About Author

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney
  • Genre:

    Thriller Supernatural Suspense Paranormal Romance
  • Country: United States
  • Books: 5
  • Profession: Author
  • Born: 4 March
  • Member Since: Aug 2017
  • Profile Views: 11,616
  • Followers: 69
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Charlayne Elizabeth Denney is a native Texan and proud of it. Now a resident of Houston, she has been a waitress, a DJ, a sports writer, a technical writer, sold knives, swords, and replica weapons, was part-owner of a comic shop, and a perennial student. She has 4 kids, 9 grandkids, 2 Shelties, and a cat who is the inspiration for Baron in “Fangs & Halos.” She married her 3rd and final husband, Bruce, in 1993 after a whirlwind six-month romance, having met him at a Science Fiction convention and her sister telling her to “go out with him” (and him overhearing her). She has written many non-fiction articles, has been published in several magazines, and wrote technical training manuals for Compaq. She reviews for Paranormal Romance Guild and loves vampire novels the most.

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney's Books

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Archangel's Gambit (Fangs & Halos Book 4)
$4.99 kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback,
Archangel's Gambit (Fangs & Halos Book 4)by Charlayne Elizabeth DenneyPublish: Jul 14, 2017Series: Fangs & HalosSupernatural Suspense
Vampire rEvolution (Fangs & Halos Book 3)
$3.99 kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback,
Vampire rEvolution (Fangs & Halos Book 3)by Charlayne Elizabeth DenneyPublish: Sep 09, 2015Series: Fangs & HalosSupernatural Suspense
Infernal Aftershocks (The Fangs & Halos Series Book 5)
$6.99 kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback,
Infernal Aftershocks (The Fangs & Halos Series Book 5)by Charlayne Elizabeth DenneyPublish: Jun 30, 2022Supernatural Suspense
Marcus's Vampire (Fangs & Halos Book 2)
$2.99 kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback,
Marcus's Vampire (Fangs & Halos Book 2)by Charlayne Elizabeth DenneyPublish: Aug 11, 2014Series: Fangs & HalosSupernatural Suspense
$1.99 kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback,
Lilly's Angel (Fangs & Halos Book 1)by Charlayne Elizabeth DenneyPublish: Aug 08, 2013Series: Fangs & HalosSupernatural Suspense

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney's Series in Order

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Charlayne Elizabeth Denney Interview On 27, Jan 2023

"Charlayne Elizabeth Denney was born in Amarillo, Texas, and lived there until 1990. She took a year of piano lessons when in junior high and went into the band at school. She is the author of the Fangs & Halos series. She reviews for Paranormal Romance Guild and loves vampire novels the most."
Where were you born? Since how long have you been living in Houston?

I was born in Amarillo, Texas and lived there until 1990. I’ve been in the Houston area since then. We actually live in the little suburb city of Friendswood, which is about seven miles from the Johnson Space Center. From the time I watched people land on the moon for the first time, I wanted to live in Clear Lake, the suburb where NASA is located and work there. At one time I was taking Mass Communications classes in college with an aim to work for the space agency’s public relations department. I have since moved to Friendswood and received my degrees in History and English.

What developed your interest in music?

I grew up in the era of the “Hippy Music” as my parents called the stuff I listened to on the local A.M. radio stations. I think the Beetles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was the first song I learned the words to outside of the nursery rhymes. I lived with the radio on as a kid. I took a year of piano lessons when in junior high and went into the band at school. As an adult, after taking a class in Announcing for Radio/TV, I landed a weekend gig doing board op and weekend night DJ at a top 40 radio station. I did that for a couple of years until the station sold and changed formats. I was the person who ran the satellite feed of Solid Gold Saturday Night, then lulled folks to sleep with soft, sexy introductions to love songs in the Pillow Talk segments.

How do you make sure to draw readers into your stories?

I like realism. People talk. Yes, there are things we describe to give setting, but the main story and “meat on the bones” is conversation. I write a lot of dialogue, with the setting and such around it. You won’t see “said” too much in my work, I will put in action ““But I don’t want to go,”” Lilly moved to the bed and picked up her book, distracting herself from the argument.” That’s one of the ways I do it.

I also do the research. If you’re in New Orleans, I can put a finger on exactly where things take place. I’ve actually been there.. I know the color and size of the buildings. I know the lore. I know where in Houston Marcus has to abandon his car to go through traffic to his company headquarters where his home is. I not only got the plot of how long this was and what was there, but I actually drove the route (I live in the Houston area, so this is easy). Google Maps is my friend, I do both look-ups for places and get descriptions from their street-view. I do have a couple of places that aren’t real, but I can tell you exactly where they are and what they look like (down to having map coordinates).

I believe that the realism helps pull the readers into the story. The history is meticulously researched, using census records, thesis papers, and old city directories, (all used for characters in chapters 1-3 of Lilly’s Angel). I use resources like libraries and archives for older things, or computer research on present day information. It’s this meticulous attention to detail that I hope the readers will find a bit of fun in the series.

What challenges did you face while publishing your first novel, "Lilly's Angel"?

Oh wow. I never thought to write a novel, much less a series. Back in my mid-20s, I had written a story and submitted it to a writer’s workshop. I will readily admit, it was far from ready for prime time, it was a first adult attempt. I had been writing fan stories of Dark Shadows and Star Trek for years as a kid, but that wasn’t what the workshop was for. The author in charge was familiar with my non-fiction writing and told me that I had “no business writing fiction, it’s awful and you should stay with what you know.” And I let that happen. I didn’t write fiction again until my mid-50s.

Having read a lot for my reviewer gig with Paranormal Romance Guild (PRG), I started having ideas about of a little love triangle between a vampire, angel, and a human. I put pen to paper and started writing, researching as I went. Once I had gotten it into a shape, I sent it to my boss, Gloria, at PRG and asked for a beta read. Once it was out of my hands, I went back to doing my reading. I had no idea how long a beta would take so, when I got a note back from my boss asking if I had the review, I started looking at my review list, hoping I hadn’t forgotten one. She told me “No, the review on your book.” Blink…blink…uh…I hadn’t sent it for a review, I wanted a beta. Gloria took great delight and saying, “It got a 5-star.”

Lightening had struck. So now I have a 5-star review on a book that isn’t even near publishing. I went into overdrive trying to learn independent publishing. I knew I didn’t want to go with a publishing house, I had watched my brother wall paper his office with rejection slips and knew it wasn’t going to be good. I spent a lot of time reading. I wrote a couple of author friends and asked how they did their layout. One told me about a guy in Thailand who did great work and not too expensive. I sent it to Paul of BB eBooks and got it back in all formats with a guarantee that it would go through the Smashwords “meatgrinder” first time (and it did!). I had to come up with a cover, which got me to finding good sources for pictures cheap. I had a class in photoshop in the early 1990s so I knew how to do thing but couldn’t afford Photoshop. I grabbed Gimp 2 and made the cover, over and over until it was good. Crossing my fingers, I put it up in Create Space and hoped it would work. And, because I was nuts and actually left the story on a cliff hanger, I was now committed to doing a second book, “Marcus’s Vampire.”

I’ve learned a LOT since that first book, about writing, edits, covers, and all the other components.

Having written many non-fiction articles, have you ever thought of writing a book in the nonfiction genre?

I’m kicking around doing a couple of things, but the one that I may tackle as a first one is the history of Storyville, New Orleans 1897-1917. It was the brothel district that had a bunch of brothels, cribs, and lots of prostitutes in it. If you’ve seen the new Interview With the Vampire, you’ll know where I am talking about. That’s the setting in New Orleans in the first episodes. I set Lilly into the Mahogany Hall brothel there in the first three chapters of Lilly’s Angel. I’ve read a lot of history on it, digging through newspaper archives, reading other histories. I love history so it’s a labor of love that I think may just come into a non-fiction book eventually.

And, while I’m kicking that around, I’ve been doing work to put together a “The World of Fangs & Halos” from the six 5-subject notebooks of material I have for the series.

What is the most difficult part of weaving supernatural suspense?

Building the world. You need to have rules for how your particular brand of vampires operate. I had to come up with reasons why I changed the mythos in my series. Do vampires eat? What happens when they eat? Do vampires poo? Do the vampires fry in the sun or sleep in coffins? And if you get blood that has a disease, what does that do to the vampire? I had to come up with everything and then justify those so that I could talk about them. I also had to look at how the vampires would interface with the modern world. What do vampires do when working? How much of the real world held vampires?

I also had to do that for the angels. That was a bit harder because, while we have a lot of material on vampires, angels are a religious icon to many. How would I balance the stories with the angels to that of the vampires? I had to figure out the hierarchy of angels. Why are they against the vampires? How is Heaven set up to deal with the vampires? Do people become angels or is there a divide between the “working angels” and the “human angels” and where is that line drawn? That is the issue of religious beliefs versus fiction that I had to calculate.

I want to be respectful of beliefs, and to do that, I gave Heaven a business side I saw a separate division of Heaven, the Heavenly Host Assignment Division (H.H.A.D.) that assigned angels to various jobs like Guardians (white wings) lead by the Archangel Barachiel, Messengers (gold wings) led by Archangel Gabriel, Shadows (brown wings) led by Archangel Uriel (the shadows are like watchers from…the shadows) and the Soul Reapers (black wings) lead by Archangel Azrael. I set it up where the Archangel Mikhail (spelling of Michael) is in charge of H.H.A.D. and he’s the title head of the Warriors, with red wings. There are other departments with wings and Archangels that have been added as I needed, all kept in the same types. And ambrosia, what’s with that substance and how is it used (no spoilers). And…what about God?

Then came the demons. I take a few liberties with the realm of Hell, with Lucifer, Lillith, and Satan all involved. And I did this well before “Lucifer” came out, and I have been amused at where my stories are alike and where they differ (I’ve been binge watching it, not ever having started until this fall).

I have intentionally taken the religious figures of God and Jesus out of the story. There are some discussions about where God is, I do know how this is involved but I’ve managed to keep it in the background. I honestly don’t want to step on anyone’s religious beliefs and this has hopefully allowed for the use of the angels in the story without offence.

There are several story lines with all this going on. I have to keep meticulous records to keep consistency, which is very hard, the more lines, the easier to screw it up.

Did you plan all the books in The Fangs & Halos Series in advance?

No. Honestly, I had no idea what was coming until it happened in many cases. I knew, and know, where it generally heading, who is involved in the big lines, and where I think it’s going to end. But I let the characters tell me what they want to do. Sometimes it’s a surprise even to me; I wrote Marcus and Jesse, who is Marcus’s ghoul, leaving New Orleans on a boat to Galveston in 1900 (there’s a short story about that trip that I have written) and Jesse slipped his hand into Marcus’s. OMG, I had NO idea that was happening until it fell out of my fingers. I will write stream of conscious and even close my eyes so I can watch the movie playing out in my head and let my fingers write, so sometimes what’s going on catches me unawares. My reaction was “Wait, what?? When did THAT happen?” as I realized that there was a love element between the two guys. And when Lilly’s very large, tortoise-shell cat, Baron Bast von Samedi showed up in the story, and then started talking, I was just gobsmacked. Baron’s turned into a major character when he was invented to be in one or two scenes.

How do you keep in touch with your readers and fans?

I have a Facebook page, but usually I’m on my personal page there, which fans follow. I have Twitter and a Pinterest account with both personal and series information in it. There’s a webpage as well where the books are listed. I love doing conventions and have done most in Texas or Oklahoma. I’m planning a newsletter but in all honesty, Covid hit me pretty hard and I’ve been lax in working on this aspect. I need to get back into it in the new year. I also have medical issues that will put me off writing until it relaxes somewhat. I have both Multiple Schlerosis and Fibromyalgia with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This gives me brain fog at the worst times (when I’m writing) and there are days/weeks when I’m in a flare that my communications just drop off. I do hope the readers understand when I’m not so good at communicating at times.

How did you come up with the title of your book, "Infernal Aftershocks"? What is its significance?

My writing partner came up with it. My husband, Bruce, is part muse, part writing partner, task master, banker, and general cook and laundry. I’m blessed to have him, he’s such a great guy who is interested in this. When I was first writing, he was the one who cheered me on and helped me get off the writer’s block.

I was banging around trying to figure out a 2-word title that would fit into the Series. We blew up a building in book 4, so the Aftershocks come from what is going on in the wake of that explosion, and the demons are beginning to take a bigger role, so there’s the Infernal part.

When did you write your first piece of writing? What was it about?

Dark Shadows. 1967, 4th grade. I loved the show, ran home after school to always watch it. And I started writing what I later found a name for: fan fiction. With the obligatory Mary Sue character who was Barnabas’s daughter.

When is art, not really art?

Wow. Uh…I have no answer for that. I could be a smart ass. channeling my Baron the Vampire Cat’s snark and say “When it’s music, of course. Or it’s science.

What are some things that have changed after being an author? Do you miss anything?

Not much has changed, I’ve been able to go to a few more conventions and I’m constantly trying figure ways to get the series into more hands. We’ve also been able to freak out a few waitstaff while discussing plots, discussing dead bodies and even murders. It’s been interesting to have to discuss what we were doing (“No, we’re not terrorists…”)

With the Covid years, I had to quit doing any personal appearances and that has been hard. I do most of my sales face-to-face and having to live in the house for 2 years really put a dent in that.

How challenging is the process of reviewing for the Paranormal Romance Guild?

Most of the time it’s fantastic. I’ve gotten to read some really good books. There were a few series I got to review because I loved the first one and got to do all the reviews. That’s fun. I have had a few really bad ones and those are hard to do. We can do “did not finish” but I really hate to do that, I think the author can learn from a bad review if it’s done with care and giving suggestions for changing. I had one, just one, that was so bad that there was literally NO redeeming characters in it. I kept slogging through it until the end and the one character that I thought might be the one that wasn’t horrid did something in the last chapter that, if I had been reading a paperback instead of my tablet, would have been pitched across the room. I didn’t even know where to be constructive, it was horrible all the way through. Zero stars.

But, that was one of a hundred reviews. Most have thankfully been three to five stars.

What are your plans for the future as a writer? Are you working on anything new?

I am working on book 6, tentatively titled Smoke and Mirrors. I have some plans for other things but that series is the all-consuming passion now.

Lastly, what are your thoughts and opinions on AllAuthor and its services?

I’ve had the automatic Twitter feed and it is good. The thing I really like, though, is the magic tool. I’ve been able to do some incredible things with the covers and it was also easy to change the covers to the new ones I upgraded this fall. I totally recommend the services.

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