L.H.Davis

The Race

For their Sins

Rebecca Tran

Kamilla F.

Una notte sola ( Only one night)

F. Guzzardi

26 Giorni

The Town of Mohaba

Presentation at Indigo Bookstore, Canada.

The Artist

Michele Iacono

Nazanin Marzban

The Town of Mohaba

Books to Go!

Unusual places of culture

Awesome people!

Fabrizio Catalfamo, Giusi Nigro, Nazanin Marzban, Susanna Casubolo

Emil Ludwig

Talks with Mussolini

Nel Vuoto

Susanna Casubolo

Welcome to our blog.

This website is intended for information and promotion of the editorial activity of the HOffmann and Hoffmann publisher. For any suggestions and questions about our activity, you can write to us using the appropriate form. Thanks for your visit :)

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Creating a Villain They'll Love to Hate #ForTheirSins

A good villain is essential to almost every story. You can either get it right, or you can get it very, very wrong. When creating a villain, there is always the risk of making the tired clichéd comic book evil genius. In some instances, it might work, and I use might hesitantly. It almost never works, well unless you’re writing a comic book, graphic novel or something like that stylistically.

How do you write a villain then?
Image from Wikipedia

Back Story
Villains are characters like any other with one major difference they are evil, right? Well yes and no. I always have a back story on my characters whether it makes it into the main flow of the piece or not. I know who they are or at least have a feeling of their specific background. Villains for me tend to be the most complicated of all my characters.

In For Their Sins, Anya Drake is the leader of the Mordere, and you meet her in the Prologue ready to kill Alexandria Diego my heroine. You assume it’s over a man because that’s all the facts I’ve given you in that first section. Much later you find out there is more to the feud. For what you’ll have to read and find out.

In the book though even Alexandria never fully comprehends the impacts of her actions or why Anya hated her so much. To me, I think it makes a reader dislike a villain that much more if they can’t fully understand their motivation.

Darth Vader is the perfect example. Everyone hated him before episodes I, II, III came out. He was an absentee father who tried to turn his kid into an A-hole just like him. Then the new movies came out, and you learn his backstory. Now people are empathetic with him because they understand his side of the story.
 Image from kb4images.com

Darth Vader was always a complex character. We knew there was more to him before we knew his backstory. We were curious we wanted to know. That intrigue helped fuel the movies’ success. He was the villain we loved to hate. Now we still hate him, but we feel a little sorry for him too. Does it ruin the storyline (not the movies itself I’m not trying to start a debate)? No, it simply changes our opinion a little. Decide ahead of time what your nasties backstory is then how you want readers to view them. That will determine how much backstory to reveal.

Dark and Twisty
Call me naïve or a hopeless romantic but I like to believe that people aren’t born evil. So what I like to think of as dark and twisty goes hand in hand with backstory. It’s the idea that some dark and twisty thing happened to your villain to make them the evil nasty person that they are. I’m sure that in real life there are plenty of medical professionals that will tell you otherwise, but this is writing and
Its much more interesting this way.

As I mentioned before Anya Drake is the leader of the Mordere in For Their Sins. If you haven’t read the book or the blurb, it means she was turned into a traditional vampire. She had a life and a family before she was changed. She’s also older than Alexandria and has a lot more history behind her.

When I started writing this novel, I knew who Anya was, and I knew her the major points of her backstory. I knew how Alexandria’s actions would impact her, but some of the other parts happened organically. It tends to happen when you are a pantster and not a plotter. It didn’t matter though because I had a firm grasp on all the dark and twisty things that happened to Anya.

A Few Pointers
Don’t overdo it Everyone understands the character is evil. You don’t have to blatantly spell it out for the reader with a long list of descriptors.

Don’t stereotype Not all evil characters have to be ugly, talk funny, cackle when they laugh, etc. Please be creative. Readers love to see variety, especially in a market that is flooded with books. Yours has to stand out.

Don’t over dramatize Please remember if you are a writing a gladiator, for instance, they don’t have to be 9 foot tall 300lbs of sheer muscle and dripping gore and blood from their last kill to be scary. There are other attributes you can emphasize. You want your writing to be convincing. Readers do need to immerse themselves in your world not get lost in unbelievable facts.

Have fun with it Writing should be something you enjoy. Try a few short stories before moving on to a bigger project. The only way to improve your writing is to do it.

Keep notes on characters for larger more involved stories.

Don't miss the first post in this series Creating an Urban Fantasy World

If you would like to read an interview with Anya Drake, you can find it here.

If you would like to read a free example of a detailed backstory Unlike the Rest is Nisha Patel’s story from For Their Sins

For Their Sins is a first person narrative following the life of a very unconventional 300 year old vampire. Alexandria Diego was Born in 1707 as a Venandi, a descendant of angels. Her people were charged by God to send the worst sinners to judgement. That included the soulless Mordere that are turned into vampires by more traditional means. Although Alexandria chose the path of the hunter she always longed for a quiet life. Destiny had other plans. One simple choice irrevocably changed Alexandria’s life and soon all of her people knew her name. When a war broke out between her people and the Mordere Alexandria suddenly became her people’s last hope of survival. Alexandria is lost and confused under the sudden weight. After agonizing over the problem she faces it head on. But when her true love is captured by the enemy nothing will stand in her way of getting him back. The only question is: is it too late?
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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gallic Books Expands Their 2018 Global Presence with Ingram



Gallic Books was founded by Jane Aitken and Pilar Webb in 2007 with the aim of bringing French fiction to an English-speaking audience. Gallic saw early success when they picked up Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and went on to sell 400,000 copies.
“We’ve been pleased with the success of our distribution relationship with Consortium in North America since 2013,” said Jane Aitken at Gallic Books. “But as European publishers, we would like to expand our reach here, and we believe that our relationship with Ingram Publisher Services international network will be a fruitful one.”
Ingram Publisher Services’ international sales team focuses on partnering with publishers to scale its sales and marketing reach. With offices in London and New York and a network of sales reps around the world, Ingram Publisher Services has dedicated significant resources in helping to grow its publishers’ global footprints from the frontlines.
Gallic’s title collection now includes 90 French titles, many of which have been translated in house. Gallic also has a new imprint (Aardvark Bureau) of fiction from around the world but written in English. Aardvark’s authors hail from all points of the globe, and the stories they tell span centuries and continents, covering subjects from Jazz Age Sydney to wartime Suffolk and from New Zealand in the sixties to contemporary London. They translate many of their French titles in-house, including the bestselling Antoine Laurain titles The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook.
“Gallic Books is a highly-revered publishing house with a stellar collection of over 100 titles,” said Meredith Greenhouse, VP of International Sales at Ingram. “I’m confident our team will be able to grow upon Gallic’s legacy in the European market and disperse their titles to even more readers on a global scale.”
 
The world is reading and Ingram Content Group (“Ingram”) connects people with content in all forms. Providing comprehensive services for publishers, retailers, libraries and educators, Ingram makes these services seamless and accessible through technology, innovation and creativity. With an expansive global network of offices and facilities, Ingram’s services include digital and physical book distribution, print on demand, and digital learning. Ingram Content Group is a part of Ingram Industries Inc. and includes Ingram Book Group LLC, Ingram Publisher Services LLC, Lightning Source LLC, VitalSource Technologies LLC, Ingram Library Services LLC, and Tennessee Book Company LLC.
About Gallic
Gallic Books was founded ten years ago to bring the best of French fiction to an English-speaking audience. After considerable success with titles such as Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook Gallic Books expanded beyond France to publish exciting fiction from around the world. Gallic Books also owns Belgravia Books, an independent bookstore in the heart of London, stocking a wide range of fiction and non-fiction with a focus on independent presses.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Creating an Urban Fantasy World #ForTheirSins

When designing an urban fantasy or historical fantasy, several things are key to keeping it believable.

First and foremost you must do your research.
When I started writing For Their Sins, I thought I would write something that was pure fantasy. I hoped to design a world that was recognizable but a few paces out of synch with ours. As the story developed, it became obvious that For Their Sins had to occur in the shadows of the real world.
On the first draft, I used placeholder names, chose random cities, arbitrary times, and made rough guesses on costuming. Every aspect of this novel had to be rechecked. Some of the facts would probably go unnoticed unless a history buff read the book. While other mistakes would be glaring errors to anyone, who traveled to those parts of the world.

The one fact that plagued me was: The United States is a melting pot. We probably have one person from every nation if not every major city in the world. I never knew who was going to pick up my book. The last thing I wanted was for someone to lose interest for a small detail or worse a glaring flaw. 

One easy example was researching the year Constantinople changed its name to Istanbul. It’s a well-known fact that it happened and I’m sure it shows up in trivia and maybe even Jeopardy. When one of your main characters came from such a famous city, you have to get your facts straight.

Second pay attention to detail. 
This goes hand and hand with doing your research. While my books aren’t overly descriptive, I give the details where they count. Everything must feel authentic in a historical or urban piece. I have two methods and you’ll either love or hate my writing style.
If something is well known and there is no need to describe it I don’t. For instance, if someone says a 50’s style diner most people see a checkerboard floor, chrome bar, and bar stools, booths with red vinyl and neon signs. The image would at least be close enough that it wouldn’t affect the plot.

However, if the image was unknown and/or important to the plot, I will take the time to describe it in detail. A short example follows: He wore a black vest with gold embroidery and a dark blue shirt underneath. A light blue sash made a wide belt at his waist. His black pants were loose and baggy.
The details pull the reader into the world that you created. It allows them to fully visualize what you want them to see. Just remember too many details bog down the story and slow the momentum, too little, and they just see black and white. The trick is always finding the right balance.



Third is character development and dialogue.
Each character should have their own voice and personality. For Their Sins is written in the first person and the whole novel is Alexandria’s voice. I purposely allowed her to use contractions when writing but not when speaking. Alexandria is the only one to not use contractions in her dialogue. She is also a little more formal at the beginning of the novel and slowly loosens up. Other characters like Collin have a few words that have an accent or pet names only they use for Alexandria. Be careful with accents though I’ve read a book or two where the accent was so thick I had no clue what the character was saying. You also don’t want to create a caricature.

Character development occurs as much through their mannerisms thoughts and actions as it does dialogue. Alexandria's thoughts are seen throughout the novel because it is written in the first person. This can be done in the third person as well the character would just need to be indicated. Allowing the reader an insight into a character’s thoughts is a great way to show who they really are.

Mannerisms are things like nervous habits or reactions to stimuli. If your character is questioned by someone in authority do they cave or fight back, do they have a nervous tick like chewing their nails? Think about what makes people human and go for it. There are books you can buy to help you, or you can observe people, or watch movies with people in similar situations as your characters. Think about who you want your character to be, then shape them. Without great characters, no one will read your book.

You can find Alexandria Diego in the world I created in For Their Sins


Please feel free to contact me at rtranbooks.net@outlook.com or http://rtranbooks.net