not a good idea. The wildfires kicked up about then and we put the kibosh on that direction.

Option Number Two: Stay in SoCal for a while then travel up the coast to Monterey.

Ahhhh. Much better. And cooler. So that's what we did. Oh, and we did take a side trip to visit his family in eastern Washington for five days. When you live in Alaska, you look at the idea of "while you're in the area" a little differently :)
Rather than give you a long travelogue of our adventure, here's a down and dirty look at the trip.

Days Gone: 21
Air Miles Traveled: 4,000+
Airplanes Traveled in: 6
Rental Car Miles: 1,300
Foot Miles: Too many to count
Blisters: 4
Attractions/Museums/Parks: 15
(including: SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari, gobs of museums at Balboa Park--loved that place!--Universal Studios, Disneyland, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium)
(now you understand the Foot Miles and Blisters :P )
Hotels: 7
Pools Used By Kids: 1 (I still don't understand how that happened)
Beaches: 1 (ditto)
Tubes of Sunscreen: 1
Pairs of Sandals Broken: 1
Lost Sunglasses: 1
Souvenir Hats Purchased: 3
Souvenir Hats Lost: 1
Souvenir T-Shirts Purchased: 14
Friends Visited: 5
Agents Met: 1
Happy Tourists: 4

We returned relaxed and tanned (except for DD#2 who is so very fair-skinned) but happy to see home again.

Not only did this vacation give us the opportunity to get out of our small town, but I think it brought us together as a family. There were never any moments where I wanted to leave my kids or husband along Highway 1, and I hope they were good with keeping me in the car as well. We enjoyed ourselves and each other immensely. Which is the point of a family vacation, isn't it?

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Time to Go Home

We've been on vacation since June 13 so it's about that time, folks. Time to go home. It's been amazing, seeing all kinds of things, enjoying each other's company (no really!) and spending the last week hanging out with family in a super relaxed sitution.

But tomorrow we head back, and while we've had fun, we'll also be happy to see our own home, our own beds and our critters. Plus, there is work to be done, blog tours to prep (Rulebreaker comes out Aug. 8 and I've got things to do!) and the rest of the summer to survive.

I'll post some stats and some pics from our SoCal tour in the next few days.

See you back in the Semi-Frozen North!

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