Oracle Characters: Val Ferrel

Val is the oracle, a psychic medium connected to a gate separating the living world from the afterlife. She’s balancing a new life in the Bay Area after suffering a career-ending incident as a consultant to the Boston police department, but it’s not all wine and roses.

Val Ferrel

This uncredited photo inspired our Val (really, if you’re her, please let us know so we can credit), we gave her lots of flaws and strong opinions.

Now that you’re the oracle, what’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

(She tips her head to the side and gives us a little bit of a side-eye.) Is this a trick question? Continue reading “Oracle Characters: Val Ferrel”

What happens when you write a review?

If you’re an e-book reader, chances are you’re seen at least one request by the author for a review. Why? Why do indie writers, like ourselves, make such a big deal about it? Let’s break it down…

Online Reviews

Picture Amazon as a huge bookstore

As of March 2016, there are almost $4.4 million e-books on Amazon. 120,000 e-books debuted in the last 30 days.

The most popular books (bestsellers) with hundreds of starred reviews are seen first. Imagine them sitting in the window or on a table right by the door. It’s nice and bright and you know that the books here are selling like hotcakes to super satisfied customers and fans. (There’s discussion about positive and negative reviews, but we’re focusing on the positive for now.)

Continue reading “What happens when you write a review?”

Book 2 Release – Oracle in Trouble

Oracle in Trouble FINAL

Following the events of book 1, Val Ferrel uncovers a decades-old conspiracy that threatens to undermine the delicate truce between psychics and non-psychics.

Val Ferrel, the first oracle since the Sundering, feels like a total failure. Unable to siphon energy through the gate and control her own unstable powers, she returns to what she does best—finding the dead.

The case of a missing high-profile psychic executive seems tailored made for her. Wanting to shield Val from the threat he’s envisioned, the precognitive Agency director Daniel Norris insists she stay close to the gate.

Ignoring Daniel’s warning, Val enlists the aid of security head Philippe Toussaint and discovers a growing number of missing people that include members of powerful psychic Families. Val’s insistence on digging further gets dangerously close to uncovering a secret others have killed to keep. With the murderers closing in, Val struggles to master her oracle powers, deal with her celebrity status, and placate her meddling stage mother.

~*~

Oracle in Trouble, book 2 in the Val Ferrel series, is available for $2.99 (ebook) or Free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

A synonym ambles into a pub…

Our second book is back from the copy editor, who has done the fantabulous job of catching all our typos, bad punctuation, and odd phrases. We recommend copy editors for every writer because author-blindness is a real thing (when you’ve been staring at a line for so long that the word “the” looks incorrect or you’ve reworked a line so many times that it now reads like a Gordian knot).

Every writer has a funny verbal tick or repetitive ear worm. We’re not immune to this problem. We also discussed the usage and implied meaning of words and then realized that what each one understood was not exactly in line with the other’s understanding. So, we needed clarification.

Continue reading “A synonym ambles into a pub…”

What’s in a name?

 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.- Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare

Yeah, apparently there are few roses going by the same name as ours, boo.

We thought we were so clever. We selected K. and J. for our first names (careful not to switch the two because of the association with J.K. Rowling, although we’d be fine with any $$$ mistakenly sent our way). Garnet sounded dignified enough plus it was short and nice photos of jewelry popped up online.  It was a lot better than some of the other names we could have selected:

funny-dog-name-meme1

We checked to see if there were other K.J. Garnets out there, we really did. Of course, they popped up after we committed to the name  — a Japanese Instagram-er, and a Belgian writer who seldom uses the Internets but still managed to scoop the name (and it’s probably her/his own so we can’t really growl… much.)

Well, maybe a little. So the moral of the story is that we’re control freaks adopting a new mantra: *sings* “Let it go, let it go…”  We’ve got some stories to write.

Oracle Characters: Philippe Toussaint

(Our name, K. J. Garnet, is the pseudonym of writing partners, Kelly and Jenni.)

Philippe is the French-Canadian head of security for the psychic bureau known as the Agency. People fooled by his lax demeanor learn the hard way; he’s damn good at what he does and isn’t afraid of overstepping bureaucratic controls. If you want to shock your granny with filthy French-Canadian swearwords or study how to deal with gunfire and/or assassination attempts, Philippe’s your man. If you’re a woman, bring your armor or your flirting A-game for all that formidable, careless charm. Just don’t expect you’ll be the one to catch him.

We had our inspiration for Philippe early on, Swedish actor and author, Jonas Karlsson, (along with 10/90 probability he’d be flattered vs. us enrolling in the Federal Witness Protection Program):

Philippe Toussaint

So, let’s ask Philippe some questions. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Continue reading “Oracle Characters: Philippe Toussaint”

The glamorous writing life

Forget the first-class air travel, the endless meeting with fans and readers, and the best-seller lists. That only happens with 3 writers and in the movies. As we prepare for the launch of our second book, Oracle in Trouble, we thought you might like to see what really happens.

  • Software Challenges: Every once in awhile, our writing program (Scrivener) doesn’t always cross-pollinate well between our Mac and PC. This can sometimes lead to a few interesting turf wars. We do eventually figure out the technical challenges and amend them, but we’re still at the mercy of computer programs. It’s better than playing tennis with a Word document. Honest.

Mac vs. PC

  • Battle of the words: For the most part, writing together is pretty easy. However, we don’t always see eye-to-eye, especially when arguing discussing  no arguing was right  animatedly discussing word choices, sentence structure, and plot outlines. As other writers will agree, there’s no drama involved. None.

editing

  •  Creativity x 2: Somehow we manage to write enough, spurred on by each other to get the work done, with only a few breaks in between. Having a cheerleader lobbing a handful of good ideas over the fence keeps us on our toes.

Writer's block

Any day with words is a good day. Some days are better than others. The best days are when we’re both on the same track and the words are flowing. Finding a support system can be the difference between Dreaming It and Doing It.

Playing around with wor(l)ds

“Really, it’s not hard to search the net for the biggest murder mystery Rockridge had ever witnessed. Rockridge is a small bedroom community of overpriced, turn-of-the-last-century period homes hugging the hills between Oakland and Berkeley. This case had been the town’s first real haunting since the Sundering and had been sensational enough to get noticed around the world.”– Val Ferrel, Oracle in Doubt

We should point out that Rockridge is actually a lovely place. It’s a subdivision in the Oakland Hills a bit northeast of Oakland city center with a lovely view of San Francisco.

Upper Rockridge

As far as we know, there aren’t any terribly haunted houses in Rockridge, and if there are, we are not basing our Becker House on any of them. We just liked a certain type of house that had certain types of features which might be attractive to a ghost. The Queen Anne architecture of the Flavel House in Astoria, Oregon, certainly appealed to both of us.

Flavel House Oregon
Flavel House, Astoria, OR (Credit: Michael D Martin @Flicker)

This house is not actually in Rockridge. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Because we’re setting our world just left of reality, it’s not accurate. You couldn’t draw a map and follow it anywhere. San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge fell when the psychic war set off the big earthquake and the Pacific made a new coast. The world we imagined doesn’t actually show up in book one, Oracle in Doubt, but the entire planet has been shifted.

That’s half the fun of writing–we can tweak our world just so and tell a fun adventure in a familiar but not-quite-real place.

Lights, camera, action!

What happens when two writers co-write a book? Well, if it’s a former New Yorker and a Bay Area transplant with French-Canadian roots, there are plenty of wild gestures (and some crap-tastically poor acting) as we attempt to block our scenes.

We try our best to visualize what our characters are doing. So there’s a lot of eye-scrunching, shrugging, loud sighs (soft sighs), turning, twisting, and sometimes stalking across the room. We’ve thrown our hands in the air because we definitely care…

One of these days, one of us is going to lose an eye.

It really helps but we’ve tried to keep it down to a dull roar. In the meantime, we’re ready for our close-up, Mr. DeMille….

Ready for our closeup, Mr. DeMille