It's the end of the week...and the end of the month (hooray!)...so I thought I'd give a little update. Insight into my writing world, fun as it is.
I've re-read what I've started for Reconciled (Book Three.) I'm really excited about it. The character arcs are the most thrilling to me. It's neat to see how they have grown. Of course, I knew them as babies, so it's just one of those silly, maternal, writerly things. I've got to get cranking on it, though, to make that May deadline. I'm looking forward to some writing time this weekend.
Starting mid-February, I will be teaching my novel writing class again. I learned quite a lot through my last class--my teaching "style" (needs some polish) and presentation. This new-and-improved version I am planning will benefit any future presentations I have.
I am also the Query Coordinator for Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015. My staff is coming together, and I'm super excited about working with these talented authors and friends. We're in the planning stages of the conference now, and it's neat to see how it all comes together. I admire our directors. They do so much behind-the-scenes work.
That's my writing life right now. Lots ahead! Lots to look forward to! Thanks for coming along with me!
I don't know about you, but this has been a long week...and a long month. My Wednesday could use a little pick-me-up. So strap on your roller skates and take a spin 'round the rink with me...
Today, Poison was featured on eBookstage.com. If you're an author, you should sign up with them. It's free!!
I had to write a new description for Poison, so I thought I'd post it here.
Get swept away to the Circeae system--a tertiary star system on the brink of war. A broken woman struggles to extract herself from a corrupt life and clashes with her controlling mentor, but finds her true struggle lies within. A young man is reunited with his estranged brother, only to discover demons still lurk in their relationship. A lost identity leads to a quest of mythic proportions, resulting in both love and loss. Heralds of the Crown: Poison is the first book in an epic sci-fi trilogy that sets the stage for the onset of a cosmic holy war.
Wars vs. Trek
There's a great movie out there titled Free Enterprise that you must see. It has some language in it, but if you can overlook that, it's a riot! It starts out with a kid having a schoolyard fight over who is cooler--Han Solo or Captain Kirk.
I once had someone ask me how I can like both Star Trek and Star Wars. My reply? How could you not? I understand some people may not be cut out for certain things. I'm a big fan of Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, but I've never been able to get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still love Joss Whedon, but am I less dedicated because I don't like it all? Nope.
Both Trek and Wars are epic sci-fi. They were groundbreaking in their time, and even now, scientists are in awe of the tech imagined by Roddenberry and Lucas. From tricorders to lightsabers, we all would like to get our hands on some of that magic. That's why they have those awesome cons--to get the swag and bear or wield it proudly!
And those ships! While the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, the glory of the NCC-1701D is in a Starfleet class all its own. Was I the only one who watched in awe many moons ago when the Enterprise's saucer section separated? Of course, piloting the Falcon would be a dream come true. Another tough call!
Aliens play a role in both universes. I love the creativity behind these creatures! Green skinned girls, scaly beasts, self-sacrificing Bothans, child-protecting Horta...the gamut of interesting. This is one of the many reasons sci-fi appeals to me--the possibilities. And the impossibilities.
So...who is cooler? Captain Kirk or Han Solo? Princess Leia or Yeoman Rand? Bones or Yoda? (Okay, that last one was unfair. Poor Bones!) I'm so glad I don't have to choose. I can enjoy each one for what it is. I can place my head and my heart in a galaxy far, far away or somewhere along the Final Frontier. Long live Trek and Wars!
I just hope to never see a cross-over!
How about you? Which do you prefer?
The Stars as a Stage
Yesterday, I met someone who teaches a leadership class based on Star Trek episodes. I think this is brilliant! I can't wait to take part in this class! I imagine Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer can teach a lot. Not to mention their various officers.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am a sci-fi fan. I started to think about what we can learn from other sci-fi books, films, and television shows. There's so much for us to glean! Why?
Because even though these stories are set among the stars (and sometimes involve alien characters), they explore the human condition. They touch our hearts and fill our souls.
I have thought about removing the sci-fi aspect from my books and rewriting them as fantasy. (I have retained all the rights, so I could...if I wanted to.) The stars are merely the backdrop. I've placed my settings there because I am fascinated by space travel and other worlds. But honestly, I believe my stories could be placed in neighboring kingdoms, using some form of magic instead. (No offense to fantasy authors here. I know it takes a lot of work to build a world.)
Netflix has introduced me to a number of programs I would never have watched before. Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, for instance. I've been watching Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime. Are these programs nothing more than prime time soap operas? It's the drama that holds us. That speaks to us. The passionate dialogue, the unexpected plot twists, and the blissful escape. Look a little closer at Star Trek, Firely, Battlestar Galactica, and even Star Wars. Break them down, and I think you'll find the same basic idea. They are soap operas set in space (also known as my beloved space opera!) Sure, they appeal to a different demographic than your average soap opera, but the essence is the same.
So, I will continue to write in the space setting. The possibilities are limitless! Amazing sights to be hold, quests to discover, adventures to be had. Those beautiful stars twinkling above us hold our destiny. And I look forward to riding them with you!
Getting Back to Work
So...I have a confession. I haven't written creatively in months. Well, I've done my work-related writing, but as far as my books go, I've done nothing. When everything went down with my previous publisher, my heart just wasn't in the writing. It also wasn't in promoting my other books, even though I released two novels during that time. I've broken all the major "gotta-have-a-presence-and-a-platform" rules of writing.
And believe me, I've felt it!
I get excited when I see that one person has downloaded the ebook. And print copies? Yeah, you can imagine. It's pretty pathetic. I am thankful to all of my dear readers who have taken a chance on my books. I hope the stories didn't disappoint!
With the completion of the cover for Book Three (Reconciled - read all about it!), the fire is being rekindled. I'm starting to feel the passion I need to rescue Rider from the Continuum. I'm looking forward to introducing you to Arabella and her fiery personality. I can't wait for you to reach the end and say, "More, please!"
It's definitely a process, and I'll keep you as updated as possible. I never thought I'd be self-publishing, but that's the path I've been led to and I'm choosing to follow. It's awesome, and I would recommend it to anyone. I love that my universe is part of this world, and that my characters are coming to life in very neat ways.
Reconciled picks up where Fusion left off. Book Three of the Heralds of the Crown trilogy will be available in May 2015!
Ode to the Comma
Recently, I was a judge for a writing contest. It was exciting, humbling, and encouraging to read other people's work. There is so much talent out there! So many good writers. I'm glad there's a variety of readers to enjoy the myriad stories available.
One thing I noticed in many of the submissions was a lack of commas. I know the poor comma is on its way out of our language, but I am a fan. So I thought I'd write a tribute to that precious, little, infrequently used, and often debated punctuation mark...
Ode to the Comma
A number of years ago, when I was in school,
My English teacher shared with us a neat, useful tool.
Over the years, it has become a source of great drama.
I'm speaking, of course, of the mysterious comma.
It's not that hard to use, yet many people forget
Just how much this little mark, their writing, will benefit.
With the Oxford under scrutiny and heated dispute,
I'd like to take a moment for a comma salute.
In long lists, it provides needed separation,
And thoughtful pauses in the midst of revelation.
It aids in comprehension as it precedes conjunctions,
But many different folks have stopped using this function.
It starts dialogue between said and quotation marks,
The funny, tailed period with an extra little spark.
So celebrate the comma; use it when you write.
If you don't know how, then please Google a few websites!
The correct usage will make your writing resplendent,
And you will find this little mark is really quite transcendent.
Go, Team Comma!
Children Will Listen
This holiday season has been very special to me. Yes, I love Christmas, but beyond that, two movie musicals have come to the big screen--Annie and Into the Woods. With my music theatre background, I was pretty skeptical of both releases. I've now seen both (with my children), and I have some thoughts to share.
First, we saw Annie. I cried from the very first note (this is not unusual, by the way), but for a different reason than the norm. I cried because 32 years earlier, I sat in a movie theater with my mom watching the version with Aileen Quinn. I had my two little girls on either side of me, introducing them to an entirely new Annie.
I loved this version. While it's different than the one I'm most familiar with, which was different from the Broadway version, the creative team made this its own thing. It's fresh, it's cute, it's relevant. I would recommend this, even to my theatre friends.
(On a side note, I'm not varying my spelling of theatre by accident. In my book, the stage is the theatre while a movie is shown in a theater.)
Tonight, we saw Into the Woods. I've known this show since its Broadway release. I watched the live performance on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I saw the first national tour production. I've done the show three times in varying capacities. I know every inch of the score, every lyric, every note. I own a copy of the published script, the vocal selections, the DVD, and the children's book published in 1988. It's one that is close to my heart. I remember years ago when there was talk of Jim Henson's people doing a movie version. When I heard Disney had it...and that Meryl Streep was starring in it...I was worried.
What I saw on that screen was lovely. It was entertaining and fun. My only criticism was that I felt like I was watching an abbreviated version (and I was. It had to be.) We had just gotten to the end of Act One and the first Ever After, and suddenly there was a giantess crashing through the kingdom. The dissatisfaction of the characters after they received what they wished was lacking. I would have liked to see that depth, but it just wasn't there. For those familiar with the stage version, you could pick up on it, but I missed the Act Two opening.
I thought Johnny Depp was a brilliant Wolf. He was perfectly slimy and smarmy in all the right ways. I did miss the concept of the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince played by the same actor. That adds so much to the creepiness of the Prince's character.
Which leads me to Chris Pine. I wasn't expecting to like him or Rapunzel's Prince. In fact, when Agony was about to start, I nearly left the theater for more popcorn. But I didn't want to miss a moment, and I am so glad I stayed seated. The song was hilarious!
As Cinderella fled the castle in one of the festival scenes I caught strains of one of the waltzes from A Little Night Music. That little extra Sondheim made my heart flip. So happy!
Honestly, I didn't think anyone could fill Bernadette Peters' shoes as the Witch. As I said, I was worried about Meryl Streep taking the role. But you know what? She did a nice job with it. Much better than Mamma Mia. Stay With Me was touching. Throughout the movie, there were nuances that the camera can pick up. On a stage, certain things don't read. I appreciated those nuances, especially in this song.
On the other hand, there were many stage jokes that were lost. This is such a heavy story, particularly the second half, it needs the humor. I don't know if cinematic audiences just didn't get them, or the delivery failed, or a combination of the two. I also missed the Midnight Gone interludes.
One of my favorite parts of the stage show is the Narrator/Mysterious Man character. His final song, leading into he Baker singing No More should have been there. That's such a pivotal point for the Baker, leading him into becoming the next Narrator as he tells his son the story at the end. I would have liked that cyclical aspect to be a bit more obvious.
Meryl Streep's final song, Last Midnight, was ultra-creepy as she sang it as a lullaby to the Baker's son. I thought that was such a neat way to direct that piece.
I wasn't overly satisfied with the very end. Children Will Listen was beautiful, but I needed to see more. I needed that final Into the Woods production number. With the camera passing over the woods, rising up to the clouds, then fading to black prior to the credits rollings...just didn't do it for me. I wanted to see the resolution. I wanted to see the Princes with their new conquests. I wanted that curtain call feel for closure.
All that to say, I will still watch my DVD and sing the songs as I have learned them. But when this one comes out, I will certainly add it to my library. (Annie, too!) I love that I was able to share these precious pieces of my heart with my children, even though it was done in a much different way than I first experienced. I hope Hollywood continues to produce movie musicals of quality. I'm grateful for these two.
I thought today was an exciting day because my littlest girl turns 5! But beyond that, it's National Sci-Fi Day! Did you know such a day existed? I guess it makes sense, as there are national days for just about everything it seems! I actually have a good friend who keeps up with these days and posts them on Twitter. She tipped me off to this day, so I'm most grateful! (You know who you are!)
Sci-fi has always had a big chunk of my heart. You can read my previous blog posts to know more. First and foremost, I'm a Firefly fan. Followed closely by Star Wars, Star Trek (yes, it's possible to like both!) and Battlestar Galactica. My favorite books include the Firebird trilogy by Kathy Tyers and the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I love watching it, reading it, and writing it!
In fact, to celebrate National Sci-Fi Day, I'm giving away the eBook version of my first novel, Poison. It's the kick off to my trilogy about the onset of a cosmic holy war. Give it a try...totally free! No hang ups or catches. Just go to Smashwords and download the file.
Happy Sci-Fi Day!!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3