Not Where I Started
As I’ve been wrapping up the Heralds of the Crown trilogy, I’ve been thinking about my books. While I’ve enjoyed writing Poison, Fusion, and now Reconciled, these are not the books I started with.
I know I’ve mentioned the very first novel I wrote--Valor. I will publish it someday, probably sooner rather than later. I am thinking about breaking out of my chronological shell and publish out of order. It worked for C.S. Lewis and his amazing Chronicles of Narnia, right?
And yes, Asylum is already out there…the second to the last in the saga…but that was a unique situation.
In Valor, the main characters talk about a legendary space sailor named Kincade. They loved reading his stories as kids. He had all sorts of adventures and run-ins with creatures no one could even imagine.
But I wanted to make him more than just a legend. I wanted to make him part of the lineage of the characters in later books.
And that’s where the Heralds of the Crown books come in. They are the “true” stories of Kincade the Space Sailor. I wanted to make them on par with Sinbad the Sailor…stories I read as a kid. Wild, fantastical adventures.
But for him to be “real,” I had to give him backstory. I had to know where he came from, how he overcame adversity to be launched into legend, how he grew a family tree to include other great people who would become heroes and warriors.
Poison is about his parents—how they met, their relationship, and their trials.
Fusion is about the making of the legend—a kid with an unsavory past stepping up to save the universe.
And Reconciled will cement his name in the universe’s history, writing his tales among the stars.
So, yes, read the Heralds of the Crown trilogy. Enjoy them. But know that something else entirely different is down the pipe. I’m excited to share the rest of The Crown’s Call saga with you!
Ten Things Not to Say...
My Twitter feed is trending #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter right now, and oh, boy, I just have to jump on that one! We hear things all the time that drive us crazy, but truly...only other writers understand.
1. "You know, I've been thinking about writing a book..."
ANSWER: Great. Awesome. Do it.
2. "It can't be that hard."
ANSWER: (after much laughter) Wait.
3. "So, I've written a book/story/memoir/fill-in-the-blank. Would you mind looking at it for me?"
ANSWER: You're my friend, so I'll try to be kind, but my time is very limited as it is. While I would love to read your stuff and give you knowledgeable feedback, unless you pay me, I just can't.
4. "You're a writer. Wow. You're like a millionaire, right?."
ANSWER: (again, much laughter)
5. "I have a friend who wrote a book in five days. She got an agent like that *snap*, and a publisher picked it up right away."
ANSWER: Go away before I kick you.
6. "Where do you get all those ideas?"
ANSWER: Honestly, I don't know. Characters pop into my head, and they won't leave me alone until I write their story.
7. "How do you find the time to write with all the other stuff you have to do?"
ANSWER: It's my passion. I find the time.
8. "Can I have a free copy of your book?"
ANSWER: While I'm honored you want to read my work, this helps pay my bills. It's my intellectual property, blood, sweat, tears, and all the other cliches you want to throw in there. If you give me a free doctor's appointment, legal representation, dance lesson, etc...perhaps we'll talk.
9. "It must be exciting to see your books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble."
ANSWER: It must be! I don't know. I self-publish and B&N won't touch self-published books.
10. "When does the movie come out?"
There's a lot that goes into writing a book. Time, thought, heart, and so much more. If you want to support an author, buy their book. Write a review. Encourage them. We are artists, and we need the love. We appreciate our fans because without you, our work is meaningless. You breathe life into who we are. So keep reading!
Multiple Idea Syndrome
I have a writerly problem. It's a good one to have, to be sure, but a problem nonetheless.
I suffer from Multiple Idea Syndrome.
Ideas pop into my head all the time. Solutions to issues I'm having with certain scenes. Interesting characters to explore. Brand new stories.
Again, that's a good problem to have. Until it comes to the actual writing...
I am currently working on several projects all at once: writing Reconciled (Book 3), revising Asylum for its anniversary re-launch, polishing Outlaw with my critique group. And I just finished my first draft of Time Spinners. (You don't know about that one yet, but I shall share one day soon!) The draw to revise that is strong.
My brain just may explode.
Some people ask if it's tough to keep all the different stories straight. Not really. The tough part comes when I have to walk away from a story to do real life things...then coming back to pick up where I left off. It's hard to recapture the emotion and the momentum.
Still, we persevere. We get it done. We write the story. And we dive back in for more.
I'm glad I have this problem. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
But I sure look forward to bedtime when I can shut off my mind for a little while.
When It Clicks
As I have written before, I am really struggling with Book 3. I thought it would be easy to wrap up the trilogy. That the words would just pour forth, and boom! I'd have a book. Ha! Not the case.
I thought I had clear direction, too. I knew the starting point. I knew the end goal. And I had some idea of the meanderings in between.
What I didn't know is that those meanderings were causing me to mess up. To spin my wheels. I lacked motivation for certain plot points.
So I'm starting over. I have some scenes written, and I plan to keep most of those. I just had to figure out some bigger pieces of the puzzle, and I think I now have a firm grasp on that.
I'm shooting for an end-of-the-year release with this one. It's not just about getting the story down, but there's revising, editing, re-revising, and much more. I'm excited about where it's going, and the details that have come to mind give me chills. I can't wait to share it with you!
The Depth of Music
As I told a friend earlier this week, I am a musical person. At an early age, I enjoyed show tunes. For many years, I refused to listen to the radio, choosing instead to listen to my collection of Broadway tapes (yes, tapes!) and CDs. Musical theatre was my career path, and I thought the stage was simply a magical place.
I drove home from a writers' event last night and pulled out one of my old CDs. It's scratched. Worn. But I got enough of it to make me happy--the Broadway cast album of Jekyll and Hyde.
For those in the know, you might ask, "Which one?" (There's only been about ten editions released.) It doesn't matter. They are all great and worth listening to.
I've known the story of Jekyll and Hyde for as long as I can remember. There's the silly Bugs Bunny cartoon. Various movies. And of course, the classic book by the great Robert Louis Stevenson. But quite honestly, I never really cared for the story until I heard the musical. The minor chords, insightful lyrics, and yearning strings took it to another level. There's something about music that does that.
From a writing perspective, I can drum up some pretty strong emotion just by listening to things like this. There are times I want absolute silence, but most often, I'm listening to something to catch the mood. This particular musical helped me discover twisted parts of Poison I didn't know were there. Once I found them, though, wow!
I am grateful for music. For those who delve deep into their souls and create such wonders. It's an amazing art that inspires even more creativity. As ABBA said, "Thank you for the music..."
I've included the Bugs Bunny cartoon for your viewing pleasure. Also, my favorite piece from Jekyll and Hyde, although it's David Hasselhoff performing, so it's not the best. Still, you get the gist of it!
A Decision Made
August 23rd will be the 3rd anniversary of Asylum. The story behind its publication is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. You see, I entered a contest with WestBow Press (a vanity press), and the manuscript won the grand prize. It was an incredible experience, and it validated me as a writer.
So to commemorate its third year, I'm taking it back.
No, you won't lose out reading the heart-wrenching trials of Chase and Trista. But I'm pulling it from the WestBow Press label, revising it (oh, I've learned a lot since then!), and repackaging it under the Rising Press imprint.
So in the next month, you'll get to see its new cover. (I'm as excited as you are!) The insides will be torn to shreds and pieced back together. And such happiness will commence!
Thanks for joining me on this adventure!
I discovered a recent review for my book Asylum I had not seen before. I know authors are supposed to have a thick skin. We face rejection from agents and publishers...until the right one comes along. Then we face our critics and fans through reviews and the like.
This one stood out because it slammed the religious nature of my stories. Even though the back cover contains the genre "Religious Fiction" in the top corner.
I get it. Religion, specifically Christianity, isn't for everyone. I'm not here to judge or preach. I include it in my stories because it's who I am. I wanted to create a universe where I could explore some edgier aspects of Christianity and speculate about what might happen if those closely-held beliefs were not just challenged, but silenced.
As I think about it, I find the review funny. I had another person say the exact opposite. He is not a fan of religious fiction, but after reading Asylum, he said he liked the way I handled those aspects. He didn't feel that I "rammed it" down his throat.
So I'm going to hold onto that and let this other one roll off my back.
One thing that did strike me is how reluctant I am to put the "Religious Fiction" label on my work. I want people of all walks of life to read my books--whether Christian or not. I've tried to say, "family-friendly" and leave it at that, but honestly, there are some parts I wouldn't read to my children until they are a bit older. Also, there is simply no market for Christian sci-fi. I've tried to fly under the radar in a futile effort to get my work out there.
But I'm done with that. I am proudly claiming the Christian nature of my books. Yes, the Crown represents the triune God of Christianity. I've modeled the deity after the One I follow. Yes, my main characters struggle with very human emotions--anger, despair, sorrow, doubt. Because as the author, I deal with those things.
I think sci-fi is the perfect genre to explore religion. I've said it before--the possibilities are limitless, just like my God! Dark evil lurks in every corner, but His light shines through. Good versus evil is in the heart of every man. It's human nature...and that translates to the vast universe we know and have yet to discover.
And even though you won't find many Christian sci-fi novels on the shelves of bookstores, there is some amazing movement going on among readers. If you're interested, check out these links as a launching point:
The SciFi Christian podcast/website
Realm Makers conference
Speculative Faith website
Oh, and read my books. Then, go forth and write happy reviews.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3