Outlaw is Laney's story. She's the character with the most to lose and the one that experiences a full transformation. Throughout the story, she's learning to stand on her own two feet, despite the bumps and bruises along the way.
Truth be told, there's probably a lot of me in her. She has a feisty, snarky streak, but she's uncertain of herself. Even when she finds ways to prove her capabilities, whispers of doubt extinguish her pride. She struggles with her own self-worth. But she's determined, competent, clever, and tougher than she realizes.
Her full name is Leland Rose, but she's gone by Laney since she was a kid. She has unruly brown curls and ordinary brown eyes. Her brother Cole is three years older and has taken care of her as long as she can remember. She has no idea where she came from or who her parents were.
As the story progresses, Laney poses as Lady Stasia Harrington. She's the exact opposite of Laney in every way.
I like to "cast" my characters so that I have a clear description in my mind. Laney's model was actress Alison Lohman as a brunette (Flicka). Because I have the two facets of the same person, I wanted to find someone who pulled off a different look, so Stasia is the blonde version of Alison Lohman (Big Fish).
As with most main characters, Laney goes through a lot in this book. She slowly learns to rely on herself and discovers she has what it takes to make things right. I really love her character arc and where she ends up.
Get your copy of Outlaw on Tuesday and read more of Laney's story! I'll post links as soon as it's available!
As you're wildly anticipating the release of Outlaw, (and I know you are. Don't deny it!), I thought I'd introduce you to a few of the characters that live rather vividly in my imagination.
Driscoll "Cole" Rose is a young man who is caught between what is good and what is right. It's a very fine line. He struggles to maintain order, trying to guide those around him to play it safe and not cause trouble. If only they'd listen to him...
Although not much is known about their origin, he has a strong sense of duty to his sister, Laney. He's older by three years. Since they were children, he's watched over her. He's fiercely loyal and will do whatever it takes to protect those he loves.
He has many secrets, and he's good at keeping them. He'll only tell you what you need to know. Throughout the book, he becomes a master of disguise and learns to trust others to accomplish the bigger goal.
Physically, I modeled the character after Michael Trucco. Tall, with dark hair and dark eyes (even though Mr. Trucco has blue). He's intelligent, but also good with his hands.
Cole hasn't changed much since the original concept. His first name comes from my love of strawberries. I wanted him to have an unusual name that could be shortened to something more mainstream (just like his sister, who I'll tell you about tomorrow.) I chose the last name Rose because I wanted this to have a streak of that "wild west" flair, given the title, and that sounded old-fashioned to me.
I know you're going to like Cole as much as I do!
Outlaw is releasing on November 1st!
I started writing this story nine years ago. Yes...nine. Crazy, huh? I love looking back at my old notes to see how much the story has evolved. From character names to plot points, so much has changed, although the basic structure is still the same.
This is the story of Britt Lockhart and Driscoll and Laney Rose. They made an appearance in Asylum and have minor roles in other Crown's Call stories. From two very different backgrounds, unusual circumstances bring them together and form a lifelong bond. With the volatile Circeae system as its backdrop, they take on the iron-handed Progressive Legacy in their own way.
I've long been a fan of the classic stories The Count of Monte Cristo and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Books, movies, musicals...I can't get enough! (Jim Caviezel as the Count and Anthony Andrews as the Pimpernel can't be beat.) Outlaw embraces elements from both stories, weaving an explosive, romantic adventure you won't be able to put down. Oh, and it's all set in a totally different universe with spaceships and advanced technology. Loads of fun!
Look for a cover reveal soon! And get your copy from Amazon (print or e-book) next Tuesday!
We are just hours from Denver Comic Con, people! Well, okay...it's already started for some people. But I'm up tomorrow with three panels, then signing books on Sunday. That's so exciting!
I've prepared quite a bit. I've looked up all my fellow panelists. I've written prompt questions. I've even scripted introductions for myself! So now it's just a matter of doing it.
I will come back with a full report and hopefully some pictures. (Thank you. That just reminded me to charge my camera. And yes, I'm still old school and use an actual camera.)
See you in Denver!
I wanted to share with you my schedule for Denver Comic Con! I hope you'll stop by and say hello!! It's going to be AWESOME!!
Homage: The Impact of Sci-Fi Pop Culture on Writing (Room 506/507)
Saturday at 10:30 -11:20am
Explore how popular sci-fi helps an author create their own worlds and stories.
As sci-fi fans, we get excited when new works hit the big (or the small!) screen. We also hearken back to the sci-fi legacy we've been given. These classic plots, characters, and settings shape our writing and help hone us as authors. Join this panel for a lively discussion of how sci-fi has personally affected our worlds and stories.
Moderator: Ashley Hodges Bazer
• Carrie Vaughn
• Mario Acevedo
• Kevin Ikenberry
• Amalie Howard
A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Writing Space Opera (Room 502/503)
Saturday at 5:15 - 6:05pm
Explore the power of emotion and relationship set among the stars.
Space opera is a compelling, yet relatively unacknowledged genre, even though it's everywhere! We'll take a look at popular space opera and discuss how certain genre-specific elements add (or perhaps detract) from the power of the story. Panelists can contribute from their own personal writing experience as well.
Moderator: Ashley Hodges Bazer
• Jason Kent
• LJ Hachmeister
• W.C. Bauers
• Giles Hash
The Role of Religion in SF/F (Room 502/503)
Saturday at 6:30 - 7:20pm
Authors will explore the role religion plays in their stories, as well as popular scifi movies, television, and books.
They say never to discuss politics or religion, but both have a place in science fiction. Authors will explore the role religion plays in their stories, as well as popular scifi movies, television, and books. From the allegorical to the prophetical, we'll cover it all!
Moderator: Ashley Hodges Bazer
• Ian Brazee-Cannon
• Stant Litore
• Kevin Hearne
• Michelle Kellogg
Sunday at 11:00am - 1:00pm
Okay, sure! Life is crazy as always. But I do have several bits of awesome news to share.
I've been inspired to write a new series. I know, I haven't finished the first one yet, but that's how my mind works. I'm currently developing this one, and I'll share more news on it at another time. I'm very excited! Still in the sci-fi genre, but with some other fun elements.
I'm in a production of Pirates of Penzance! It's been a while since I set foot on a stage, and the opportunity arose, so I took it. I've never done Pirates, but I'm familiar with it. The cast is great, the director is great. It's going to be a fun show!
And finally, as you may have seen on the home page, I'm going to be at Denver Comic Con in June. This is my second con (first big one!) as a panelist, and I'm thrilled! It will be amazing to introduce potential readers to my worlds. I'll get to talk about space opera (hooray!) and how sci-fi pop culture has impacted my writing. Other authors will join me to discuss these topics, so it's bound to be a great time! I'm also going to try to wrap up Reconciled by that time, so wish me luck! I need to get it out there.
There we have it! Thanks for sticking with me! I'll hopefully have more news soon!
As a writer, we're supposed to have a thick skin. If we don't go into the business with our eyes open and our armor on, we'll get flattened pretty quickly. It's the nature of the beast, right?
And how often do we hear, "Don't take it personally. It's nothing against you."
I try. I try really hard not to take stuff personally. And I've kept my head above water when it comes to the writing aspect of my life. I can take criticism and feedback, especially when it's given in a positive way. I understand that readers are subjective, and they will choose what they like. I'm the same way, so I can't fault them for that. Even rejection rolls off pretty easily. (It's the no response policy that drives me bonkers, but that's a totally different topic.)
But I'm learning that I take life personally. Big things can really hurt, but even little everyday occurrences are starting to get to me.
When I was younger, I was the kid people made fun of. I was a big girl. Inside, though, I was a knockout cheerleader. A graceful dancer. A rock star. A celebrated actor. A noteworthy intelligence. Outside, I was a frumpy, dumpy mess. Well, maybe not a mess, but after years of name-calling and finger-pointing, that's how I felt.
Feel. Yes, I'll admit that. Even to this day.
Despite all the current song lyrics that tell women they are beautiful without knowing they are beautiful and that's what makes them beautiful...or whatever teeny-bopper nonsense that is...I can't shake the scars that mar my self-image. And I'm not talking about just looks. It snakes into my abilities, my confidence, my worth.
I'm not writing this to gain pity or a soft touch for myself. I want you to be aware that there are others who might feel this way. Others who might have experienced past traumas of bullying or being made fun of or even abuse. As you encounter those folks, you may not know the story behind the tears in their eyes or their porcupine behavior.
My dad drank in order to deal with his past and present. It wasn't pretty or pleasant, but it was his way of handling reality. It killed him. I write. In my world, I can become the person I am on the inside. I can let her shine. She can fight those dragons (not literally...I'm a sci-fi author!) and take down kingdoms. She can save the day and have the world at her feet. She can overcome adversity without a single hair out of place.
So, yes, I take it personally. I absorb it. Dwell in it. Hold onto it. Punish myself for it. But I won't ever let you see me cry about it. That way, I hold the power. It's something I can work out later through prayer and meditation. It's mine, and mine alone to deal with. I belong to a loving God who will one day wipe away my tears as He whispers His promises into my soul.
But while we're here, consider your words and actions toward others. You might just save them from another scar.
As an employee for Disney--a cast member--there is a certain standard to which one must adhere. (By the way, I prefer the nonsensical word adhese. You use adhesive, not adherive. But I digress...) After just three years of working for the Mouse, this code is so ingrained in my very being, I carry it with me nearly twenty years later. Of course, some of these may have changed over the years, but such was the case when I was a cast member.
A few examples...
When a guest asks directions, the cast member is allowed to point, but must use two or more fingers. Last week, someone stopped me in the parking lot of my place of employment to ask for directions. And sure enough, I gave them the two-fingered point.
Nail polish must be a neutral color. Boy, did I get reamed on this one more than once! Could I help it if blue nail polish was all the rage at the time? Today...I don't wear any. Nails au naturale for me.
Hair must remain a natural color. Never had trouble with this one, really. But when I was younger, we didn't have all the crazy colors we have today. The craziest I had was dark red. Still that color today.
Disney is a great company to work for. Their standard is what makes the difference and gives guests positive experiences. I enjoyed my time there, and now that I'm on the other side of the berm so to speak (look that one up if you don't get it), I cherish the clean-cut look and polite manners of the cast members I encounter.
And I secretly smile, knowing I still carry a bit of the Disney magic.
Admit it. You've been in that relationship. You know the one--you do all the work, trying to keep the attention of the other person, only to end up ignored, left behind, and/or pushed away. You keep holding on for some silly reason...but then one day, you wise up. You see the relationship for what it really is. And you decide to move on.
Such is the case with me and social media.
I was obsessed. Addicted. Spent countless hours scrolling through trivial quiz results, other people's memories and experiences, "selfies" (ugh, I hate that word!), and witty...and some not so witty...thoughts. I'd post something and sit glued to my monitor to watch the likes and comments rack up. And when they didn't, I felt deep disappointment and rejection. I'd base my worth on these pathetic responses.
But I'm done. I'm breaking up with Facebook.
No offense to my "friends"--real or not. If you enjoy Facebook and other social media outlets, I 'm glad. My advice...let it be a tool, not the rule.
No, I haven't conquered this. Goodness, I just realized the problem. There are times when I look at my "Favorites" bar, see the link, and think, "Oooh, I should check out..." Letting go is a process. After being off it for even just a few days, my mind is already clearer. I was scatterbrained like crazy, but now I feel more in control of my thoughts.
I plan to check in on Facebook on Fridays. One time...not throughout the day. I'll resolve any notifications at that time. But I won't be scrolling or liking or commenting. I considered deleting my account, but I have my author page and my critique group to keep up with.
So...to use the cliched line from that relationship...it's not you. It's me.
And really, it is. I need to do this for me.
I don't remember how old I was when I first saw Logan's Run, but it's definitely a movie that has stuck with me through the years. We'd rent it from time to time, until I finally bought a copy on VHS. (And quite honestly, I didn't know it was based off a book until I was already a fan of the movie. And yes, I bought a copy of that, too.)
The plot has all the elements of a great dystopian story. Logan's society is full of young, beautiful people who enjoy a life of pleasure. But when you turn thirty, look out! The little jewel in your hand turns red, indicating your Last Day. Then, it's off to Carousel with you, where you'll be "renewed"...as toast. Logan totally buys into the way things are. In fact, he even goes after people who flee from this understood destiny (runners). Until his turn comes. He runs.
It's an epic journey/quest that arrives at an interesting conclusion. Worth watching. And for those of us weirdos who love show tunes, you'll get a kick out of seeing Michael York (of Caberet fame) as a young man. I've not seen this movie in a few years, so it's time for a viewing.
I've read there's a remake in the works, and early rumors said Matt Damon was involved. But more recent articles don't have his name, so there you have it. I'd be interested in seeing an updated version, but the classic will always hold my heart. (And be sure not to miss the scene with Farrah Fawcett's stellar "ick-ting".)
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3