GdG: Hello Arial! How’s the weather where you live right now?
AB: Southern California in the Inland Empire is getting really nice cool weather. We’re enjoying temperatures in the 60s and occasional rain. Lovely!! I kinda get tired of all the sunshine, so the clouds are a nice change. 😀
GdG: I hear ya! I love the 60s and 70s and cloud cover makes me happy – LOL – That being said, what is your favorite piece of winter/seasonal clothing?
AB: Sorry, but I don’t really have one now since it’s usually so hot here in So Cal. Once I move to the UK or Europe, though…that will be a different story!! I would imagine my favorite winter clothing would be a nice, oversized cable-knit sweater!
GdG: Oooooh, that looks toasty! Now for pet pix! Please show off your furry companion!
AB: We LOVE our Lab-mix puppy dog, who is actually about five years old now! His full name is Zeddicus Drool Zorander. We named him after our favorite wizard in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series – Zeddicus Zul Zorander.
But because our dog tends to slobber, we changed the middle name. We call him Zedd for short. He’s not only a devoted and loving member of our family, but he’s a great watchdog, too! I have no doubt this guy would pull my body from a burning building or rescue me from a potential attacker. He’s AWESOME! And because he’s about 95 pounds, not too many people are keen to take him on at first sight. I LOVE this dog!
GdG: He’s so sweet!!! (((Zedd))) Who’s the good boy? Rubs head* Who’s the good boy? 😀 I would totally want to play with Zedd some days instead of write – LOL – How do you get into the writing zone if you happen to be unmotivated that day?
AB: Lately, I’m proud to say I’ve finally got myself into a daily routine that not only works well with productivity, but my creativity is at its highest! My husband has to get up at 3:45am every day so he can be out the door by 4:20am in time to catch the bus to work. He commutes all the way downtown 2.5 hours one way. Since he’s been getting up that early, I decided to do the same. By 4:30am, I usually have my butt in the chair and I’m working on my novels!
The secret to success for ME is this one rule I must abide by: DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT WRITE. I can’t open my email, go on social media or do anything else unless it’s research for the book I’m writing. So, for the most part, writing that early in the morning when my mind is still fresh out of dreamland (where most of my ideas come from) and not cluttered with the complexities of the day, I usually don’t have problems with getting in the zone. However, on the one or two occasions I have had a hard time getting there, I’ll switch to brainstorming other story ideas. At present, I have about 50 story ideas in various stages of development, so I have plenty of material to dive into and play around with, should I get struck with a lack of motivation to work on a current project. As long as I stick to my rule and don’t do anything but write, it doesn’t really matter what book I’m writing…as long as I write!
GdG: Now THAT is dedication!! What is your preferred media when writing? Pen & paper, audio notes, laptop, cocktail napkin?
AB: I use MS Word. I was using Scrivener for this last novel, but when they did upgrades on their software and I lost FIFTEEN chapters of my first draft (I know…take a breath…85,000 words were GONE…but I was lucky to have a backup, so I’m okay), I decided to switch back to MS Word exclusively again. I learned a GREAT new trick on how to use MS Word in the way that I loved to use Scrivener. I just reblogged about it at my writers blog: http://arialburnz.blogspot.com/2015/12/ms-word-trick-move-scenes.html So MS Word is definitely my tool of choice and I am TOTALLY a plotter. I outline and plan and plot and scheme and do tons of research and take notes.
GdG: What is the weirdest thing on which you’ve written an idea?
AB:My leg! I needed more room than my hand would provide and I was wearing a skirt at the time, so I hiked up my hem and wrote a long note on my thigh! LOL It was so long ago, though, I can’t remember what I jotted down. Since I don’t remember, I’m assuming it was an idea I didn’t run with.
GdG: Hahaha! OMGee! Aside from your leg 😉 do you have a favorite work space?
AB: Just my desk where I do all my work. I’m blessed that I get to work from home full time as a writer. I won’t include a picture, though. My desk is a folding table right now because we’re still in the middle of a lot of construction at our house. We’re STILL recovering from some water damage that happened two years ago. What a nightmare!
GdG: Ugh! That alone is a distraction! I hope you have a comfy chair at least! 🙂 Tell us about a time when you weren’t writing and a fantastic idea hit you like a truck.
AB: LOL…this happens too many times for me to pick just one incident. Let me see…I would have to say the most impactful story idea that came to me was from a dream. I usually dream pretty vividly and, as I mentioned before, many of my story ideas come from dreams. But this one was about a young woman, whose eyes I was seeing through, who was summoned before a grand wizard council. She had some kind magic they needed to stop an evil wizard and there was some personal connection she had with him that even she didn’t know about. I’m not going to go into all the details of the dream, but when I woke up, I wrote down the dream for later use. When I was stuck at doing some software training where no one showed for several sessions, I had a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to do some writing…and that idea was the only thing I had with me on my thumb drive at the time. I was able to brainstorm an entire magical world and what sprung from it is a nine-book series, which I’ll be working on next, called The Keystone Chronicles.
GdG: Very cool! Kindly provide how you came up with your latest WIP + a blurb and a few sentences from it.
AB: My current WIP, which is now available for preorder, is called Midnight Savior.
It’s the fifth book from my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles and takes place in London, 1888, during the Autumn of Terror when Jack the Ripper was terrorizing Whitechapel. This series has been about Broderick MacDougal’s pursuit of his soul mate, Davina, as she has been reincarnated through the centuries, but each time poor Rick gets with Davina, he brings such danger and destruction into her life. This time around, Rick is going to put himself in the “friend zone”. Here’s the short blurb:
Broderick MacDougalrefuses to put his beloved Blossom in danger again. As a vampire with a dark past and enemies, he brings with him too many risks to selfishly claim her as his own. But keeping her at a distance proves to be much more difficult than he anticipated. And as much as Broderick hates to admit it, Theodore Coleman may be Belle’s only safe haven.
Christabelle Williamshas fought for her financial independence since the cradle, and nothing will make her turn to anyone for help. But Belle’s living as a laundress is jeopardized. Finally accepting Theo’s marriage proposal wouldn’t be so bad…if she wasn’t haunted by the sinful dreams with a passionate vampire.
Jack the Ripper is prowling the streets where Christabelle lives…and he is no mere mortal. Broderick must act quickly before the Whitechapel murderer learns what she means to Broderick and use her to extract payment for an old debt.
EXCERPT: Just a tiny setup for those who haven’t read my series yet – in each life Davina has, she always has sapphire blue eyes. They say eyes are the windows into the soul, and that’s why I always give Davina the same dark-blue eyes that are the one thing Broderick knows on sight whenever he meets her in her new lifetime. This is the first time he’s seeing Davina in her life in 1888, following the calling of her soul. (Editorial note: This is only the first draft, so forgive the roughness of the prose.)
As he did anywhere he went in London, Broderick reeled from the assault on his heightened senses—horse feces and sweat, human urine and body odor, the burning of coal and the stench of the Thames. The cacophony of conversation from the crowds mixed with the sing-song hawkers taunting their wares, and the occasional jumble of piano notes danced over the multitude of bodies pressing against him.
“Bloody needle in a haystack,” he grumbled for at least the hundredth time since he began his search for Davina.
He narrowed his eyes at the setting sun, disappointed he was losing the daylight. However, he gravitated toward what appeared to be the Penny Gaffs—pubs hosting performances of cheap entertainment. Varney the Vampyre was artfully drawn in white on a long black chalkboard. Rick smirked and harrumphed. “Varney the Vampyre indeed.”
A delicate hand brushed against his ribs and he started at the sudden absence of a certain timepiece pressing at his side. He whirled to survey the teeming heads of hats and hairdos as his fingers fondled his empty vest pocket. One blonde bun pushed a direct and contrasting route through the crowd. The woman stopped and when she cast sapphire eyes over her shoulder, her gaze locked with his.
The little chit picked my pocket!
Christabelle’s jaw dropped and she ducked under the sea of people milling around them.
Broderick grinned and shoved through the populous, which parted like the Red Sea, shifting to avoid his massive frame. When she dodged behind a hawker’s cart, he picked up his pace. She cast a wary glance behind her as she scampered between two buildings, and Rick poked his head around the corner just in time to see her sidestep out of view.
He pressed forward to the end of the tight walkway only to see her dart down another alley. Using his immortal speed, Rick caught up and rounded the corner, but stumbled to a halt.
Empty, save for the scattered arrangement of trash cans and storage crates illuminated by the dim gas lights dotting the long alleyway.
A door burst open and Broderick backed into the shadows. A stocky, sweaty man hauled a can overhead and dumped the rubbish into a nearby bin along the wall. He grabbed the door handle and stopped mid-stride, pointing at the stack of crates in front of him. “Oy! I don’t need the likes of you griddlin’ around here! Off wit ye, now! Go on!”
Christabelle scuttled from behind the large, wooden boxes and dashed down the alley. The man mumbled and went back inside. Broderick chuckled and resumed the chase.
A whispered curse caught his attention. He waited, silent and listening. The rustle of fabric. Rick closed his eyes and inclined his head, attempting to ascertain her direction. The rapid melody of her heart sang to his soul from behind the wooden fence to his right. He inhaled the scent of her blood to savor her essence. Her fear seduced The Hunger to the surface, but Broderick eased it back into submission. Slipping the Lunar Eclipse ring from his finger, he dropped it into his trouser pocket.
“Don’t move. Don’t breathe.” Yet her panting gusts rebelled against her thoughts.
He hesitated. What was he doing? One glance at those sapphire eyes brought out the rogue in him. Instinct had overshadowed all reason. But now that he had his faculties, he reassessed his original mission: Feed from her to learn how to get her out of the East End without her fighting him every step of the way. He needed this. This was his chance to get her to safety and make things right.
Drawing a deep breath, he carefully strolled through the adjacent gate and entered the backyard, closing the gate behind him. His immortal eyes revealed her crouching in the darkened corner behind some crates. He examined the long and empty, paved yard behind the row house. No lights in the windows and no shadows moving from inside said they were alone. He returned to the garden shed by the gate and leaned his back against the brick wall. Crossing his arms and his ankles, he smirked, but kept his distance.
Christabelle stood, fists at her sides—her right one bound in a plaster cast—and she squared her thin shoulders. “What you doin’ followin’ me?”
Gods, she’s nothing but skin and bones!
She pulled a knife from her waistcoat with her left hand and a steady grip, pointing it at him. “Ye’ll have more than yer fair share o’ trouble if ye try anythin’”
“I’m sure I will, lass. I just want my watch back.”
She gasped. “Lord o’ me, it can’t be.”
Broderick knew she’d recognize his voice. She always did. But that didn’t stop his heart from ramming against his ribs like a caged lunatic. Nor was he prepared for the familiar wave of love that crashed over him.
A tear slipped down Christabelle’s cheek. Though she tried to ignore what she considered a sign of weakness, her lips quivered. “He’s just a dream! Now stand strong or ye’ll git yerself killed if ye let yer guard down with this stranger.”
Clenching his jaw, he resisted the temptation to sweep her into his arms and comfort her. But why? The plan was to feed from her and wipe the memory from her mind. Why couldn’t he hear her long-awaited confessions of love and let them carry him into his seclusion? He would bury the treasure of her kisses and the nectar of her blood deep in his heart with the peace of knowing she was safe from him.
He advanced, but she raised her knife, coaxing a sympathetic grin from him. “All is well, Blossom. I’m here.”
Christabelle whimpered and dropped the blade. “But…how?”
Slow and careful steps, Broderick closed the distance between them. His hands cupped her delicate face. The intoxicating heat of her blood filled his nostrils. He searched those precious sapphire eyes, so wide with wonder. Rick dropped his gaze to her trembling pink lips and bent forward to capture them with a kiss. And his intention was to claim a chaste morsel.
What a fool.
When was any amount of this woman ever enough? Especially when she surrendered so completely.
GdG: Wowsers!!! (((LOVE))) What is your latest work that is available now?
GdG: Sweet, thanks! Any final words of wisdom or well wishes for the new year you’d like to share?
AB: This past year went by FAST and it certainly had its ups and down and bumps along the way, but 2015 was definitely a year of growth for me. In spite of all the bad we all go through, looking back on it and gleaning lessons is how we can turn something bad into something good. If we can find appreciation and gratitude in what we still have versus focusing on what we’ve lost, it makes the bumps a little easier to bear. Both my mother and mother-in-law went through breast cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but these two amazing women taught me how staying positive through adversity goes a long way. I’m so proud of them both and they’ve given me such courage in the face of some of the problems I had this past year. All the hardship has actually helped me end this year with more productive habits, new opportunities for my novels, and birthed from the difficulties, I made new friends and created new ideas with old friends, so I now have a ton of projects lined up for this year. I’m going head-on into 2016 with gusto and excitement! I wish everyone could feel as enthused about the next twelve months! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!