Tag: Writing

The Reaper’s Kiss Book Release TODAY! :)

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THE REAPER’S KISS, A Deathmark Novel is finally out! You can snag your copy here with one little click:

I am lucky. Seeing The Reaper’s Kiss in print has been a long road. So, I wish to thank everyone involved in the process. But most of all, I wish to thank my readers. A writer is nothing without her readers.Throughout this looong journey, people have asked about my writing process. So, for today, release day, I’m going to defer to a friend and let her tell you:

 

Bonjour! This is Ollie, the protagonist from Abigail’s debut paranormal romance, The Reaper’s Kiss. Abigail—or Abby as I prefer to call her—was asked to write a post on her writing process. Seeing as her writing process is dictated by Yours Truly, I thought it would be more interesting to tell you how I get her motivated to put her fingers to the keyboard. Abby doesn’t mind, of course. Or if she does, she didn’t put up a protest.  She knows better.

First of all, I chose Abby to write my story because she was the first to pick up on my super-sonic brainwaves. Poor thing.

Once I got her attention, I screamed in her ear every second of every day. Easy-peasy, right?

Well, it wasn’t. According to her boyfriend, Abby is stubborn and known to dawdle. So, I went for a more aggressive approach like dancing on her bed in the middle of the night.

I’m paranormal. I can dance for days. Non-stop.

The good news is that Abby came around and agreed to write my story. Our professional relationship was bliss from here on out. Well, maybe not for her. But for me, I had accomplished a major feat, so I made sure to celebrate with cool flair.

But once Abby started writing my story, it didn’t flow out of her in one week of manic typing. She went through several rewrites after she got notes from her beta readers, her agent, and her editor. I was worried that some of the best parts of my story would get cut. I made sure to tell her this concern at every possible moment. When that didn’t work, I used force.

Ultimately, The Reaper’s Kiss tells my story precisely as I told it to her, with a few minor embellishments. I mean, I do have striking green eyes and a fearless nature, but I am really not that bad at the game of Checkers and I don’t cheat at board games.

So that’s how I got Abigail Baker to tell my story for the world to read. It was a campaign of relentless willpower. And I won. I always win.

Au Revoir,
xOllie Dormier

Be sure to post #deathmarkseries on your Twitter and Facebook feeds. I’d love to get #deathmarkseries trending. And of course, I’d love to get book one of #deathmarkseries trending on bestselling lists too.Peace out!
xAbby

Oh, Shit, where have I been?

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Well, I’ll be, I’ve gone done something bad, haven’t I? I’ve neglected this little blog for quite a while. And by a while, I mean for over six months. Mea culpa.

But, let’s be honest. Who really visits blogs these days anyway? 

Here’s the update if you care to know:

1) Book 1 of the Deathmark series will be out in the summer. No word on official pub date. Stay tuned.

2) I will announce the winner of the December book contest in the beginning of March. Sign up for the newsletter if you want to know the details about future prizes (books and whatnot). I will NOT spam you. Pinky swear.

3) I’m in graduate school, folks. I’m also working full time. And I’m editing my current book and writing a new book. Frazzled, Abby, you ask? Yes, my dears, yes indeed I am. So, I’m not around these parts much anymore and probably won’t be until the end of time. Ok, ok, that was slightly hyperbolic. More like two minutes shy of the end of time. Better?

4) Oh, and there is a very good chance I will spend most of this coming summer outside of the country in a faraway land. This means limited access to this social media stuff, which means–you probably guessed it–no blog posts.

But who really visits blogs these days anyway? 😉

Peace and love and light, my friends,

a


Tattooist Spotlight: Jessica Weichers

Jessica Weichers Tattooist

Tattooist Spotlight is a blog series featuring the talents of tattoo artists all over the US and world. For the next three weeks my first guest, Jessica Weichers from Tattoo City Skin Art in Lockport, Illinois will answer questions asked by yours truly and you–the readers.

But FIRST, let’s learn a little about Jessica’s background. :)

Born and taught in St. Louis, MO and tattooing since March 2005, Jessica Weichers is the manager and also one of the full-time tattooists at Tattoo City in Lockport, Illinois since June 2008. She’s been working in tattoo shops since 1999 with odd jobs here and there, so she’s no stranger to the tattooing world. 

Back in 2007, I discovered Jessica after an extensive search for Chicago artists with a feminine touch. As of 2014, I have a full back piece, hip and wrist piece, and a partial sleeve all done by this one special person. Jessica is an artist of boundless talent and you can view her amazing collection here.

What sets her apart is not only her talent, but her personality. Jessica is a strong—dare I say, badass—woman in a male-dominated industry. She’s a beautiful soul, with amazing insights, a caring touch, and full of laughs. Ours is a relationship born out of hours of sitting in a chair, talking over the buzz of her tattoo gun. So it is with great honor that I introduce my dear friend and artist.

1) Every great tattooist is an artist first. What do you do when you have a creative block and need inspiration?

Oh! Creative block and inspiration… this is annoyingly obvious to an artist who is constantly putting out work for the public and on time schedules. I get a lot of my inspiration from my clients and then I can run with it. But being around nature helps me a lot. I am an introvert and love it, so time to myself allows me to practice my art and grow. There’s something that a cool breeze, with stars, and no police sirens or no electrical hum that clears a mind of all the clutter that can cause artist’s block.

2) Have you always wanted to be a tattooist?

Ever since I visited my first shop at 15-years-old, I wanted to tattoo. Where I grew up, I was told in the shop that women don’t tattoo, but I could be a counter bitch or a piercer. So screw it! To get my foot in the door, I started my piercing apprenticeship at 18. Then I climbed the ladder as a piercer or a shop “bitch” as they call it. I managed a shop, set up everything for other tattooists, and stayed late all while going to college for fine arts. This was what I was going to do!

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Artists are the ones who think outside of the box, we are the dreams and the dreamers, the ones that make women swoon with their music, that can make someone cry with just the colors in a painting.

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3) The industry has been dominated by men. Even though you are successful and talented, you’ve probably gotten pushback from people because of your gender alone. Do you still face pushback? How do you deal with it? What advice can you offer women who want to pursue tattooing as a career?

I have had a very hard time at certain points in my career, especially in the beginning. Other times I get treated like everyone else. Artists who are comfortable with what they do don’t mind what sex you are, only that you’re doing good work. I’ve been told “women don’t tattoo, so get an art degree and you’ll be taken more seriously” (so that’s what I did). It’s not an easy job for a soft-skinned woman. This career has hardened me. That badass tattooist image is what most clients are looking for. But since there are more women coming into the business, there are more clients who respect who I am. Instead of trying to fit the “old school tattooist” façade I can be myself. What I would recommend for women trying to get into this field is prepare yourself for clients to make you cry and if you’re good at what you do watch other artists get jealous as you rise above it all! More men and women want to get tattooed by women, so we secretly have the upper hand. :)

4) Some people get ink because it is the trendy thing to do. But there are a lot of people out there who get ink for spiritual, personal and/or meaningful reasons. Considering how intimate the tattooing process is, how did it make you feel to design the work and etch it into their skin? 

I have done a lot of personal tattoos on clients who have cried from happiness after they see the finished product. We joke around the shop about being therapists because a lot of pieces are cathartic for clients. I tend to have much more of a connection with regulars. I know if a regular gets married or finalizes a dream and wants to commemorate it or has an illness and survives it. Stories like that are always more touching and I can’t help but feel for them. Pet pieces are some of my favorites because of how I feel about my dogs. I’m a huge dog lover so when I get pieces like that, I have a lot of fun talking with the person about their pet and what makes them special to that person.

5) My main character in the DEATHMARK Series tattoos unwitting people for grim reapers. She doesn’t want to continue with this job after she has to mark her best human friend for a reaper. DEATHMARK is an allegory, saying “Stand up for what you believe in even if it means starting a revolution to be heard.” Tell me about something that means a lot to you with regard to your industry? What needs to be heard from tattoo artists?

“Stand up for what you believe in even if it means a revolution” is interesting to me because I have felt that way my whole life. Artists are the ones who think outside of the box, we are the dreams and the dreamers, the ones that make women swoon with their music, that can make someone cry with just the colors in a painting. A lot of us are introverts at heart, nerds, dorks, and regular people like everyone else. Clients need to understand that we work with a living, breathing canvas. Not a single one is the same as the other. Just because one person gets something it doesn’t mean your skin or body will work with that piece. Be patient with your tattooist. Besides working with a living, breathing, healing canvas we also work with people and all of their special needs. Don’t piss off your tattooist because they won’t want to work with you. Art comes form the heart. So keep your artist happy.

Hey Readers! Want to know Jessica’s favorite part of her job? Want to find her in 2014? What she thinks of armband tattoos? Stayed tuned a week from today when I will post five more questions and Jessica’s answers.

And don’t forget to ask Jessica your questions about tattoos and the industry in the comments of this post! I will post your questions and Jessica’s answers here in two weeks. (Remember to keep questions polite and relevant)

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Regarding my Inner-Gollum…

I’m a hoarder.

There. I said it.

You can count on me to overload my plate of food at parties because I worry about when I will eat again–a hangover from those college days, I presume. Or when I have to dip into my savings account a little piece of me dies because I like to see numbers go up, not down. I wants it. I must haves ALL of it, precious.

Not sure where this hoarding practice emerged from. Since childhood, my self-control poops out of my ears when I attend banquets. As a result, giving nearby competitors the hairy eyeball, I pile whatever I can onto a plate and rush for a safe, dark corner to revel in my spoils. I have been known to retrieve a second plate of food just in case the first plate disappoints me. The thought that I was a dog in a former life, burying bones in the backyard has not passed me over.

As one might expect, this lifelong tendency has fed into my writing. Those “the craft of writing” articles that shrewdly advise killing your darlings (i.e. sentences, etc.) made no sense to me a few weeks ago. For why would I delete perfectly fine sentences? I mean, I like that sentence about the hero’s porpoise. Really do. I cannot delete it. I refuse!

Ahem.

Killing your darlings works for bigger subjects, like axing prominent world building elements or even characters. Why would I do that when all I want to do is pile them on my plate and glower from a dark corner, delighting in my prizes?

Well, having gone through my first round of revisions with my editor, I realized in a rare moment of clarity that, well, the simpler the world building or language or character’s motivations, the better. Cut out all of the fluff, delete sections that do nothing to move the story forward, and what remains is the novel I meant to tell from the beginning. This begs the question—where the hell did that extra crap come from in the first place? But I digress.

Simplification, Abby. Less is more. I have been told variations of this adage many times and I’ve been following through with it in my personal life. So why not use the same attitude in regard to my novel? Why do I turn Gollum-esque whenever food and writing cross my path? Like anything I do, only once I’m ready to see and accept it on my own do I put the newfound genius into action. And when I do (much to Mr. T’s frustration), I own the epiphany like it was my idea from the get-go. But whatever it takes for me to come around, right?

All I’m saying is that if you are a word hoarder like me, don’t be frightened by simplification. You might be surprised at how leaving words, sentences, characters or even world building elements on the cutting room floor enriches your story. When this happens, unicorns fly and fairies dance. No really, they do.


Writer’s Block and Gray Hair

If you look closely you can see it.

See?

That lone gray hair mocks my pain. Still, I have not the heart to pull it out because it wouldn’t mask the truth that yours truly is now part of a very special, mature club. I suppose this is all fitting coming in a week or so before my 34th birthday.

Nonetheless, I have gray hair. One or two strands, I think. And those hairs make me look back on 2012 in both gratitude and sadness. I earned those hairs. They are reflections of all the steps I took forward (and all the leaps I took backward).

One very troublesome hurdle from 2012 was writer’s block. It’s a creature that if ignored will grow and grow into a Goliath beast. I don’t have a Top 10 List on how to avoid writers block or what to do with it if you are cursed with it. What I do know from my experience is that the creative wall might be just the time you need to think about yourself and only yourself. For me, writing whisks me away to magical place where I play God. It’s an easy world to live in. As soon as I step outside of that faraway world, I am slapped with reality. And once reality gets its full grip, writer’s block sets in.

What I’m trying to say is that writer’s block sometimes comes on strong for specific reasons, reasons you may not understand for weeks or months. If you suffer from it, perhaps you should take a step back and evaluate your life, not your writing. Perhaps something in your day-to-days is begging you to stop and listen before you can creatively move forward.

And if that doesn’t work, download “Hipstamatic” onto your smartphone and take pictures of your pets like I have.

xo

Happy 2013!

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