Today’s visit is a double digest since Cat Adams is a pseudonym for the talented writing duo of C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp. They are the brilliant minds behind the Blood Singer series (I’ve raved about these books on several occasions), but you may also know them from their Tales of the Sazi or the Thrall series, among other works. It’s been a treat getting to know these ladies and I’m sure you’ll enjoy finding out what they do when they’re not creating wonderful stories.
As an added bonus, there’s a giveaway so stick around!
First up, we have the delightful Cathy Clamp!
Before I started to write, I worked in a law office as a secretary and paralegal. Now that I write 1-3 books a year, I still do! I’ve worked in law since my teens (which was a looooong time ago) and I’ve always loved the law. But oddly, I never really wanted to be a lawyer. I like the underworld of the law—the research, the digging, the getting it on paper and making it . . . well, “pretty.” See, lawyers really only have two things to sell: knowledge and pretty. Yes, a person is willing to pay for knowledge but they want the knowledge wrapped up in a shiny bow of blue backing paper, gold seals and ribbons. The bow says “I paid $150 (or $250 or $500) per hour for this” and I’m willing to write the check. That kind of attention to detail takes a special kind of person to create because what makes one level of typed document worth more than another? Is it just nice margins? Well, yeah. It sort of is. Snow white paper, perfect margins, stapled just so, and no smudges. Then add in binders, dividers, indexes and personal attention that says, “I care.”
Being a legal secretary is a frenetic joyride every day that taxes your mind and body. It’s a real shame that “secretary” has become a dirty word, because it’s a honorable profession—born in a time when women weren’t considered smart enough to BE a clerk or secretary. Now it’s often seen as some sort of entry-level job that anyone can do. Um, wrong. “Anyone” can’t type 100 words a minute, do complex calculations, have a working knowledge of a dozen or more software programs, keep track of hundreds of ongoing cases every day, and multi-task crises from panicked and/or angry people who don’t have a clue what you’re doing but want to be the only client on your mind every minute of every day.
All while remaining calm and collected.
I’m a Certified Professional Legal Secretary (PLS), Certified Legal Assistant (CP), with advanced certifications in Real Estate and Intellectual Property (ACP) and a Certified Abstract Examination Associate (CAEA). It’s the last one I’m most proud of. Maybe because it’s the most recent. Nah. It’s the one I’m most proud of. Abstract Examination is reviewing public records for title chains to land and searching for problems when people are buying houses. Some people call it being a “landman.” Or landwoman. It’s standing in a sealed vault scouring through computers and old books looking for the truth. Nobody really thinks much about the process of title when they’re buying a house. That is, until something goes wrong. A judgment against a prior owner, a loan that never got paid off that the new owner is now stuck for, a long-lost relative claiming they actually OWN the house you bought and paid for. It can be scary. And I’m trained to make it not scary.
What I find fascinating about working with the public record is the sheer LIFE on the pages. Births, deaths, scandals, fraud, battling ex-spouses, families at war after a parent’s death. It’s the fodder for a hundred novels. A thousand! Sorting it out and having it make sense and be right is what makes my heart beat faster every day. It makes me smile when I right the wrong done a dozen or hundred years ago (yeah, some problems actually go back that far!) I could regale you with stories that would drop your jaw—right there for all the world to see, if anyone cared to look. People record things you wouldn’t believe. Affidavits claiming all sorts of things that can actually become true if you wait long enough. One that amused me was from a hundred-plus years ago. Two men, partners in a bunch of land deals, disappeared off the public record for a year or so. Then one of the men filed an Affidavit, saying his friend and partner had died, but his buddy “would have wanted him to have the land.” All of it. Thousands of acres. No mention whether said partner had family. Wife? Kids? Parents? No idea. But nobody contested the Affidavit and soon Partner 1 was selling land right and left. Was it as he said and a handshake deal stood the test of time? Maybe. Was it murder for profit? Again, maybe. We’ll never know. But it was a fun read. A novel in the making, perhaps?
But next time you buy or sell a house, take a second to thank the title person or law office secretary. It’s their skill that got the property sold on time and kept it safe for you to enjoy.
And now it’s C. T.’s turn!
Nope. My life, my friends, is really pretty ordinary. I have an 8-5 job in a law office. It's a good job, but not the love of my life (that's writing, thank you very much).
I have a home. It's a nice little place with a partially (because I didn't get it finished before the weather got bad) screened in porch and a back patio. I have pets (including Lucky the Wonder Dog and Inkspot the Infamous of blog semi-fame.) I have friends, and family.
Most of my time is spent caring for all of the above. I also try to exercise, go online, watch the occasional show or movie (thank you Hulu), and have an online presence. I love to read, paint (both walls and canvas), knit, sew, build things.
I don't love to clean. Yes, it's a failing. I WILL clean, and DO, but it's under protest, and only to keep the house from being an unlivable pit. I am only semi-joking when I tell friends that one of my goals is to teach the long-haired pussycat how to use his tail to dust for me. I am NOT joking when I say that one of my goals if I make the "big time" as a writer is to hire a full-time housekeeper.
I listen to music, but the mix is so eclectic it sends most music lovers into fits and spasms. My reading taste is just as . . . elastic.
And all of it. Every bit, from pre-dawn to collapse at the end of the day, feeds the writing and the creativity. No matter how mundane, somehow, it just fits. Whether I see a name in the public records that sparks a character bio (or in the case of Angelina Bonetti, the maiden name of a friend who works a couple of doors down from me), daydreaming while doing the dishes, or being inspired by Evanescence or Elbow's "Grounds for Divorce" it goes into the subconscious where it feeds the voracious animal that is my imagination.
People ask me "where do you get your ideas." The honest answer is EVERYWHERE and NOWHERE. They're just there. Unless I'm sick and/or utterly exhausted.
I love writing. Because I love writing I have organized my life around it. I do things I'm not too thrilled with to be healthy enough to do it. (Like eat my vegetables and get up that extra 1/2 hour to 45 minutes early to exercise.) Ultimately it's worth it. I get to do what I love. And luckily enough, I even get paid to do it!
Thank you so much, Cathy and C. T., for visiting the blog today! It’s been a real treat getting to know you both better.
Get caught up on the Blood Singer series in time for the release of The Isis Collar, coming in March:
Bodyguard Celia Graves has definitely accepted her share of weird assignments, both human and supernatural. But her newest job takes the cake. Guarding a Prince from terrorists and religious fundamentalists is hard enough, but it seems like the entire supernatural world is after this guy too. When she is betrayed by those she is employed to help, and everything goes horribly wrong, Celia wakes to find herself transformed.
Neither human nor vampire, Celia has become an Abomination—something that should not exist—and now both human and supernatural alike want her dead. With the help of a few loyal friends—a sexy mage, a powerful werewolf, and a psychic cop—Celia does her best to stay alive. On the run from her enemies, Celia must try to discover who is behind her transformation…before it’s too late.
In Celia Graves’s world, vampires roam the alleys of Tinseltown, streetcorner psychics have real powers, and cops use memory enhancement spells. But Celia thought she was an ordinary human, albeit one with a clairvoyant best friend and a ghostly little sister.
The vampire attack that made Celia an Abomination forces her to take food in liquid form and gives a whole new meaning to the word “sunburn.” She’s slowly adjusting (therapy sessions and all) when she discovers that the attack awakened a hidden part of her heritage: Celia is part Siren, able to enthrall men—and enrage women.
Her best friend’s murder is unsolved; the cops think Celia should be in jail or staked; and her old lover, mage Bruno DeLuca, has something important to tell her. To top it all off, Celia’s been summoned to the Sirens’ island.
Celia Graves has more than one enemy. Some of them want her blood. Some of them want her soul. All of them want her dead.
In a world where bloodthirsty vampires roam the night and street corner psychics have real powers, bodyguard Celia Graves always thought she was an ordinary human—but that was never true. By ancestry, she’s half-Siren; a vicious vampire attack has turned her into a creature who finds sunlight painful and must take all her food in liquid form—but who still possesses a human heart, mind, and soul.
Her bodyguard business is booming: who wouldn’t want to be protected by a sexy woman who is half-vampire, half-Siren princess, and a crack shot? Unfortunately, it looks like Celia may have little time to enjoy her newfound fame . . . .
A rift is opening between the demonic dimension and our own, threatening to set hell’s denizens free (including the demon personally bent on destroying Celia). Celia’s recent troubles may have given her the unique combination of abilities needed to close the rift. But to overcome a death curse which nearly guarantees her failure, she’ll need to join forces with people she no longer trusts . . . and put people she cares about directly in harm’s way.
Coming in March…
Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren.
Warned of a magical “bomb” at a local elementary school, Celia forces an evacuation. Oddly, the explosion seems to have no effect, puzzling both Celia and the FBI. Two weeks later, a strangely persistent bruise on Celia’s leg turns out to be the first sign of a magical zombie plague.
Finding the source of the plague isn’t Celia’s only concern. Her alcoholic mother has broken out of prison on the Sirens’ island; her little sister’s ghost has possessed a young girl; and one of Celia’s boyfriends, a powerful mage, has disappeared.
Want to get your hands on The Isis Collar? C. T. and Cathy are offering one (1) autographed ARC to a lucky reader.
To enter, obey the Rafflecopter!
Giveaway closes January 31, 2011.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!
Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!