Friday, May 23, 2014

Fantasy Friday: Devices of War Author, Frankie Blooding

And yes, she is this much fun!!
It is with great pleasure I introduce SM "Frankie" Blooding.

SM “Frankie” Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Jack the Bird. Jack has refused to let her to take up the piano again, but is warming to the guitar. It might help that Frankie has learned more than two strings. She’s added a few more Arabic words to her vocabulary, but don’t invite her into conversation yet—unless, of course, you’re willing to have a very . . . slow . . . conversation.— Frankie's Mind Design
Ooo, la-la your killin' me, Frankie!

Here is a little about her latest book: Return to a world of mind blowing visuals, heart stopping action, and ships that sail the skies.
Nix, Queen of Wands, has exactly what she wants—Synn El’Asim, the greatest Mark the world has ever seen. Even though she bound his soul to hers, he is not easily controlled. If she wants him, she must do the one thing that pains her most. Let him go, and give him what he desires. Peace.

Armed with a treaty bearing Nix’s seal, Synn sets off to bridge the gap between the world’s two reigning tyrants—the Hands of Tarot and the Great Families. He struggles to trust Nix as he fights for control of his soul. He’s going to need every ounce of restraint when dealing with his mother, leader of the Great Families. She will not give up her power without a fight. Nix will honor her treaty only if Synn agrees to become her knight. His mother refuses to sign the peace agreement if he falls into the queen’s control.

Frustrated, Synn does the one thing neither woman saw coming. He invites all the tribes, currently voiceless in the war between these two ruling tyrants, to partake in the treaty negotiations. All they have to do is prove their worth in his Peace Games. As Synn’s influence and subsequent power grows, a new fight begins.

Who will control Synn’s League of Cities? Can he protect more people as a leader of the Great Families, or as the Knight of Wands.

And now over to Frankie.

1. What genre's do you write in and which are your favorite and why?

I write fantasy - everything from adult to young adult - from romance and urban fantasy to adventurous high fantasy. But which one's my favorite? Oh, wow. Huh. I'd have to say fantasy adventure because there are no limits to where my mind can go! In urban fantasy, you have to keep the story kind of rooted in reality. With romance, you kinda really have to focus on the two main characters and make sure they FALL IN LOVE by the end of the book (which, *clears throat* can been a little tough for people like me.)

But in fantasy adventure, I could be riding a giant jellyfish one day, and duking it out with an angry rainbow the next. I'm really not kidding.

2. New adult, the genre or your Devices of War trilogy, is a fairly new genre. Can you describe what makes it different than YA, and why it isn't just called Adult?

New adult is for the older teens, the ones who are stepping into the adult world for the first time. We're dealing with more adult issues, a few things that are absolutely taboo in young adult.

However, it's not adult. Yes, we're dealing with adult issues, but it's through the inexperienced hands of young characters. Do you remember when you first stepped into the adult world? Sure. You were expected to act like an adult, but, boy-oh-boy, did you mess things up! In some cases, it's about watching the mess being made. In other cases, it's about watching how a teen is shaped into an adult. There's a lot more cringe-worthy moments in new adult. 

3. Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

I've always had a wild imagination, but I've always been bound by reality. When I was in school, I had one teacher tell me I should be a writer. My mother informed me that I'd fail as a writer and that I needed to get a real job. So I quit writing and GOT the real job.

As a grown-up, I realize they were both right. I need to pay the bills, but writing is my passion. One day, it was like something burst out of me. I had to write. So I did. Whether I'm any good at it is still debatable.

4. What comes first character or plot?

*silent chuckle* The WORLD! I know. I know. The story is a story with a plot and characters. The world is just the background, but for me, the world comes first. The history, the landscape, all the elements that might shape the characters and the society and the plot.
Then, I either get a character or a plot. It's a toss-up at that point. What developed with greater appeal from the world I built? In Devices of War, it was my protagonist, Synn, and his antagonist, Nix. Oh my word. Those two. They battled it out in my skull for almost a year before I started writing their story, but it took me that long to get all the details on their world. It's a bit complicated because it's so different from ours.

5. Most of your stories and novels require a certain amount of world building. What do you find most challenging about this process?

When I was writing Devices of War, I would have said nothing was really challenging about it because apparently I just have a knack for it. However, look at how long it took me. Over a year of developing, so maybe it's a bit more challenging than I'm willing to admit. I enjoy researching the science behind the world, and developing the societies, and the histories, and the details.

However, as soon as I allowed Dreamland to explode into two side-by-side series, I realized there are challenges. Keeping everything straight. 
(Hello, but how?)

I've been able to keep most of Illona (the world of Devices of War) straight and out of Dreamland. However, this universe is just so vast. It's difficult to keep track of. Also, I have multiple characters telling their stories, and sometimes telling different sides of the same parts of stories, that I have to recall who sees what and how, which just adds all new levels of challenges! One person understands how Place (teleportation) works in Dreamland, where another one just goes by gut feel, and another one has created a whole new dictionary to it. Everything makes sense through their eyes, but it's a struggle to remain consistent. (Tell me about it!)

I now realize I'll probably have the same issues when/if the Devices of War Saga continues without Synn in the front seat.

So, world building? Love it! LOVE it!

How do I keep it straight?

A Series Bible. I cannot leave home without it!

6. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning the world building process? Any tools or books you found most helpful?

Understand that science is COOL! 

Watch the Science Channel, History Channel, and the Discover Channel. Read science books on biology, astronomy, physics, theoretical physics, chemistry, microbiology, DNA, viruses, et al. Even if you only understand about half of what you read, do it! Don't be intimidated.    (I ask my kids to explain stuff. LOL)

I don't understand half the chemistry stuff I'm reading right now, but I can tell you it's making my Dreamland series more plausible because the tiny parts I do get made me realize there were certain things that just couldn't happen!
Dig into our history. You don't have to remember any of it. 
(That's a relief!) There isn't a test afterwards, but it's amazing how looking at the past can shape the imaginations that occur in your head. You start asking yourself, "What if this happened instead?" and then all of a sudden, you have an exciting story on a brand new world.

Oh! And build a model of the things in your world that are wickedly different. (I love making a mess.)

I have a model of the solar system from Devices of War hanging up from the ceiling of my office. I made it out of Styrofoam balls and wire hangers. Oh, and string, and wooden beads. My lethara (giant jellyfish) is being made out of tree branches, yarn, paper, and foam.
(Too cool!)

Be creative! That's the key to it all, but be consistent! And if you're interested in more details, here's a video of me talking, oddly, about the world-building involved with Devices of War.

Add To Goodreads
7. What was the inspiration for the Devices of War trilogy?

Am I getting too chatty? I feel like I might be. LOL! 

You're gonna laugh. (Never!)
I had been writing the female young adult romantic urban fantasy series. Things were going well. It was a great series. (*hand blocks chuckle*)
Then I killed off everyone in the series. (Feeling guilty)
All the good guys DIED because Riley (mc) failed, and failed hard! I was heart-broken. I cried for weeks. I tried re-writing the scene, but no matter what I did, the dark witch won. I tried starting at the beginning of the last book (because that's where I was) and everyone still died and we LOST! Cierra (Mom) and Quinn (Dad) dying, I was okay with. But Riley's SISTER? No. No-no-no.

So, I needed something totally different. I wanted a male protagonist. I had to get off this fracking planet. So I took a solar system that had been percolating in my head for about a decade and said, "I want to tell a story on that little moon right there!" And Devices of War was born. 

8. Tell us about your process.

It's really changed over the years. It used to be, "Find a spare second, sit down, WRITE," and that was the process.

Now, I have time. After years of hard training, of writing in my spare seconds (no joke), I've created a process. Mon-Thur, I get up an hour and half early to make a pot of coffee and get my free-mind writing (writing done before my brain wakes up enough to say, "Yo, dude, this is a baaad idea!" My best writing gets done here). Then I go to work. At lunch, if I still have a braincell or two, I try to get another chapter banged out, or finish the one I started that morning. Emails can happen here, also blog posts because for story writing, I typically need two braincells, not just one. Then after work and after all the craziness that comes with my house, I will either write a chapter painfully slow, or I will edit, or work on some cover art, or edit someone else's book.

Fri-Sun, it's a free for all. I used to be able to use these days practically for non-stop writing, editing, cover art, whatever. People want to spend time with me all of a sudden and I like it. o_O O_o

My process is schedule. 

9. Where is your favorite place to write?

My office! It used to be outside, but now I have an office and it's AWESOME! I have everything a creative mind might need! I have a sewing table to create any doll costume I need for visualization. Also, sometimes, I make my creatures. I'm building a lethara right now. It's hanging from my ceiling and I'm still building tentacles for it. Then, will come the challenge of building the city inside those tentacles. It's exciting!

I also have a craft table for building whatever other visuals I need, or storyboards. I use the ceiling more often, but...whatever!

Storyboards line every wall that isn't broken by a door or a window. It's awesome!

(Omg, I so want to visit!)

And then there are stars. Yes. I do childish stars for each goal I achieve. I get them from the school supply place. I put my accomplishment on the star, and then hang it up on my wall. 2014 is going to have a LOT of stars! There's a lot of hard work going on this year. Holy WOW! 
(Can I get a star? Please?)

10. What did or do you find most challenging about the publishing process? What advice would you give authors?

Getting reviews. Good. Grief!

(Confession: My TBR lis is out of control. *hangs head)

I used to think it was the writing. Then, I discovered editing (which is a different kind of Hell, I'm pretty sure.) Then, I tripped into promotion and platforms, and thought I was going to END! I eventually conquered all that.

Getting reviews, however? I found out I could send my book to a hundred people for free. I'd get three reviews back. One would love it. The other would say my characters were two-dimensional and lacked emotion, and the third would just not get any of it. It's gotten better over the years, but the fact of the matter is, no matter how many books I release to the wild, and no matter how well written they are, I have absolutely no control or influence to what I'm able to glean from those efforts.

Anything else INSIDE my control? Oh, yeah. I'm going to conquer it. I might not look the same afterwards. Might be a bit bruised and bloody, but I'm gonna win, dang it!

(Persistance. I admire that!)
11. What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Write. Just write and do it a lot.
And pick up these books that I just discovered! These two women! Holy Pete! If they were here, I would hug them. Hug them! The Emotion Thesaurus, their two companion books, and their website. Treasure troves. OMW!

There are times when you're writing and you're like, "Good grief, Self! How many times can he clench his fists? Yeah, okay, he's still pissed. Show it a different way! For the love of shiny objects! Seriously!" And this is just a handy, easy to use book of quick-sheets to give you ideas on how to show your emotions. AWESOME! The other two resources are good quick sheets for characters. 

I've challenged a few fellow authors to a Show vs Tell Challenge that we're going to share on our blogs. I'm excited. There are a lot of story tellers, but I love to be IMMERSED, to feel as the characters feel it as though I'm there feeling it myself. So, it's gonna be a lot of fun.
Well, I think I've blabbed long enough! Thank you so much for this opportunity! And if there's anything you need, let me know! 

Thanks so much for stopping by Frankie. You've given us so much to think about. Inspiring ideas and great advice. Here are some links to Frankies books and where she hangs out on the web:

Frankie's Bookshelf

Devices of War - Experience a world of ships that sail the clouds and cites buried beneath the ocean, and survive the fiery battle brought forth by those who control the forces of nature!

Dreamland Stories - Where fairy tales and dreams are made, irrevocably destroyed, and then reborn again.

The Dream Killers - An entire series geared for fans of “Once Upon a Time”. Join us as we discover terrifying places and villains unlike any you've faced before


  1. OK, that is one ominous looking hombre! Great cover!

    Frankie, I, too, LOVE world-building and to me, the History, Discovery, Science, Smithsonian, Nat Geo and all those wonderful channels are just about the only ones worth watching on TV! :D

    I have to say---I WANT AN OFFICE LIKE YOURS! I love that you make physical models of your characters. I've thought to do that with a couple, but settle for sketches at this point. I haven't worked on that stuff in a while, actually (the novels, that is). And my TBR list is ridiculous, too!

    Great interview, gals! Thanks :)

  2. Ooohhhhh, I understand about the TBR. I'm pretty sure mine's grown big enough to SMOTHER me! LOL!

    There are times, especially when I'm thinking about my worlds and my stories, I just feel like I could explode with creative energy, and writing words isn't enough. So yeah. I character sketch. I build models of my worlds, of my creatures. I'll be building models of my ships this month! I'm EXCITED! The idea is to pull YOUR world out of YOUR head and into THIS one. It's much easier to share.

    It was funny. I was going over my editor's notes on one of my stories, and she wrote a better character description of MY character than I did because she'd seen the character sketch. LOL! It was AWESOME!

    Wow, Pam, this was a GREAT interview! And if you're ever in Denver, drop me a line! You've got a first class invite to my office, and there's extra space for you and everything! Also!! I'll give you a star! LOL! I kid you NOT! They're just the best on a down day!

  3. What a great interview! I really loved hearing about Frankie's office and her gold stars. I think I need to use that technique too!

  4. I highly recommend it, Jenni! I do!


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