Welcome the authors of Samhain Publishing’s Shifting Dreams Novellas~Kinsey Holley, Robie Madison, Vivi Andrews

Thank you, Barbara, Suzanne & Dawn for inviting us to visit Embrace the Shadows today to gab about our new Shifting Dreams novellas. Writers find inspiration in the oddest places and no two writers are inspired by the same thing, so today we’re chatting about the different things that inspired us to write our current releases.

Inspiration strikes…

kiss and kin cover comp V4KISS & KIN by Kinsey Holley

I wrote Kiss and Kin on purpose, so to speak, specifically for the Samhain anthology. I’ve been working on a full length story set in the same world, only in Colorado, not Houston. (It’s been over a year, and it’s not quite finished. Pieces of it have finalled in some contests, but I’m almost there, but…yeah. You know how it goes). So when I saw the Shifting Dreams submission call, I thought – well, hey, I like this world I’ve built, and I’m frustrated with the big WIP, so I’ll write a short story. But I’d never sat down to make up a story all at once. I can’t explain it, but I get the characters first, and maybe just a hint of a background, and then they start walking around and talking, and then I start to see a story. Character and dialog are my two strengths, I think. It’s the plot that gives me fits. If only readers didn’t insist on interesting plots… So then I had to come up with a story I could tell in thirty thousand words. I’m kind of verbose – I envy my writer friends who have to really work to make a story hit seventy-five thousand words. I mean, the big WIP stands at ninety-four thousand words and I’m not done. But anyway… I had this idea about a nightclub, drug dealing wolves and a heroine who gets in trouble because she was dragged along by a friend. It took me a while to come up with a hero and a real plot. Then I thought about the very first story I tried to write, the one that got stalled at six thousand words because I started having visions of this dark, bearded werewolf in Colorado. So when it was time to come up with this short story, I didn’t want to use Nick Wargman, the hero of the stalled WIP, because I’m going to finish him one day (soon, I hope). I decided the hero would be one of Nick’s wolves. After that, Lark just sort of popped up on her own, and the whole cousins-but-not-cousins thing. (There was a conversation recently over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books about what kind of hero/heroine setup you’re a sucker for. I’m a sucker for the stories where either the hero’s been in love with the heroine for years, or vice versa, or they’ve been carrying a torch for each other and neither of them knows it.) And of course, the hardest part was the plot. I drove my sister in law crazy as I tried to work out what the bad guys did and how it happened. And you read the story now, and it’s like – that’s it? That simple little plot took you forever to come up with? Yep. I can make people walk and talk and breathe, but I have a helluva time making them actually do anything interesting! ~Kinsey Holley

Website: www.kinseyholley.com


THE MAN OF HER DREAMS by Robie MadisonThe Man of Her Dreams cover comp V4

Two summers ago I had the great good fortune to spend two months in, mostly northern, Wales. Okay, I also visited Cardiff, London, and Paris—it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. I frequently write stories that include a mythical angle. So when I was immersing myself in things Welsh for my trip and read about the mythical creature known as a waterhorse, I was instantly intrigued. This “water fairy” is known throughout the United Kingdom, Orkney and Shetland Isles, and even Iceland by various names, one of the most well-known being the Scottish term Kelpie. Legend states that this shapeshifter haunts lakes and rivers in the guise of a horse and lures unwary travelers to climb on its back. Then the wild horse plunges into the water, apparently drowning its victims. The writer in me started asking the “what if” questions which often send me on a path to a story. My first question was: “What if the waterhorse didn’t drown its alleged victims, but was compelled, instead, to take them to the Fairy Realm?” This led me to wonder: “What if this creature—part man, part horse—who could travel between the Mortal and Fairy worlds wasn’t malevolent at all, but rather cursed?” It was one of those “Eureka” moments that compelled me to rewrite the Kelpie myth borrowing from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of The Little Mermaid to round out my story idea. And so, my Tortured Hero, Owain Deverell was “born”. And, since I happened to be wandering about Wales during this whole creative process, I set my story in the Welsh village of Trefriw, which lies on the bank of the famous Conwy River. And, since the curse prevents Owain from leaving the village and environs, I let him travel in his dreams to the human woman who owns his heart—Megan Jones. My next challenge: “How do I bring Owain and Megan together?” led to research on early Victorian lockets and Fairy Queens who might stand in the couple’s way. But, those were a whole other set of “what if” questions. ~Robie Madison

Website: www.robiemadison.com

SerengetiHeatSERENGETI HEAT by Vivi Andrews

I’d never really thought of writing a shape-shifter story. At least not one that was entirely about shifters. When I read the submission call for the Sexy Shifters anthology, I wasn’t sure I was even going to write something for it, but I knew right away that if I did write something, it was going to be about one of the big cats. I’ve always had a thing for the big cats. Lions seemed a natural fit because they naturally live in groups, as opposed to most of the predatory cats who tend to be solitary creatures. But, I’ll admit, when I sat down to write Serengeti Heat, I knew next to nothing about lions. So I dove into research. I was quickly sucked in by the unique structure and behaviors of African lion prides – particularly the idea of young males being forced out of their prides when they matured. These nomads fascinated me. Many of them starve to death because lions are not solitary hunters, while others band together with other adolescent or elderly males who’ve been forced into roaming. My hero just organically became one of these nomads – seeking the security of a new pride, a new family. The heroine sprang out of another aspect of lions – their innate confidence. I’ve always thought lions were about the most confidant (okay, maybe even a little arrogant) animals around. They prize strength and they know they’ve got it. The idea of having my heroine be a small, weak lioness, totally lacking in that natural confidence, intrigued me. So Ava and Serengeti Heat were born. The story grew from there, almost on its own. Serengeti Heat became a story about confidence and the nature of strength. (…and sex, but somehow confidence just sounds so much more literary.) And, well, I’ll admit the mating habits fascinated me too. Did you know lions can have sex for days without stopping when the females are in heat? The potential for that in a romance novel – whoo, boinkfest extraordinaire. So my inspiration for Serengeti Heat – lions, baby.~ Vivi Andrews

Website:  www.viviandrews.com

So tell EtS…what inspired your current WIP?  Have you ever had trouble with a tricky plot?  Have you ever used “what if” questions to get a story going? Has research ever given you the perfect bit of information that set you off an running? (Sex for days without stopping? Oh, my!)

10 Responses to “Welcome the authors of Samhain Publishing’s Shifting Dreams Novellas~Kinsey Holley, Robie Madison, Vivi Andrews”
  1. So glad to have you all at EtS today! I loved reading each of your “what inspired you” stories. I could identify with all of them. (Plot? What do you mean these awesome characters need a plot around them? )

    I also have to say that your covers ROCK. I love the way they’re all similar, but, at the same time, very different. Congratulations on being chosen for the anthology!

  2. Suzanne Rock says:

    Thansk so much for stopping by ladies! I, too, love your covers. They look great! Big congrats on the anthology. You must be so excited!

    It’s funny you should mention inspiration for my current WIP. Right now I’m preparing something for the Space Antho for Samhain. I’m not sure if I’m going to make deadline, but you can say the call for submissions inspired me! LOL.

  3. kayechambers says:

    These books are great reads! If you’re looking for something that’s going to sink its teeth in you and not let you go, these are the books for you.


    And yes, the covers rock, but they pale in comparison to the words inside.

  4. Chandra Ryan says:

    Congratulations! All three sound fantastic. And I always love to hear what inspires authors and where the stories come from so thank you for sharing that with us.

    I tend to get a lot of my inspiration from the ‘what if’ as well. That single question opens so many possibilities.

  5. Beverly G says:

    i Been working on a semi real life asspect to my online friend comunity set in a night club and what inspired me honestly was my engagement i didnt wanna forget where i been and how far i have come and so i started to write

  6. Emily ~ elove says:

    Wow, these are really pretty covers… I look forward to reading what’s inside.

    I have the opposite problem, Kinsey: My plots are okay (well, I think!), but my dialogue is scratchy. And over 9ok. WOW.

    Robie – your story sounds fantastic. I’m not pubbed, but when I start a story it sounds a lot like what you’ve done here. Selkies? Cool.

    Vivi – That cover is gorgeous. And the boinkfest! *g* It’s interesting, particularly in shifter stories, how the research leads the story. I love the research bit.

    My current novella wip is about a Firestarter, inspired by the devastating bushfires that occured here in Aus. I was thinking about people that start fires accidentally, and I wondered about the ways they would do that. What if they couldn’t help it? What if they were possesed by a demon that caused them to start a fire whenever they experienced strong emotion? And so on. It’s nearly ready to send out…

    Super post yet again! X

  7. Thanks Barbara and Suzanne! Appreciate you both, and Dawn, letting us share our inside stories on the stories. LOL
    Kaye, Chandra, Beverly and Emily – thanks for the positive comments, which are an inspiration in themselves to keep writing. 🙂
    And yes, great covers!!

  8. Vivi Andrews says:

    I’m late chiming in, but I wanted to say thanks again! And, is Natalie Winters, the cover artist for the Shifting Dreams stories, not a goddess? Thanks for commenting, Emily, Kaye, Chandra & Beverly – it’s always fun to see the spark that can start the chain reaction to a whole new story. (Spark, firestarters… ugh, I just can’t help the bad puns.)

  9. Emily ~ elove says:

    Thanks Robie – it was an awesome, awful and awe-inspiring time. A lot of great came out of so much horror.
    LOL Vivi! Pun forgiven…

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