The Magic City

The Magic City

Friday, September 24, 2010

Revist the Void in ReVamped

I cannot express my gratitude to author J.F. Lewis for agreeing to be the first interview for the ImagiCon blog.  The mass market paperback release of his second book, ReVamped, is scheduled for September 28.  Author, Author! is offering an advanced taste of ImagiCon 2011 by offering 20% off ReVamped.  The mass market paperback includes a teaser chapter from the third book in the Void City series, Crossed.

J.F. Lewis lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his patient wife, two adorable sons, an ornery Akita, and a very hyper Labrador-mix puppy.  He decided that he wanted to be a writer when a supposed creative writing teacher questioned his sanity and suggested therapy.  An avid reader, J also enjoys sushi, popcorn, lukewarm sodas, and old black and white movies. His two favorite activities are singing lullabies to his kids at bedtime and typing into the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, like the protagonist of his Void City novels, the author takes very little sleep.

In Staked, we travel to Void City to meet Eric, a vampire with a short term memory problem and a volatile temper.  Who is Eric, and what furry problems come his way?

I tend to think of Eric as kind of a vampire John McClane gone terribly wrong.  He didn’t want to be a vampire, but now that he’s spent forty years as one, he’s not the kind of guy who would whine about it.  He tries to keep to his own little area of Void City, but that doesn’t ever seem to work out for him.  In the first book, he runs afoul of some evangelical werewolves from the Lycan Diocese.  They think he’s killed the son of the local Alpha.  Eric honestly isn’t sure whether he has or not, but it certainly seems like something he might have done, so he’s not trying to protest his possible innocence too loudly.   That’s a big part of the mystery in Staked.  Is Eric being set up?  And if so, by whom?
In ReVamped, life for the undead gets even more complicated.  What trouble finds Eric?

Heh.  In ReVamped I got to write an evil undead flesh-eating classic American pony car.  What more is there to say?  The second book pits Eric up against two things he really hates:  Demons and High Society Vampires.  Eric is strictly a working man’s vampire, so the more… elite… vampires really piss him off.  But he winds up having to try to work with them (some of them anyway) in order to get back a soul the demons have stolen.  It’s the soul of someone very close to Eric but I can’t really say much more without spoiling the ending for Staked.

Crossed, which is coming out in January, takes Eric from Void City to Paris. Can you give us a hint at what adventures and disasters await?

Wedding bells and a honeymoon gone wrong.  By book three, Eric has a good idea what is really going on with his wonky powers.  He is also finally figuring out how he became a vampire in the first place and what his family curse entails.  I went a little crazy with the third book and used Greta’s point of view for part of the novel.  She’s way more terrifying than Eric.

What is your writing process?  Do you outline, or are you a pantser?

I start with a character and a situation then go from there.  So… pantser.  Sometimes I have scenes in mind that I want to get to, and I might have an idea of how I want a story arc to end or issues I want to explore, but for me, writing is pretty much a case of everything flowing from that first scene.  Then I have to go back through everything and make sure there is a coherent plot, even if it takes an extra draft or two to get it just right. 

What is the worst writing advice you've received?

One of my college creative writing instructors told me to stop wasting my time on genre fiction, because, according to him, it’s a “masturbatory effort”.   His comments made me mad enough to write a novel, though…

Many thanks again to J.F. Lewis for agreeing to be the guinea pig for this first interview.  Please visit his website. You can also follow him on Facebook and/or on his blog.

Be sure to mark your calendar for ImagiCon 2011 where you can see J.F. Lewis and many other fantastic authors who we will be featuring on this blog in upcoming weeks.

Don't forget to check out Author, Author! for its special offer of  20% off ReVamped.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Contests: Testing the Waters

October 11 is the deadline to enter the Linda Howard Award of Excellence.  Last year, I entered. It was my first contest, and it was a fantastic experience.  The entry fee was reasonable, and I received constructive, but supportive feedback.  Not only did I receive great critiques, but also I earned an opportunity to have my manuscript reviewed by an editor for one of my dream publishers.  I cannot encourage people enough to participate in this contest.

As a result of the positive experience I had with the Linda Howard Award of Excellence, I started looking at other contests.  But there are so many. How do I know which ones to enter? I'm tight with a dollar, and it is difficult to know which of the dozens and dozens contests are right for me.  This could easily turn expensive.   My primary criteria have been the final round judges and cost.  If the judge is an agent or editor who I would love to place eyeballs on my writing, I am much more likely to enter the contest.  However, I'm not willing to pay $75 for the chance.  Call me cheap. I won't deny it.

I would love to hear everyone's contest opinions, pro and con, as well as recommendations of contests where they've have positive experiences.

Oh, and if I forgot to mention it, the deadline to enter the Linda Howard Award of Excellence ( is October 11.  Why are you reading this blog?  Shouldn't you be getting your entry ready?  Go on now . . . get to entering!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Linda Howard Award of Excellence - Enter Now!

Linda Howard Award of Excellence

Southern Magic’s 2011 Linda Howard Award of Excellence for unpublished writers

No synopsis needed for first round judging.
Discounts for entering early and/or for judging other categories.
Early bird deadline October 1, 2010
Entry deadline October 11, 2010
Finalists can revised their entry before going to final judge.

We are now taking entries!

For rules and entry form, check it out at


Series/Short & Long Contemporary - Susan Litman, Editor, Harlequin

Single Title - Latoya Smith, Editor, Grand Central Publishers

Romantic Suspense - Kate Collins, Senior Editor, Ballantine

Historical - Margo Lipschultz, Associate Editor

Unique Genres (Paranormal, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel) - Melissa Frain, Editor, Tor

Young Adult - Alicia Condon, Editorial Director, Kensington

The Write Magic - For Southern Magic members only - Sara Megibow, Associate Agent, Nelson Literary Agency

Be sure to tell everyone about it. Go the website (link above) and check out the details.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Promise of a Long Weekend

Labor Day weekend, hello old friend.

I love the freedom of looking ahead three days and not seeing any appointments, depositions, or office hours. I've been on the road and in depositions a lot lately. A LOT.  Too much, in all candor.  I am relishing the idea of staying put in one place for more than a day.

Then the guilt hits.  Yep.  I feel it starting to nag me.  Right now it is whispering.  Somewhere around halftime of the Alabama game tomorrow, it will be yelling.  "Why aren't you making the most of this time?" "Do you really need to be on the internet?  Facebook will be there tomorrow." "Hasn't it been a while since you mopped?'  Buzz off guilt, it's my long weekend.

The promise of this long block of time is amazing.  I can finally get the things done that are on my "to do" list, and have been there since likely March.  Fall starts on Tuesday, as far as I am concerned.  That is the busiest time of year for my practice.  If I want to get any writing done, this is my last shot until November (NaNoWriMo you will not beat me this year!).

So here I go . . .  Scrivener is open . . . Hands are on the keyboard . . . Butt is in the chair . . . Time to write.