Kate Douglas writes the DemonSlayers series for Kensington Zebra, the latest installation of which is called StarFire. Below the author—also an avid traveler—answers the age-old question: Where do you get your ideas?

Readers: Where do you get your best ideas for creative projects? Let us know in the comments.
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Where DO You Get Those Crazy Ideas?
Guest post by Kate Douglas

It happened to me again this weekend—someone asked me the question all of us who write often have to answer: “Where do you get your ideas?” Since I write both erotic and paranormal romance, I guess it’s understandable curiosity. Needless to say, I’d much rather discuss the ideas for my paranormal stories. I’ll leave the other to your imagination.

My husband and I love to travel. We’ll take off with Rufus the mutt in our little motorhome and head out with a somewhat nebulous destination in mind. The thing is, when you’ve got your own bed, kitchen stove and potty close at hand, the destination isn’t important. It’s the journey that counts.

Writing is a lot like that. I always know where I’m going to end up—hopefully with a soft sigh and a “happily ever after” ending—but getting there is what it’s all about. For that you need ideas, and those wandering trips often spark the next story.

A couple of years ago, we took off for a long weekend of camping up near Mount Shasta, an absolutely glorious dormant volcano in northern California. Shasta is famous as an energy vortex, similar to those around Sedona, Arizona. While we were in the little town of Mount Shasta, we wandered in and out of the tourist shops. Two of them really held my attention—a rock, gem and crystals shop, and a funky little bookstore. The gem shop had absolutely gorgeous stuff, including some of the most beautiful geodes I’d ever seen. Geodes are totally normal looking stones on the outside, filled with unimaginably beautiful crystals on the inside.

If you’ve read Crystal Dreams in the Nocturnal anthology, you’ll know exactly what story I found in that shop. Before I’d even stepped outside, my head was filled with images of Marigold Moonbeam Schwartz, aka Mari, wielding a powerful geode against demonkind as she fights beside Darius the Lemurian warrior.

Our next stop was the bookstore, which had a wonderful selection of books on local legends. I picked one up about an entire civilization deep inside the dormant volcano and was immediately reminded of the tales my dad used to tell about the Lemurians—for those of you who’ve read any of my DemonSlayers stories, you’ll know where this is heading, too.

By the time we were driving out of town, my head was filled with the first scenes of DemonFire, where demon-possessed garden gnomes are attacking Dax, my demon-turned-demon fighter. Obviously, Lemurians were involved, and the energy vortex that eventually led us on another trip, this time to Sedona, Arizona.

I can’t really explain the segue between a visit to a gem shop and the completed story about an accountant-turned-witch, but trust me on this, if I’d not held those geodes in my hands, if I hadn’t camped in the shadow of Mount Shasta, those stories might never have been written. There truly is a connection between the smallest visual, the slightest comment, the tactile experience of grasping a strange piece of stone in your hand, and the books lined up on the shelves. I know where the idea begins and I know how it ends, but the rest of it in between remains a mystery. And isn’t that what makes reading such a joy? Wondering how it’s all going to turn out, and then going along for the ride?

StarFire, the third book in my DemonSlayers series, came out April 5, and the danger to my band of demon slayers is heating up. Selyn, one of the Forgotten Ones, is badly beaten, but she survives due to Dawson Buck's medical intervention. He might only be a veterinarian, but he treats Selyn's broken ribs and punctured lung and saves her life. Drawn into the battle between Lemurians and Demonkind, Dawson is an unlikely hero, but he proves that a strong heart and stronger will can overcome the greatest obstacles, and that with love, anything is possible.

The DemonSlayers story began with a beautiful mountain and a legend about Lemurians. Where it finally ends up is what makes the trip such fun. Read StarFire, and then watch for CrystalFire, the final installment in the series, scheduled for release in Fall 2011.

[Thanks, Kate! Read an excerpt from StarFire on Kensington's website, where you can also watch a book trailer. Want more paranormal romance? Check out the archives BookPage.com.]

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