Little Traditions

redwinenutellacupcakeswithoreonutellafillingandredwinefrostingSo, Black Magic Bayou has been out a little over a week now (do you have your copy yet?), and I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions.

After over twenty book releases you might think I’ve gotten over the thrill of seeing one of my books go out into the world for people to read, but nothing could be further from the truth. There’s always a little leap of excitement, a shudder of nerves. Will people like it? Will this creature born in the dark parts of my brain someday be someone’s favourite book? Have I done these characters justice and told their story right? It’s a lot of pressure, letting go of a book.

And with that in mind, I started a little tradition. It goes back to the 2011 release of A Bloody Good Secret, when I decided I wanted to do something special to commemorate the release, but nothing huge. It was my third release by then and I couldn’t expect friends and family to throw me a party every time. (As nice as it might be). So I went over to my then-boyfriend’s place and we shared wine and cupcakes. That was all it took, the birth of a tradition. Now, whether I’m celebrating with friends, or on my own, I make sure I have a bottle of wine and at least two delicious cupcakes ready for me on release day. It’s a simple thing, but it feels like such a triumph in a way. I love knowing that “wine and cupcake” day is coming, because I know I’ve accomplished something worth celebrating on that day.

I know some other authors will have a dinner out with family, or celebrate in their own specific way. Others have traditions for when a book is finished, rather than released. I like to set a “gift” goal for myself. For my most recent book I promised myself as soon as the first draft was complete I would buy myself a copy of the Hamilton book. It was a $30 reward that absolutely enticed me to get to “The End” faster.

Traditions are fun. They’re small things, that from the outside might look silly or insignificant, but can actually mean the world. I have friends who are now so familiar with my custom that on release day they ask “Did you get my cupcakes?” or they’ll treat me to a nice bottle (or two) of wine. And in a way, maybe that’s better than having a big party every time.

 

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How a Terrible Movie Changed My Book

point-break-poster08 For some reason I’m still not clear on, movie studios decided to remake Point Break last year. The original is something of a modern action classic, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, and tells the story of a young FBI agent who goes undercover with a group of thrill-seeking thieves with hearts of gold. It’s a silly premise, but people loved it. Why anyone believed a remake was a good idea is beyond my comprehension. Why I decided to watch it is still a mystery to me. It was on HBO Now, I was working on edits, I just wanted something brainless. (If you’re curious of my play-by-play thoughts, look up the hashtag #NoPointBreak on Twitter. I live tweeted it.)

This post isn’t a movie review (the movie was bad, I don’t recommend it). It’s about the old author adage: “Inspiration can be found in the strangest places.”

See, as bad as the new Point Break was, without it I don’t think I’d have been able to write Black Magic Bayou. At least not the version I currently have, which I adore.

In Point Break, the Swayze character Bodhi is played by Edgar Ramirez. I remembered really loving Ramirez in the Kiera Knightly action flick Domino, and figured if this movie sucked at least I’d have something to look at. What I didn’t expect was how magnetic Ramirez was on screen. With his wet curls and tattoos, he was irresistible in every scene. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, even as the terrible dialogue came out of his mouth and the staggeringly stupid plot unfolded around him. I found myself thinking “how could this man be better used?”we-re-all-going-to-die-photo-u1

And so Santiago was born. I was at a point in writing Black Magic Bayou where I knew how the story needed to progress, but I also knew something was missing. Some spark that would create conflict and interest. I couldn’t have Genie’s path run too smoothly, and needed a foil in her budding romance with Wilder. Santiago managed to be everything the story was missing. Without giving too much of the story, he is a gifted natural witch who Genie allies herself with in order to help solve a dangerous problem. He is charming, incorrigible, and darkly appealing. And he would not exist if I hadn’t watched Point Break.

i-need-to-get-to-bodhi-photo-u1 Now, don’t get me wrong: Santiago isn’t Bodhi. Santiago isn’t even Edgar Ramirez (though his appearance certainly influenced the character). But without Ramirez’s portrayal of Bodhi, I don’t think Santiago would exist. The book would have suffered for his absence. Much like Thunder Road wouldn’t have been quite the same without Jon Bernthal’s turn as Frank Castle in Daredevil season 2.

Inspiration is all around us, and for any creative person it’s hard to know when it’s going to spark something inside you. The entire bayou world of the Genie McQueen books started out as a result of watching the show Swamp People one night, and I asked myself “what would happen if a bunch of werewolves went rogue in the bayou?” Thus the story of the loups garou from Keeping Secret was born, and with it the entire southern mythos that would become Genie’s world.

Point Break might have been a completely pointless movie that was otherwise a waste of my time, but I’ll be forever grateful for what it gave me.

Inspiration is a funny thing, and I for one will always be willing to run with it when it shows up.

 

Black Magic Bayou comes out October 5.

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Books for the Military

To this day one of the greatest letters I’ve ever received was from a gentleman in the military stationed on active duty in the Middle East. He told me reading my books helped distract him from what was going on around him, and I can’t properly express how much that impacted me.

I’m not sure if there’s a process for donating e-books, but if you or someone you know is serving in the military (army, navy, air force, anything), please shoot me an email. I would love to send free books to anyone who needs the distraction. Or if you are a military spouse who needs something while your loved one is away, please email me as well.

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Have you seen the new cover?

SecretToDieFor-A72lg

 

Work by the ever amazing Kanaxa. So sad this is the last time I’ll see the beautiful Morgan Miller on one of my covers. :(

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The Auction

Final Update!

Congrats to my winners: Natasha, Marcela and Jo-Anne! I’m thrilled to announce we’ve raised $275 for the Graffiti Gallery!

Winners, I’ll be in touch!

Today is December 6th, and as some eagle-eyed readers might know, that’s Secret McQueen’s birthday!

As a fun way to celebrate, I wanted to have an auction to raise money for a local charity I feel really strongly about. The Graffiti Gallery is an awesome group in Winnipeg who provide a safe environment for kids in high risk neighbourhoods. They promote the arts, and their presence in these tough areas has actually had a direct positive impact on bringing families in and driving gangs out.

The reason I’ve selected The Graffiti Gallery is that any money raised from the auction will show a direct and immediate impact for the group. Money raised can provide much needed supplies to help with the art programs, and I love the idea that the funds we raise through the auction will help straight away.

So here’s what I’m auctioning:

Auction A – 1 complete set of signed paperbacks: Something Secret this way Comes; A Bloody Good Secret, Deep Dark Secret, Keeping Secret, Grave Secret, Autumn, and Winter (I will ship these in January, upon receiving my copies of Grave Secret and Winter)

Current Bid – $85 (Natasha)

Auction B – A name of your choice (within reason, I won’t put in anything offensive) in the FINAL Secret McQueen novel.

Current Bid – $90 (Marcela)

Auction C – Your name as the love interest in Nolan’s novella (which I’ll be writing next year)

Current Bid – $100 (Jo-Anne)

As an added bonus, anyone who feels they can’t afford these auctions, but donates $10 or more to the Graffiti Gallery will receive a eBook of their choice.

So how do you bid?

Easy – just leave a comment with which auction you want, and how much you want to bid. All auctions start at $20. If you’re uncomfortable posting the amount you’d like to bid, email me directly email hidden; JavaScript is required and I’ll update the highest bid.

If you do a direct donation, forward me a copy of your donation confirmation, and tell me which book you’re interested in. (This includes Chasing Kings and Perfect Catch).

The auction will close on December 13 at midnight CST.

Thanks for your support! Happy bidding.

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Praise for Sierra and her novels

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Copyright © 2013-2017 Sierra Dean.
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