Featured Author: Brenna Lyons

Welcome, everyone! Today we start a series of posts featuring authors from the Infinite Worlds of Fantasy group. Enjoy!

Brenna Lyons makes me (and most people) look like a slacker. She gets more done in one day than I get done in a month!

Brenna Lyons wears many hats, sometimes all on the same day: former president of EPIC, author of more than 65 published works, teacher, wife, mother… She’s a member of ERWA, WRW, TELL, MWW, IWOFA, WPM, and Broad Universe. In her first five years published in novel-length, she’s finaled for 6 EPPIES (in five different categories), 3 PEARLS (including one HM, second to Angela Knight), and a Dream Realm Award. She’s also taken Spinetingler’s Book of the Year for 2007. Brenna writes milieu-heavy dark fiction (in 19 established worlds plus stand-alones), poetry, articles and essays. She teaches classes in everything from POV studies to advanced editing, networking to marketing. Brenna loves talking to readers and can be reached via her site at http://www.brennalyons.com.

Meet this prolific, creativity, witty writer through the books listed below and the following interview questions.

TYGERS (Renegades series book one): Meet Katheryn O’Hanlon, a reclusive
writer with a mysterious past. The “official account” is that her
grandfather (Tiberius Monroe Matthews, Ty for short) had a mental breakdown and tried to kill her when she was five. Katheryn has no clue if the “official account” is true, since she has no memories of the night it
happened or anything before. But, she has to remember fast. Her
brother-in-law has been brutally murdered, and her nephew, Kyle, claims that his toy tigers have done the deed, led by the Siberian tiger…Ty. Bonded by a psychic link, either Katheryn has to find and destroy a homicidal ghost…or she has to save Kyle from the horrorscope inside her mind. But,
what’s real…and what’s not?


IN HER LADYSHIP’S SERVICE (Kegin book 2.5): Jelise Jackson didn’t know what
she was getting into when she came through the gateway with Jace. Now she’s stuck on Kegin and considered a child by their laws. She’s got two months to learn how to circumvent her imposed “guardianship” and claim the man she’s come to love.

FAIRY DREAMS (dan Aidan Fairies book one): Mollie came to the family estate to escape corporate life, but she didn’t count on Cadal. She knows him all too well, as well she should; Mollie has been dreaming about him for half her life. Cadal just wants to fulfill the promise to teach Mollie so he can resume the search for his soulmate, but strange things are happening around Mollie…things that indicate she is not at all the human woman she seems to be.

Now, for the interview:

DE: Your website is amazing, with all the different series you juggle, the writing, the advice, the blog, truly wonderful and inspiring. You mention in your FAQs that you work on multiple projects, how does it all work out? In other words, please share some of your time management tips! I think
that’s the hardest thing many people who are early in their careers face –
learning how to manage their time well.

BL: I manage it well? Grinning… Some days, it feels like I have to do a million things and have time for a dozen, but most days I manage well enough.

The trick is to try to balance everything. Sometimes you have to let things slide to get to others, and it’s okay to let some things slide. If you don’t get to updating your website on a particular day, because you’re knee deep in an edit, it’s okay. Even if something major happens (new release or contest win or something similar), you can send out a note to lists about it and update the site tomorrow. If you’re on a deadline, it’s okay to disappear from lists for a week to accomplish it. In fact, it’s probably better that you do, because e-mail is a GREAT tool of the procrastinator. Others are TV and video games. I’m not saying not to spend time with the family. It’s a recharger and keeps the family life in balance, but don’t try to do work with those distractions.

DE: How do you track the details of the different series?

BL: Each character and series is different for me. I don’t tend to confuse them.
If I need to check a fact, like what date something happened in a previous book, I tend to pull the older book out and check the date directly.

I do make glossaries and religious texts and legends for different worlds, place them in the books and on the web site… For Kegin, since the calendar isn’t a human calendar, and since I have to track things like when the gateway will reopen and alignment of the moon, I have a list of dates of birth and celestial events I use to help organize. I also have lines of succession to the throne and family trees (though I fully admit to an error on the family trees that I will NOT correct, because it’s a spoiler for book six…mean, I know).

DE: Do any of your characters make guest appearances or have walk-ons from
series to series?

BL: Grinning… That is fun, isn’t it? Well, the Kegin, Kielan, and Wolkin are all connected via the Council of Worlds, so they will start making frequent jaunts back and forth. Other than that? I tend to slip in mentions, from time to time.

In MAX SEC (Renegades series), Alex wears a Jorg for President t-shirt. Jorg is from my Night Warriors world, and at the time I was writing MAX SEC, I had a spoof page on my site that included Jorg’s political platform for president of the US. You can guess what the joke was, considering the fact that it was 2004, and Jorg is a vampire.

In several of my series, I have space-traveling worlds enjoying imports from
some of my other worlds. The Kielan excel at spisilk and wines. The Keen
excel at furs, glass work, bath oils, and soaps. The Wolkin excel at
perfumes. And so on.

DE: What is your favorite part about interaction with your readers?

BL: My favorite part of it now is actually something that frustrated the fool out of me, early on. I love when readers spark an idea for who they’d like
to see stories about next. Back in the early days, I hated that. I’d write a stand-alone and someone (often my sister or brother-in-law) would say, “But, what happens next? There’s obviously more there about X.” I would argue that there wasn’t, but there was, and the next thing I knew, the stand-alone would be a series. That’s how I ended up with 19 series worlds, in the first place.

The truth is, readers often see where I’ve left that opening to continue
that even I don’t…until someone points me to it. Then I start asking
questions, and sure enough…there’s another story there.

DE:. Is there anything about your writing life you’d like to change? If so, what

BL: Overall? Not really. I like my writing style. But, since it’s a character-driven process, a stubborn character can really throw a wrench in the works. I wish there was a way to niggle inside the head of a reluctant character faster.

DE: Thanks so much for stopping by!

BL: Thanks for having me!

For more information on Brenna Lyons and her books, visit these links:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ebookChatters/ (reader list…all reasonable
promos welcome)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BrennaLyons (announcement list for my books)

Farewell, Coliseum Books

One of my favorite bookstores in the world, Coliseum Books, shuts its doors for good today, a victim of the obscene rents and the fact that Manhattan is turning into a theme park. One can go ahead and blame chain stores and box stores – but the determination of certain groups of developers to turn New York City into the rich and famous’s playground is, in my mind, the real key to all this.

I’ve been going to Coliseum for years – perhaps even decades – especially when it was up at 57th Street and Broadway. I loved that location – it was enormous, the sale tables were sublime, and they had the most unique assortment of just about everything you could imagine. And plenty you’d never think to look for, but was so intriguing that you’d pick it up and buy it anyway.

They moved down to 42nd Street in 2003, across from the main branch of the New York Public Library and Bryant Park (the home of the two lions, Patience and Fortitude – at the front of the library, not the Park). The Café and its staff were wonderful – there were times when I traveled in for meetings purposely an hour earlier than I needed, just in order to spend time browsing in the store, buying, drinking coffee, reading, or writing. I’ve written the first draft of many a short story in Coliseum Books Café.

I’ve also spent, literally, tens of thousands of dollars there over the years.

When they first moved to the 42nd St. location, in addition to their usual bargain tables, they had tables where the books were $1. I’d pick up anything even remotely interesting, because, how could you go wrong for a buck?

And no, I did not simply pick up one of everything (although I admit I was tempted).

I’d have to burrow through boxes of books to come up with titles from that table – but I can tell you that, over the past year, I picked up an anthology put out by Ben Bella Books on Harry Potter (and, coincidentally, I am now contributing to their new anthology on Stephanie Plum), and February House by Sherrill Tippins, about a house shared by a group of writers in Brooklyn which included Carson McCullers and the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

Their Belles Lettres section was the best I’ve ever found – there I discovered volumes of Madeleine L’Engle’s journals, and was first introduced to the writing of Alice Steinbach, and Sara Nelson’s So Many Books, So Little Time.

I picked up two of my favorite and most often read books from their tables, volumes of Dawn Powell’s letters and her biography (I paid full price for her diaries).

Whenever “the world was too much with me” — I could escape to Coliseum to browse, to find something I needed, assured of a friendly welcome and a non-judgmental staff. The more obscure something I needed was, the happier they were to find it for me. They had a wonderful selection of dictionaries from other languages – and yes, I truly would have bought the Manx volume if I could have spared the $150 at the time!

My heart breaks that the store is gone forever. Unlike the last closing, where they moved from a too-expensive space down to a more congested area, this time they are gone for good. These were booksellers who loved books – a wide variety of books, and they had the best selection I’ve ever found anywhere.

I love them, they are a part of my soul’s fiber, and I mourn the loss.