Welcome to Our World-Building blog

Welcome! We weave dreams, some dark, some not, but all fantastic.

We are authors of Fantasy, Romance, and much more. Enter our infinite worlds....

On this blog, our visitors will find advice and opinion from published authors on much more than just world-building. We'll tell you in Craft and Opinion posts what we do, how we do it, and what we think works for us.

Authors with A-names post on the 1st of each month, B-names post on the 2nd, C-names on the 3rd etc.
The 29th, 30th, and 31st are free-for-all days.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Second Book Angst

When The Key released, I had no idea it would be another two years before I wrote the next book. Life happens. It happened to me. Life quit happening quite so much and I've been hunkered down, working on the next book: Girl Gone Nova. I shouldn't have second book angst, when I'm working on book nine (if you only count fiction).

But The Key won the Dream Realm award and took a bronze IPPY. That's a bit of pressure to deliver on the next book. Reviews and reader feedback have been great, too. That pressure had me almost banging my head against the wall (I would have banged my head against the wall, but they have this rough texture. So not worth it.) for the last few months, but I do have a rough draft!

Now I just have to edit it and get it turned in.

I didn't think I'd ever like any character as much as I liked Sara (okay, I always feel this and I always believe it, but Sara was pretty cool, IMHO), but Doc, the female lead in this book is pretty fun (not just my HO, but that my beta readers!). I know that just because me and my beta readers like the book, that doesn't mean readers will, too.

So that got me wondering, do readers have second book angst, too? Do you worry that an author is going to let you down with the next book? How much hope do you feel when you find a book you love? Do you give the author another chance? Or is that it? You move on? (Like I need more angst in my life...)

Okay, need to get back to my edits, but inquiring minds needed to know. Maybe.
Perilously yours,


Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Time (period) is it?

This month has raced by! School is over, I've taken the GRE's (still waiting to see what score I got on the Analytical Writing section) and now summer is in full swing! I have two months until school starts again, and I'm planning on getting the first draft of a new book mostly done before September rolls around.

I have a schedule, but this week it went right out the window, because I had to go and buy a new car. Then I started Tweeting and time just disappeared. But I DID start a new book, and I researched too - it's the Steampunky (I don't think it's going to be a true steampunk, because the machines are going to be more background than vital - well, except for one) Cinderella retelling.

I went round and round with this story before deciding on a time period. First it was going to be 1880 England. I would write about the Season, because what is Cinderella without a ball? Then I though...nah, been done. Then I went to NYC- better. But I finally settled on 1876 Philadelphia. Why 1876?? Doesn't it seem random? Well, no, not really. 1876 was HUGE year in Philly. It was the 100th anniversary of America, and there was the Centennial Exposition in Fairmount Park. You'd call it a World's Fair. This was the very first one. I've spent hours researching it, just to see what was there. The Free Library of Philadelphia has a terrific site with pictures and everything.

What this comes down to is research. I won't bore you with all the details, but it's fa ascinating bit of history that will serve well in the background of my story. And that brings up a question: how accurate do you like your historical fantasy to be? Would anyone but me know much about the Centennial Exposition? Maybe, but probably not. But I like to get the facts right when I can. I could have made up something like a World's Fair for the purposes of my story, but since there is already a real event, why shouldn't I use it? I think it'll be cool if anyone decides to look up the Exposition to find out it really happened.

That isn't to say that I can't bend time a little - I am moving Wanamaker's from it's original location on Market Street (where I think the current Reading Terminal Market is now) to the more well-known location near City Hall, which didn't open until a few decades later. Wanamakers actually DID open in 1876, though. All this research will make the story more real to me, I guess, although I don't know what it will do for my readers. It's one more layer of a time period not many are familiar with. (Never mind I bought a coloring book of Godet's Fashions in order to get the period dress right. We won't talk about that.)

So what do you think: Does research make better fantasy? Not just historical, but any type.

What's in a Name?

Take a look at the cover sitting over there and you'll see my author name. It's my real name and not a pseudonym. I wanted the people in the town where I grew up to know I did achieve my dream of becoming a published writer even when they said I wouldn't. I am very proud of both names...my father's and my husband's. The names mean even more to me now because those wonderful men are both gone.

One name...BOYETT...is Anglo/Saxon. Not French as some would think or as they would pronounce it. Boyt..like Hoyt... is how it is pronounced. Sharp and succinct, the precise meaning has been lost in the mists of time. It is a harder word than the effeminate pronunciation of the French version which is spelled Boyet or Boyette and pronounced Boy Yay or Boy Yet. The French meaning of the word equates to young bull.

Then there's Compo.

Originally spelled Compeaux when my husband's people came to America from France, it is pronounced Com Poe with the emphasis on the second syllable. His people changed the name because the maternal link was Italian and when they arrived in America, they moved into a predominately Italian neighborhood in New York City and the denizens of that class-conscious area of the city were not enamored of the French. His family labeled themselves Italian to keep the young boys in the group from being beaten to a bloody pulp every day after school.Thus the change in the spelling.

It isn't Camp, Campo, Campes, or Campos. Those surnames are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, but of Roman (Latin) origins from the 1st century a.d. Those names are topographical in translation and literally mean the countryside.

Nor is the second part of my surname Compton, Compote or Cornpone. It isn't Compass, Composite or Campus, either.

It is Compo. How hard is that to get right?

My first name gets misspelled quite often, too. Many people spell it Charolette for some odd reason that I can't fathom. My paternal grandmother spelled it Sharlet or Charlut depending on her mood. It is pronounced Shar Lut...not Shar Ruh Lut...and is Germanic in origin and means 'free man'. It is a derivative of Charles. The emphasis is on the first syllable, btw.

Likewise my nickname gets misspelled more often than not. It's Charlee which is pronounced Shar Lee..a soft and delicate nickname...but nearly everyone gives it the hard Char Lee as in Charlie's Angels. People spell it Charlie, Charli, or Charley. Some people even chop it off with a brutal Char which is pronounced Shar and which I hate with a bloody passion. I've reached the point that I, myself, even pronounce it Charlie because it just isn't worth correcting nearly everyone in my circle of acquaintances. It's not as important that it be corrected as my professional name is.

Just as I've gotten into the habit of calling myself Char Lee instead of Shar Lee, I've gotten into the even worse habit of pronouncing my maiden name Boy Yet. Most people pronounce it that way, anyway so I go along to get along.That really isn't too bad because my mom often felt compelled....as Hyacinth Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances pronounces her husband's name as Boo Kay... to give herself airs. Daddy didn't seem to mind or care although he hated that his parents called him by his middle name Carl instead of the more forceful first name Floyd.

But I digress.

Put all together, my professional name is Charlotte Boyett-Compo. There is a hyphen there but some people ignore it and leave it off when writing about me. I really wish they wouldn't. Some folks even put me in the C section instead of the B.

And oh! the combinations I've had!

Either Charlotte Boyer-Campo or Charlotte Boyette-Campo seems to be the favorite ones of many reviewers. Some even add the ubiquitous 'S' on the end of Campo to add insult to injury. Charlotte Boyer-Compote, Charlotte Bayette-Compton, Charlotte Boyd-Compos, Charlotte Boy-Comp and Charlotte Boyette-Campus are just a few of the combinations that have slaughtered the name. My personal favorite of all time though was Charolette Bayer-Cornpone. The person who came up with that bizarre combination surely has a special place in Hell reserved for her!

Yes, it rankles me when my name is misspelled. It makes me grit my teeth. It also makes me have less respect for the one who misspelled it in the first place. I feel the same way about people who make errors in their reporting or who use bad grammar in their writing. It's slipshod writing. It's lazy writing. It's just plain discourteous to misspell the name of someone you've interviewed or reviewed. It makes me think they just don't care about what they put their name to. It doesn't take all that much time out of a reviewer's or interviewer's day to make sure they have spelled the name correctly. They took the time to read the book and review it. They took the time to email you the questions for the interview. What's a quick glance to make sure the name is as it should be on the piece? I'm sure they don't appreciate having their own misspelled name put out there for the world to see.

It isn't too much to ask an interviewer or reviewer to get your name right. After all, it is your professional name and you are defined by it. It isn't too much to ask that they glance at a cover from one of your books to ascertain the correct spelling if they are unsure. Nor is it too much to ask that they correct the name in a timely manner when informed they misspelled it.

So, I'm asking reviewers and interviewers and the writers of blogs to LOOK at what you right before you hit the publish button. Make sure you get the author's name right. It's simple courtesy.

And if you're wondering about the above book, Wyndstones is my latest novel and its the first of two long-awaited sequels to my popular NightWind. It was just released this week from New Concepts Publishing. You can read all about it http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/wyndstone.jpg



Monday, June 22, 2009

America's Rare Desert Flower

DESERT WILD has the richest setting of any book I’ve written to date. Set in both Santa Barbara, California, and The Sonoran Desert in Arizona, I learned after months of research that the rare species of plants and animals found in America’s most hostile desert are also some of the most unusual and beautiful in the world.

Living among deadly snakes, mountain lions, and bobcats are exquisite bouquets of Desert Lavender, butter yellow wildflowers called Paper Daisies, delicate Rock Flowers that peek from mountain crevices, and countless varieties of blooming cacti. Even the symbol of The Sonoran Desert, The Saguaro Cactus, ripens with blood red fruit that is crushed into ceremonial wine by the desert’s indigenous people.

The rarest, most exotic flower of all, The Queen of the Night, became a symbol of love inside my stand-alone desert books DESERT FEVER and its sequel DESERT WILD. The queen blooms only one night each year and her flowers die at the first light of dawn. Only the stars enjoy her beauty at midnight and the desert air breathes her intoxicating scent. The flowers remind me of lovers who reveal themselves under cover of night.

To navigate the hostile American desert and keep my hero and heroine safe from predators while seeking the mysterious Queen of the Night, DESERT WILD needed a guide. The heroine’s GPS system, dubbed “Guy,” is a powerful but endearingly kinky navigator who grants wishes. Though not exactly a genie, his satellite receiver locates whatever his driver needs most. “Guy” brings a touch of magic to the desert, where beauty and danger live in delicate coexistence.

If you had a GPS navigator like Guy who could locate whatever you needed most, what would you wish for?

Here’s a short summary of my new release.

DESERT WILD by Adele Dubois


Sonny Wild Horse of the Tohono O’odham Nation is a danger to a woman’s heart. Though he lusts after Caitlyn Spencer, his desire to live inside two conflicting worlds—the Sonoran Desert of his youth and the California coast where his future as a photographer is assured—tears the lovers apart.

When Sonny disappears inside America’s most hostile desert, Caitlyn borrows a unique Thunderbird convertible and embarks on a desperate search. The car is equipped with a powerful but endearingly kinky GPS navigator that grants wishes. Though not exactly a genie, “Guy’s” system locates whatever his driver needs most.

And Caitlyn needs to connect erotically with Sonny. Again and again. If only she can find him in time.

Adele Dubois is a former journalist who writes erotic romance that receives consistent outstanding reviews. Titles include DESERT WILD, DESERT FEVER, INTIMATE ART and DREAM TRAVELER. Look for additional titles in 2009 and 2010. Please visit Adele on her website at http://www.adeledubois.com/


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Accidentally Paranormal

This is a story about writing a book, rewriting a book, then writing a book you didn't know you wrote.

Back in December 2007, I had this brilliant idea to pen a "ride along" piece for a paranormal series in development. It was supposed to be short and sweet but also representative of my writing style and this world I was trying to build. In two weeks (lucky it was the holidays) I completed about 30,000 words and was thrilled with the piece. However, I had only wanted it to be about 10,000 words and, well, the story was much more of its own entity than I had ever intended.

So I was left in a pickle. Do I flesh the story out even more and make it a full length novel? Do I cull the novel down quite a bit and go ahead with my plans to publish on my site? OR do I just submitted it to my publisher as a novella and move on to something new? I decided to take option number three. My publisher accepted the piece... Then things really got interesting.

The blending of the paranormal aspect and the strictly contemporary romance aspects of the story weren't as smooth as either I or my editor wanted. Instead of being in synch at some parts those pieces of the story seemed to war against each other. So some tough, tearful decisions had to be made.

I worked long, hard hours to strip out the paranormal second story in order to focus on this outstanding, amazing developing relationship between the principals. My editor helped me do that. She was phenomenal in keeping me on task and keeping the story very tight. By the time the novella released last month, it was something different than it was when it began, but it was still a piece of which I was very proud.

I just received a review for The Builder from The Romance Studio (5 Hearts, yay):

"A bit of the supernatural flowed in this book. Usually I don’t prefer these type books, but this is so well written that I was mesmerized. I promise you a great read from an author who obviously knows how to keep readers’ attention. I highly recommend that you read this book. "

Hey, it's subtly paranormal anyway, and successfully so, who knew? I love this story. It's been a harrowing process from the first character typed to the first copy edit, to the great reviews coming in, but goodness it's been worth it.

Grayson Reyes-Cole

The Builder available here.
Check our Bright Star, my dark fantasy/sci-fi-y piece in print.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Back pain and next week -

Yes, I have the Homedic chair cover plus their foot massager and oh yes!  Love them both and yes, they are a blessing for anyone who spends hours working on a computer.   I got mine at the local drugstore.  About next week, here's your astrological fortune cookie.  The main character in my Mudflat series is an astrologer and so I do these things weekly.  


This week I have a short story titled “Neat Alyssum” in the June issue of Crossed Genres Magazine at http://crossedgenres.com 

For more fortunes, reviews, excerpts, check http://phoebematthews.com.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Writing Through Back Pain

The hardest part about being a full-time author is not writer’s block, but back pain. After several hours at the computer, day after day, the muscles between my shoulder blades tighten to the screaming point. The knife-sharp pain can be so severe it debilitates me for days. Lost time means lost momentum on a project, which adds to my frustration. If I cut my work hours to fend off the back pain, my projects don’t get completed. When I return to writing for several hours to pick up the slack, pain strikes. Either way, my back pain controls my schedule–and I don’t like that one bit.

I’ve tried switching chairs, alternating desks, wearing a neck support, using a heating pad, and writing curled up on my sofa. I take breaks, brisk walks, and beg family members to massage my shoulders. While some of these tactics bring relief, nothing has helped long-term.

My husband and I were shopping recently at J.C. Penny, where a Homedics Shiatsu Massaging Cushion store display allowed customers to sit in a chair and sample a free mechanical massage. I sat for more than a half hour with the massager, the remainder of my shopping forgotten. I’d found the solution to my back pain!

The portable cushion can be placed on virtually any chair, and the moving Shiatsu massage mechanism travels up and down the back to loosen tight muscles. Press a button to add quick heat. Press another for localized massage to upper or lower back. Since the mechanical masseuse never tires, I can use it as long as I like.

If you have chronic back pain, and no medical reason to avoid mechanical massage, you might want to give this product a try. I promise, I’m not a company spokesperson, just a very happy and more productive author.

DESERT WILD by Adele Dubois -- Coming June 17, 2009.

Adele Dubois is a former journalist who writes erotic romance that receives consistent outstanding reviews. Titles include DESERT WILD, DESERT FEVER, INTIMATE ART and DREAM TRAVELER. Look for additional titles in 2009 and 2010.