Saturday, November 12, 2016

With Every Beat


You are supposed to start your story when everything goes awry. Writers call it media res and it means that you begin a narrative "in the middle of things" rather than at the beginning of the event. 

You dump the reader right into the juicy bits of the events...right when things are taking a turn. Preferably for the worse.

The main character in my current project, The Dreadful Dark, lives each moment as if things are going to go awry in a bad way. That is because she can literally drop dead at any moment.  She has a heart condition, something called Long QT Syndrome that sends her heart racing with chaotic beats...and it does it randomly.

When she is sent to the desert to recuperate after an operation, strange happenings and the dangerous secrets of a mysterious family known as The Dreadful Darlings, draw her into a world of longing and fear and suspense.

Where a typical person might fear for their life, cringe at the sight of death, run from the unexplained...well, Venus is not typical.

"When death is your constant companion, it is familiar, and nothing is frightening about the familiar."  ~Venus Bell

So my story begins...not at the hospital or as she makes her way to her eccentric uncles Earthship home in the barren landscape...

No, our story begins in the chill of the desert at night. Underneath a riot of stars against the velvet black sky. In the shadows of an abandoned sanitarium nearly reclaimed by the sand, she meets a boy both dark and strange. 

Is he all that his name implies? Or is there something about Rowan Darling worth saving?

In the midst of malevolent forces gathering against them, Venus finds that her heart is far stronger than she had ever imagined.

+Raquel Byrnes




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dreadfully Creepy


There is something so AWESOME about starting a new project. Working through a three book series like the one I just finished is rewarding, sure...I feel happy to have completed Lady Blackburn's story.

However, the excitement of discovery in research, of brainstorming 'what if's,' and the start of weaving together the images in your head into a cohesive plot are some of my favorite things in the world.

This go around I will be writing a Gothic Mystery series entitled The Dreadful Darlings. So...SO happy to finally get to work on this project.

It was my motivation during the last chapters of The Chasm Walkers when my deadline loomed and my eyes drooped while writing at 2 in the morning.

I love the dark and dreary stories. A die-hard Poe and Henry James fan since childhood, I always did enjoy a good ghost story.

So here I am gathering dream journal entries and sifting through my subconscious for what scares me and you know what? I discovered something amazing.


I am not frightened by the dark. I am unnerved by the bright and blaring. The shifting shadows of a scorching sun on barren ground. The far out fringe of the desert dwellers where I live.  

In short...not the English moors or the murky bayou waters. I am afraid of the things that thrive in the light and heat.

This should be an interesting journey....


If you like creepy and exciting -- 


Check out my YA Steampunk Thriller, The Tremblers coming soon!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Exhibition of Wonders


So for my Steampunk series I have absolutely LOVED doing research for these books. There is something so fun about world building when you're doing Alternative History because you get to delve into a sea of 'what ifs' and that is my FAVORITE.
Photo by Myrabella

This week I have been learning all about diving bells and anthropomorphic diving suits of the Victorian era for my third book, The Chasm Walkers, which has submersible vessels.

I am so shocked by what was already possible that long ago. This guy is from 1882. Does that not inspire! I mean...it could also be a space suit. Those face windows though!

Building upon the fevered dreams of those intrepid inventors was both an honor and a challenge.  How far can you push the boundaries, even in fiction, and still remain believable? The suspension of disbelief is an essential and truly delicate thing.

One of my favorite inspirational pieces was the Strandbeest by Theo Jansen. This innovative apparatus was just a wellspring for ideas for mobility out in the Wastelands in my second book, the Wind Reapers.


These strange contraptions propel themselves...so cool!

And although #steampunk can be filled with mystic and magic. I chose to ground my series in science. So when researching chemical cascades to create my Tremblers, I had to have monsters I could believe existed.

It seems like in the age of industry, nothing seemed impossible for a piece of properly designed machinery. Calculating engines, harvesting machines, scientific apparatus...all of it conceived in wonder.

LOVE IT. Its what gets me up in the morning.

After this series, I am debating on working on a Gothic Thriller. I love the spooky and the strange. Its sort of who I am. I remember once finding the prettiest music box ringtone for my phone. When it went off, my daughter said it was from a horror movie about ghosts.  I had no idea. It just appealed to me and sounded cool.

I wrote some Gothic Romances before...they were set in haunted carnivals and decrepit mansions. I LOVED writing them. So I may give it another go.  As I have been told before, "You do you, Boo."

I believe I will, thank you very much. I shall let my inner eccentricities out to play. Mwahaha!


What do you love most about what you do? Is it the people. The places? What draws you in, keeps you interested, and motivates you even when things get hard?

To learn more about my upcoming YA Steampunk Thrillers, check out The Tremblers or visit my Author Site.