Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Guest Blogger - Lori Handeland

The Playfriends are pleased to welcome good friend Lori Handeland back to the blog. She's kicking off a brand new series today and we're all a'twitter waiting to hear about it. Make some room on the jungle gym for her. Take it away, Lori...

One of the best things about being a writer are the friends you make in the business. Once your life is consumed by the writing bug only others who are consumed by it can understand. I do have other friends—Mom friends (moms of my son’s friends, or moms I’ve met through school and sports functions), high school friends, family friends—but I can’t talk to them about writing. They don’t get it, and they don’t need to.

I have a group of writing friends I meet once a month for breakfast. I count the days every month. Several hours of chatting about writing after doing it in silence for the rest of the month is heaven.

Every morning I have a group of writing friends I exchange e-mails with. All day long, I tally up the thing I will tell them tomorrow. These friends are all over the country—North Carolina, Delaware, Alabama, Northern Wisconsin.

And when RWA comes around I can’t wait to get there and spend time with my long distance friends who I haven’t seen since the last RWA. But when we meet it’s as if we haven’t been apart since we “talk” every day. The bond of writing—fostered by the internet—runs deep.

I still remember years and years ago when I met one of my writing friends for the very first time (LJ!). We hugged and sat down and started chatting and the people we were with said, “How long have you two known each other?” We laughed and said, “Just met.” But really we’d been pals for years online.

There’ve been several times in the past fifteen years I’ve been writing that I was ready to throw in the towel and quit. The only thing that kept me at it were my writing friends. Both their encouragement and the fun I had with them, neither of which I wanted to give up if I turned my back on this wonderful and agonizing career.

One of the themes I like to use in my writing is friendship. In my debut urban fantasy ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY (out today!) the heroine, Elizabeth Phoenix has got problems. You see, the world is coming to an end and there are demons all over the place.

Liz discovers that the Grigori, the fallen angels of Biblical Legend mated with humans and produced a legion of supernatural creatures known as the Nephilim. They’ve been here since the beginning of time, wearing human faces but beneath they are all the monsters of legend—vampires, shape shifters and more. There’s a secret society that fights them and she’s just been put in charge of everyone.

Lucky for Liz, she’s got two great friends to help her. Jimmy Sanducci, a boy she met when they were foster children in a group home on Milwaukee’s south side. They fell in love at seventeen; he disappeared at eighteen. But now he’s back and right in the center of a huge mystery. Who killed their foster mother and why? Jimmy’s always had secrets and now Liz is discovering more about him than she ever wanted to know. She’s going to have to work with him to save the world, which is going to be difficult since she wants to both kill him and kiss him. But they have a past, one that has linked them for years and will continue to link them in the future.

And then there’s Megan Murphy. The wife of Liz’s former partner when she was on the police force, Megan now owns a cop bar where Liz works. Though Liz blames herself for her partner’s death, Megan doesn’t. Megan is a tough, smart, supportive friend. Liz wouldn’t have been able to go on without her.

Though I don’t have to worry about demons coming to kill me, I still value my friends as much as Liz does. And I believe that having such good friends allows me to accurately explore the relationship in my writing. When I read, I also gravitate to books about friendship.

How about you? Do you enjoy portrayals of friendship in novels? What’s your favorite set of friends in a novel you’ve read recently or not so recently?

One commenter will pick up an autographed copy of Any Given Doomsday, so be sure to post! You can also check out the prequel to Any Given Doomsday on her website - http://www.lorihandeland.com/!


Playground Monitor said...

Welcome, Lori. I understand all too well what you mean about writing friends. The Playfriends live for the date of our RWA meeting each month because we have all day to be together. It's not like we don't exchange oodles of emails daily or call each other on the phone. Or even have impromptu lunches or dinners. But there's something special about RWA day -- probably that all the husbands/boyfriends know that we won't be home til they see the car pull into the driveway.

I'd tell you what book I liked with a friendship theme, but my brain is fried after only Day 3 of NaNoWriMo. I can only imagine what it's going to be like on about Day 16.


Minna said...

I do enjoy portrayals of friendship in novels. The most recent book I read with a rather extreme portrayal of friendship was in The Villa by Nora Roberts.

Angel said...

What a beautiful cover, Lori!!! Can't wait to read the new series.

My favorite portrayal of friendships in books has to be the Fallen Angels in Mary Jo Putney's series. I guess because it is a great portrayal of strong male bonds, formed under harsh circumstances.


Linda Winstead Jones said...

Hi Lori,

YES to the importance of writer friendships. Keeps me going, that's for sure.

I can't wait to read the new book! It sounds wonderful.


Lori Handeland said...

I've always loved the friendships portrayed in the JD Robb books. Especially the one between Eve and Peabody.

And LJ and I wrote a series of books called The Rock Creek 6 which I think is a fabulous study of male friendships.


Smarty Pants said...

Morning, Lori! I've always been the kind of person that has just a small circle of a few really good friends. I've never been good with casual friendships. Since joining RWA, I've expanded my circle and gotten better at the 'acquaintance' thing because there are so many cool people to meet and talk to. I'm so antisocial its a big stretch.

My favorite book of friends? I really liked James Patterson's Women's Murder Club books. All four women were different, but complimentary, like the Playfriends. Unfortunately, he kept killing my favorite characters, so I couldn't read past book 2.

Problem Child said...

Who *are* those stunning women you are with in that picture? :-) (About an hour after that photo was taken, I blew out my knee. Fond memories...)

And you're preaching to the choir around here about the importance of writing friends. We're bordering on codependent at this stage!

But I love it when the heroine has girlfriends. Rhonda Nelson's Getting It! series was great. (My current favorite would probably be in The Secret Mistress Arrangement... or is that just too obvious a choice?)

Rebekah E. said...

Sounds like a great book, love the cover. Thanks for coming today.

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Lori,
Your new book sounds great and I love the cover.

Most of my closest friends are still the ones from my childhood. Although we are 6 hours apart we still communicate after all these years. I am mostly a quiet person among strangers but one thing I have found within the writing community. There are no strangers. I probably know more about the group here than I do the few friends I have made since moving to AL!! The writing/reading community is great. They have a way of reeling you in and making you feel as if they have always known you. :)

My favorite set of friends in a novel is the historical series The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas. Luckily when I found them the last one had just been released. So I bought them all and didn't have to wait to read the next one!

Lori Handeland said...

I haven't read any of these recommended friendship books. Getting out the paper for a list!

I'm glad everyone's loving the cover of Any Given Doomsday. I think it turned out great, but it was a long road getting it there.

The next cover is even more gorgeous. You can see it on my equally gorgeous new website

Who are those beautiful women at the HQ party? We all looked marvelous!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Lori. Great posts. Any Given Doomsday sounds wonderful. I enjoy books that has friendship in in the plot.

Liza said...

I love the portrayals of friendships in books. A friendship that always stands out to me is between Eve and Mavis in JD Robb's In Death books. They are so different, yet are the best of friends.

I've always had a small group of really close friends from those I met in collge. I love all the new friends I've met on-line.

Anonymous said...

My favorite girlfriend series is the "Getting It" books by Rhonda Nelson.
I guess, like daughter, like mother. :-)
PC's Mom

Angel said...

Lori, you said this is a new urban fantasy series. What is the difference between this and your paranormals? Because it sounds like it has paranormals to me. Is there less romance?


Lori Handeland said...

More great friendship books for my list. Thanks everyone.

This series is different from my paranormal romances because the heroine is the same in each book, there is more than one love interest and the books are a lot darker, more violent and much hotter. They have paranormal elements and there is romance, but the relationships aren't resolved.

If you've ever read Laurel K Hamilton or Patricia Briggs, that would be more along the lines of the type of book Any Given Doomsday is.

Cathy said...

Love the friendships in the Eve Dallas series between Mavis, Dr. Mira, Feeney and the boys and especially with Peabody.

Sounds like I will really enjoy this story since I am a big fan of Patricia Briggs and LKH.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Lori! I do love books that portray friendships--Debbie Macomber has a some that I've enjoyed in Thursdays at Eight and her Blossom Street series. I also really like Sarah Mayberry's Daytime Divas trilogy (from Blaze)--three friends who are in the soap-writing business. Katherine Garbera's Bare trilogy is about three friends who are sort of girl-spies. I'm not sure I've read some super-hero type friends yet, but I imagine they'd be pretty handy to have at your back :)

Virginia said...

Hi Lori, glad to see you here at the playground. I do love the cover of your new book. Also I love a good friendship book. I always love a plot where best friends become lovers and live happy ever after. I love the happy every after stories.