Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Author Ann Macela

Welcome to author, Ann Macela, who will be answering our questions this week. Ann has had a number of careers including teaching history at my alma mater, sales, marketing and now romance author. She's a native Texan, living in the Windy City. Her new release is Do You Believe in Magic.

Ann, thanks for coming to the blog. Besides what we already know about you, anything else you'd like to share?

Who is your favorite author and why? What kind of books do you read for fun?


Ann Macela said...

Hi, Vicki,

I'm checking in early to make sure my connection works.

As for sharing . . .
I came late to Romance, but have read mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy all my life. So, I'm grounded in books that not only tie all the loose ends of the story together, but also incorporate magic as a matter of course.

My "magic practitioners" use magic in their everyday work. If you were a practitioner and could cast a spell to make your work easier, what would it be?

Of course, there are limitations on these spells and rules for the magic. In working out the magic, I had to write it all down or I got lost. I put "A Theory Of Magic" on my website in the articles section, if anybody's interested. This is a work in progress, and I add to it as I write the books. I have 6 planned in the series.

As to who is my favorite author: Lois McMaster Bujold! The woman is phenomenal. Not only does she write so well and beautifully, but her characters come off the page.

I read lots of romance, a few mysteries, and some sci-fi fantasy. And some "real" history from time to time. I don't know that I read "for fun." I read because I must. I feel funny without a book in my hand. I carry the current read everywhere, including the post office and read while I'm standing in line.

My husband is a reader too, and we have a severe book problem!

That's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow.


chris k said...

I'm a little late coming to visit.

I had to laugh - I'm like you Ann, my book is with me everywhere. I'm reading in the doctor's office, in the carpool line, recently I even got caught reading at a red light (I was SO near the end!! lol)

I can't imagine being able to plan a six book series. Did you always know there would be that many? Or have the ideas evolved since the first book was published?

TracyG said...

Congratulations on Do You Believe in Magic?! It's definitely going on my tbr list.

Magic in my work? I would love to apply a little magic - maybe make my wip finish itself. lol

Thanks for blogging!
Tracy G.

TOUCH OF TEXAS, Available Now!
TOUCHED BY LOVE, November 2008

Ann Macela said...

About the six-book series. I always knew there might be six, if I followed through on my practitioner/soul-mate combinations.

For example:
In Magic1, she's a practitioner and he isn't. How will a non-practitioner take the news about soul mates?

In Magic2, he is and she isn't, and she doesn't believe in magic, at all, no way, no how. So, we add another problem to the mix.

In Magic3, they both are, but they are on extremely opposite sides about how to "do" magic in the first place, and he knows he doesn't want a soul mate, no way, no how, not at all, for what he thinks are good and sufficient reasons.

1-3 all advance the use of magic and how to do it, but that's not the main story.

In Magic4, which I'm finishing now and which Medallion has bought for 2009, she's not only a practitioner, but a special kind, called a Sword, who uses magic to destroy evil magic items. He's a "wild talent," who will find out that he can do magic too. Magic in inherited by my practitioners, but something happens every so often to create a practitioner. The Sword stuff gets me into throwing fireballs and other good stuff. More on magic, and I had to teach my wild talent how to cast a spell.

In Magic5, they both are practitioners and Swords, but they have previously had soul mates and those soul mates died. Is there a second soul mate in their futures? And there's lots of other problems with that idea too.

More on the dark side of magic also.

In Magic6, well, this is "save the world" time. With 3 totally powerful magic items, one of which is evil. They're legendary, and I tell the stories too. The hero and heroine are both practitioners. She's a Sword. He's the Keeper of the Veil of Serenity, a magic crystal that confers wonderful calm. It seems to work in conjunction with the Pinnacle of Heaven, a good item to destroy evil, but nobody can figure out to use them together. Rumor has it that the Depths of Hell, an extremely evil item, has resurfaced. At the same time, the heroine thinks that she will never have a soul mate--for reasons you'll just have to wait for.

Now, see what I've done here. I've taken a concept and worked out the various permutations to create the basis for the underlying "theme" of true love bringing together mates. There is an end to the series. At the heart of it is the soul-mate connection. When I've written about all the combinations, I'm done. What else is there to explore without becoming redundant? Or worse, boring?

Well, this has gone on long enough. I hope I answered the question.


Nancy Haddock said...

Hi Ann!

I love magic, too! If I could wield any kind, it would be to keep the house clean and tidy at all times. Okay, so maybe I'd do something else with it, but the vacuum cleaner shouldn't be my closest companion, now should it?

Your books are on my TBR pile, and I know I'll love them. The way you've mapped out your series is fascinating, and I thank you for the education.

How did you get your inspriation for this series? Anything you can put your finger on?

Thanks for being here!

Nancy Haddock

Ann Macela said...

Thanks, Tracy, Chris, and Nancy for the good questions!

When all this started some years ago, I knew I wanted to write a story using magic (of some sort) and some of my husband's knowledge on computers and embezzlement--he was in charge of writing programs to make it harder and to catch the crooks. That threw the story into a business world and a contemporary one. So, I asked myself "What If?" questions.

Magic 1: The Oldest Kind Of Magic
What if my heroine could use magic, but not cast a spell on any thing or person except herself? How could she use that? What if the hero could not cast spells but needed her help? What could bring them together? What if there was a "soul-mate imperative" that always brought practitioners together with their mates? Whether or not they liked the idea?

And everything rolled on from there.

The difficult thing about using magic is that it all has to make a kind of sense, be consistent, and--to me--have a cost.

The spooky thing is that just when I think I'm stuck, I fall back on my magic rules and the answer/solution appears. Even more spooky is that when I go back to incorporate it into the story before that moment, all the lead-ins are already there.

If you read either Magic1 or Magic2, please let me know what you think of them. ann@annmacela.com

On www.annmacela.com you can read excerpts for all 4 books and reviews for the first two. I don't think we have the Mrs. Giggles review up for Magic1 yet--she posted it just the other day. She gave Magic1 an 84!

Now, what are the rest of you writing?


Vicki Batman said...

Ann, let's talk about your craft for a bit. How have you shocked your readers? Do you have much humor? Are you interested in writing in other genres? What stops you from writing? Vicki

Ann Macela said...

Good morning to everyone.

Shock my readers? I don't know about that. I do hope I surprise them from time to time. Put my H/H into situations or give them reactions that make the reader say, "I didn't expect that."

Humor, I love. But my humor is not often slap-stick (although, see the end on "DO You Believe In Magic?"), but more often situational.

For example, in Magic1, some goofballs are trying to throw a stinkbomb through Daria's window, but the house's protective spells bounce it right back to their feet, where it goes off. Daria is describing all this to the police dispatcher. That was meant to draw a smile from the reader. I hope it does, at any rate.

I don't think I can write "romantic comedy" where I'm actively trying to be funny. That's too forced for me. I'll also admit to having a warped sense of humor at times.

But I do like the idea of using humor from time to time to lighten the mood, give the reader a chance to relax, then hit them with a big moment.

Then there's the basketball game in Magic2. I'm really curious as to what people thought of that, but not one reviewer has mentioned it.

What I dread would be having someone say, "This is so bad, it's funny." Ouch.

I have a great critique group, and I usually know my humor is working when they chuckle as I'm reading it. Our group meets in person and each author reads her chapter aloud to the others. Whether or not you have a group, I strongly recommend reading your stuff out loud. You see things you never knew were there that way.

As for other genres, I don't plan to write a straight mystery, for example. I have so much fun with the romance that it would end up being one. However, I do have a story planned that will take place on another world, galaxy, whatever that will involve mind-readers. Now, if that counts as a futuristic sub-genre, so be it.

And I write contemporary without magic too.

I think you have to write what your voice dictates. I can't write dark, really angsty stories. I suppose I could learn, but it doesn't appeal to me much to write it. I do like to read it though.

I have 3 degrees in history, but I won't write a historical either. It would start sounding like "academic" history--booooorrrrring.

But, then there's Windswept, which comes out in Feb 08, that incorporates history into the story. I call it a contemporary with a historical twist.

That's enough for now.


Vicki Batman said...

Ann, you have given us great insight into the magical world you write. How about answering some offbeat questions:

Fill in the blank: Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you _______.

If you could live anywhere, where?

How much do you like cake? and if so, what kind?

Ann Macela said...

Fill in the blank: Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you fed him well and woke him up the next morning with a "surprise."

If you could live anywhere, where? Wherever my husband is. So far, that's been Houston, Minneapolis and now the Chicago suburbs. I'd rather not live where hurricanes can hit. I grew up and lived too long on the Gulf Coast.

How much do you like cake? and if so, what kind?
Chocolate, but I'm not that big a cake person. Now, ice cream is a totally different matter.


Ann Macela said...

Thanks for having me, Vicki and everyone. I really enjoyed it.

If you have any other questions, contact me at ann@annmacela.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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