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Today’s Indie Author Spotlight shines on C.L Coffey author of the Louisiangel series. Check out her Guest Post and be sure to enter her $20 Amazon Gift Card + ecopies of the Louisiangel series Giveaway!

Writing and Whatnot

by C.L Coffey

Since publishing ‘Angel in Training’, I seem to get asked the same two questions quite regularly: How on earth do you find the time to write, and where do you come up with the ideas?

When it comes to writing, I’ve always been a little indifferent to it. Now, before you holler, “But Cheryl, you’re an author – you’ve published books!” at me, let me add, that for me, the joy is in the storytelling. I love to tell stories, (not so much reading in front of people because I’m not good at that – I tend to mispronounce words even when I know how to say them), sitting with friends and recounting tales. (Seriously, if you want me to shut up, you literally have to tell me to shut up.)

I love coming up with the ideas, developing characters and researching all the extra bits to make the story believable. I see it in my head, playing out like a movie, clear as day. But the actual task of writing is not so fun. For me, writing is the chore. It’s like when you play a computer game and you have to level up by fighting monsters before you can defeat the big boss. (Fun fact, I’m obsessed with the Final Fantasy series (except for racing Chocobos in FFVII) and have lost many an hour playing through those games).

Part of the problem is that my fingers can’t type as fast as the scenes go by in my head. I want to jump onto the next part but I have to force my brain to slow down. That’s on a good day. Some days, the characters develop and the next thing I know, a new series of books takes life (I’m looking at you, Cupid!). Basically, I’m impatient.

‘Angel in Training’ originally started off as a stand-alone novel. By the time I was about four chapters in, I knew Angel’s story was longer. By chapter six it was a trilogy. By chapter fourteen, a series of five. By the end of the novel, two subsequent spinoff series had been mapped out.

The idea for ‘Angel in Training’ came from a long conversation with a good friend of mine about what it took to get into Heaven. While he is Christian, I sit somewhere between agnostic and atheist. Needless to say, our opinions differed. At work, several days later, when I was still pondering the question, the character of Angel took form. By the time Michael had become a main character, my question had morphed into “What does it take to become an angel?”. Joshua followed soon afterwards. These three characters, along with Cupid and Veronica have changed very little since their creation. To be honest, short of some fine tuning, the plot hasn’t changed very much either.

As soon as I had my characters, my plot started to form. I had spent some time living in Louisiana and I knew I wanted my story to take place there. New Orleans, for all its faults, is my most favourite place on earth. Many of the places in the stories are places I’ve gone to. My only regret is not taking better pictures while I was there to use either on my website, or the book covers. I fell in love with New Orleans, and I wanted my readers to fall in love with it too, so I’ve tried to include some of the not-so-obvious places and make it feel a little more homely than touristy. I don’t know the city as well as a local, especially since I’m now back in the UK, but I make regular trips back out there. I fact check all the time. Google is a writer’s best friend, but I have a real life best friend (a sister from another mother) who constantly gets random questions fired at her – sometimes about NOLA, sometimes about the police (she’s a police officer).

Of course, I will also fact check things with other people. My dad is a train driver. One afternoon, with no preamble, I sent him a text message that said, “If someone gets run over by a train, could they survive? I want to kill someone.” The response was very detailed, explaining the clearance heights of passenger and freight trains and how fast they need to be going. Just the other week, I was questioning two friends from work (they have science brains) about whether or not blood would be able to rust a steel bullet and how long it would take for the degradation to take. The next thing I knew, I had an offer (from one of the friend’s friend) to carry out an experiment to find out. That’s pretty damn awesome. I have yet to receive my results, so it could be longer than I hoped. But at least no one can say I haven’t done my research.

Continuing with the research theme. I read. A lot. Not just other paranormal romances and urban fantasies, but reference books and religious texts. This agnostic/atheist has spent hours reading through parts of the Bible, Qur’an and Torah (which is a lot more than Angel ever did!). Although the angels in my book are more on the Christianity side, there are a lot of similarities when it comes to angels in the various religious texts and I wanted to include that – hopefully without causing offence!

Although I do plenty of research, one thing I do not do is plot. At least, not in the traditional sense. I don’t outline – that’s a better way of putting it. I know the key points that need to happen in each book. I know what needs to happen where, to have an impact on a later book. There’s something that has happened in ‘Angel Tormented’ and you won’t discover the impact of it until the first book in the third series (book eleven!). In my head, I know what will happen for each book’s story arch, where that fits in the series story arch, and from there, all the books. There’s a lot going off in my head! The only things I will write down are key snippets of dialogue or interesting pieces of information I’ve dug out while researching. It certainly makes the writing motivating when you have no defined plot and a character decides to do something you originally had no intention of letting happen (Michael is the worst for this!).

With ‘Angel in Training’, I was lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you view it), to be able to write while I was at work. I was months away from redundancy and the other option was to watch television. At this point, I had already made my way through ten seasons of Family Guy and every episode of CSI which was available at that point. That was when I had my idea. It certainly made completing NaNoWriMo much easier when you can write full time. By the time I was working on ‘Angel Eclipsed’, my situation had changed. I had a new job – one that keeps me very busy – and no opportunity to write during the day. I was also working several nights a week as a DJ (which I’m still doing). Now I have to wait until after work to write, and some weeks, it’s only the weekend I find the time – but I will find the time. Sometimes, the hardest part is trying to find the space: my house isn’t very big, especially with three cats, and I’ve found the only place I can write is on my bed. Anywhere else, and there’s not enough room to keep the cats happy.

With fifteen more books planned in this world, I realized that I need to step up my writing game if I ever wanted to write them all before I retire! My goal, which I am trying very hard to stick to, is to write a minimum of 1000 words a day. This includes the days when I’m DJing. They’re the hardest days to write on as I tend to work 20 hour days. Actually, that’s not true. It’s the days after when all I want to do is sleep that are harder. So far I’m sticking at it. I’m also managing to write a little more than 1000 words a day. I’m not sure how this will play out when it comes to the editing process, but I’m going to try to write (another book) at the same time as editing.

For most people, writing isn’t easy. The same goes for storytelling. It’s something you have to work out, so if you’re starting out, (or even if you’ve published several books), and you’re wondering if you’re alone in feeling that what you’re doing is hard – know that you’re not. Even those who do find it easy find themselves struggling some days. You’ve just got to keep on going. One word after another – you can do it!

I have a story to tell… a lot of interwoven stories to tell… that’s partly what motivates me to do it. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I enjoy telling stories, but the other part of my motivation is that I want people to enjoy the story. I love the idea that I’m able to create a world that a person is able to escape into for a period of time and forget about everything else that might be happening. I certainly hope you get that from my books!

THE LOUISIANGEL SERIES

Title: Angel In TrainingAngel in Training long [9553258]
Author: C.L. Coffey
Publication Date: Feb 17, 2015

Goodreads Summary:

After a night out turns fatal, a misunderstanding with the Archangel Michael presents Angel with a chance at Eternal Life: the opportunity to earn her wings and one day become an archangel herself.

Angel is given the task of protecting her charge, trainee detective, Joshua Walsh. There’s no denying the attraction between Angel and Joshua, only Michael has pretty strict rules: no drinking, no drugs, and certainly no relationships with humans. Thankfully, she’s got other things to deal with, like trying to convince Joshua New Orleans has a serial killer who is preying on other angel potentials like herself.

Angel must quickly learn that when keeping someone safe, doing the right thing is not always the easiest, especially when you’ve got an archangel looking over your shoulder.

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Angel in Training, C. L. Coffey

Extract

New Orleans [9553251]

As if he sensed me watching him, Joshua looked up. My breath caught in my throat. If I thought Michael was gorgeous, it didn’t even begin to compare to this guy. Whereas Michael looked like he had been sculptured into perfection, Joshua was gorgeous because of the slight imperfections. His nose was ever so slightly crooked and he had a small scar just above his right eyebrow. Even his five o’clock shadow made him look a little rugged. I pulled my eyes away from him just long enough to stare at the ceiling and mutter, “I hate you a tiny little bit right now.”

When I dropped my gaze back to him, I discovered he was still looking at me through his long black eyelashes. His eyes were such a clear blue; it was like staring at the sky outside. His hair was as dark as his lashes, looking almost like it had a blue hint to it in the dim light. Stray locks of his hair that were no longer brushed to the side, were dangling in his eyes.

As one of his eyebrows arched up questioningly, it dawned on me that I was just standing there, gawking. I tucked my hair nervously behind my ear and hurried over. “Joshua Walsh?”

 

“Who wants to know?” he asked, looking up at me through hooded eyes.

“I’m Angel,” I offered. With one look he was throwing me off balance and it was really disconcerting. I’m not scared of going up to guys and talking to them, but this one had the geese back in my stomach.

“Yes. Yes you are,” he agreed, smiling. He pointed to the seat opposite.

I slid into the seat, only just making it graceful before my legs gave out on me. “No,” I told him, clearing my throat. “My name is Angel.” I frowned. “Although I suppose you’re technically correct.”

“It may be the beer, but you’re not making any sense.” He picked up his bottle and used it to point at me, winking as he did so. “It’s alright though, because you’re hot.”

I tucked my hair back behind my ear again, then, conscious that I had just done that, dropped my hands into my lap. Of course he noticed and smirked. I took the opportunity to clear my throat again. “Let me start again. You’re hot.” My eyes bulged as I realized what I had said. “No, I mean, I’m hot.”

I froze, mortified. As he continued smirking, I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I let my head drop to the table with a bang which was sure to leave a red mark. I would have gladly had the floor open and swallow me whole, even if at this point, there was a strong possibility there would be something under there.

“You know, I’m going to be honest,” he drawled. I raised my head just enough to look at him. “That’s the most entertaining pick up line I’ve ever had.”

My head shot upright as I began furiously shaking it. “I’m not hitting on you!”

He leaned forward. “It’s alright,” he told me in a stage whisper. “Because you’re hot. And so is that accent. Where are you from?”

“England,” I admitted, knowing full well my face was quickly turning an interesting shade of pink. “But I live in New Orleans now.”

He leaned forward again, this time propping his head up with his hand, and smiled. “I think I could listen to you talk all day.”

“I think you should probably go to bed and get some sleep,” I retorted.

The smirk was back. “You going to come back with me?”

“No,” I told him, trying my hardest to appear unaffected by his suggestion.

The smirk grew into a grin. “You’re totally lying,” he informed me. “You think I’m hot.”

“I think you’re drunk,” I informed him. And hot, yes. But there was no way I was going to tell him. Again.

He shrugged, the grin never slipping from his face. “But that doesn’t stop you from thinking I’m hot. I can be both.”

“Cocky much?” I asked him, rolling my eyes.

He pulled himself back and allowed himself to lean back into his seat. “Well, if you’re not hitting on me, why are you here?”

“Because apparently, somebody upstairs has got a twisted sense of humor,” I told him, the statement verging on a growl. I took a deep breath and forced the growing resentment from me. “I’m going to start over. My name is Angelina, or Angel, but I am also your Guardian Angel.”

Joshua rose to his feet, the motion scattering the empty bottles across the table. “And that’s where your chat up line failed, darlin’, because there are no such things as angels.” He downed what was left in the bottle and stalked over to the bar.

 

Angel Eclipsed front cover [9553257]Title: Angel Eclipsed
Author: C.L Coffey
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2015

Goodreads Summary:

Six weeks ago, Angel earned her wings. Six weeks ago, Angel killed an innocent person. Six weeks ago, Angel set Lucifer free.

Michael doesn’t accept that Lucifer is alive, let alone free, and he should know – he was the one to kill him. Thankfully, Veronica and the cherubim are on her side, only they seem more interested in proving Michael wrong than helping put Lucifer back in hell.

Then there’s Joshua. Angel is convinced that the best way for her charge to stay alive is for her to stay away. The problem is that Michael is adamant she remain his guardian angel.

Can Angel keep her charge and New Orleans safe from the evil that is lurking, or will her own demons be their downfall?

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Title: Angel TormentedPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00039]
Author: C.L. Coffey
Publicat:on Date: June 14, 2016

Goodreads Summary:

Find out exactly what the rules are, and what can be broken;
Find out what is going on with Joshua and me;
Get much, much, much better at using a sword;
Defeat Asmodeus;
Defeat Beelzebub;
Work out where Lucifer is and defeat him…

With people are camping outside the churches in the city, waiting for their own miracles, trying to keep a low profile has been an easy task. Michael has had her under house arrest and with the cherubim gone and the remaining angels too busy (or lazy) to help, Angel has been too distracted to worry about the fact there are two Princes’ of Darkness in New Orleans. Until Ty – the Nephilim she doesn’t know if she should trust – comes to her with information that could lead to the end of Asmodeus.

When tragedy strikes, Angel has her hands full trying not to let the convent descend into chaos. The list of things Angel must accomplish keeps getting longer, and as each item grows more important, so too does the urgency at which it must be completed. With her list of allies constantly changing, can Angel remove the evil from New Orleans and keep Joshua safe?

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fighting dirty - Angel Tormented [9553261]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CL Coffey [9553260]

Cheryl works in an office by day. By night she leads a (not-so) secret life DJing, and throughout it all, is constantly scribbling away as the plot bunnies demand constant attention.

Her first novel was written when she should have been revising for her GCSEs. While it is unlikely to ever see the light of day, it was the start of long relationship with the evil plot bunnies of doom.

A need to do more than just one subject led her to the University of Hull, where she graduated with an honours degree in American Studies. For the third year of the four year degree, she was able to call Baton Rouge home. Since then, Louisiana has claimed a large chunk of her heart, and remains a place she will always consider home.

LSU was where she discovered FanFiction and currently writes (mainly) CSI:NY stories.

When not transcribing the stories of the angels and archangels, working, or DJing, she is at the beck and call of three cats – all of whom rank higher in the household than she does.

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