Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blog Prompt: The Authors and People that have Inspired Me





There have been so many Authors that inspired me over the years that I don't think I can do this topic justice. I can touch on the most important ones, though.

I think the Authors that inspired me most were J. R. R. Tolkein, Mary Stewart, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson. All for different reasons.






Tolkien seems like an obvious choice for the fantasy writer. From the green fertile lands of the Shire, to the beauty of Rivendell, and the barrenness of Mordor. The Worldbuilding, adventure, frightening journey's, and numerous cultures are amazing. He was kind of one of a kind in his day. I wonder what he would think of the world of fantasy if he saw it now.






Mary Stewart is my favorite of favorites. She wrote an Arthurian series that focused on Merlin's point of view and character. She also placed a strong focus on people, religion, the changing times, and various cultures, using historical facts and turning it into fiction. Her descriptive quality and characterization made the people seem real, and the reader (me), feel like I was there in a way no one else had. I think she is the reason I love creating cultures as much as worldbuilding, and characterization is huge for me.








Robert Jordan,may have spent a little too much time on descriptions and reminders, but he was an awesome storyteller. I'm always sorry to see someone pass away, but he also brought the joy of a magical world to so many people that his fans were willing to welcome Brandon Sanderson finishing the story for us. Mr.Sanderson was chosen by Mr. Jordan or his wife. I don't remember which, but the end was given to him and it was thought out. I have the last book, but still haven't read it. I hate to see it end, and that's not like me.






Brandon Sanderson's online classes, his determination to be published, and his ability to take on someone else's story and finish it, are all inspiring qualities. I loved Mistborn and Elantris, and the two books he wrote for the Wheel of Time that I have read were awesome.


There are so many great writers to inspire others in all kinds of ways. These are only the few that stuck out as a cut above the rest for me.

Which Authors inspire you?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Where Do My Ideas Come From Part 2 of 3






Last week I talked about Reflections. This week I'll be focusing on The Carriage, a story about a conceited teenage girl, Alexis, whose sister Brooke, sends her back in time in a fit of anger.. Alexis arrives in the Victorian Era, and meets Ezra, a man dealing with his own sibling rivalry, having been killed by his brother Amos, months before, and brought back to life with a dark magic his father paid for with his life.

The Carriage is actually an idea that came from my new adult, romance story, Pretentious. Feeling the need to take a trip to New York and confirm the logistics of the story, I started researching what we would do when we got there, and where we would go. The tourist side of me demanded we take a trip to Central Park, where they still have old-fashioned carriage rides. At the time I wanted to write another historical romance from the Victorian Era. So I googled and saw the carriages online, and since I always look at the images, I saw some accidents. My brain began swimming from there.

The first draft for The Carriage was only 20,000 words, but with the help of critiquer's, it grew into the full novel we see now. I love it when my plotting friends sit down with me. They are a special breed in my book. The kind of writer willing to do all they can to help you with your story, and you in turn, help them with theirs.

The next hurdle was that I wanted to write this story in first, while all my other stories were written in third. I tend to have a number of subplots, and that's a little more difficult in first, So now I have my companion short story called Amos, on my website. www.jenabaxter.com, where you can load it as a mobi or pdf file, free. It's also available on itunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble, free as well.

Unfortunately, I never did get to take the trip to New York, but I've been able to see images and talk to other writer's from the area. While Pretentious was based out of New York, The Carriage is not, as Alexis lives in San Francisco, so it didn't impact this story too much. Pretentious, is another story, since it's based in New York..

You can find these stories on Amazon.com, and The Carriage is available on audible.com.

http://tinyurl.com/TheCarriage
http://tinyurl.com/TheCarriageaudible





http://tinyurl.com/Pretentious-Vol-1
http://tinyurl.com/Pretentious-Vol-2
http://tinyurl.com/Pretentious-vol-3

Sunday, September 27, 2015

FantasyCon Mini Interview with Katheryn Caffe.





Q - Are you a Reader, Author, Artist, or blogger?

A - I'm a reader, author, and blogger

Q - What was your first experience with fantasy, book or movie?

A - First experience with a fantasy was back in 4th grade. I still wasn't much of a reader then, and someone challenged me to try "Wishsong of Shannara". From that I was almost hooked. What cemented my love of reading, and my obsession with fantasy was "Watership Down", which I finished in less than 2 weeks.

Q - Have you written any stories? If so, tell us about it.

A - I've written several by now, though only one has been published to the public. The Followers of Torments saga is my debut series, and is a walk on the darker side of fantasy that addresses such topics as feral children, mental illness, self-image, and cultural acceptance. (With some prettier wrapping than the bare facts make it seem.)

So far, the first 3 books are published, the last 2 should be released in the next year if all goes well.

Q - If you were trapped in a book for a month, which book would you hope it would be?

A - I'd elect to either be trapped in Gail Baudino's "Strands of Starlight" or Elizabeth Moon's "Deed of Paksenarrion". Or, maybe Steve Miller and Sharon Lee's "Crystal Dragon". Just don't expect me to come home.

Contacts:

Blog: https://pukahworks.wordpress.com
Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/PukahWorks

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Character Madness: Elemence and Arlondyn from Elven Fire by Raven Williams


Character Madness Introduces 
Elemence and Arlondyn 
from Elven-Fire 
by 
Raven Williams




Coming September 25th, 2015



Elemence:

Hello.  My name is Elemence.  I am, well I was, the leader of the Phoenix-Shifters of Estrearona.  I stepped down from my position to lead my Warriors on Earth in support of the Light.
I was leader of my people for close to five centuries.  I took over for my Father after he crossed into the realm of Spirit.  I never knew my mother as she died giving birth to me.
The last five centuries have been especially lonely for me.  I have delighted in seeing my people prosper and many finding their one true mate.  I fear for, love has forsaken me.  Those younger than me are finding their mate, yet I am still alone.  This loneliness grows stronger within me, clouding my judgment.  I fear I am no longer fit to lead my people.
When I was Captain of the Guard, I felt a sense of pride in what I was doing.  And event thought I was without a mate, I was not as lonely, as I was surrounded by the Warriors I led.  It is for this reason, I step down and go to Earth.  I do not expect to return to my homeworld of Estrearona.  I will do my duty to see Light triumph over Dark.  If it means fighting to my death, I do so willingly.

Arlondyn:

I am Arlondyn of the Earth Elves, best friend to Elwyndyn, and part of the Elven contingent on Earth.  I have lived for over ten thousand years.  It has been a productive life.  One of which I am most proud.  My younger years were spent as part of the Elven contingent to Earth after the long Ice Age.
When my people returned to our homeworld of Paer-Jhysael, I spent my time fulfilling my many scouting missions to the other realms of the Universe.  I have done my job well.  But I grow lonely as the years pass.  Ten thousand years is a long time to live without a mate.
For Elves, there is only one true mate.  It is the same for many of the Elder species.  Recently, Elwyndyn’s sister-kin, Thosaeryl, was restored to Elf-Kin from her human life and she rejoined her mate, Elwyndon.  Their adopted daughter, Valael, after dying on Earth, has also been restored, and, in the process, found her true mate, as has Elwyndyn.  I am happy for them all, but it drives home the loneliness of my life.  I begin to wonder if the Universe forgot me when making mates.
It matters not.  With Earth facing the risk of falling into Darkness, affecting the entirety of the Universe, I once more do my duty.  I volunteered to be part of the Elven Contingent on Earth.  If war does happen, I will fight on the side of Light, seeking to maintain the balance.  I am prepared to lay down my life in this fight, if necessary.  My only regret, not knowing my mate before I die.


If you wish to learn more about Elemence and Arlondyn’s story, join Raven Williams on Friday, September 25th, as she celebrates the release of Elven-Fire, third book in the Realm Jumper Chronicles.

https://www.facebook.com/events/472735026232771/


Find other books by Raven Williams here:

http://www.amazon.com/Raven-Williams/e/B00DX5WN9U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Monday, September 21, 2015

Where Do My Ideas Come From? Part 1 of 3

Happy Monday to all my awesome followers, and apologies for being late getting this month's Pretentious up this month. I hope to have that corrected in the next few days.




Today's topic is where do story ideas come from? The answer to that questions varies widely between Authors. For me an image, song, or quote might inspire something. Here is the story behind one of my current published novels.

My favorite story to tell is Reflections. I've always wanted to write a novel based on Hans Christian Anderson's Little Matchgirl, so I was researching the era in which the child would have lived.

The Victorian Era was a time of change for everyone. Steam engines, toilets, electric lights, and the telephone, were all products of the age. The Industrial Revolution, California Gold Rush and Potato Famine were also part of the era. Education for young children became free under Queen Victoria's rule, yet a good portion of the population remained uneducated, and even small children had to work to survive.

all generations have their own ideas about death and dying, and the Victorians were no exception. They were intrigued by death and approached it with respect. They often took photographs of the recent departed, making them look alive and posing with them, to have a memento since photographs were expensive and new. They sometimes hired mourners to walk behind the body in the funeral procession.

The moment someone died, the clocks were stopped. Mirrors were covered so the recently departed wouldn't become confused and get trapped in them, and a black wreath was placed on the door. My mind went wild with this. A girl trapped in a mirror. It was hardly an original concept, but this brought it to life for me. I called a friend and we began plotting, then I wrote the story during Julnowrimo.

It was a long process. I hadn't done near enough research on the era so I continually had to stop and seek answers. Being part of an online writer's community was invaluable because I had critiquer's from London, Nottingham, and Kent, to question and test the authenticity. I tend to write in shorter sentences, and a friend helped me lengthen and smooth some of those out. I started the story ten years earlier, and that brought the storyline full circle in a unique kind of way. The biggest problem was my timeline. In the end, I had to begin in the Regency Era, and made minor corrections for the age.

I'm going to end this with one of my favorite songs. While it has no correlation to me or my story, It reminds me of the Victorians, and the death process for them.

In a Lifetime - Clannad and Bono

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blog Prompt - My Antagonists visited my dreams last night

I was up late, pulling my hair over a scene I've written numerous times. One of those scenes that just never seems right. At three-thirty I decided to stew on it and headed for bed. Sleep overtook me almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, when something started nudging my mind.

Groaning, I rolled over, then noticed Keven from Pretentious standing in front of me, shaking his head.

"I can't  believe you did this to me. I should get the girl. Does this change in the future? Because if it doesn't I'm so out of your imagination."

I lifted my head from the pillow, blinked and stared for a moment, then dropped it in favor of the much-needed sleep. "Do what you want, just leave me be," I said. My mind escaping into the oblivion of Sandman's realm.

"You think that's bad?" I heard a female voice say. She gave my vacation getaway that I created myself to a rich chit of a girl. A Protagonist that should never have been part of my story."

My eyes opened and my pulse raced in alarm. A figment of my imagination couldn't curse me, could she? Go to bed Zylphia I muttered. Reflections has been a done deal for more than a year."

"Then change it," she demanded.

Keven moved in front of her, grabbing for the wand. "This is my visitation, baby girl. Not yours so go back where you came from."

"I'll baby girl you," Zylphia demanded, lifting her wand. Kevin grabbed her wrist and fire shot through the wand zig-zagging around the room.

I covered my head as we all stopped to watch and dodge the rigid bolts.

Kevin let go and placed his hands on his hips. "That was impressive. You could put on quite a show with that thing. Can you sing?"

I rolled my eyes as Zylphia smoothed her dark hair. "I've had an audience eating out of my hand a time or two. What is it you have in mind, modern man?"

Kevin placed one hand on her elbow and led her to his high rise apartment, deep in my imagination. "I'm an A&R Rep, I may have a proposition for you."

I shook my head and laid back down. Not in my story, he doesn't. I yawned and once more succumbed to the power of exhaustion and a dreamless night.


A teaser from Reflections, Zylphia's world behind a mirror.
Zylphia stands on the bottom left.


Monday, September 7, 2015

I used to be a pantser - but now plan my stories. This is why





Labor Day, a day to kick back, plan stories, and write. You seriously have to love that. Then again, not everyone is into writing. Whatever you're doing today, I hope it's special.

I've heard a lot of comments lately from friends about the way they like to write, and a good number of them are pantsers. What is a pantser you ask? A pantser is someone who writes their story freestyle with no or minimal planning. I used to write my stories like that, but took a class about planning while waiting for the one I wanted to come available. It was called something like "Bringing order out of chaos," and I had a great story, but it was a mess. As a side note, this class is available at the UCLA Writer's Extension.

One reason I plan before writing is that I'm a prolific writer and I get a lot of ideas. It's like a download that moves slow when the server is bogged down at times and flows at others, but keeps on coming. I used to start these stories, but now I have numerous works in progress and more to finish than I can do in a year's time.

Another reason I plan is to see the whole spectrum and find the subplots as well as the plot and theme. This allows characters to form better in my mind and where they will be going. It also shows me holes in the plot, and things that won't work for whatever reason. Things still change and other ideas are added, but I've found the trail to be a little smoother. Planning also enables me to see where I'll need to add scenes or make changes to support the new idea.

Another thing that's good is writing the synopsis before starting your story enables you to find any holes, and makes the final synopsis easier to write when the story is done. The back flap of the book too, although I tend to be lax on this part.

I'm not against pantsing. As the old adage says, "To each his own." I've just found that when I gave planning an honest effort, it worked for me. I still love to freewrite and allow myself a great deal of freedom as I go. Until the novel is finished, nothing is written in stone.