Tag: B.K. Raine.

profile_picnewI see your first novel, Blood Toy is going to be released soon. Tell us bit about the story and what inspired you to write it.

Blood Toy is the story of a girl who becomes a vampire hunter when her parents were murdered. After hunting to the exclusion of everything and everyone else in her life for three years, one finally started hunting her back. Blood Toy is mostly the story of that hunt. It is definitely a more classic vampire tale than the paranormal romances that have been making the rounds lately. I was inspired in high school by Anne Rice’s Lestat and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. Though the first vampire story I ever read was The Celery Stalks At Midnight about Bunnicula, a vampire rabbit.

What do you like most about the genre you write in?

It allows me to write the books I want to read.

What advice would you offer to authors just starting out?

Don’t get too attached. Learn the phrase “Kill your darlings.” Embrace it! I just might get those words tattooed on myself. I’d get them engraved on my tombstone when I die, except I don’t plan on having one.

What’s the most memorable book you’ve read? Why?

The Taking by Dean Koontz. As a rule, I don’t re-read books, because I hate knowing how they end, but I read this one once a year. If I told you why it was brilliant, it would give the story away, but I will say knowing the ending makes it a completely different story the second time around.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: bkraine.wordpress.com
Blog: https://bkraine.wordpress.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/BK-RAINE/480415728775608?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BK_Raine
Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/b-k-raine/b7/434/429
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/B.K.-Raine/e/B00XYAHDKS/
Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XWZP9H4/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13810416.B_K_Raine

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Sometimes I eat Jelly Belly jelly beans when I write. My favorite flavors are Toasted Marshmallow and Buttered Popcorn. I also listen to music that reminds me of high school (not sure why since high school was mostly awful). I listen to these songs…in this order and in a loop. I am a creature of habit!

  • Silent Lucidity – Queensryche, 1990
  • Sailing – Christopher Cross, 1979
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison, 1970
  • Wind of Change – Scorpions, 1990
  • Crucify – Tori Amos, 1992Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.07.26 PM
  • Carnival – Natalie Merchant, 1995
  • These Dreams – Heart, 1985
  • Witchy Woman – Eagles, 1972
  • Whispers – Elton John 1989
  • I’ve Got Dreams to Remember – Otis Redding, 1968
  • Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics, 1983
  • Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones, 1990
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor, 1982

If your book was made in to a movie or TV show, who would you cast to play your main characters?

Oooh…this is a fun one. Gabriel Gray would make a good Desollador, I think.   Diane, definitely Eliza Dushku. And I’ve always thought of Bree Conners as a young Drew Barrymore, but the closest modern actress would have to be Maddie Hasson.

Tell us a bit about the cover of your book. Who designed it? Why did you choose those images?

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 3.57.37 PMDonna Murillo of DHM Designs created the cover during a design contest I ran on 99designs.com. The background is a photo she took in Yosemite. I had a feeling she would be my cover designer when she told me about that photo, because Yosemite is my favorite place on earth. Donna created a unique 3D model based on my very specific idea of Diane. Eliza Dushku was the inspiration for her, with Olivia Wilde’s eyes and Emily Browning’s attitude from role as Babydoll in Sucker Punch. After I narrowed down the finalists to three, Diane told me in a dream she wanted the body Donna made for her. So that decided it. Her costume, I am told, is not realistic, but it really isn’t meant to be. Her weapons also have an intentional element of surrealism. The cover depicts a very specific moment in the final chapter of Blood Toy. Readers will definitely know it when they read it it.

Are any of the characters in your book modeled after people you know? (No need to name names) Just curious.

All. Except. One. When I first wrote Blood Toy, I literally took every person I knew in high school (or wanted to know) and created a character based on them. I even used anagrams and alternate forms of their real names (which is why I have a character names Mace). It’s why my cast of characters is so large, though their personalities have evolved much over time. The good guys were based on people I liked. And the bad guys were based on people I really liked. I based my victims on the ones I didn’t like:)

Gives us a memorable quote or snippet from our book that is mean to intrigue and tantalize.

My editor thinks this is the best line ever:

I stopped at an unremarkable thatch of Bradford Pears, snowy blooms wilting in the damp air, and vomited up the people I had eaten.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 10.47.29 PM

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I had no title for this book for such a long time. The first scene in Chapter 1 of my book was actually one of the last scenes I wrote. Desollador handed me the title on a silver platter. I knew as soon as he said the words to Diane I had my title.

Name one person that you feel supported you in your writing career?

There are so many: friends who have read every single version of it from the young adult novel that it was in the beginning to the mature themed book it is today, my husband who bought me a Macbook Pro to celebrate finishing my first draft, my daughter who is too young to read it, and my parents who probably shouldn’t read it, but will anyway.

Finding My Muse – By B.K. Raine

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I came across this blog yesterday, written by a gal named Molly (a.k.a Tick Tock), under Freshly Pressed. Molly is a thru-hiker, which means she hikes entire trail systems…for fun. Mexico to Canada—sure! Georgia to Maine—why not?

While I enjoy the occasional destination hike, to a waterfall or rock outcropping with a view you can’t experience by car, I am not a hiker or even very outdoorsy. My husband jokes that my idea of camping is a hotel without a jacuzzi tub. And he’s not wrong. I laugh when people suggest I explore the joys of sleeping in a tent. No. Just no. The last time I did that I was ten, and my dad pitched it in our living room because it was cooler than a pillow fort.

Molly’s blog only caught my attention because in Book 2, my protagonist has to spend some time out of her comfort zone traipsing around the woods looking for a vamp. Because I am unwilling to, like a method actor, take up camping to get to know my story better, I am researching the subject from the comfort of my air conditioned living room.

I am familiar with the more touristy parts of the area my protagonist will be hunting from first hand experience.  For the past week, I have been scouring boring trail descriptions on the internet, studying maps and pictures, and feeling more depressed with every passing day with the prospect of writing about any of it.

Then enter Molly. One twenty minute jaunt through her posts about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail—which I didn’t even know was a thing—gave me enough inspiration for two new characters and at least as many chapters. Why? Because her telling of her experience made it real for me. I could feel the mud in my shoes (ick), the stares of the tourists and even the desire to be by myself instead of crammed into a shelter with a dozen other hikers. Which is totally a testament to her writing ability because, did I mention I am not a hiker?

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to use blogs in my research. Maybe because I’m new to blogging myself. Maybe because I still do research in a library. I read blogs all the time about writing, editing, and books, but I never thought to read any about the stuff my character does or the places she goes. Am I the only one that forgets other people experience the sh*t we only write about?

So if you are struggling with inspiration, I encourage you to go check out the Freshly Pressed, step out of your comfort zone and find a new muse.

Finish What You Start!

3 Big ‘Don’ts’ to ensure you DO finish your book!

(This post is one for my writer friends…)

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1) Don’t spend your writing time reading your own work.

I played the piano when I was in middle school.  I never could get the hang of reading sheet music.  I compensated for my shortcoming by pecking my way through a note at a time—memorizing as I went—until I could play an entire song.  When I didn’t want to put myself through the grueling task of deciphering and memorizing a new song, I played one I already knew.  I once played “Für Elise” and “The Rose” every day for a solid week during my one hour allotted practice time. 

I don’t play the piano anymore.

I mention this because I got stuck in a rut a few years ago when I wasn’t quite sure how to end BLOOD TOY.  I didn’t exactly have writers block.  I just had a frayed mess of loose ends and no clue how to tie them up in neat bow by the end of the book.  To alleviate my frustration, I decided to read what I had written to see if inspiration struck.  When none did, I read it again.  And again. 

I told myself I was ‘editing.’  Nope.  I spent more time admiring what I had written than changing it.  I was in ‘reader’ mode.  Not ‘writer’ and certainly not ‘editor’ mode. 

Thankfully, I eventually got sick of reading my own book and starting scouring Amazon for one to help me get back to actually writing one.  That’s when I found 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, by Rachel Aaron. This is a terrific book.  I cannot recommend it enough for improving efficiency. 

My mistake all along was waiting for inspiration to strike me in the first place, when what I needed to do instead was to figure out how I was actually going to end the book, scene by scene, then put pen to paper.  I needed an outline.  A plan.  Sounds simple enough, right?  So why did it take me two years to figure it out? 

2) Don’t wait until your manuscript is perfect to let someone else read it.

While there are plenty of novice authors who have no problem baring their virgin manuscripts on wattpad.com and waiting for the praise (and maybe even those big six deals) to come in, there are many of us that fear letting a single typo out into the world.  So we hoard our story, rewriting, revising and tweaking until, if we are wise, we eventually let it find its way to beta readers, editors and fans.

There are two big risks in this practice.  The first is the very real possibility of spending so much time with your work before letting it go that you can no longer find fault in anything.  This will inevitably lead to heartache when your editor advises you to cut that favorite sentence or chapter.  Don’t even think it won’t happen to you.  When it comes to editing, nothing is sacred. I once had an editor mark out an entire chapter—one red line through the center of ten pages—with only this criticism for explanation: Well, Bippity Boppity Boo!

On the other hand, you just might, like me, fine tune your work to the point that you despise every single word of it, scrap it entirely, and start over.  I did that three times with BLOOD TOY.

3) Don’t put off writing any scene for later.

The first time I wrote BLOOD TOY, I immediately wrote the next three installments in the series, hoping to get them all finished before I started college.  I set a deadline for each book, and I meant to stick to the schedule.  When I got behind on the third, I skipped ahead to the fourth, meaning to make up some time and come back to it later. I was writing eighteen hours a day that summer, living off of Maxwell House and Jelly Bellies.  It wasn’t until I came to the missing chapters during self-edit (I had allowed myself a meager 5 days per book) that I realized I had not actually finished Book 3 at all. 

While you will probably never find yourself putting off—and then forgetting—entire chapters, procrastination on any scale is a bad idea.  Why you are procrastinating is probably the most important thing you can ask yourself.  In 2K to 10K., the author asserts that if you don’t want to write something, chances are your audience will not want to read it.  That concept was no less than an epiphany to me. 

I was once again putting off my last three chapters, this time not to satisfy some arbitrary timeline, but because 1) I did not have an outline to guide me through them—and there were frankly too many loose ends to tie up by the seat of my pants—and 2) the ending I was thinking of writing bored the crap out of me.  The solution was really very simple:  Stop putting off writing something I didn’t want to write, and start actually writing something I did. 

What came out of that resolution not only changed the ending to BLOOD TOY completely, but improved my whole novel from start to finish.  In order to make the new ending plausible, I had to revise Diane’s character arc throughout, creating a much stronger protagonist. 

Chances are if you are putting off writing something, you need to ask yourself a few tough questions before you write it anyway.

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Blog written by B.K. Raine