The Questions that Matter, #4: It’s Hard. So Very Hard.

So, here we are with what is now the fourth in our still pretty new Questions that Matter blog series.  And if you aren’t aware of where it came from, here’s the quick history (for the last time).

We had a release party on Facebook for our newest book, The Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 and it was lots of fun!  We didn’t have many attendees (only 10 brave souls, if I’m being honest) but that was probably because I up and decided on Saturday to host an event on Tuesday.  I’d read a marketing article that said events were a great way to reach people with the new Facebook page algorithms making everything all wonky.  So, I thought, why not give it a try?

Anyone who is interested can still go and answer the two poll questions that I’ve posted to gather a bit of info about what to do for the next one.  Remember, Episode 3 will be here before we know it!

One of the things we did at the party was answer questions from readers.  That was so much fun for me!  I loved doing it when we did our blog tour back in 2013 (while we were still baby authors!) and it was just as awesome as I hoped talking to people and answering questions about our process and characters.

And now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the last question that came from the release party which is also, ironically, the first question that was asked.  It was our #1 fangirl and editing genius Seth. (and as usual, this was copied directly from Facebook.)

First question! From Seth. Do you (either or both) have a character that is the hardest for you to write and why?

Funny thing is, Nevi and I were just talking about this the other day in the car!

I personally find that Julian the hardest to write. There are plenty of characters that I write who are complicated and sometimes just plain unpleasant, but with Julian it’s really different. He scares me a little because I’m never quite sure how he’s going to react to situations. With most of the others, I sort of already know what they will do or say in most situations. But Julian has this dangerous undercurrent to him that keeps me on my toes.

I’ll track down Nevi and get her to answer this too! Thanks for the question, Seth!

I was never able to convince Nev to answer this one, but she’s super shy, so you know.

Did you have some questions that you never got answered?  Don’t be shy!   You can message me, Dani Hermit, through our Facebook page or via email at hermitstarbooks@outlook.com with the subject “The Questions that Matter submission” and I will post the answers in our blog!

The Questions that Matter, #3: Where do they come from?

I’m sure that you’ve caught on that I’m doing a new series of entries on our blog.  Here’s a little background, just in case you haven’t.

We had a release party on Facebook for our newest book, The Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 and it was lots of fun!  We didn’t have many attendees (only 10 brave souls, if I’m being honest) but that was probably because I up and decided on Saturday to host an event on Tuesday.  I’d read a marketing article that said events were a great way to reach people with the new Facebook page algorithms making everything all wonky.  So, I thought, why not give it a try?

Anyone who is interested can still go and answer the two poll questions that I’ve posted to gather a bit of info about what to do for the next one.  Remember, Episode 3 will be here before we know it!

One of the things we did at the party was answer questions from readers.  That was so much fun for me!  I loved doing it when we did our blog tour back in 2013 (while we were still baby authors!) and it was just as awesome as I hoped talking to people and answering questions about our process and characters.  I’ve decided that I will post the answers as a series of blog entries over the next week or two.

This one comes from my sister-in-law, Jamie-lyn.  It’s one of those questions that you think authors get all the time, but I can’t remember ever having to answer it.  (Note: once again, this answer is copied directly from Facebook.)

Another question! This one is a good one too.

How do you guys come up with the characters?

For me, at least, it isn’t really like I create any of the characters. It’s more like they just show up with all their shit and take it upon themselves to move in.

Generally, the inspiration for characters come from things we watch or read, but more often than not, the character is an amalgamation of several different inspirations before they ever show up in the stories. But once they have been written, they take on a life of their own, growing past the original idea to become entities in their own rights.

For example, it’s well known in our inner circle of friends that Jacob Kruez’s original inspiration came from Zak Baggins of Ghost Adventures. Nevi and I were watching the pilot episode one night and we started talking about how cool it would be to see a story about an exorcist was wasn’t all serious and stuffy. We wanted to have someone who, like Zak and his friends, was sort of a frat boy ghost hunter. That person became Jacob.

But we weren’t done there. We layered in more and more, drawing on so many things that we loved (like anime and reality TV) until we had a 40-ish addict with a serious attitude problem who hated that he was an exorcist and hated the people he worked for even more. Throw in a contrived, totally fake day job as a TV ghost hunter and now, we had Jacob Kruez. In the telling of his story of redemption and falling in love despite his heavily cynical attitude, he’s grown and is becoming something amazing that no longer looks anything like his original inspiration.

Wow, I can really go on! Hope that answered your question!

That’s one of my favorites from the party.  I really enjoyed the feeling of being a “real author” answering “real author” questions!  It was a surreal feeling of realizing for the first time that I’m all grown up and living the dream I thought was impossible when I was a kid.  So very cool!

Did you have some questions that you never got answered?  Don’t be shy!   You can message me, Dani Hermit, through our Facebook page or via email at hermitstarbooks@outlook.com with the subject “The Questions that Matter submission” and I will post the answers in our blog!

The Questions that Matter, #2: The Chupacabras

You probably remember me mentioning this last time, but we had a release party on Facebook for our newest book, The Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 and it was lots of fun!  We didn’t have many attendees (only 10 brave souls, if I’m being honest) but that was probably because I up and decided on Saturday to host an event on Tuesday.  I’d read a marketing article that said events were a great way to reach people with the new Facebook page algorithms making everything all wonky.  So, I thought, why not give it a try?

Anyone who is interested can still go and answer the two poll questions that I’ve posted to gather a bit of info about what to do for the next one.  Remember, Episode 3 will be here before we know it!

One of the things we did at the party was answer questions from readers.  That was so much fun for me!  I loved doing it when we did our blog tour back in 2013 (while we were still baby authors!) and it was just as awesome as I hoped talking to people and answering questions about our process and characters.  I’ve decided that I will post the answers as a series of blog entries over the next week or two.

So, here is a fun question that also came from Lee.  It’s one of those things that I think everyone who read the original Tales from the Parliament books was wondering. (Note: again, this is copied directly from the Facebook Post)

One last question before we head off to celebrate day one of our new release!

This is another from Lee, and probably the most difficult to explain of all!

What is UP with the chupacabras? Or am I just going to have to wait and see? (Oh, come on, you knew I was gonna ask this one.)

The chupacabras. The fucking chupacabras….

The honest truth is that I have no idea what’s up with the chupacabras. We needed a monster that Siris was terrified of and after running through the old stand-bys — mummies, vampires, werewolves, zombies — we didn’t like any of them. But the day came when we had to write a scene about Siris being terrified by a creature and Nevi wrote “chupacabra”.

We both died laughing and since then it’s been a thing. To this day, I don’t think that either of us are completely sure where the hell she came up with that.

And that lead to an interesting interchange in the comments that now has me thinking that maybe we need a chupacabra to appear in one of the upcoming Episodes!

LEE:  I was always wondering what the Hell was so bad about them. Nobody ever seems to like a run-in with one, Siris especially. I think some of the other characters have expressed a kind of disgust toward them. I was just wondering if yours had some kind of twist where they were especially unpleasant, considering your unique take on some other creatures.

ME:  We haven’t run into one yet, but who knows? They might be hella hot, vaguely Mexican shifters. Or they might be nasty redneck skeezy shifters. Or they could just be scary and gross. We tend to tackle things like that as we come to them.

What do you think?  Should we explore the chupacabra issue?  Or do you have other issues you think we need to explore?  Don’t be shy!   You can message me, Dani Hermit, through our Facebook page or via email at hermitstarbooks@outlook.com with the subject “The Questions that Matter submission” and I will post the answers in our blog!

The Questions that Matter, #1: Why did you do it?

So, we had a release party on Facebook for our newest release, The Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 and it was lots of fun!  We didn’t have many attendees (only 10 brave souls, if I’m being honest) but that was probably because I just decided on Saturday to host an event on Tuesday.  I’d read a marketing article that said events were a great way to reach people with the new Facebook page algorithms making everything all wonky.  So, I thought, why not give it a try?

Anyone who is interested can still go and answer the two poll questions that I’ve posted to gather a bit of info about what to do for the next one.  Remember, Episode 3 will be here before we know it!

One of the things we did at the party was answer questions from readers.  That was so much fun for me!  I loved doing it when we did our blog tour back in 2013 (while we were still baby authors!) and it was just as awesome as I hoped talking to people and answering questions about our process and characters.  I’ve decided that I will post the answers as a series of blog entries over the next week or two.

So, away we go with the first and probably the most revealing question.  (note: this is copied verbatim from the Facebook page.)

We got a doozy of a question in from Lee this morning! This is going to take a while to answer, so I hope everyone hangs around for the whole thing!

Here’s her question:
I’ve read your first three books, and was wondering, when did you realize you wanted to write something more episodic? Also, how do you keep your narrative smoothed out so that the story doesn’t just seem like a series of events, but something more cohesive?

WOW. Okay, let’s start with the easy part! Keeping the narrative cohesive. NOTES, lots and lots of notes. We make outlines of the original stories and then we make outlines of the pieces that should have been in between the scenes in those stories. Then we plot out how much we want to include in an Episode. Then we double check that plot. And once the draft is done, we triple check to make sure that we’re still following the timeline.

But as to when and how we realized we needed to change the format of the books? That was something we had to realize over time. The three Tales from the Parliament books were originally written as the first books of their own series. They are set in the same world, but focused primarily on three couples and were in different points of time. We had Ghost House happening first with Jacob & Brodie. Monster next with Julian and Siris and Inertia starting up third with Skye & RT.

What started to happen, because all three stories were part of the same world, was that some of the minor characters began to move between the different stories. And then there were connections between the main characters (Skye is technically the villain at the start of Monster and one of the heroes of Inertia!) It was all getting way too hard to keep the timelines of these secondary characters intact (especially ones like Richard who are alive and well in one and not doing so great in another or the Wolf twins who appeared in Inertia after the planned events of Ghost House 2 & 3 without a proper explanation of what happened to them.)

This was making us completely crazy, but we were writing M/M erotic romances, so we had to put up with it and keep the stories focused on the main couples, right?

But in the process of releasing the second books of Ghost House and Monster, we had a major breakdown/breakthrough with the writing. There was a massive spoiler for Ghost House in the Monster story line. I mean HUGE. Which in the course of the time line, the characters in Monster would know this thing but the readers would be spoiled for a major plot point of Ghost House. What were we going to do?

Well, first we cried. A lot. And swore a bit. Threw things. Then we got our shit together and brainstormed for hours.

What we finally admitted was that we weren’t happy writing in the romance genre. There were too many rules and guidelines (most unwritten, to be honest, but people expect certain things when you call your book a romance of any variety.) We were in love with too many of our characters and wanted to tell all of their stories. And, most important of all, the dark, horrific, amazing world we were building had its own story that loomed over that of the characters. The only way to do justice to the story living inside of us was to change what we were doing.

The final decision was that we would “rebrand” from Wandering Stars Press to Hermit & Star Books, take down the second books, and start from the logical beginning of the Parliament of Twilight story. It’s honestly the best choice that I’ve ever made in regards to my writing. I’m having so much fun telling the pieces that I thought would be forgotten or ignored. I’m enjoying exploring pieces of our world that were going to be left in darkness. And I’m loving being able to let all the characters have a place in the spotlight.

So, yeah.  That was quite a question to answer!  But there it is.  Do you have questions for the authors as well?  You can message me, Dani Hermit, through our Facebook page or via email at hermitstarbooks@outlook.com with the subject “The Questions that Matter submission” and I will post the answers to our blog!

Pre-Order Links!

I’m very excited to announce that that pre-order for the eBook of Parliament of Twilight: Episode 2 is available on Smashwords!  There is still some processing to be done, but it will be available on Amazon for pre-order as well in the next day or so.  Still need your copy of Episode 1?  Check out our links here for your favorite supplier of either eBook or Print editions.

ebook cover ep2

Parliament of Twilight: Episode 2

Release Date: May 5th, 2015

Available on Smashwords, Amazon (link now live!)

Summary:

When faced with terror and assassination attempts, the men of the Parliament of Twilight must show what they are made of.

Will Brodie be able to save himself from the very real horrors of a haunted house on the fake ghost hunting show? What about the wheelchair bound assassin known as Night Owl? What is he going to do with this new partner and a mission that could prove to be impossible? Can Julian find a way to feed his demanding nature that doesn’t involve Marius smuggling prostitutes into the hospital?

And what about RT’s new romance with the much younger Kayden Miles? Will Kayden’s father prove to be their undoing or the least of their worries?

The next installment of the Parliament of Twilight series delivers mortal peril, real demons, internet porn, and the beginnings of young love. More questions are asked than answered, but these boys are just getting warmed up!

EDITED to add Amazon pre-order link.

Episode 2 Cover Reveal!!

It’s finally here!  The cover for the Parliament of Twilight: Episode 2!  But first, have you picked up your copy of Episode 1?  No?  Well stop reading right now and head over to our shopping page to get your copy from your favorite online dealer.

Got it?  Good.  Now, on to Episode 2!

Summary:

When faced with terror and assassination attempts, the men of the Parliament of Twilight must show what they are made of.

Will Brodie be able to save himself from the very real horrors of a haunted house on the fake ghost hunting show?  What about the wheelchair bound assassin known as Night Owl?  What is he going to do with this new partner and a mission that could prove to be impossible?  Can Julian find a way to feed his demanding nature that doesn’t involve Marius smuggling prostitutes into the hospital?

And what about RT’s new romance with the much younger Kayden Miles?  Will Kayden’s father prove to be their undoing or the least of their worries?

The next installment of the Parliament of Twilight series delivers mortal peril, real demons, internet porn, and the beginnings of young love.  More questions are asked than answered, but these boys are just getting warmed up!

Do you like the sound of that?  I hope so, because that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  These boys really know how to get themselves into trouble.  There are plans for at least 9 episodes in the series and we are 100% certain that they won’t be done even then!

But, you’re not here to listen to to go on and on about the far flung future of the Parliament of Twilight.  You want this sexy cover with pivotal character RT Wilmont, don’t you?  Well, here it is!  Enjoy!

ebook cover ep2

And the full wrap version as well….

full wrap cover ep 2

Pre-order links to come very, very soon!  Official release date TBA.

Getting Back to Normal

Not sure what that means, exactly, but we’re settling back into a pattern now that the crazy of conventions is over for a little while.  Nijicon was a lot of fun, even though we didn’t make much in the way of sales.  We did met some really great people and discovered new artists and authors.  I’m already looking forward to next year.  I hope that the lovely ladies who put this together will be able to make it happen!

What we’re working on now is starting the planning for POT: Ep3, getting the editing process into full swing on POT: Ep2 (which we finished writing over the weekend away!), and organizing our products for the Etsy shop.  We’ve got the convention bug now, so we are looking at going to 4 or 5 next year and have already started applying to various artist alleys.

Nevi is working hard at planning out the art pieces for POT: Ep2 as well as coloring a few of the black and white pieces from Episode 1 to sell as prints.  What you’re going to see in the coming months is LOADS of new art from her that is focused more on our original characters than fan art.  Also, for those of you who have seen and loved the characters that she designed for the Yaoicon 2014 mascot contest, Isaac and Maru, they now have a story of their own in development.  Look for it in mid to late 2015!

newissacandmaru
Isaac and his merman lover Maru! Story coming in 2015, but they can be purchased as a print in our Etsy shop!

We can’t wait to get to work on this story, which is actually a hefty re-working of an older story that Nevi and I did together AGES ago!  This is going to be something we’re working on around our main title of the Parliament of Twilight, so no worries about that series slowing down because of other projects!  But with the vast world and demanding cast of characters, it’s going to be years before we see the end of the POT.  We decided there was no reason to wait to work on some of these other worlds that Nevi and I are wanting to create.

If you haven’t yet picked up your copy of the Parliament of Twilight: Episode 1, hop over to our shopping page to find your dealer of choice and get yours today!  And while you’re looking around, check out the Etsy store where Nevi has several art prints available as well as the paperback!

Up and Coming

Hey all, not much to update today in regards to studio news, but thought I’d share this little thing.  I’ve turned on the “Ask me a Question” option on my Goodreads profile!  You can ask me anything you want and every morning, I will look over my questions and answer one of them!  Right now, all I have to answer are the generic questions that Goodreads gives to you when an author turns that on, but I’m still going to answer them.  They’re pretty interesting, and they get the “standard writer questions” out of the way right off.  So, if you’re interested in asking a question about writing, the books, me, or just about anything, go here and leave your question!

Other than that, you can check out our Shopping page for places to pick up your copy of POT: Ep 1 or some of Nevi’s art.  I’m slowly filling up our Etsy and Storenvy shops with prints, paperbacks, and other odds and ends.  There will be a huge dump of merchandise the week after Nijicon (we’ll be back on the 21st, so the dump will start on the 22nd, I expect.)  I don’t want to run out of postcards, prints, or posters before we go to the convention, so that’s why I’m going slow with filling up the shops.

That about covers everything.  Working on the final chapter of POT: EP 2 right now.  Nevi has a few art pieces planned out and will be finishing them at about one per week.  We were hoping for a Christmas release, but with the madness of conventions slowing down most of our process, we probably won’t have EP 2 out until mid to late January.

Where Are We Now?

Have you been by Yaoi A Go Go‘s table at Yaoi-con this weekend?  If not, drop by and say hello!  The lovely ladies of Yaoi a Go Go have a huge stack of our FREE previews of the Parliament of Twilight: Episode One on her table.  Say hi from Hermit & Star!

us at yaoicon
those are our books, behind the fishbowl and in front of the girl in the kimono!

In other news, it’s ready!  Parliament of Twilight: Episode 1 is up for sale on Lulu.com!  We’re waiting on our paperback copies to arrive, but all the online previews look amazing.  We’ve had a great success with publishing paperbacks with Lulu in the past, so I’m very confident that this one is going to be just as awesome.

Very soon, copies will be available at our Etsy & StoreEnvy sites (once I get them live!) Also, we will have a stack of books with us next weekend in Merrillville, IN at Ramencon!  If you’re in the area, why not stop by?  It’s a smallish con, so we won’t be hard to find!  And we’re going to have our amazing, rotating, editorial ninja Seth in tow, along with her collection of super cute Cuddle Buddies looking to be adopted!  And we’re taking it on the road in a few weeks all the way to Nijicon, in Valley Forge, PA.

Also, we’re offering anyone who brings their own copy of the Parliament of Twilight: Episode One to be signed a free sticker or 8 x 11 art print.  And that’s either at Ramencon, Nijicon, or if you happen to catch us out at the mall with a pile of stickers in our messenger bags!  It could happen!