Welcome Tanisha Jones! Writer of dark, sexy urban paranormal romance!

Welcome Tanisha Jones! Thanks for joining me on Arielswan.com. I know you have been busy with Mardis Gras this past week. I am excited to hear more from authors from The Aponte Literary Agency. So…

What is the earliest book you remember loving?

I’ve always loved books but a couple of my favorites have always been Little Women and To Kill A Mockingbird.  I’ve always been drawn to outspoken and spunky characters. As I’ve gotten older I like the characters that do things they aren’t supposed to do or what they aren’t expected to do.

What genre do you write?

I write dark, sexy urban paranormal romance with elements of theology and mythology.

It may be clear to some, but could you define for us what “urban paranormal romance” entails?

Well, unlike some paranormal stories, mine are in a modern urban location. Big modern cities like New Orleans, with elements of the paranormal but based in the real world.  Some paranormal novels take the reader to a fictional town or a parallel unviverse, my writing is based on real locations, landmarks incidents that have happened in the actual city. And the romance – well romance is romance .

What other genres do you love to read?

I read all genres but I am drawn to the darker sexy mysteries both paranormal and procedural with aspects humor. 

How did you come to writing?

 I began writing in elementary school. Being an only child until I was eleven years old, I had a vivid imagination and would write and put on plays with my dolls.

What inspired you?   When I was eleven, my mother, who was pregnant with my sister bought me an antique typewriter, from the 1930’s and I decided to write a play. 

Oooh. I would love an old typewriter now. But I can’t imagine writing a novel on one. I am assuming you don’t do that either, but can you imagine? I always think of Hemingway standing up at his.

It was a unique experience. And I wrote either on a typewriter or by hand until entered college.  But I loved that old typewriter , it was one where you had to flip the ribbon, and actual ribbon over  once you reached the end and it had keys that would come up and strike the page. Sometimes they would get stuck together and I’d have to pull them apart.  I was the only kid in sixth grade with typewriter ink on their fingers all the time.

What path did you take?  My path has been a sporadic and twisted road. I have always written, but only recently have I begun to focus on it seriously.

Can you be more specific? What was the process of getting an agent for you? (If you don’t want to share, I will take out the response to your answer).

 Well, my path to getting an agent was atypical. I became seriously ill in mid April 2011.  When was released from the hospital and realized how close I had come to actually dying, I thought- I can’t go without at least trying to become a published author. So, that’s what I set out to do.  I completed The First To Fall in November 2011.  My aunt, who was an English teacher for 39 years and has her master’s in English read and edited the first draft.  My plan was to simply self-publish through Amazon and that would be that.  She said that it was good enough to be a best seller.  I laughed and she passed it along to someone else who agreed, then another person, and another.  They insisted that I try to get an agent.  I relented and started submitting in January- by the end of February I was contacted by Victoria at Aponte, and early March- I signed the papers.  I know that’s not typical, I know some people wait years, but it gave me the confidence to keep going.

What do you have to say about the process to getting published?   Getting published is something I have had a love/hate relationship with.  Before I signed with Victoria at Aponte, I was self-published.  It’s been a confusing and sometimes discouraging, but I feel better knowing that there is someone behind me, someone other than family, who believe I have a talent and want to work with me. It takes patience and a thick skin to go through the process. It also takes a confidence in your own ability to get through the process.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing now? Do you recommend it?

I recommend self-publishing if you have the time and resources to do it.  It takes a lot of time and initiative and it has to be your entire focus. If you can do that, this it is a good idea.  If you’re like me a single parent who works a full time job and needs a steady income- it’s hard and with my daughter being only ten years old, it is very, very hard.

If you are published, what is one thing you’ve learned that you didn’t know before? I’m not published. YET. But I do believe that I will be very soon. Like I said, confidence is key.

What is your book about?

My book is called The First to Fall and it’s a story about love.  Ok, really, without giving too much away,  it’s about  New Orleans police detective with pre and post cognitive abilities who meets the woman on his dreams, literally  while investigating the missing body of a dead rock star.  He is drawn to her immediately, she’s sexy, smart and mysterious and whenever they see each other the sexual tension is palpable. 

As he gets closer to her, he begins to realize that she is not at all what she seems and neither is he or his entire life.  Soon, they discover that they are destined. It’s an epic love story that has been centuries in the making.

It’s the first in a series.

What do you seek to achieve with your stories?  I want people to love these characters as much as I do.  I want to prove that there is a HUGE market for African American and Multicultural paranormal romance. Not only are my characters black, they are bi-racial, some are bi-sexual, and some are gay, none are typical or stereotypes. I want to develop a series that crosses all color and gender lines and shows that you can have a successful story without placing characters in a box.  None of my characters are what they seem, they are always- more. Like most people, we are always more than our appearances, if that makes sense.

I agree that there is a big market for multicultural paranormal romance. It has not been a focus for many, and yet, I think it takes a book like The First to Fall to open up a wide stream of audience.

I believe it does. Especially with women- I mean my aunt is in her 60s and she loved it. My readers range in age from early twenties to late seventies.  There is a huge untapped market. And I’m ready with my tap and a hammer.

What book to movie adaptation do you love?  Ok, this is a good question because I love movies almost as much as I love books and I have a tendency to read a book before I see a movie.   I love Life of Pi, the way they translated that into a movie was not only cinematically accurate, it was just beautiful.  Stunning.

I loved Life of Pi. I teach the book and think Ang Lee did an amazing job. It is so hard to do. Do you fantasize your book becoming a movie? Who would direct it?

 I do.  I find myself watching movies and seeing actors thinking he/she would be great as- whomever. As for a director- Joss Whedon (of Course)  or Christopher Nolan, McG, Paul W.S. Anderson, The Wachowskis- great action directors…Ang Lee has the ability to meld action, fantasy and romance. Whoever it would be would have to promise not to make it Twilightesque. 

Another of my favorites is Stephen King’s The Stand.  I read the book long before the mini-series was made and I must say that is one of the truest adaptations I have ever seen, it translated beautifully.

My daughter and I have also gone through the Harry Potter movies, which are great  and Now we’re onto the Hunger Games, which made me nervous because I read the books and when we saw the first movie I was worried about how it would translate- killing children and all- but they handled it perfectly. I think these particular YA novels translated so well to the screen because they haven’t tried to be the next Twilight.(The appeal of which completely escapes me.)

What is the last book you read for fun?  I read constantly. This week, it’s Maya Banks No Place to Run and Janet Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty.  Next week, I think I may read James Patterson, Anne Rice and a couple of Harlequin romances, if I have time between school, work, writing and being Mommy.

If you could have any super power what would it be? I would freeze or slow down time but I would move at normal speed. We spend so much time doing so many thing, my kid and I and I just want to spend more time with her .She’s ten now and she’ll be a teenager soon and I just want to pause every once and a while and enjoy life.   And I could get a lot more done. 24 hours in a day, not nearly enough.

Thanks Tanisha! That is great. It is so interesting hearing what powers people would have if they could.

Thanks for being here and I look forward to promoting The First to Fall .

Thanks for having me.

Tanisha D. Jones
Author of Dark Sexy &  A Little Twisted Urban Paranormal Romance
Twitter: @tanishadelill
Blog: http://tanishadelill.wordpress.com

Guest Post by D.T. Krippene: Lasty – A Dystopian Tale

Today D.T. Krippene is my guest at arielswan.com. We are fellow writers represented by Victoria Lea of The Aponte Literary Agency and we share as writers the wide genre fantasy fiction. In looking at his work, it struck me that we share a certain realism in our fantastical imaginings. Taking life as we know it and twisting it to include the possibilities of the future or of a truth just beyond our own, as well as true human desires and emotions, is how storytellers make sense of the world. Stories such as these give readers a way to examine the uncertainty, the hardship,  the dreams, and the hope we all share as human beings, but from a safe place of remove. The floor is yours D.T.! I look forward to your tale.

 d.t IMAGE

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charliereynolds/3220883864

My thanks to Ariel for hosting me today.  We share a similar taste for old Victorian homes, rural New England settings, art by Lori Nix, and a make-believe world in our heads that would make Walter Mitty proud. In a departure from my usual postings, I’ve decided to share a short excerpt of my current project, a dystopian story of mankind’s date with extinction, and a young couple’s reluctant journey to prevent it.

Lasty – A Dystopian Tale

A human endogenous retrovirus has wiped out 95% the human population and rendered survivors unable to bear children.  The end of the anthropogenic era is near.  Two years after the virus has run its course, a tiny number of women became pregnant … and give birth on the same day.

Eighteen-year-old Ryan Townsend is a Lasty, a derogatory term for the last children born on earth, Leap Day, February 29, 2052.  Raised within the strict confines of his religious mother, Ryan is fed up with the notoriety of his mysterious birth.  No one will tell him why the watchful eye of the Directorate monitors his every move.  Ryan’s world implodes when he stumbles on a wolf attack about to tear a girl to shreds. Penny McGuire is unaware she may be the world’s answer to pulling humans from the precipice of extinction. Life-hardened and on the run from Australia, she drags Ryan along for the ride . Continue reading

The Story We Tell Ourselves

I am nostalgic for summer so – here is a post – that didn’t make the Word Press Transfer from that time: I spent the summer studying the human condition in literature and in doing so I reflected on my own story and the story I am trying to tell. I became lost in it, as is necessary when plotting a novel. It was a meditative summer. One of imposed solitude and some focused discipline. I ran and I read and I wrote. I should have done more of the last, but I did spend a span of time sequestered on the lake I grew up on, in a small town in central Massachusetts, gathering evidence and inspiration for my WIP, in addition to writing. And all that I thought about, took in, and studied this summer ultimately will serve the purpose of making Cold Spring Fire a better novel.

What I Read: I read a lot of things, but the centerpiece, the tome that drove me mad with mix feelings and took up many hours of my summer was Anna Karenina. Have you read it? Or just watched the movie? I had wanted to see the new film, but thought I should read the book first. Or re-read it actually. I “read” it in college and not surprisingly, as is the case when you are given a week to read such a work, I remembered little of the details. So, I sat down and took it in again through the heat waves and slow afternoons of July and August. Periodically, I would toss the book aside in disgust at the double standard for men and women in the novel and at the breakdown of the title character whom I wanted to be stronger, to be more self-confident, to own her decisions without hating herself for them. In the end, I felt sad for her, but I was surprised when I did. Up until that point I was eager for that train to come. But that lack of sympathy told me I was fighting against the trope of the crazy woman, consumed with self-doubt and irrational emotions. I have known that woman. And I wanted this MC to be less…true. In all, the characters were fairly unlikable because they were so human, but this was the beauty of the novel and why I did come to see it as a true and remarkable work of classic fiction. It revealed, unabashedly, the good, the bad, and the ugly of the intimate human sphere. It was a great experience and I recommend it to anyone willing to take a long and serious look at the human condition. But what I wonder is how possible that is in contemporary commercial fiction. We, as modern readers, want our protagonists to offer us an escape, at least in much of the women’s fiction I read. Men tend to read more realism, and how they can stand it, I don’t know. “Good Fiction” is realism – right?  I thought a lot about men and women in fiction this summer, and the variation of how they are portrayed by male and female authors. I also thought about the difference between men and women readers. But that is the topic for another post.

What I saw: I spent time in the Oxbow National Wildlife Reserve in my hometown. It was beautiful and looked exactly as I wanted it to, as if it could hold secrets and be the setting for strange goings on. I woke up every day (for a period) on a lovely lake with a heron perched on the dock, the sun rising behind him. I walked again in woods that smelled of earth and something like sandalwood where the knock of the pileated woodpecker marked the slow burn of an August day. I saw old friends come to the rescue when their own old friends were in need, listening to the darkness, to the irrational, to the dreams, the desires, and the sadness that consumes us all. It was interesting to see old friends and realize that after almost two decades, though our stories have gone in different directions, we were all experiencing some the of the same crisis of faith in ourselves, in our decisions, and in the paths we were on.

These are the threads that were already plotted for Cold Spring Fire and at every turn it was as if the universe was speaking to me, telling me I was on the right track, even when so much of it felt uncertain. And when lightening struck the tree next to my house in early September, it was again, an omen, that the story I am telling both in my life and in my WIP is meant to be.

One last thing that came from all of this – this truth that I have been sharing as much as I can ever since, is that the story we tell ourselves is the story the comes true. So, as a writer, and as a human, I urge everyone to always re-read and re-vision that story you tell yourself. When we choose to write our own stories we can avoid or at least re-arrange some of the old tropes and create something new and beautiful and right.

Introduction, Books, and Getting the Tree

This is my first Word Press Blog Post, newly escaped from Blogger. I have followed a bunch of new folks and will be visiting as many blogs as I can. If you are stopping by, please look around, and consider Following. I am a writer with slightly paranormal leanings. A little light magic, a real world witch or two, a clairvoyant and certainly a ghost here and there.

So, I have a question for you. Do you buy books mostly or are you a library patron? When I was small, and we were poor, my mother used to bring me to the library on a weekly basis. I remember taking the bus in the winter afternoons when it was already getting dark, just like it is now in Massachusetts. I remember being able to get an arm load of books, as many as I could carry. My mother is a reader and I have told my students time and time again that one of the best things she ever did for me was to bring me to that library. So, I have always been a library patron and just like when I was little, I am accustomed to leaving with an arm load of books. I read like a literary agent, the books scattered in every room. I pick one up and if I keep turning the pages, I keep reading. If I don’t I let it go. Well, actually, this is how I was doing things. This summer, I read Anna Karenina, and I had an old copy that fell to pieces and then I took one home from school. It took me a long time to get through it and after that, strangely, I started to feel rushed by the library. If there was more than one book I wanted to read from the pile I brought home, it was an issue to have to keep renewing it. I found that I returned books just to get them off my list of things to do. Also, I received a gift certificate to my local bookstore from a generous family member last year that had me buying books for months. Now, I would rather buy them. Which is of course much better karma for me as a writer, because buying books is what keeps novelists fed. Right?

I have been reading Donna Tartt’s not most recent book The Little Friend. I loved The Secret History and would actually like to read it again. The Secret History was about college students in an elite group of eccentric Classics study and whose extracurricular activities lead to murder. It was mysterious and intelligent and I loved its 90s flavor. So far The Little Friend is also intelligent and beautifully written with a mystery slowly emerging around the death of the narrator’s brother 12 years before. She has recently released another book, The Goldfinch, which I will certainly pick up soon. I just love her author photo too.

Somehow it inspires me and makes me feel writerly. Strange?

I am also reading Catch 22 with a group of fellow teachers at school. Never am I reading one book.

In other news, keep your eyes open for some guest bloggers who also write paranormal and scifi works, all represented by my lovely agent Victoria Lee of the Aponte Literary Agency.

What are you reading? Are you looking forward to the holidays? My husband is putting up the tree right now. It is dark and cold in New England these days, time to bring in the evergreen and adorn it with light to remind us that soon the sun will begin its return.

Thanks for reading.

And remember follow me at arielswan.com.