About Me

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Born and raised in Southern Indiana, this Hoosier transplanted herself to the Windy City after graduate school. Her passion is teaching, with writing come a close second and gaining momentum. She currently teaches College of DuPage as an adjunct professor in the physical education department and runs a martial arts studio in Naperville, IL. She holds the rank of 3rd Dan in the United States Hapkido Federation.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A convo with Author Amy Kessler - Second entry of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog Series

Question for week 2:
In your upcoming works in progress or new releases, what did you find most challenging to write, or what gave you the most enjoyment accomplishing, aside from finishing the writing?

By Amy Kessler

I wrote the original draft of "Midnight Symphony" when I was close to nine months pregnant, so the most challenging part was writing the sex scene. It’s hard to muster up the feeling of sexy when you aren’t feeling sexy yourself. "Midnight Symphony" was originally a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, so I asked the people that I NaNo with, how do I get these guys in bed together? Someone suggested, get them drunk it works in real life. So that’s what I did. Cora has some whiskey and seduces Darius and it worked out. When I originally wrote the scene I thought I would have to change it completely, not just clean it up. 

The most enjoyment from my accomplishment with "Midnight Symphony" has to be the feedback that I’ve gotten from my beta readers. Despite some of the things that needed to be fixed and polished they all loved the story. Oh and the cover! I get a sense of joy when I look at it. My talented friend Jamie Wilson did the cover; she listened to me and did an amazing job on it. There is this sense of oh my God, I’m actually doing this. This is actually happening.

For "In the Light of the Moon," the hardest part of writing was finding a coherent way for Kassity’s thought to be separate from her beast and the make sure that the supernatural creatures are set in the world in a somewhat believable way. Since Kassity has no control over her panther, the two think in different ways and don’t always agree on the choices the other makes. This plays out through the whole book, but I didn’t want to confuse the readers. With the other challenge I had, any time you write something set in the real world when it comes to supernatural creatures, you want to make it as believable as you can. (Suspending the reader’s disbelief.) In order to do that you have to make sure that other details ground the reader, I found it tough to do that in certain spots with a character who is constantly fighting against her supernatural side.

My greatest enjoyment when I finished the first draft of "In the Light of the Moon" was getting sucked into the story when I went back to read it after the ‘sit in drawer period.’ (The time I let a story stew before I come back to it. So that I’m not too close to it when I try and do first edits.) The characters have amazing chemistry and I’ve already gotten good feed back from one beta. Knowing that at least one person enjoyed the book gives me that feeling of accomplishment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A convo with Author Johanna Rae - First entry of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog Series

Question for week 1: 
Who is the character I am most looking forward 
to my readers meeting?

By Johanna Rae

My current work in progress is book two of a shapeshifter series called Therian Secrets. There are a few new characters set to emerge, some of which tickled me as I wrote their introductions and allowed them to integrate among the existing characters. However, I believe it is the existing characters I am most looking forward to sharing with my readers.

In book one, “The Mercenary,” the story centered on Jodie Fletcher and Danny Archer, as I the author thrust her into the world of shifters he belonged to. Their romance was an underlying theme as she struggled to comprehend this new life she had stumbled upon. The connection between the two was what carried the story and brought all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. I tossed them amongst a colourful repertoire of other characters from all over the globe and left them to fend for themselves.

Okay, perhaps that is a touch on the dramatic side. Yes I gave them many challenges but I also granted them opportunity to overcome a great deal of them. This was made possible by a large cast of supporting characters and my readers already have their favorites. Beyond Jodie and Danny the names I hear most often are Eddie and Rufus. Luke, Mark, Adam and Leon also have their loyal supporters.

In this second book, “The Fury,” I have spent a little more time allowing the reader to get familiar with some of the other characters, allowing them much more time in the spotlight. Rufus and Luke both have voices in book two. I look forward to sharing more of Luke’s journey and hope it will help the reader to bond further with him. He had a rocky start in the first book and made some terrible choices, his past catching up with him in a big way.  It is uncertain how things will fare for him in The Fury, as the reader has been left wondering if he has bitten off more than he can chew. Will he overcome what fate has put before him? Regardless of the outcome, the reader will get to know him better, this time without the alcohol that has previously clouded his judgment.

Rufus, a strong favourite from “The Mercenary,” is an integral part of the story now and will continue to be so in book three. In “The Fury,” (set to be released in a few months’ time) readers will learn more about his past and the family dynamic he has beyond the Unit. There are moments in this book where Rufus has the opportunity to shine and I can’t wait for the readers to share this with him. While all the characters in this series carry a piece of my heart, I have a soft spot for my gentle giant. A warrior by profession and a man of honor, he has never forgotten his roots. Rufus will have his own demons to face as he must find a way to balance duty, obligation and destiny.

Eddie does not have a voice in “The Fury.” Being Danny’s best friend and dating Jodie’s friend Ainsley, he will still feature a lot. His sense of humor and charm often hold things together amidst the chaos. The combination of his royal ancestry and ‘human’ girlfriend will complicate things for Eddie. Will this be too much for him to juggle in addition to what is required from him as an ISIC agent?

Another character which I’ve enjoyed exploring more in “The Fury” is Jodie’s grandmother Irene Fletcher. Though she seemed reluctant to be a part of what Jodie was going through in The Mercenary, readers will learn a lot more about her in this second book. To me at least, she is one of those characters who grow on you slowly. An acquired taste so to speak. There is reason and explanation for her hesitation and reluctance. There will be answers to some things left hanging.

In conclusion, I have to say no. There is no ‘one’ new character I am looking forward to the readers meeting in my current work in progress. What I am looking forward to is the opportunity to allow the reader to get to know my existing characters better. I can only hope that they enjoy “The Fury” as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

To read more about Johanna or to ask her a question, buy her book or just read up on the craziness of her world, check out her Facebook page: