My book, Asylum, has been out for going on two weeks now. What a crazy thing it is! I have to force myself to think about other things. I have to make myself get out of the house. I could sit and stare at the sales figures online all day. Not that Asylum is sitting at number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, but I just enjoy the idea that someone somewhere has purchased my book!
At the end of the book, I included a glossary. I made up a few terms because Asylum and the others in the Circeae Tales series take place in a totally different universe. I wanted my readers to understand what I was talking about. I also like to make my characters' names mean something. I once heard that J.K. Rowling included puzzles and riddles in her work. I love having underlyng meaning to give another layer of depth.
One of my lead characters is Chase Leighton. I've always liked the name Chase, so I had to use it. Plus, throughout half the book, he is chasing after his wife, so there you have it. The name Leighton comes from one of my favorite artists - Edmund Blair Leighton. If you're not familiar with his work, you should look him up. His images of knights and ladies capture the romance and beauty of the era.
Trista/Krissa started out with a completely different name. I initially used Alex(andra)/Lexi, but changed early on. Alex is now the main character in Excelsior. I liked the way Trista sounded, and as explained in Asylum, Krissa came about as a near-rhyme.
The villain in Asylum is Dr. Reid Terces. His name is an anagram of "dire secret," in reference to his work with Trista/Krissa. Everyone associated with him - the Nivelis and Aftal - hinge on that same idea. Niveli is an anagram of "live in" - as in "live in secret," and Aftal is "fatal" rearranged - "fatal secret."
My favorites, though, are the doctors onboard the Straightjacket. (By the way, I chose to go with that spelling, as opposed to Straitjacket, because it's the place where the Legacy intends to "straighten" out their prisoners.) The Straightjacket is a prison ship for the criminally insane. Makes sense to me - people labeled as crazy shipped off to the far reaches of the system. In this case, however, it's done injustly. The doctors are Adam Caiman ("a mad maniac"), Caultin (lunatic), Sainne (insane), and Tuscane (nutcase). Pretty cool, huh?
The orderlies also have meanings behind their names. I won't go into all of them, but I used words from different languages with meanings such as, "dope," "mean," "cruel," "numb." And there are others. You just have to read the book!
I've done the same with the overall storyline. Asylum is just one piece of the puzzle. There is much more to the big picture. I'll explain those in a future post. This is certainly one aspect of writing I love - crafting words/names in such a way that they mean more than just the surface level impression.
I hope this intrigues you enough to read Asylum! And if you do - and you like it - I'd love to hear from you. Write a review. Send me a comment on my contact page. Find me on Facebook or Twitter. If you don't like it, I'd like to heard from you, too. I welcome constructive criticism. But just so you know - my husband, who hasn't read any of my work prior to the release of Asylum, AND is not a science-fiction fan, finished it in a day. He said he couldn't put it down. He loved the book. Perhaps he's a little biased, but I'd like to think his opinion is a testament to the story itself. And I certainly want any credit for it. Soli Deo Gloria.
Blessings to you, dear friends!
Growing up, I always longed for the "Leave It to Beaver" family. Who hasn't wished for a family dynamic that was peaceful and sweet? Yes, I know that the Cleavers didn't have girls, but I wanted those relationships - strong and secure.
My childhood family was amazing - don't get me wrong. I love my brothers, mom, and dad very much. And I know how lucky I am to have them (had, in my dad's case, as he passed away in 2010). But we had our share of tangles and snags, as many families do. My dad and I didn't really see eye-to-eye. We were a lot alike and knew how to hurt each other (not physically...) easily. My older brother is ten years older, so he left home when I was still pretty young.
So when watching TV, I would see all those wonderful relationships and wish for our family to be closer.
The other day, I rounded up my Dingoes and my husband, and we all went out for a walk. Strolling down the road of our quiet neighborhood, the wind rustled the leaves in the tress above. I watched Dingo #1 and Dingo #2 ride their bikes ahead of us, while Dingo #3 sat in her stroller and babbled. My husband walked by my side...
...and it hit me. God had answered my childhood prayer. Not when I expected it. Not in the circumstances in which I had asked. But He answered my prayer in my adult family - the family in which He used me to help create.
What an awesome realization!
The more I thought about it, the more I began to understand how He allows us to make choices. I can choose to be grumpy toward my kids, or I can choose to embrace them. I can choose to make things better, or I can stay stagnant in misery. I can choose to give my kids a safe, loving environment, or I can choose to splinter our family. Isn't it obvious?
I love how God used my childhood dreams and longings to help shape my adult family. Thumbs up, Big Guy! And no, we're not perfect by any means. But with God as our center, can we go wrong? As Romans 8:31 tells us: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Safe in His loving hands.
This day has always been a special day for me. September 7th. When I was in 5th grade, I got to see the Jacksons (including Michael) perform. It's also the birthday of a friend whose life ended too early. And it's the birthday of the glorious Queen Elizabeth the I.
Elizabeth is a long time favorite. I am fascinated with her father, Henry VIII and his wives. The time period intrigues me. I love everything about it (with the exception of the murders, of course...). So I always enjoy paying tribute to the great Queen on her birthday.
This morning, I got to sing the National Anthem (solo) to kick off a softball game. It was the first time I been given the honor, and it's something I've always wanted to do. The best word I can think of to describe the feeling - electrifying. It was amazing and wonderful! Talk about a patriotic swell in your heart. Wow!
It made this September 7th as special as the others. I'm grateful for the privilege of performing our country's anthem. And I'm grateful for living in such an awesome country.
It's a quiet morning. Two out of three Dingoes are at school. The other Dingo is watching her favorite television show. And so here I sit, thinking. Thinking and waiting.
My publishing experience went super quickly. I won the writing contest mid-July and held my published book in my hand at the end of August. I had three days to fix edits. It was just plain crazy. Well, crazy and wonderful. As I've written before, I am not exactly the most patient person. So I'm glad that this first expeience went so fast. Of course, my mind is set to that pace, so in the future, it might prove detrimental...
But now, I have to be in waiting mode. I'm waiting for a box of books to arrive. I'm waiting for my first book signing. I'm waiting for a staff person at a major bookstore to come onboard, so I can set up another book signing. I'm waiting for emails to be returned. I'm waiting for something big to happen.
As I am typing, several Scriptures come to mind. God is speaking.
Psalm 5:3 - "In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly."
Psalm 27:14 - "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
Psalm 33:20 - "We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield."
Psalm 37:7 - "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..."
Thank You, Lord. I understand.
Once again, I need to lay it all down before Him. Relinquish control and focus on the important things - like my Dingoes, my husband, my home. Why is that so hard to do? Staring at my computer and expecting those emails to come isn't going to do any good. Gripping my laptop won't make sales numbers change. Constantly checking every social media site will not get me "discovered" as an author. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:27, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Nope. What choice do I have?
Trust and obey, for there's no other way.
A few weeks ago, I asked some friends to gather to celebrate my book Asylum getting published. It was such a wonderful party. I felt loved, celebrated, and lifted up. It was amazing!
Over the Labor Day weekend, I received the paperback copy of my book. My brother had ordered a hardcover, which was even more impressive to hold and look through. My favorite part of the weekend, though, was presenting the book to my mom and watching her read the dedication page. She cried; I cried. It was wonderful. She's taught me a lot about being a mom, and I am thrilled that I was given the opportunity to give her such a gift.
I also got to share my physical book with a couple of friends. I can't say which was more exciting - opening the package with my book for the first time, or watching the faces of those I care about as they flip through it. Both were pretty awesome.
Another highlight of the weekend was walking into Barnes & Noble - a former place of my employment - with my mom to order the book. We stood at the information desk and ordered several copies from a nice kid. He asked if it was a good book. I said, "It's sci-fi." He replied, "That makes it a good book." Then my mom proudly introduced me as the author. Yeah, it was fun.
I'm looking forward to what the week holds. I've already scheduled a local booksigning. I know I have lots of work ahead of me. I'm also eager for the Christian Product Expo to get underway. It's my prayer that sales will take off after that. So far, many of my friends and family have purchased the book - for which I am most grateful. But I sure hope that readers across the country will enjoy it and want more.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3