5 Things I Learned Writing Blood From a Rose

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Blood From a Rose Book Cover featuring model Lindsee Lockwood holding a rose and squeezing the stem as blood drips centered over a background of night lightning.

Here are 5 Things I learned Writing Blood From a Rose:

I learn something with every story, every poem, every book. Every time I sit down and write out an aspect of what I think or who I am or just let me imagination run wild through fields of flowers and thorny brambles. Here are 5 things I learned writing Blood From a Rose.


1) The Subconscious is a Weird and Wonderful Place

I have been collecting my short work for this collection for far too many years. I knew what the title was and even saw the cover art years ago. And yet, there wasn’t enough suitable work to include. So, I had to keep writing.

Funny thing. Until recently, writing dark has always felt a bit outside my norm, something that happened when I aimed for short. Especially, my flash fiction. I mean, I could start with a picture of a lovely rose and end up in a dark cemetery with a fresh-risen army of dead. I have even likened it to a palate cleanser for my brain. A way to clear out the creepy cobwebs and so my longer work delve into brighter places.

But looking at my bulk of work, I realize that there is actually a lot of dark and light in my novels. They just tend to arc into the light.

And when I finally focused in on writing specifically to fill out this collection, I discovered that my dark side has a pretty wicked sense of humor.


2) Demons Can be Hilarious

Speaking of humor. Demons can be really funny. Especially when you put them in a sitcom relationship/setting and let them loose.

I have always considered myself to be spontaneously funny. I love a good pun or an unusual play on words. But I never really thought of myself as a comedic writer. Even when people told me they found humor in my writing, I’d think, huh, well that’s cool.

Then I wrote Collars & Curses and discovered a snarky teen voice I wish had been mine decades ago. And I found myself channeling my weird brand of humor through Merissa. Smart-mouthed quips? Check. Running rat jokes? Check. Hmmm?

So, when I set out to write “A Day in the Life of Kel-Fazz,” I knew I wanted to have fun with it. And I did. The best part, though, was when I heard that first person laugh out loud at Kel and Harb. That’s when I knew I had to have more of that. So I wrote a second story for them and I still want more.

I hope readers will, too. Because I plan to spend more time with Kel and Harb, writing their stories, because frankly I find these two demons incredibly joyful to hang out with.


3) Things Can Fall Together Beautifully

There are many ways to structure a book, especially one that is a collection of shorts. But even when the shorts have a commonality, finding a way to make the structure meaningful can be incredibly difficult.

When I sat down to organize the work for Blood From a Rose, I flailed at first to find a way to make the material tell a story. Yes, there is a lot of darkness in the work, but some of it is darker than the rest, and some takes some odd twisty turns, and some of it is downright, well, funny.

So, I moved things around, looking for ways to pull the threads together in a meaningful way. It felt like trying to work out one of those complicated puzzle boxes. Each time I moved one piece, another seemed to move out of place.

Then, one night, it just came together. I saw the thread, not as something that ties all of the work together but as a way to guide the reader through the labyrinth of stories and ideas. There are no minotaurs chasing you through the work, but there is a journey from the darkening of nightfall to the gray light of dawn. I guess it’s fair to say that, even in this dark collection, I have found a way to make the journey arc toward the light.


4) Cover Artists are Awesome

Okay, this is not a new lesson. But every time I work with an artist who brings my vision to life by creating cover art beyond my imagining, I find myself in awe. This is just as true for the photography and artistry of Mark Greenawalt as for any of the illustrations made for my book covers. Mark’s ability to create just the right the mood and tone to convey the heart of this book is nothing short of stunning. Of course, the cover model, Lindsee Lockwood is also stunning and could not be more perfect.


5) I Am a Little All Over the Place

I’m not sure what it says about me that I write everything from fun picture books to light horror/dark fantasy for more mature audiences. Though, now that I think about it, some of the humor in Blood From a Rose would not be considered mature by some people. I will say I have always been blessed with a vivid imagination. And I have also always had a need to dabble in many things. TBH-I just love writing speculative fiction, and I have a lot of strange stories inside me. I’m also really happy that so many people want to read them!

Also, stay tuned because I feel myself being pulled in another altogether new direction.


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