Category: Habeas Corpse

Fun stuff! A writing process blog tour!

blog tour, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, marketing, Mistresses of the Macabre, Uncategorized, voices in my head, writing life, writing process March 10, 2014

Hey folks!

Today’s post is a stop on a blog tour! I’ll be chatting about my writing process and sending you, dear readers, in a couple of directions to read about the writing processes of some other very incredible writers. Take a look back at Mackenzie Lucas’ blog and how she produces her paranormal and contemporary romance and then look forward to see how a few other writers manage theirs.

First up is my thank you to the talented Mackenzie Lucas. She writes titles like Essence, The Megiddo Mark, and one of my favorites, Pompeii Reawakened. PR_cover

If you enjoy steamy romance, either paranormal or contemporary, I promise you’ll love Mackenzie. Go read about how she manages her writing at her blog here.

On to the questions!

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

I’m actually working on several projects right now.

My thesis needed rewrites before I could send it off to an agent, so I’ve been tackling that. It’s been much harder than I anticipated. It’s not horror, it’s more of a cozy-ish mystery, and my voice changed a lot in the time since I finished it. I’m finding it a challenge to go back and write something that is a lot less edgy and graphic than Habeas Corpse. It’s a quandary for me and I’m slogging through. An agent expressed interest in seeing it, so I have to get the rewrites finished and plan out five more books in the series. I will keep you all posted, naturally, if something comes of it.

I joined a Facebook group that challenges me to write 52 short stories this year, one per week. Some weeks I’ve written two, some one, some none, so I’m always playing catch-up with it, but I think it’s a great exercise in finding new ideas for stories and putting them into a story quickly. I often find an idea and let it simmer (procrastination at its best, really) before I start writing. The 52 in a Year has been a good way to get around that.

I’m also working on the sequel to my published novel, Habeas Corpse. In the tentatively titled Edas Corpse, the second book in the Corpse series, Theo is confronted with several problems. Detective Gavahan needs his help to uncover what is possibly a blackmarket for human flesh and the murders surrounding it. Should Theo work with his nemesis, or should he stay with his kind? If he agrees to work with the cranky detective, can he resist eating again? What is on Shelby’s newly undead mind?

To grab a copy of Habeas Corpse, published by Blood Bound Books, head to Amazon.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

It really depends on which piece of work we’re talking about. My short story, “Black Bird,” published in Dark Moon Books’ Mistresses of the Macabre, is a very atmospheric piece. It’s been described as semi-literary. Rather than going for the gross-out horrific in this piece, I went for the feel of brooding sorrow, anxiety, and paranoia. It’s subtle, and honestly, one of my favorite of my own works.

Habeas Corpse is different in that my protagonist is a zombie. Most zombie fiction is post-apocalyptic and centers around the survivors struggle against the undead. Theo is the undead. He’s also not a typical male protagonist, particularly for the post-apocalyptic fiction. Think of Rick Grimes of The Walking Dead or Tom Imura of the Rot and Ruin series. They’re strong males, kind of the silent, swarthy type. They know how to handle weapons and take care of their family. Theo? Not so much. He good with a game controller and in the next book he’ll ride a Vespa. He breaks the stereotype of the male in zombie fiction.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write what I do because I love it. I write in multiple genres: mystery, horror, and a smidge of fantasy. Each genre satisfies something for me. Mystery, something I believe is in every story, satisfies my love of puzzles. The classic “whodunit” will always be a favorite for me, and I love reading all mysteries from cozies to police procedural to true crime. It makes me think and gets my neurons firing. Horror touches the darker side for me, the side that loves the chill that runs up my spine when something truly frightens me. It makes me appreciate that I am alive and allows me to reconnect with the most primal of all emotions– fear. I’m also a fan of morbid and graphic writing, so describing how Theo feels when he eats is such a sensory experience. If I’m not grossing myself as I’m writing, it doesn’t work for me. Fantasy is an extension of horror, in a way. Both genres are often lumped together as speculative fiction. It’s writing about things that don’t exist as if they do. I have a short story about a wizard named Wendell. It’s based in a traveling carnival and Wendell has a troupe of sideshow freaks. It’s solidly a fantasy story, and I love it because it allows my brain to go places that I can’t in real life. Writing is a form of escapism for me. There’s nothing I love better than spending a day with my characters putting them in impossible situations.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Setting daily goals is integral to my writing process. My goals vary depending on what I’m working on and existing deadlines. If I’m producing new work, I have a word count goal for each day. I record my word counts in a calendar to track my output over the long term. If I’m editing, I usually have a page number goal or chapter number goal. I also have to account for marketing and social media so I can maintain (and hopefully increase) my community presence. I have a checklist of things I need to do over the course of a week to use social media. I will admit this is the first thing I allow to slide if I need time for my word or page counts.

I am a pantser (a writer who writes from the seat of their pants, just lets it flow without much planning) at heart, but because most of what I write has a mystery thread, I have to be a planner to some extent. My stories almost always begin with the characters. I will come up with the idea for a character or several characters, usually from something I read or see, and try to figure out where they fit in a story. Once I decide what their story is, I write a basic outline with plot points so I have a very rudimentary road map, and I start writing. Often during writing, those plot points change, but that’s fine. I usually know how the mystery element will play out and I have that pretty well figured out, but the characters can grow and develop however they’d like. I didn’t start Habeas Corpse with the intent to kill off an important character, but partway through the writing I knew I had to. I love how organic writing can be and that the characters really do sometimes dictate their own fates.

And now I’d like to invite you to visit these other authors to see how they view their work and learn more about their writing process.

Scott A. Johnson writes in several genres including nonfiction and horror. Visit his blog at Write Stranger.

Kerri-Leigh Grady is an editor and a writer of dark fiction. She blogs here.

Ann Laurel Kopchik writes fantasy, both of the elvish and bedroom kind. Go see her blog here.

Lyn Gala blogs about one writer’s journal through one version of reality. She writes some spicy, yummy, sexy goodness. Got check her out here.

Madeline Price writes dark and sexy fantasies. Find out more about her books and her writing process here.

Theo… or Why I Love Zombies

deviance, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, paranormal, writing life, zombies January 24, 2014

I’ve had some fun questions from readers about Theo… where the idea came from and how I got the zombie thing under my skin. I’m a mystery writer at heart, really, so the crime fiction angle comes from my science roots and years of snitching my father’s true crime books. My love of zombies is something else, and relaying this requires a look at religion, at pop culture, and my very favorite of all subjects to study… DEVIANCE.

magic-island-photo-2bFirst and foremost, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of zombies. I’m sure this comes from studying religions and the social implications of religion in general. It’s incredible to me that someone can be so immersed in a religious belief that the power of suggestion alone is enough to make them believe another human being has control of them. I’m planning another blog post on the Haitian zombie phenomena so I won’t go into detail about it, but to carry that kind of faith is both amazing and terrifying.

I took a class in college called “Deviance and Social Control.” We studied some subversive cultures like motorcycle gangs and religious cults, and the differences in how one defines deviance both within and without these subcultures. Fascinating stuff. In my own teaching module on deviance in popular fiction, I offer up the idea that in order to truly build a society in fiction, a writer has to study what their society considers deviant. When I took a look at the Haitian voodoo model, the zombie myth really stands out as deviant.

So within this subculture (Haitian, and to some extent, Creole, voodoo) we have another smaller section of believers who include zombies, botGilgameshCover420h the existence of and the act of transforming others into slaves. Western culture considers voodoo to be deviant (this definition of deviant does not necessarily mean wrong, but rather simply violating agreed-upon social norms), and the zombie is even a step further. So combine my love of religious study and deviance and BAM! There’s the zombie.

Popular culture has long been fascinated with zombies, and the first well-known Western example of this is obviously in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. But there are references to flesh-eating dead as far back as in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Our fascination with zombies in one form or another has been around for centuries.

And while deviance can take many, many forms, is there really anything more deviant than the dead rising to consume the living? NO FREAKING WAY.

I love what pop culture has done with the zombie recently, with a few notable exceptions. I love The Walking Dead, both the TV show and the graphic novel. I love Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. I love Joe McKinney’s Dead City and Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin. Wonderful stories with tension and danger. But I also love the Haitian zombie, the one under someone else’s control, used as a slave. Theo was born from my love of the zombies of Voudon. Theo’s under the strict control of societal expectations. He wants to be deviant, all the zombies in Habeas Corpse do, but society controls them as surely as the voudon master controls her minions.

HABEAS CORPSE release party and zombie swag!

Habeas Corpse, release, zombies October 31, 2013

Hey everyone!

The release date is so close I can taste it! Or maybe it’s the Twix I just snitched out of the candy jar… but no matter! We’re only two days away from Theo’s Book Birthday!

I have a Facebook author page HERE. Go give me a like, if you would please, and then check out the HABEAS CORPSE RELEASE PARTY Facebook Event HERE. Click to join the event, then come and visit me on Saturday, November 2 (release day!!). Leave me a comment or a question (which I promise to answer) and you will be entered to win one of six great prize boxes, like this one:

That snuggly little neuron is waiting for a squeeze!

That snuggly little neuron is waiting for a squeeze!

 

I can’t wait to share the day with you and finally see Theo out in the world. Poor zombie. He hates attention. Let’s torment him!

Special pre-release sale and pre-orders!

editors, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, marketing, publishing, reading, release, SHU WPF, zombies October 23, 2013

I started to type the title of this post as BIG NEWS! HUGE NEWS! and then realized that I *might* want to retain a smidge of dignity.

I don’t know why, because I am truly excited for you to finally meet Theo!

First thing, here’s the cover in its entirety… and seriously, Mike Arnzen wrote the most awesome blurb ever.

Habeas Corpse final cover

Here’s the whole blurb:

“Dexter meets Deadite in Nikki Hopeman’s HABEAS CORPSE — and what a treat this novel is. It’s rare that a debut novel can reignite a subgenre, but Nikki Hopeman’s book just might be the most clever zombie story to hit the shelves in quite some time. Hopeman writes a book with brains, in every way:  fun and funny, gory and glorious, this witty tale of an undead ‘Riser’ who bends his unique talents toward investigating crime has single-handedly resurrected my interest in brain-sucking freaks.  Such a clever premise.  I can’t wait to read her next one… but till then I think I’ll happily just read this one again!” — Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Play Dead.

I had the privilege of working with Dr. Arnzen at Seton Hill, and he’s amazingly talented and a really wonderful teacher. I was floored by the blurb and am humbled.

So, on to business!

Habeas Corpse is available at a special pre-release price of $2.99 for the Kindle only for a few days. Get yours here. You can also preorder the paperback edition here.

This has been such an incredible journey for me. I owe a huge shout-out to RJ Cavender, who helped make the book what it is and Marc Ciccarone and Joe Spagnola of Blood Bound Books for seeing the potential in Habeas Corpse. They’ve been so great to work with.

And now it’s up to you, my lovely readers. I hope you love Theo in all his zombie dorkiness as much as I do.

Blogging is rough work (or I think it would be if I did it more often)

agents, conventions, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, idols, KillerCon, marketing, Mistresses of the Macabre, publishing, release, World Horror September 30, 2013

Hey there intrepid readers!

Seriously? Have I been so remiss about posting that I haven’t actually written a blog entry since February??

*puts self in blogger time-out*

I’m equally bad about tweeting. Twitter is overwhelming to me, so I generally don’t use it. I do like Facebook, so if you like my blog, come like my FB author page, too (just click the link there). I am a little better about posting to my FB page than I am here.

So anyway… things have been busy since I last posted. Lots of writing, plenty of editing, a motorcycle accident that left me with a broken elbow and some awesome bruises, a couple of conferences, a retreat, the loss of a dear friend. I’ll spare you an epic post and just write about one thing at a time. You can come back for more later.

In June I went to New Orleans for World Horror. This was my third HWA convention, and I always have a blast. I did not, however, enjoy New Orleans. The whole trip started off wrong when my flight down was canceled (this has never happened to me… like, a complete cancellation) due to poor crew scheduling. How does that happen? Anyway, the flight was canceled, which meant two whole different flights, and I got in almost six hours later than I was supposed to. I think I got to the hotel around 1AM, and I was feeling pretty pissy because I’d actually gotten up at 3AM to make the flight that was canceled before the airline (*cough* United) even contacted us. It was hot (like REALLY hot… New Orleans in June…) and the smell in the French Quarter was… was… Let’s just say every time I left the Hotel Monteleone I said to anyone standing within earshot “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SMELL??” My best guess is it had something to do with the fact that the French Quarter is below sea level, so nothing drains, there’s trash out 24/7, human *substances* in the street and it’s all mingling and baking that incredible heat. I have what might be called an acute sense of smell, perhaps to make up for my terrible hearing, and it was torment.

That said, the Hotel Monteleone was gorgeous. The beignets were oh so yum. The company was second to none. I had the opportunity to speak with some of my writing heroes and they knocked my socks off. The panels were great, particularly the women in horror panel. I spoke with an agent who’s interested in seeing some of my work, and I’m hoping to have good news on that front in a few months. I was asked to sign a few copies of Mistresses of the Macabre at the mass book signing, which was an awful lot of fun, and I finally got to meet Lori Michelle, my editor for Mistresses. Here are some pictures from World Horror Con 2013:

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Panel on writing dialogue with some of my peeps.

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Panel on working with an editor with my own fab editor, RJ Cavender.

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And a panel on women in the horror genre with Lucy Snyder.

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The Walgreens in New Orleans carries alligator heads.

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Sign on Bourbon Street.

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Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and Bar. Really just a bar. It was built between 1722 and 1732 and is believed to be the oldest building in the US used as a bar. No electric lights. Questionable odor and the guy in the banana hammock out front really added pizzazz.

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Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.

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The Hotel Monteleone has no 13th floor. Where is it?!?!

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Random view of Bourbon Street.

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Cafe Beignet, just a block away from the Hotel Monteleone.

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My husband and mentor/brother-from-another-mother waiting for beignets and coffee.

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BEIGNETS!! I tried my first one and proclaimed, “It’s a funnel cake!!” (I was raised in Pennsylvania Dutch country). Scott promptly gave me the smackdown and said,”NO! It’s a BEIGNET. If you call it a funnel cake, it’s a SNACK. If you call it a beignet, it’s BREAKFAST!”

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I tried to keep my nose buried in a cup of coffee most of the time so I didn’t have to smell the air.

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My new friend.

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How can a writer NOT like a place called THE BACK SPACE BAR?

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Here we were waiting to take a vampire tour, which I was convinced would be full of delicious cheesiness and perhaps people jumping out and yelling boo, but ended being the highlight of the trip.

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See why I thought the vampire tour would be cheese-a-licious? Nope, he was very knowledgeable about NOLA history and gave a fantastic tour.

World Horror Con is always super awesome, and besides the odor of New Orleans, this year didn’t disappoint.

I’ll write a post on the SHU In Your Write Mind later and also one about KillerCon, which I’m just recovering from.

I do have some excellent news on the publication front… we have a release date for Habeas Corpse! On November 2, 2013, the world will meet Theo. Write it on your calendar and buy a copy! Buy three! Buy one for your mom! I’m really excited, and even more so since I met Marc Ciccarone and Joe Spagnola of Blood Bound Books at KillerCon. They’ve been great to work with and are genuinely fun guys. I’m glad to be working with them.

So NOVEMBER 2!!

Till next time!