Bad Blood: A VamPR Nightmare Pisces Paranormal PR Agency, Book 1 by Bee Murray & Niobe Marsh Genre: Urban Fantasy
Vampires are real. But whether you’re a fang-head or a groupie, there’s trouble brewing in the streets of Seattle.
Public meltdowns, drug overdoses, rehab missteps, mistresses coming out of the woodwork? There’s nothing a spoiled starlet or a washed up rocker could throw at the renowned Pisces PR Agency that can’t be turned into promotional gold.
But when Tuesday Matson stepped out of her SUV on that sanguine summer evening, she didn’t expect to walk smack into the biggest PR nightmare of her career. And to make matters worse? The high-powered star at the center of it all is her ex… and they’ve got bad blood.
Five years ago, Vinnie Quake messed up. Big time. But that was nothing compared to this. He’s desperate for help, and if that means hiring his ex? So be it.
There are some secrets that can be swept under the rug, but in a city brimming with anti-vampire sentiment, how do you turn a massacre into a coming out party? There’s more to this PR emergency than Tuesday ever expected, and if she’s not careful she’ll be the next headline—and for all the wrong reasons.
Bad Blood is a paranormal urban fantasy thriller that is perfect for lovers of True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and things that go bump in the night.
One-Click now to meet the hottest rock star in town with a very public secret that he’ll do anything to protect...
“My team ordered a physical for my world tour. At the time, I didn’t know they would be doing blood work... Long story short, I tested positive for the Vampiric Infectious Disease. No one knows this, but there are regulations in place to prevent the doctors who discovered it from going public… But I don't expect any of this to remain a secret for very long. Before tonight, only my assistant knew the truth.”
Vinnie sighed heavily. “She helped me more than I deserved. She procured blood sources for me to feed on.” His next pause was longer, and it felt heavier, too. “Everything was fine, but I experienced a severe lapse in control today and… My household staff bore the brunt of it.”
His tone was completely blank as he gestured to the people sitting around the room. No one moved, it was almost as though the act of explaining what had happened— that my ex-fiance was a vampire who had eaten his household staff as a pre-dinner snack was something as easily explained as a ‘loss of control’. Which, as a vampire, it could very well be. A headache burned behind my eyes as I tried to make sense of the entire situation. I pressed my palms against my face and took a few deep breaths. That was supposed to be calming, right? 1. If what they said is true, I have been contracted to spin a mass murder into something… less murdery. 2. The murderer is a vampire and living a double life as possibly the most well-known music star in the world. Whatever I spin has to stand the test of many, many press outlets. 3. The vampire in question is the ex who ruined my life four years ago and just admitted to eating his assistant and his household staff without a bit of remorse.
The tension in the room was overwhelming. I could feel the stares of every single person at the table burning into me. They were waiting for me to say something.
I could walk. Carlyn would understand.
But if there was anything I hated more than Vinnie, it was the idea of giving up. To give up would be to let him win.
He could never, ever, win.
Decision made, I looked up and smiled as my gaze tracked over the worried faces around the table.
Without me, they were fucked. We all knew it. I was a professional, and this was not my first uncomfortable case, it definitely wouldn’t be my last. It was more than clear that the time to turn my emotions off and focus on the issue at hand was well overdue. “According to Pisces PR contracts, concealing felonies comes with a surcharge. Given the number of people that Mr. Quake has... eaten and killed in cold blood this evening, that surcharge will be substantial, as will the extra fees for me having to deal with his pathetic, sorry ass.” Vinnie smirked at me and everything in me wished I had a spray bottle of Holy Water to spritz on him like a misbehaving demonic cat. With vampiric infections on the rise, local drug stores have started selling really cute pressurized Holy Water canisters—Vampire mace—but I had never seen the need to carry one. I would be changing that as soon as humanly possible. I was pretty sure that a boutique near my apartment sold a range with Swarovski crystal embellishments... Vinnie’s manager smiled in a way that felt far too familiar for the situation.I’d always hated him.“We both know Mr. Quake’s profile is high enough that money is no object. Thank you for agreeing to help. We anxiously await your plan” I bristled at Baldwin’s simpering tone as he pushed a blank check across the conference table toward me. It was already made out to Pisces PR. I was nothing more than a service provider to these people—a way to solve a problem that their crazy client had created.
It’s good that they’d come to us. Pisces PR Agency is the only game in town that has the capability to deal with something like this. But that doesn’t mean they get off easy. Oh, no. They were going to pay. Bigtime. I stared at the check in front of me for a full minute before placing my fingers on it.
Against my better judgment, I pulled out my notebook and tucked the check inside.
It was time to get to work.
Bee Murray is the pen name chosen by a quirky writer based out of the Pacific Northwest. An International & USA Today Bestselling Author, Bee dreams of everything from grand adventures with complex characters to pun-filled romantic comedy, weird paranormal situations, extra steamy romance, and anything else her heart comes up with. Don't expect any love triangles here, Ms. Murray is a big fan of ethical non-monogamy and it comes out in her menage romance and reverse harem stories!
Niobe Marsh is a USA Today Bestselling penname of a prolific author (and anthology addict) of many genres of romance. Here you will find monsters, ghosts, paranormal lovers, dark heroes, and adventurous heroines in search of their happily ever after--whatever that means.
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
NIOBE: My name is Niobe Marsh and (just like many authors) I’ve always wanted to write since I was very young. I made books for my parents, friends, anyone who would take them. In 2012, I started a horror movie review site with a dear friend and gathered a group of amazing women to write about the horror genre. NaNoWriMo 2015 gave me my first novel and the willingness to give writing a try for real. I formed my publishing company in 2017 and published while still working two day jobs. I’ve only just become a full-time author, and I couldn’t be more happy, terrified, and thrilled all at the same time.
BEE: Helloooooo! My name is Bee Murray. I also grew up with this innate desire to tell stories. We moved a lot growing up and my boxes of books just kept getting bigger and bigger! They were my constant in a sea of change. Back then, I preferred to escape the world into these beautiful, imaginative worlds of my favorite authors for hours at a time. And, if we’re being super honest, I still love to do that — I just rarely have the time! When I wasn’t reading, I was filling up notebooks full of stories and musings and ridiculously complex characters.
Fast forward to now, I’ve been in the indie publishing world since 2013. I write under several pen names and across genres. As of 2021, I own my publishing company. Together, with Niobe, we are plotting and scheming to take over the world one book at a time! While I would love to be a full-time author, I currently still work a day job in the nonprofit sector.
Where were you born/grew up at?
NIOBE: I was born in Vancouver, Canada and grew up on a farm on Vancouver Island. I’ve lived all over the place, and in 2015 I convinced my husband that we should move overseas. We’re now happily settled in the South Island of New Zealand in a little cottage in the woods. The wifi’s good and no neighbours are the best neighbors.
BEE: I was born on the West Coast of the USA. I grew up all over the place and have traveled extensively. I currently live in the rainy Pacific Northwest with my partner, kid, and cat!
How to find time to write as a parent? BEE: *dies laughing* Time? What is this time you speak of? It’s hard, I’ll be the first one to admit that. It’s easier now that my kid is a little older and more self-contained but between the day job, pandemic homeschooling, and just life logistics with my family — time is at a premium. As a writer with ADHD, that means time management is also a constant struggle. I sacrifice sleep for my words. I write after my kid goes to bed or sometimes during breaks at work. It’s a balance. I’ve had to learn not to be so hard on myself, especially after the Year That Was Nuts, aka 2020.
Do you have a favorite movie?
NIOBE: SO many. I’m a movie junkie. I’m addicted to fantasy, historical drama, and SciFi. My favorites (aka the ones I watch all the time) are Stargate, The Fifth Element, The Mummy (1999 obviously), Troy (it’s so bad, but I can’t stop), 300, Elizabeth, and Lord of the Rings (all of them).
I don’t know if I could ever pick just ONE movie to name my favorite.
BEE: MOVIES! I love going to the movies, and I miss it desperately. I actually love going to the movies alone in the middle of the day. Just sitting by yourself in the dark with a giant popcorn that you don’t have to share. That is *chef’s kiss*.
As far as favorites? I’m not sure I actually have a drop down, knockout winner for a favorite. I tend to be eclectic in tastes, and musicals are always a fave. Mulan and Hercules are frequent fliers over here. My kid is obsessed with The Rock’s remake of Jumanji so we watch that a lot. I watch a lot of things with subtitles and documentaries. I will say I used to have an unhealthy obsession with American Outlaw because of Colin Farrell. It’s my not-so-secret shame. :-D
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
NIOBE: I’ve never actually held a paperback copy of one of my books in my hands, but I imagine that’s the moment it’ll feel really real. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like a REAL writer. Sure, I write and publish things, but imposter syndrome is a beast, yo, and I struggle with it regularly. Being able to provide for my family and put my cats through college is the goal, and I treat writing like a job. One day it’ll feel real. I’m sure of it.
BEE: That’s such an interesting question. I think I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a writer. I am a person who writes things and often gets paid for it. For me, thinking of myself as a writer is easy. Identifying myself as an author is harder. Maybe it’s the imposter syndrome, like what Niobe was talking about or something else, I’m not sure. The first time I got a fan letter from a stranger was a tremendous moment for me. It was kind of social proof that someone outside my immediate circle had read something I wrote and liked it enough to come find me and tell me. That was a magical moment, and I felt like an author that day. Readers: if you ever love something from an author and want to gush about it but feel awkward reaching out? Do it anyway. It’s like feeding joy directly to your favorite author. We love that.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
NIOBE: I have an urban fantasy series written under a different pen name (Meredith Medina) that I always imagined could make a good TV series. Witches in New York, witch hunters, brooding punk vampires, ancient goddesses. It’s got CW written all over it. Bad wigs and all.
BEE: *glances at steamy romance backlist* Uh. Well. Laughs. I think my MMF menage romance could make a really steamy, fun movie. I could see that on HBO or something. Otherwise, Pisces Paranormal PR Agency! You’ll see it when you read Bad Blood. There’s a certain cinematic element that we put into this that I would LOVE to see on the big screen.
What inspired you to write this book?
NIOBE: Bee and I had talked about collaborating on something, and when she showed me the short she’d done that would eventually become Bad Blood, I HAD to be part of it. The characters were fun, infuriating, and challenging all at the same time, and I’d been itching to get back into writing Urban Fantasy with a bit of a twist. And Bee was the twist!
BEE: So, this story originated out of an anthology short piece I wrote in early 2020. I wanted to write something that differed from your normal vampire UF storyline, and I wanted the characters to be complicated. When I was talking with Niobe about co-writing something, this short story came up and it just kind of snowballed from there into this magical, dark, twisty world. We did originally intend this to be a rom-com though and then we realized that we both are super into writing crazy scenes with violence and snark so that was a fun twist! This is not a cozy rom-com. LOL
What can we expect from you in the future?
NIOBE: There will be two more books in the Pisces PR world, and Bee and I have several collaborations planned for the coming year (+ years). For my solo work, I have a historical fantasy dragon shifter series that’s clamoring to get out, and a Sci-Fi Romance trilogy scheduled for the summer. Watch for “Celestial Cruise Lines” in July!
BEE: Both Niobe and I have a ridiculous publishing calendar this year. Like she said, we have our collaboration on Pisces PR Agency and that world and then a few other things that we are prepping. I have my Matestone Guardians world of fated mates, reverse harem romance, strong heroines in their 30s, and unusual shifters that will get several new books this year. I also have a dark and twisty wolf shifter trilogy planned in the Fall.
Where did you come up with the names in the story? BEE: I wish I could tell you I have this really complex, literary naming process. I don’t. I chose Tuesday’s name because I wanted it to stand out and had it in my head it had to be a day of the week. Sunday didn’t work. Wednesday was too Addams Family. I landed on Tuesday! :) For Vinnie, I kind of imagined this dude-bro type of individual who is hella obnoxious and thinks he’s hot stuff but also talented musically. I landed on Vinnie. Niobe helped give him a proper name “Vincent Quaker” so his stage name of “Vinnie Quake” worked better.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
NIOBE: Everything about writing this book was an utter joy. From brainstorming to writing, it’s always a challenge to work with someone else—especially after being a lone wolf for SO long. But this was the easiest thing in the world. Bee and I have a very similar writing style, and similarly bent minds, and the story and the world of Pisces came together really easily. But the collaboration was actually the most fun. I was always eager to see what changes had been made and what had been added to the story. More often than not, we were on the same page before it was even written.
BEE: This book was so much fun to write with Niobe. She’s the best. We work so well together and we could just let this book flow together beautifully. Co-writing can be difficult, but this wasn’t at all and I honestly cannot wait to see how the series develops. My favorite parts were the middle of the night brainstorming FB messages and realizing that we are both so dark and twisty when it comes to concept. We have some dramatic time zone differences between West Coast USA and New Zealand, so it was so fun to wake up and see what changed in the story. Sometimes it felt like we shared a brain! All good things! <3
How did you come up with the name of this book? NIOBE: We wanted something vampire related that also gave some hint to the story we were bringing to readers. Vinnie is a vampire, Tuesday is his ex. They’ve got bad blood between them… I don’t think there could have been a better title for the genesis of their story.
BEE: Yes, that. :-D
What is your favorite part of this book, and why?
NIOBE: It’s a tie between Vinnie and Tuesday’s arguments (so many arguments) and the car chases. I love car chases. I love watching them. I love writing them. I love reading them. Action and fight scenes are always the most fun. Maybe the scene in the garage with Vinnie’s cars… I can’t pick just one!
BEE: I love Tuesday so much. She’s my favorite character, and we put her through the ringer. There’s a part in this book where she has to come to terms with this shared history she has with Vinnie, and she goes and confronts the problem head on and DEMANDS what she wants. And I love that. I also love how Vinnie develops. Both main characters are deeply flawed and they show that.
If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
NIOBE: Frankie, for sure. I feel like we’d cruise around the city in his surveillance car, do some reconnaissance for a case, and then get hot dogs and talk about baseball. Or, he’d talk about baseball and I’d just eat my hot dog. He’s a trip and I totally want to hang out with him.
BEE: Oh yeah, the whole Pisces PR Security Team is awesome and they would get up to so many shenanigans. I think I’d want to hang with Adrienne too. You don’t get to know her very well in this book, but she clearly is Tuesday’s ride or die. I’d go get brunch with her and get all the dirt and then maybe go hit up an escape room or go hang out in a dive bar with the Security Squad and watch Olivia kick Frankie’s ass at pool.
Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
NIOBE: I think every author works out their frustrations or relationships on paper in some form or another. From my perspective, Tuesday has a bit of my snark, Vinnie has a bit of one or two of my exes, Frankie is the guy I always wished I had for a brother… that kind of thing. Obviously some characters are imaginary, but as they grow, I’m sure they’ll take on more aspects of other actual people we know. I’m interested to see where Baldwin ends up. He’s still a bit of a mystery to me.
BEE: I rarely base my characters entirely off actual people, but I’d be lying if there weren’t some character traits that don’t get interjected here and there. Frankie is based on an actual friend of mine who basically defines “Good people but will cut you if you hurt his friends” and that was super fun to see how that developed. Baldwin has some mannerisms that remind me a little of someone I used to work with who was super smarmy. One of our beta readers compared Tuesday to a paranormal version of Olivia Pope from Scandal, and I can kinda see that.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel you have the reigns of the story?
NIOBE: I think characters definitely take the story their own way. You can have the best laid out plan for where things are going to go, and they’ll go rogue at the most unexpected moments. I like it when they take over and make their own decisions. I’m only in control of things 80% of the time… the rest, I leave up to them. I think my role is to make sure that I can guide the characters back to the narrative after they’ve had their fun. The challenge for me is to make their goals line up with mine.
BEE: It depends on where I’m at in the writing process. Some characters speak gently to my muse and I have to draw them out and really explore who they are. Others straight up scream it at you. Bad Blood was a mix of both. Tuesday and Vinnie didn’t change all that much from the outline. The surrounding events did and their attitudes were more defined, but the core of Tuesday and Vinnie stayed within the lines. Baldwin really changed his story arc in this though, and Adrienne demanded a bigger part and we added a few sidebar characters as well. Do I have the reigns? Eh. Most days. I am a pantser. I am sloooowly learning the value of outlining everything, so I enjoy the tangents when characters go rogue. It’s fun to write.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be? NIOBE: Jasmine and Blood Orange — sweet and dangerous, with a bit of sharpness underneath
What did you edit out of this book? NIOBE: Present tense. LOL. BEE: LOL. Tenses are hard. Mostly for me. LOL.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
NIOBE: I read a LOT of historical novels. Not even sorry, I’m a super history nerd.
Memoirs of a Geisha — Arthur Golden
Pillars of the Earth — Wilbur Smith
River God — Wilbur Smith
Aztec — Gary Jennings
Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin
The Twelfth Transforming - Pauline Gedge
House of Dreams - Pauline Gedge
The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice
BEE: Oh my word, this feels like a trick question. I have to pick favorites? Ugh. I read everything from literary fiction to reverse harem romance to memoirs to historical to paranormal to the classics… I CANNOT CHOOSE!
Here’s some that I will read again and again
ANYTHING Auryn Hadley writes ever. But particularly the Gamer Girls Series
Bewitched & Bewildered Series — Alanea Alder
Dresden Files — Jim Butcher
I Am Livia — Phyllis T. Smith
Demigods of San Francisco Series — K.F. Breene
By A Thread — Lucy Score
The Song of Achilles — Madeline Miller
Sookie Stackhouse Novels — Charlaine Harris
Troubleshooters Series — Suzanne Brockmann
Hell’s Redemption Saga — Grace McGinty
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
NIOBE: For my writing, I usually know who the character is. Sometimes they’re fully formed in my head because I’ve met someone just like them, or they’re just more brash about it. But more often than not, the character grows as I write them. The first chapters I’m getting into their headspace and trying to decide how they would react to the surrounding situations, and by the fourth or fifth chapter, they’ve taken over and are running on their own. It’s such a strange process, and all writers sound utterly insane when they talk about this stuff.
BEE: I often get a glimpse of one or two characters to start. I have a few exercises I go through to kind of flesh them out a little more, but I rarely start to write on a book and have every single character worked out. They come to me as they are: sometimes they have their shit together and other times they are a complete and total mess. I’m there to help them fit into the overall story. When I’ve had to kill a beloved character or if I know something bad is going to happen to one of them, it feels personal sometimes. I try to use a lot of care in bringing them through things.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
NIOBE: For historical writing (which I do a LOT of) most of my research happens during the writing process. I have a history degree, and I write in the eras that interest me the most (or that I’ve been obsessed with since I was a child) so I write a lot from memory, but when there are specifics that need to be put on paper I research — forty minutes spent looking for articles on how medieval people made soap? Sure. Done that.
For Urban Fantasy, I always spend the most time looking at the city I’ve set the action in. Subway maps, street maps, buildings on google street view. I want the reader to see what I see in my head, and I want the people who actually live in that city not to hate me or my book because I got a subway stop wrong.
BEE: I write across genres so some things require more research than others. I am naturally curious and I want to know how everything works. I don’t want my characters to be constrained by what knowledge I already have, if that makes sense? I’ll give you an example. I have a character in an upcoming book who is a mechanic by trade. I am… the least mechanical person you will ever meet. My idea of fixing a car is to pick up my phone and call someone to come fix it. I’ve spent a lot of time watching Youtube videos about car repair and researching types of engines and brands and such so that I can write this guy with authenticity. I don’t need all the technical stuff to make it work in a paranormal romance novel, but I want his character to stand on his own and for his job to be accurate. So. Long answer to this question. I do a lot of research about minutiae and I love it. :)
Do you see writing as a career? NIOBE: Absolutely. BEE: 1000%. This is what I want to do with myself, and I am working hard to make it happen! :)
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre? NIOBE: Historical Romance and historical fiction. My interests are in the ancient world mostly, so that’s what I read. What I watch is different, but what I read hasn’t really changed since I was a kid.
BEE: I read as much as I can in all my non-existent spare time. I average about 100 books a year. I love getting to read ARCs from some of my favorite author friends. There’s something really special about reading for someone you know. As far as genre: I read a bit of everything. I am attracted to tropes often more than genre. Enemies-to-lovers is probably my all-time favorite trope. I read nonfiction and fiction. I love paranormal/urban fantasy (with or without romance) when I want to escape. I adore a good romcom with all those meet-cute moments. My romance heat levels lean towards steamy-scorching hot, and I love a variety of groupings. MMF romance is one of my favorites in the world of steamy. Mythology and underworld stuff makes me so happy. I rarely read horror, but I expanded my horizons last year and actually wrote a properly scary story for an anthology. :)
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? NIOBE:My husband is a… noisy guy. So I get up early to write in silence before he wakes up, and then the rest of the time it’s noise and music and everything else. I can write through movies, conversations while contributing to them, music, whatever. I prefer ambient noise/classical or lofi soundtracks as background noise, but I’m not precious about it.
BEE: There is no such thing as silence in my house unless I want to only write at 2am, but then the cat just meows at me like the needy little booger that he is. I have different writing playlists and usually write to music. Niobe actually introduced me to lofi last year, and that has been awesome. I have developed a few playlists based on what type of scene (sexy, action, sad, etc..) that I’m writing. My end-of-year Spotify report is always really weird.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? NIOBE: Several… ugh. I have three on the go right now for three different pennames and genres. BEE: I always have more than one going at a time because I write under multiple pen names, but I try to divide it out so that I spend certain days hyperfocusing at one at a time. Note that I said try, lol. This does not always happen.
Pen or typewriter or computer? NIOBE: Pen and paper for desperate late night ideas, or things I don’t have *real* time for. I used to write in notebooks on my lunch breaks when I had a full-time job, but I’m always scribbling notes. Computer feels more… permanent. If I’m putting it into a document, it must be written at some point. That’s my rule.
BEE: Notebooks for doodling out characters or if I get stuck, endless Google Docs for everything else! :)
A day in the life of the author?
NIOBE: Some loose amalgamation of the following:
Scrolling pre-made cover sites to break through writer’s block (I haven’t really perfected this yet, I usually just end up buying covers)
All the iced coffee
Admin work — promo posting, making graphics, creating release plans
Obsessively checking sales pages and reviews/rankings
BEE: I work my day job during the week (and sometimes weekends) so my days are rarely typical. For Saturday, my schedule runs:
Advice they would give new authors? NIOBE: Keep writing. Did you release a book? Awesome. Write the next one. And the next one. And the next one. Hone your craft. No matter how talented you might be, there is always something to learn, and some roadblock to jump over. Keep learning and be humble about it, ffs.
BEE: Find an affirmation that works for you and print that sucker out and stick it next to where you write. Mine is “No Dreams, Just Goals” and I have that where I can see it anytime I sit down at my desk. This inspires me because dreams feel out of reach, but goals have steps to achieve them. After you do that, write. Write whenever you can. I have some days where I can bang out 15k words in one amazing day… and then go three days writing nothing longer than a text message. Don’t hold yourself to impossible standards, just get the words on the paper and let yourself fall into the world you are building. Tell the story that won’t let go of you.
I would also advise new authors to be patient with themselves and their craft, invest in quality craft books when they can, join indie author groups that share information, read a TON in your chosen genre, and be wary of people who say they have it all figured out or can make you into something instantaneously. There are a lot of scams out there that look for baby authors (and established ones) and just remember, if it feels too good to be true — it probably is. Write, revise, write some more! You’ll get there. Also? Friend me on Facebook. :)
Describe your writing style.
NIOBE: I like to hope that it’s cinematic… I see the action of the book like a movie in my head, and I hope the reader does, too. That’s my goal.
BEE: Emotional? Maybe? I love writing feelings. Whether that be the angst in enemies-to-lovers or the sharp, witty dialogue of a rom com… I want to write so you can feel it. I aspire to write in a cinematic way but I don’t know that I always do.
What are they currently reading?
NIOBE: Research for my next historical fiction series — Gladius: Living, Fighting, and Dying in the Roman Army - Guy de la Bedoyere
BEE: Rise of the Iliri by Auryn Hadley
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
NIOBE: Blurb first, then outline. Getting the blurb out of the way BEFORE I write the book saves me a LOT of heartache. After the book is written, there is way too much in your head and too much information makes a blurb sound like a synopsis.
I’ll never tell anyone how to write or make a process, because every author is different. I’m a plantser— I plan, I plot, but I leave enough room in the outline that things can change. That way when a character goes into the weeds, it’s not as traumatic. I write in chapter order, otherwise I might actually die.
BEE: Niobe has converted me into a plantser. Kind of. I try to outline out, even if it’s just a few points, what the whole book looks like now. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Then I write the scene that is screaming loudest in my head. It is very, very rarely Chapter 1. I hate writing blurbs and probably should write those first but I don’t. LOL
What is your writing Kryptonite? NIOBE: I have a REAL problem not writing enemies to lovers. It’s just… it’s a thing. BEE: Enemies-to-Lovers and deconstructing tropes in unexpected ways. Two words: sealion shifters. :-D
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
NIOBE: Both? I think every author struggles with “writing to market” and I’m no exception. I try to tell the stories in my head while hitting the tropes that readers crave. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it super doesn’t.
BEE: I try to find a hybrid that works for my creativity. If I just sat down with a market report and was super analytical about everything as a way of choosing my next project, I’d probably quit. I can’t do that. But I can tie in what is popular in the market and what I like most of the time. My brand is “Romance with a side of mischief” so I’m all-in on being the quirky author BFF style of writer.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? NIOBE: Stop buying covers. Oh, wait… that’s advise I need to follow NOW. BEE: Stop agonizing over it and write the damn book! Also applicable today.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? NIOBE: It honestly depends on deadlines. And my interest in the topic/level of other distractions. I can reliably produce a novel every month… but sometimes the words just don’t work and I end up crying for most of it. BEE: I can usually do a novel in a month, but I prefer to drag it out a little if I can.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
NIOBE: I don’t know if it’s a block, but it’s real as hell. For me, if I can’t see the story playing out in my mind before I start writing, then I can’t write. I’ve had DAYS of nothing where I’m struggling to get the projector threaded to play the movie. Sometimes it plays right away, other days, it’s on fire and the building has to be evacuated.
BEE: I believe in ADHD? That’s my struggle. There are days where my creativity just shuts down and maybe that’s writer’s block, but there are far more days where I am battling too many tabs open on the screen and in my brain. That sucks productivity out and makes me feel crappy usually, so I have to reset myself regularly. Typically, I have to remind myself that my brain works differently and expectations that I will just be able to sit down and power-write for hours are simply not realistic. The practice of writing in 15 minute sprints has been hugely helpful for me and has made it so my ever-present-goal of one million words per year is achievable.
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