Today, I had the privilege of meeting Douglas Gresham, author, film producer, all around amazing man. Beyond that, he is the stepson of C.S. Lewis. He came to record an interview of which I am the producer. If you haven't heard his story, you should check out his books: Lenten Lands and Jack's Life.
Saying Doug is a gentleman is an understatement. He is gracious, warm, and kind. I felt so blessed to have a few moments with him. He has incredible stories to share, and I hope you'll listen to the interview when it airs. I'll be sure to post the link when the day comes.
I learned he enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for sci-fi. I gave him a copy of Asylum. What an honor, indeed! I do hope my words will bless him, even in the smallest way.
This afternoon was an absolute delight! I'm still soaring, even hours later. I know the broadcasted interview will bless many, and I'm thankful I got to be a part of it.
Illusion is an amazing thing. Having been bitten by the theatrical bug many moons ago, I am totally taken with illusion. After all, that's what theatre is. Everything in view of the audience is crisp, perfect, beautiful. What you don't see is the duct tape, spit, and hard work that goes into creating a fabulous set.
A rainbow lights splash ambience onto the stage. But high above on the catwalk are huge cans fitted with light bulbs and colored plastic pieces called gels. Cables run from the lights to the patching network which runs to a board.
From my early childhood, I've been fascinated with illusion. The Christmas tree growing during the Nutcracker ballet. Cats dancing and singing to Andrew Lloyd Webber's music. A barricade built midstage in two minutes flat during Les Miserables.
I've even been part of some of the most astounding illusion. I'll never forget my first trip to Disneyland, standing atop the bridge that goes over Pirates of the Caribbean (the original!). A little production called Fantasmic! had caught us up in the crowd, and we just had to watch. From the very first chord that accompanied a beam of light that shot straight into the air, to the disappearance of Mickey Mouse at the very end, I stood transfixed. Across the water, within just a few seconds, a huge dragon appeared out of nowhere! I bawled my eyes out because the magic was so overwhelming!
Who knew that just a couple months later, I'd be introduced to that very dragon affectionately known as "Bucky." I got to learn up close and personal how that magic is made. I spent three years in the Magic Kingdom...and everyday I saw the beauty and marvel of illusion created. It's something that has stuck with me, and I've missed it since.
I love illusion. I love creating it. So much so, that I must admit, I use it all the time. Even if something is bothering me internally, I paste a smile on my face. Isn't that the way it is with prideful human beings?
The problem, though? I see when illusion goes wrong. I notice when the Styrofoam trees that give atmosphere to the children's area at church are scuffed and scraped up at the bottom. I can tell when a cue is missed. And
it stinks. The illusion fails, and my heart breaks just a little.
And perhaps, that's why I write. I can create a universe of fantastic illusion that removes the normality of our world. We can escape. We can live in the mirror of our dreams. A place where illusion never fails. It's always shiny and mysterious and wonderful.
What is your favorite part of illusion? How do you like
I am a chameleon. I can imitate the best of 'em. I'm not talking about comedic impressions or anything...but little things in life. Singing is a great example. I'm not the best singer, but I can certainly imitate the notes I hear and give you a decent representation of a song. I'm also learning I do that with writing.
So when I came across a website years ago with writing tips I'd never heard of or thought about, I figured I'd start applying them. I am most grateful for those tips because they sure did make my writing stronger. I look back at the first novel I wrote and wow...I knew nothing (except the basic of grammar, really)! I bounced around everyone's head, shifting POV like crazy. But I had just been imitating some of the great works I'd read throughout my life using omniscient POV. I had no idea that was no longer acceptable...unless you were one of those great authors.
As I went deeper and deeper into learning the craft, I discovered more and more rules. Yes, some of them are great! When applied correctly, your writing can take on a whole new level. But...lately...I've been snagging samples of new, bestselling books for my Kindle...and I've discovered a startling fact...
A lot of rules aren't followed!
I saw a brand new novel on the front shelves at Barnes & Noble yesterday that caught my attention. Yeah, I know...judge a book by its cover and all that rot. Anyway, I made a note and immediately went home to get the sample. This morning, I pulled it up. The very first line, so-and-so "felt like he was going to be sick."
Breaks the show-vs. tell rule in the first line! The line that supposed to be the most powerful! The one that's supposed to draw you in. I slammed my Kindle closed, fuming. (More show-vs. tell for you there.) And this isn't the only example...just the most recent.
Let me just say, this isn't a rant to lament how unfair it is that certain authors get published when they don't follow the rules we unpublished ones are striving to follow. Not at all. This is a declaration of freedom from trying so hard to adhere to the rules that I miss out on the enjoyment of writing. Instead of comparing, contrasting, and trying to mimic the trending authors of today, I'm going to rediscover my voice and relish the process. I'll still hold onto what I've learned. I'm just not going to fret about following each little rule. At least until I hit the revision stage.
Then I shall apply my chameleon skills to studying marketing. Because it's more than just selling to your readers (awesome, wonderful people, by the way!)...it's selling to those in the industry who can give you that hand up the ladder.
Of course, it takes an amazing book to start with...
Today, I returned home. And it was awesome! My kids had a skating party at the very same roller rink that I pretty much grew up in. It's been 20+ years since I'd been on skates, but I was determined to get my feet in a pair and help my kids.
Ambition is a great thing. Teaching a 7 year old, 5 year old, and 3 year old how to stand, let alone move, on boots with wheels...not so much.
But now, they have these terrific PVC pipe creations on casters to be used as skating trainers. They are indeed beautiful inventions. Wish I had thought of it. Instead, I got to rent three of them at $4 each...for all of about 15 minutes.
Each of the kids survived the rink from one entrance to the other. Using the trainers. My 5 year old actually went around three times after her initial shock wore off. I helped her, and she really enjoyed it.
And then...there were the moments I left them behind with Grammie while I took to the floor. I went from a wife and mom back to that 10 year old girl who found freedom on her skates. Under the colored lights, I was beautiful, skinny, powerful, fast...I could fly. I sailed between clumsy kids and tipping trainers. The musty scent of shoe sanitizer and crummy concession stand food breezed through my hair. I was the girl wearing the satin pink jacket with her purple pompoms on her lovely white skates who lit up the floor during Chicago's You're the Inspiration. Oh, how I missed her.
No 80s music. No disco ball (although one was hung!) No limbo or hokey-pokey. But really, I had such a marvelous time. If it weren't for my ouchy feet (skates hurt when you're out of practice!) and kids who'd been going all day, I would have stayed all night!
Guess I'll have to go back sometime soon! In the meantime, I'm on a search for my own pair of skates. Old school.
Today on Twitter, I participated in #PitMad. We got to Tweet our pitches for our various novels in hopes to attract the eye of editors and agents. It was a blast, although it was also a lot of work. I'm thankful I prepared my pitches in advance, although I did a little tweaking (yes, TWEAKING...not twerking) through the day.
I thought this would be a prime spot to share my collection of pitches.
The Crown's Call saga
Heralds of the Crown: Poison
Heralds of the Crown: Fusion
Touch of the Crown: Outlaw
Champions of the Crown: Asylum
I just need to finish them!
Best wishes to all participants! May you receive many requests!
And thank you to the agents, editors, and organizers who made #PitMad possible. We applaud you!
I love writing fiction. But let's admit it...writing can be difficult. It takes time, focus, energy, technique, voice, craft...and a great story. Inspiration, while it's all around us, doesn't come easy. And when it strikes, I have to take advantage of it.
My best thinking happens when I first wake up in the morning. Now, I am not a morning person. I spent too many years doing theatre, I guess. Late night rehearsals, cast parties...morning always came too early.
Years ago, Garfield (yes, the cartoon cat) gave me a great idea. He said something along the lines of "The earlier you set your alarm clock, the later you can sleep in." So I usually set my alarm 30 minutes early and snooze my way to the actual wake up time. But I don't really snooze. I think through scenes. I imagine. I work through places that have me baffled.
This morning, I started envisioning a scene for one of my novels in The Crown's Call saga. It was the inspiration I needed. Before 8am, I had 600 words. By bedtime, I'm sitting just over 4,000. No, it's not perfect. But it's written! I can go back and revise all I want now. Tweak. Explore.
I admire writers who outline, plan, and write from front to back. Yeah, that's not me. I'm all over the place. But somehow, it comes together into something that makes sense. If I couldn't write out of order--the way I do--I don't think I'd write. But that's the magic of creation. We don't all have to do it the same way. We shouldn't do it the same way! What glorious variety we have at our fingertips!
So that's just a little glimpse of my process. What's yours like? How do you find inspiration?
We all know where babies come from, so I'm not going there. And no, this is not a baby announcement! I have three awesome kids, and that's plenty for me. But it is an announcement of a different sort of birth...
I have two new books planned for The Crown's Call saga!
Over the last few days, I have pondered how to go about this. I considered writing a few short stories to complement the saga. But as I thought about the stories, they began to take shape in novel form.
My titles are:
Touch of the Crown: Traitor
Champions of the Crown: Casualty
I will post the pages and synopses later. But for now, I'm thrilled with the titles. And the stories are equally as awesome! Can't wait to share them with you!!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3