Help us in welcoming Susan Illene to the blog. She is here to talk about the favorite tools she used while writing her Urban Fantasy novels, Darkness Haunts and Darkness Taunts from The Sensor Series. Be sure and keep reading after the guest post. . . you’ll find the details and excerpts for Susan’s books!
Five Tools I Use When Writing
Thanks for inviting me here today. I’m excited to be a guest on your blog to talk about my writing tools. There are so many I use, but I’ll list some of the big ones:
1) I keep a squirt bottle handy. This might not seem like a conventional author tool, but if you’re anything like me you hate to be disturbed when you’re in the zone. My husband loves to come bother me whenever I’m reading or writing so I’ve found the squirt bottle is a good deterrent. He doesn’t like it so much, but it’s better than some other alternatives I’ve threatened him with. Squirt bottles work on cats too (mine likes to chew my computer wires to get my attention).
2) Coffee!!! This is pretty standard for most authors, but the need for it can’t be overstated enough. I’m convinced ninety percent of the novels in the world today wouldn’t get written without it.
3) Notebooks are another must. I have them all over the house so if ideas come to me when I can’t sit down and seriously write then I can at least jot them down. There are also times where I just want to hand-write a scene first before typing it up. The one drawback to this is the cat also likes to chew on my notebooks. She’s an evil creature, possibly spawned from hell.
4) My iPod is the biggest secret to my inspiration. I keep a running playlist of songs that get me in the mood to write for each book. A lot of times I’ll listen to it while driving, shopping (yes, I will wear the headphones while in the grocery store), and cleaning the house. I run through scenes in my head using whichever song fits the mood looking at them from every angle before they ever make it on paper. Music is a huge help in keeping me focused and in the mood for writing.
For a sneak peak at the current playlist for my next book, Chained by Darkness, I’ll list a few songs: “Radioactive” by Night Visions, “One Last Breath” by Creed, “Insensitive” by Jann Arden, and “Titanium” by Madilyn Bailey (my musical tastes cover a lot of genres).
5) Google maps/street view is something that all writers should take advantage of when writing stories in real places. This is especially true for me because being a former soldier has made me a bit obsessive about making sure the terrain/landmarks/roads/etc are all accurate to the area I’m portraying the scene.
Also, my main character, Melena, is what is called a “sensor” and can sense supernaturals up to half a mile away. I’m constantly having to check maps to make sure my distances are accurate whenever I’m using real locations as part of the story. The last thing I want is a reader from that area catching me up saying Melena should have picked up on something sooner…or later!
Thanks again for having me here today. I enjoyed the opportunity to put a spotlight on the things I use to help produce my books!
by Susan Illene Series: The Sensor Series #2 Genres: Urban Fantasy Published by Self Published
on July 7th, 2013 Format: Ebook Pages:
309 Source: Author Also in this series: Darkness Taunts Purchase Links: Amazon
✦ Barnes & Noble Book Links: Goodreads Overall Rating:
Melena Sanders has managed to avoid all things inhuman for most of her life, but after coming to Fairbanks, Alaska to rescue her best friend from supernaturals she hasn’t been allowed to leave. That is, until her long-time nemesis comes to collect a favor she owes him. Lucas might be half angel, but he’s all bad as far as she’s concerned.
Paying him back might get her out of town for a while, but her new destination will be anything but enjoyable. Mel’s got to help the nephilim take care of a demon possession outbreak in Juneau. Although something like this hasn't happened for thousands of years, Lucas is certain Melena’s rare abilities are the key to solving the problem.
With violence in the capital city growing, she’s going to have to figure out how to stop it fast before the trouble spreads to other places. Not only that, but working closely with Lucas is changing the dynamics of their hate-hate relationship—worrying her more than the demons. Getting back to her captivity in Fairbanks never looked so good.
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A vampire guard stood at his nighttime station inside. He would’ve seen me through a side window next to the door, and heard me coming before that, but it wasn’t until I entered the house that he grabbed me. I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with his crap. We’d had problems with each other ever since he’d taken the position a few months ago.
I glared at him. “Let me pass, Hagan. I have to talk to Nik.”
He tightened his fingers on my arm. “The master’s busy.”
“I’m sure he is,” I said through gritted teeth. “But this can’t wait.”
“Yes, it can.” He shoved me. I had to take a step back to keep from falling. “He shouldn’t tolerate you or any of your kind…sensor.”
Another shove and I went flying across the foyer. My head slammed into a set of medieval armor hanging on the wall. Pain exploded through my left cheek where it collided with the metal shoulder joints. It cut into my skin, not deep, but a trickle of blood came away when I pressed my hand to it. The vamp would pay for that. He’d been undead for over fifty years—too strong for me to fight hand to hand, but there were other ways.
He clucked his tongue. “Oh, did the little sensor get hurt?”
“Fuck you,” I said, stepping away from the fallen armor.
A couple of young werewolves came into the foyer to watch the show. Very few of the sups around here liked me. They knew exactly what I was, though they were compelled to keep it to themselves. Nik had imposed a policy forcing them to tolerate me, but they made their feelings known every time he wasn’t around.
I could sense the master vampire in his bedroom across the house. He’d had it soundproofed. Even with his enhanced hearing, he wouldn’t know what was going on. I’d have to resolve this problem without his help. It was about time these guys learned a lesson, anyway.
I grabbed an expensive vase Nik had bought on a recent trip overseas and threw it far right of Hagan’s head. He dove to grab it. Yeah, he’d be in big trouble if that thing broke. I whipped my gun out at the same time. A vamp will never stand still for you to shoot them, but provide a little distraction—Hagan caught the vase a full foot before it would have crashed onto the shiny wood floor.
He turned over to find my .45 Sig pointed at him. I pulled the trigger. The hollow-point bullet went straight through his left eye and exploded, leaving bits and pieces of him all over the floor and walls. I tilted my head. Vamp brains looked basically the same as a human’s. Who’d have guessed? The vase fell from his limp hands, but it was sturdy enough not to break as it rolled away. At least I wouldn’t have to explain that later.
The werewolves across the foyer stood gaping at me. This was the first time I’d pulled a gun inside the house. I’d had more than enough of being bullied by these fools because of their stupid prejudices against my kind. They needed to learn there were consequences. I aimed the weapon at them next. They lifted their hands up and backed away a couple of steps.
“We don’t want trouble,” one of them said. The other guy nodded.
I glanced at the vamp on the floor. He was starting to heal, but he’d be out for at least an hour. If I shot the weres in the head they’d probably die and they knew it. Their healing abilities weren’t as good as a vamp’s while in human form.
“Then get out of my way.”
They took off without another word.
by Susan Illene
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The next day I was browsing online when a flash of golden light sparked from behind me. I almost choked on the immense power that flooded the room. The presence it indicated was not one I wanted to face right now, or at any other time for that matter. I turned to glare at him.
He reclined on my bed with his arms behind his head and legs sprawled out on my navy blue comforter. He must have lain in that particular spot to provoke me. My jaw clenched. There would be no escaping this sup.
He was my angel of death—compelling and dangerous. His looks would captivate most women. He had broad shoulders and well-defined muscles. Golden tones tinted his skin and short hair, along with a slight glow that always seemed to be emanating from him. Enough angelic blood ran through his veins to give him a stunning aura of power. In general, nephilim were not a race to be messed with, but at twenty-five hundred years old he could put up a serious fight. My senses hadn’t encountered many who were stronger.
I had learned firsthand how he could use his strength. He had been the one to kill Wanda. Why he hadn’t chosen to do the same to me remained a mystery. The man continued to disturb me with his presence, whenever the urge came for him to do so. Because of him, I couldn’t relax, not even in my own home.
The grudge I held against him burned deep inside, with no way to lessen it. It might have been a quick death, but Wanda had known the terror of seeing him come at her with a massive sword. The blade had cleaved her body in one stroke and given me nightmares for years afterward. I’d had enough other bloody memories added since then my mind had begun locking them away in a box for my own mental protection. That one scene tended to crop up more than the others, though.
Before her death, she had warned me there were two races a sensor needed to fear more than any others—nephilim and vampires. That day this man proved her right about one of them. He became a sporadic presence in my life from that point forward. In the beginning I feared him, but that emotion turned to resignation over time. He would kill me someday, I had no doubt. It was what his kind did to mine. Lucas just wanted to draw it out and make me squirm.
“Come to finish me off, Lucas?”
“It seems you’re doing well courting death without my help, sensor.”
I coughed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
His eyes reflected the cold intensity I had grown used to seeing. “I know about your run-in with the witch.”
It didn’t surprise me. Lucas always appeared to be aware of what went on in my life. Nephilim kept their unique abilities well guarded, but he’d revealed a few things during the time we’d known each other. I had learned he could teleport wherever he wanted and track my activities without me even knowing it. How that was possible with my immunity to magic, I didn’t know, but it appeared he had a way. I was half-tempted to get a full body scan done to see if he hadn’t somehow managed to implant a tracking device on me.
“What do you want, Lucas?”
He ignored my question and came over to peer at my computer screen. His body moved without a sound. I reached to shut off the monitor, but he grabbed my hand before my finger could graze the switch. His grip was tight and unyielding, much like the man.
“Booking a flight to Fairbanks?” he said close to my ear. “Interesting. You do have a death wish.”
I managed to jerk my hand free. Of course, it worked because he allowed it. He straightened to a full standing position, forcing me to lift my head up.
“I’m not sure I know what you mean.” I scooted my chair back a few inches. “But one of my best friends is in trouble. Someone has to check on her and there is no one else who can do it. Not that it’s any of your business.”
Why was I even bothering to explain this to him? Lucas always had a strange effect on my sensibilities.
His eyes glinted as if he knew what I was thinking. “You do realize Fairbanks is a supernatural haven? They will not respond well to your presence.”
“A haven?” I asked. “Like a hot spot?”
His face reflected disgust. “Of course. Though not all of them stay for the summer months, there are still enough to be a threat to one of your kind.”
I focused on a bare spot on the wall to avoid his all-knowing gaze. “Then I’ll have to make sure they don’t discover what I am.”