Relapse Playlist


Just for fun, here’s a playlist of the songs I was listening to while I was writing Relapse. Links take you to YouTube.

I guess I really like Placebo…

1. “My Sweet Prince” by Placebo

2. “G.U.Y.” by Lady Gaga

3. “Oh! You Pretty Things” by David Bowie

4. “Cars” by Gary Numan

5. “Bad” by U2

6. “Shout” by Tears for Fears

7. “In the Cold Light of Morning” by Placebo

8. “Shady” by Adam Lambert

9. “Meds” by Placebo

10. “Goodness Gracious” by Ellie Goulding

11. “Blind” by Placebo

12. “Pretty When You Cry” by VAST

13. “Devil Inside” by INXS

It’s That Time Again


It’s that time again…time for an update, that is!

Some of you may have caught the Facebook status update a few days ago, but just in case you didn’t…I finally finished my first completish draft of Relapse! Yay! There was a time when I was seriously nervous that this book was never going to happen. Getting over writing Part One was the biggest hump because it set everything else up. It was really hard for me to start writing past that until I was happy with it. But now, suddenly, it’s all out of me. I have a list of things to go back and tweak before I give it to my beta readers. Of course, nothing’s final yet…lots of editing will happen, I’m sure. But it just feels really awesome to have it out of my brain. It’s a lot closer to what I envisioned.

It’s also quite a bit longer than Reborn, which is about 230 pages. I thought that was a decent size for a debut novel, especially since you’re just getting to know the characters. Now that you realize you LOVE my characters (lol), you get to see even more of them. Right now Relapse is about 97K (yikes), which comes out to 300+ pages. Somehow I’ve managed to write so many pages of book and zero pages of dissertation. (Which I’m planning to start writing in August. I swear.) Priorities…..

Relapse has turned out to be pretty dark. So I’m a little nervous for all of the reviewers who were all “Oh, Reborn is such a cool, fun read! Yay!” That they’re going to read Relapse and be like…erm, well, this is dark/depressing. The ending in particular. It’s not a cliffhanger…there are loose ends in the book (because, if all keeps going well, I’m going to write even MORE books!), but it ties things up somewhat at the end since the next book is most likely going to focus on a different set of characters. Now, although I envision a happier ending for the series (because, come on, who doesn’t like those?), the ending of every book isn’t going to be puppies, unicorns and rainbows. Sorry, I’m rambling. Siobhan is going to fall, perhaps more than once, before she gets her happy ending. I guess I’m just curious as to how people feel about darker endings. It’s something I like exploring, especially since most YA/NA books these days seem to have happy-for-now or neat-and-tidy endings. Also, this book is full of most of my characters being very, very naughty (yes, even the ones you probably thought were good).

Some more bad news/good news: The bad news is, someone gets off-ed in Relapse. The good news is…it probably isn’t anyone you were getting horribly attached to (we’ll hope not).

Let’s see, what else can I ramble about? Hmmmmm…I think I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but Relapse has two major first person POVs: Siobhan and Carly (one of Siobhan’s sorority sisters). This was something else I was worried about going into writing it because it seemed a little risky, and I wasn’t sure if I would end up liking it or not. That being said…I personally think it works really well. (We’ll see what my betas think.) Carly’s story branches off because she gets trapped in the clutches of another sort of dark, mysterious, mischievous character, who’s of course not all that he seems to be (yeah, I know, I’m obsessed, what can I say?). I think it’s a cool subplot because you get to see a little more of Olympus and its culture this way…a little more strictly fantasy, rather than fantasy mixed with modern times, like it is in Siobhan’s world.

Have I confused you yet?

Anyway, I’m getting super excited about Relapse, and I hope you are, too! I’ll try to post a teaser in the upcoming weeks. I think I’m still on track for a fall release date. I did not feel that way about a month ago, haha, but I’m definitely more confident now.

I thought I’d have more to write tonight, but I guess that’s it, so toodles for now! Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments…or comment with your favorite character from Reborn! Just because I’m curious…(And, ladies, pick someone BESIDES Jasper, lol.)

Character Profile: Apate


You may remember Apate as Eric’s other “teaching assistant”/minion of darkness in Reborn. She’s the goddess of trickery/deceit and has a much bigger presence in Relapse. Now that Jasper’s gone for good (…), Apate is next on Gamma Lambda Phi’s list of asses to kick back to Olympus. She also antagonizes Siobhan like it’s her raison d’etre. I’ve been having a blast writing her character, so thought I’d share!

Species: Olympian

Age: In Olympian years, a young adult

Physical Description: Petite; obsidian hair; creamy complexion; wine red lips; cat-like green eyes; often wears black; smells like iron and roses

Relationships: In Relapse, she sets her sights on Jimmy to be her “new toy” (poor Jimmy).

But her most important relationship is with her twin brother, Dolos, who Eric is holding captive to get Apate to do his bidding. Dolos is really the only person Apate would do anything for.

Goal: To free her brother

Obstacles: Being a spirit of deceit, she has trouble getting people to trust her. She also has a hard time trusting other people.

Strengths: Beautiful, confident, independent, doesn’t (usually) care what people think of her, loving (at least when it comes to her family)


Weaknesses: 
Jealous, suspicious, mischievous

Power: Apate and her brother can produce complex illusions, making others see/hear/taste/feel/smell whatever they want them to.

Who would play her in a movie: Phoebe Tonkin, of The Secret Circle/The Vampire Diaries/The Originals fame

Theme Song: Kesha’s “Cannibal”

 

“I’m impulsive. I do things for my own amusement, not really thinking through how it affects other people. Sometimes not really caring.”

 

 

WIP Wednesday: June 18, 2014


I haven’t done an update post in a while, but I’m sick and bored today, so here we go! First off, Reborn is now available on Smashwords and a few other places! Yay! If you’ve read it and would like to leave a review, you can find it on Smashwords here and Barnes and Noble here.

As you might remember, the purpose of Work-In-Progress (WIP) Wednesdays is so I can set personal writing goals. It also serves as a way to let you all know what I’m working on. I hope you’ll join me and link back to your own or share in the comments!

To play, just fill in the following:

1. What are you currently writing?

2. Inspirations:

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

***

1. What are you currently writing?

I’m still slowly but surely writing Relapse, the sequel to Reborn. Although I’ve made a lot of progress on it, I never seem to get as far with it as I think I will. I thought I’d have a complete draft done by the end of May, but that totally didn’t happen, haha. I think I keep misjudging because I’m learning as I go along, and it takes a long time to write a book. Also, this one is turning out to be longer than the first one, so there’s that.

That all being said…when I checked it out a few days ago, I realized (happily) that I had made a lot more progress on it than I thought! Right now it sits at about 61K! Which is awesome especially compared to the progress I’ve made on my dissertation! So hopefully I’ll have a complete draft for betas to look at soon, because I’m definitely getting to that point where I’m just like…I need someone besides me to read this…

2. Inspirations:

I discovered a new/old(?) group! And I really like this song, although it’s really sinister sounding (but I think that’s why I like it). Also, another warning, the video is kind of creepy…

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

I don’t really have a concrete plan except to just continue chugging along. I do have some book reviews I need to get caught up. I recently re-read The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith and wanted to write a little bit about that, but I also have some books I need to read/review for fellow authors that I just haven’t gotten around to yet. :-( So, sorry for being slow, but I’ll get caught up with that!

Let’s Talk About Jasper


I feel the need to talk about this because…well, I keep going over and over things in my mind (I tend to obsess over things), and I just need to get it out. So, what is it that’s been plaguing my mind lately? One of my favorite topics, of course: the archetypal “sexy bad boy” of paranormal romance.

I’ve talked about it before on this blog, but I’m going to talk about it again. Because it’s my blog. And, in all honesty…sexy, arrogant bad boys who have a hard exterior but are, you know, so vulnerable and angst-ridden inside is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I realize it’s ridiculous, and I make fun of myself a lot for it. He doesn’t even have to be someone’s object of romantic feelings to get me interested…it’s all about the suggested complexity of the character. (Take Loki from the Thor franchise, for instance. He isn’t anybody’s boyfriend. He’s Thor’s dark, sullen, angst-ridden adopted brother. And one of my all-time favorite characters. What I really might have is a thing for the underdogs.)

I promise I’ll get to Jasper, in a minute.

Anyway, I’ve been reading A LOT of blog posts about the darkness and bad romances of YA literature, mostly because I’m in the midst of reading the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick. I hope to get around to reviewing them on here, but in a nutshell, for me they weren’t as bad as the critiques I’ve read made them sound. But, then again, I’m a twenty-something woman who has a healthy outlook about relationships and can separate dark fantasy from reality. We should be paying attention to how our young heroines and their romantic partnerships are portrayed in YA because its primary audience is still at an impressionable age. I can totally see that. I’m just trying to give you an idea of why I’ve been thinking about this lately.

Now, I think a lot of my readers have picked up on what I’m trying to do with Jasper’s character. I’ve only known of one person who said he was “creepy,” and I don’t think she finished the book. Some other readers have loved the book but have said they either didn’t like or weren’t sure how they felt about Jasper. And I’m here to tell you that this is absolutely fine, and probably a good thing, because Jasper does a lot of really shitty things in Reborn.

Jasper is, in my mind, the ultimate bad boy fantasy. I’m not saying “fantasy” to imply that he’s any sort of ideal. He’s not. He’s the Greek paragon of love (well, lust might be a better word) and desire. He’s physically strong, powerful and sexy. From the back story of Reborn, you get the feeling that he may have, in the past, been a more loving, respectable person. But even when Siobhan encountered him in the woods back in high school, he had already become the darkest version of himself.

Okay, I’m going to stray a bit off topic again, but not really. If I could sum up the vision I have for this series in one word, it would be: control. At the highest level, there’s the idea of fate. Of there being a guiding force in the universe pushing you toward a certain point (or person) no matter what you do. This isn’t necessarily a reflection of any personal belief I hold, but it’s a part of this fictional universe I’m creating.

At the level underneath that, I’ve created my version of the Greek gods and goddesses. We know they’re not really divine, but just a super advanced civilization we can’t really comprehend. So advanced, that they’re really, really bored. How do they entertain themselves? By meddling in the lives of lesser beings. Control and manipulation are their forte. They’re always striving for the upper hand, even amongst themselves. And when that happens, who gets caught in the crossfire? The humans and halflings. This is the species Jasper is a part of.

Reborn starts off with Siobhan running into Jasper everywhere. He’s the TA of her class…he’s at the bar she randomly goes to with her friends…he’s at a mixer her sorority has with the Sigma Iota fraternity. It creeps her out…and it should. Is he intentionally running into her? Or is it fate trying to push these two together again? I’m leaving that up for the reader to decide.

Anyway, Jasper tries the whole I-should-get-to-know-Siobhan-as-she-is-in-this-life thing. He could have probably tried a bit harder, given her more of a chance, but he’s impatient and selfish. Siobhan may not remember their past life together–but he does, and it’s torture for him that she has very little recollection of something that was so important to him. I’m not defending him…but as a character, this is where his motivation is coming from. He grows desperate. He realizes he’ll do anything to get her back. This includes turning her against a few people she really cares about (Jimmy and Victoria) and the other thing she realizes he’s doing (I’m trying not to make this too laden with spoilers). Jasper–and really this goes for most of the other Olympians–hates not being in control of a situation.

Siobhan is a control freak in her own way. In Reborn, this is shown primarily through her role as social chair for Gamma Lambda Phi. She has a hard time trusting other people, even her own sisters, to get things done. This may be why Jasper is really her own personal, ultimate dark fantasy. He’s literally a sex god, but he’s also her enemy. He is her temptation (it wouldn’t be called temptation if it was good for you). With Jasper, she gets to relinquish all of that control she exerts over her own life.

Reborn is also about love versus lust. What Siobhan feels for Jasper in Reborn really boils down to lust. And she realizes this toward the end. Yes, I’ve pegged it as a “paranormal romance,” but that’s a matter of having to market it as a certain genre. It’s a sexy book, but I wouldn’t call it romantic. It’s dark and a little sinister at times. Perhaps “dark fantasy” is a better term for it, but what the hell does that even mean, anyway? Ha! (Honestly, having to fit your book into a predefined nook is annoying at times.) Not that I have a problem with formula fiction (I love dirty paper back romance novels!), but Reborn was never meant to follow a certain formula. It’s about temptation and all-consuming lust. It’s about fantasy versus reality.

Another tangent: Have you ever read The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J. Smith? She is, in my book, the original queen of YA paranormal romance. (If you haven’t read it and I’ve piqued your interest, don’t read this because there are spoilers.) The first book is about a teenager named Jenny who gets trapped (along with her friends) in a game orchestrated by Julian, this platinum blonde Shadow Man who has fallen in love with her. I remember thinking, as a teenager reading this series, that Julian was totally hot. I reread it a few years ago and still loved the book. It (along with Smith’s other work) has definitely inspired my own writing, including Reborn.

I think what was especially neat about it is that it allowed its presumably YA readers to enjoy a dark-ish fantasy while keeping the fantasy part in its place. Jenny is drawn to Julian because…well, he’s hot, mysterious, and powerful. But he’s also, you know, kind of putting her and her friends through this horrible ordeal…this twisted game. As the trilogy moves forward, he is painted as a rather vulnerable, misunderstood character. But at the end, Jenny doesn’t end up with him. She acknowledges the impact he’s had in her life…he’s helped her discover her sensuality…and, although the idea of being his Shadow Princess or whatever does tempt her, she chooses “reality” in the end. Julian is her fantasy, and there’s a place for him…but real life and love is so much more rewarding. (I can’t lie though. There was that small part of me screaming GO TO THE DARKNESS JENNY. STAY WITH THE COMPLICATED, SEXY SHADOW MAN.)

I don’t think every work of art or writing or whatever has to have a message. A lot of it doesn’t…at least not an intentional one. In Reborn, I’m exploring certain themes and characters that I find interesting. It’s not Moby Dick or something. But a few of those themes are lust versus love, fantasy versus reality. Jasper is like Julian…he’s dark, mysterious, maybe a little complicated, sexy…but a fantasy. And there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy; we just have to remember that it is exactly that.

I should bring this back around. What was the point of this post again? Oh, yes, the previous paragraph…and that, if you don’t like Jasper, that was intentional. You can think he sounds sexy, but not agree with his actions. Not every character has to be likeable or redeemable. (That being said…Jasper will have a few redeeming qualities that show up in Relapse. Only because I’m trying to blur the lines between good and evil. He’ll do some good things, and some of my “good” characters will behave very, very badly. But this doesn’t mean the good he does gets to cancel out or make you forget all of the bad things he’s done.)

Do I like Jasper? Well, as he is one of my creations, I love Jasper like one might love a child even though he does bad things. ;-)

***

“Ours is a dark, delicious fantasy, but nothing more. It’s like grasping at the tendrils of a dream upon waking—one moment you’re on the cusp of something incredible, but when the fog of sleep clears you can barely recall what that incredible something was—and if you do, it’s not the same.”

Going Gridless Release Day Post


Brandy Jeffus Corona’s new novella Going Gridless is now live on Amazon! It’s definitely in my TBR pile! Find out more below!

Buy on Amazon or Amazon.uk

***

GoingGridless (1)Going Gridless

#1 in the Off the Grid novella series

Genre: YA

Blurb:

For 17 year old Greer Wakefield, life has been perfect and normal. Her life is very green thanks to her parents, and she’s okay with that. Everything changes when her parents decide to take their green living to the next step. They move the family into an off the grid community. Greer grapples with the complete 180 her life has become. Living in an earth home takes some adjusting to.

Hunter Tumman has lived at Gridless all his life. Living off the grid is the only thing he knows. But new girl Greer catches his eye and their friendship throws him for a loop. Her stories of the outside has him questioning everything he thought he knew. Could there be more to life than what he’s experienced?

While one questions the life he’s led, the other grows adjusted to the life she’s thrust into. Will they meet in the middle or will they miss each other as they live their lives off the grid?

***This is Part 1 of a 4 Part series. Told from Greer’s POV and the beginning of her Gridless adventure. Suitable for YA – no steamy/sexy parts***

 

Author Links:

twitter.com/bcorona09

http://www.facebook.com/brandyjcoronaauthor

 

Update Time!


Below is the video update I posted to my Facebook page last night! It’s my first vlog, so don’t judge. ;-) I used my phone (in retrospect, I should have turned it the other way, horizontally, lol)…so it’s REALLY upclose and personal, ha! But give it a watch for some exciting news and updates about my WIP!

[One correction: Towards the beginning I say it's Reborn's half-month birthday...I meant half-birthday.]