Whisked Off to the Magical World of Windemere: One Reader’s Adventure

BOAHSo I haven’t been on the blogosphere much lately but it’s not really my fault, you see. I must place blame on fellow blogger and author, Charles Yallowitz for writing a wonderful novel titled, Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero. I started to read it but reluctantly set it aside. I was determined to finish another book I was in the middle of reading before moving on to BOAH, but it seems BOAH had other plans for me. Did I just refer to Charles’ book as if it was a live entity? Ahem, yes, I did. He created a world so fascinating and with such compelling characters that, well…read on and you’ll understand.

It was an ordinary day, or so I thought. I was standing in the fruit section of the grocery store, filling my cart with green apples, thinking of an adorable little character who shared my craving for the fruit. A faint whirring sound interrupted my thoughts. I scanned the area, even looked up into the rafters for a wild bird, but didn’t see anything other than a multicolored haze around my head. Humph. That’s odd. I’m seeing rainbows inside a grocery store.  I shrugged my shoulders and started to move on when I noticed an apple was missing from my cart.

“What the…”

Fizzle love apples!” I felt something clutch my shoulder and when I turned my head a cute little drite was resting upon it, chomping on my apple.

“Hey! I know you. You’re that little dragon from Charles’ book.”

He hopped onto the handle of my grocery cart and put his hands on his hips. His iridescent scales turned reddish-purple as he said, “You no read Charles book.”

I leaned back, surprised by the attack. “Oh! Uh, yeah, I know. I started to read it and it’s really good but I’ve got another book I need to finish first.”

“Why? You no like story?”

“No! It’s not that at all! In fact, I’m having a hard time finishing the other one because I keep thinking of Charles’ book. It’s so much more interesting.”

The color of his scales faded to a cool greenish-blue and he smiled. “Who say finish boring book first?”

“Well, I did. I’m on this quest to read the Modern Library’s top 100 novels of all time. And…what?”

Fizzle shook his head. “Forget list. You rebel. Charles write very good book.”

“You know what, you’re right. There’s no rule that says I have to finish the other one first. I don’t like to follow rules, anyway.” I looked at Fizzle with a devilish grin. “Plus, I am a bit of a rebel, as you said.”

“Charles no follow rules either.”

“Oh, you’re talking about his writing in present tense, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“I have to admit, my internal editor was driving me nuts at first. Part of being a writer I suppose, but creative minds can turn it off easily enough, especially if the story is good.”

“Fizzle no like past tense. Fizzle alive now.”

I chuckled. “Yes, I can see that. Well, since you’re obviously on my mind, I’m going to stop torturing myself, toss that other book aside, and finish reading Beginning of a Hero.”

“You read Charles book, now?”

I nodded. “Yes, as soon as I get home.”

He crossed his arms and said, “Now.”

“I will, Fizzle. I promise. I left my Kindle at home.”

He held up a small stone and fixed his gaze on me. I looked at him, puzzled by the small stone in his grip. He tossed it in my direction and said, “Visindor!”

The next instant I was standing at the edge of a vast forest with Fizzle hovering at my side. I gasped. “Visindor Forest? It’s beautiful!” Fizzle patted his hand on his heart and I immediately understood his meaning. “I agree. There’s no place like home.” I turned around and saw a massive wooden wall in the distance. “Is that…?”

“Luke school.”

“Hamilton Military Academy. How did we get here?”

“Tele…telep…magic stone.”

“Is Luke here?”

“Yes. Luke train.”

“Really? Can we watch?” I started walking toward the wall.

He touched my arm with the end of his tail and said, “First, hide.”

I watched in disbelief as my skin turned an iridescent color and then my arm disappeared. I glanced down at my body but it had disappeared as well. “How did you do that?”

“No know. Your hallu…hall…your dream.”

“Oh, I’m hallucinating. That’s just great. You look real to me, Fizzle. See, I can touch-” I reached out to touch him but he winked and then disappeared. I was afraid my little friend had abandoned me until I felt him land on my shoulder.

He whispered in my ear, “We invi…inv…no one see us.”

As we approached the wall, I heard voices and clanging metal in the distance. There was a training exercise in progress and one young warrior stood out from the rest. I recognized him immediately.

“Hey, there’s Luke! You know, he’s better looking than I imagined,” I whispered and then cringed. “Oh! Don’t tell anyone I said that. I’m old enough to be his mother.”

I heard Fizzle stifle a giggle. “Fizzle keep secret.”

I looked at the crowd gathered to watch the exercises. Two little fellows were looking on with interest. “Oh! There’s Nimby – I can tell by those big, fuzzy feet. And that must be Fritz,” I said as I observed the other turn to flirt with a nearby female. She slapped him and started to walk away. I giggled. “Yep, that’s Fritz all right.” A young half-elf was standing near them, dressed in long flowing robes with a sun emblem on the front, trying unsuccessfully to apologize for Fritz’s actions. “That’s obviously Aedyn, the sun priest.” I studied the other students. “Hmm, I wonder who the heir is…the one that Luke needs to find and protect.” I took a step toward the crowd when Fizzle’s tail wrapped around my neck. He launched himself from my shoulder and pulled me away. “Wait! I don’t want to leave yet!”

“You too loud. We get caught!” Once we were out of sight, Fizzle reappeared before me. “Must see Caster Swamp.”

“N-n-n-no! Fizzle! Don’t you dare toss another magic stone at me! I don’t need to see Caster Swamp or the Hellfire Elf or the Lich! They are horrible enough in my imagination!”

“You read story?”

“Yes, Fizzle! You don’t need to threaten me with Caster Swamp! Seriously! I’ll read it. I need to know how it ends. That’s obviously why you’re here, right?”

“You like Fizzle?”

“Yes. Who wouldn’t? You’re cute.”

Fizzle’s iridescent scales turned a deep shade of crimson. He mumbled something and tossed another one of those darn magic stones at me.

To my disappointment, I was back in the grocery store, standing in the fruit section. It was as if I had never left. For a second, I thought I had imagined it all until I noticed the remnants of an eaten apple in my cart.

When I arrived home, I immediately curled up on the couch with my Kindle, and lost myself in the magical world of Windemere again. When I finished the book, I smiled and said, “Fizzle was right. Charles write very good story.”

A Long Overdue Thank You on Award Nominations

This post is long overdue so I want to apologize to those bloggers who nominated me. Please know that I appreciate the nomination and mostly my interaction with YOU very much! I was nominated for the following awards:

I’ve already been nominated for the Wonderful Team Member Award and the Best Moment Award. If you are interested in reading my responses, just click on the link.

L. Marie is a children’s fantasy writer who has an innate curiosity about everything and is a huge LOTR fan (like me). I knew there was a reason I liked her so much 🙂

Patty (Petite Maguique) is a YA fantasy book writer, poet and photographer. A beautiful soul who bravely allows her feelings to bleed onto the page.

Daniel (Sairyou) is a deep thinker who pens some incredibly insightful posts. I could say finding his blog was serendipitous but I have a hard time believing in happy accidents. I believe that things happen for a reason and it’s up to us to find the meaning in it. His blog really makes me ponder things.

Lauren (Paranormal Perspective) is a paranormal fiction writer who, like me, shares an appreciation for stories about good vs. evil. Her favorite book is Paradise Lost which, if you haven’t read it, is a book of poems based on the biblical story of the fall of man.

Please take the time to visit their blogs. You will be glad you did.

liebster-blog-awardliebster-award

The Liebster Award/Liebster Blog Award

The aim of this award is to spotlight up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers. There are no set rules for the award, but the guidelines are as follows:

  • Copy and paste an image of the award onto your blog
  • Write a post on your blog to thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Nominate some blogs for the award. There is no rule for the number of blogs you nominate, but the general recommendation is at least 5 blogs that are similarly up and coming with fewer than 200 followers.
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you in your post.
  • Ask at least 5 questions on your blog for those you nominated for the award to answer.
  • In addition to the questions and answers, list at least 5 random facts about yourself.

ANSWERS to Daniel’s Questions:

1. If money were a nonissue, what would you do?

Write, of course, but I’d travel the world with my family while doing it.

2. If there were a giant DELETE button, what would you erase completely off the earth?

It’s said that money is the root of all evil, but I believe it is greed. Money can be used for good (see # 11). It is the intent behind the acquisition or utilization of it that can be the real evil. Greed is the insatiable desire to acquire wealth, power and/or possessions far beyond what is necessary to be comfortable. Greed leaves an endless trail of crimes such as slavery, child labor, deforestation, poaching, white collar crimes (fraud, insider trading, embezzlement), war and on and on.

3. Name anybody famous, living or dead, whom you would like to have dinner with.

Abraham Lincoln.

4. What would you talk about with (3)?

Not only was he the greatest American president in history but he was also a writer. Unlike most presidents, he wrote his own speeches. He didn’t look to someone else to put words in his mouth. I’d ask what inspired his speeches. I’d ask him about perseverance. He didn’t let past failures stop him. He kept trying and preparing. He fought for what he believed in, regardless of popular opinion. He put much at risk, even his own life, to bring about great change. He didn’t take himself too seriously. He used humor to weather the bad times. He kept his priorities in order, even as the leader of the free world, by taking time out to spend with his family. How can you read these words and not be moved:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

5. Summarize why you write in one or two words.

Longing fulfilled.

6. If you had one one-way ticket to live in outer space, would you go?

Absolutely not. We are not meant to be alone. Relationships give life meaning.

7. If all books were to disappear from the universe but one, what would you want it to be?

For me it is the Bible. I’m drawn to stories of good vs. evil and so many writers have been inspired by it.

8. Describe your writing routine.

I write while my kids are at school or when they’re asleep.

9. How do you get inspiration?

I run or listen to music (usually concurrently) and read.

10. If you could be anybody other than yourself on Earth, who?

I can’t think of anyone. I know that sounds incredibly narcissistic but I’ve never wanted to be anyone else. Sure, there are people who I admire or respect but they inspire me to be a better version of myself. We each have our own set of talents, abilities, life experiences and perspectives. I believe we should embrace who we are; otherwise, we waste everything that makes us unique by wishing we were someone else.

11. What was the kindest thing you have ever done to a complete stranger?

I sponsor an adorable little girl named Kimberly who lives in Columbia. I send money every month that allows her to attend school and have hot meals. I send extra money on special occasions like Christmas so she can have new shoes, clothes or toys. I write to her and have received some of the sweetest letters and pictures that she has drawn for me in return.

ANSWERS to Lauren’s Questions

1. How did you become interested in blogging?

When I decided to become a writer, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about the craft of writing. Eventually I came across a book that referenced blogging which led me to writer blogs. Those blogs recommended that writers become involved in social media like blogging.

2. What’s your favorite food?

I love green apples and pretty much anything with lemon in it. I also love chips and queso.

3. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I’m an aspiring author.

4. What is one thing you wish more people knew about you?

I had a friend tell me that an acquaintance thought I was a snob because I didn’t talk much. Fortunately, this friend came to my defense. I’m generally shy and reserved with people I just meet and would rather listen to you talk than myself. If we’re not involved in a conversation then I probably have a story swirling in my head.

5. What’s your favorite book?

It’s hard to pick just one so I’ll name a few: The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations,  and Pride and Prejudice.

6. What’s your favorite movie?

Again it’s hard to pick just one. I’m not much for chick flicks. I love stories about good vs. evil, the unlikely hero, or one who is granted power without seeking it and doesn’t use it selfishly but for some greater good. I also love stories about the power of the human spirit,  overcoming insurmountable odds. Here is the list, in no particular order:

  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Braveheart
  • Harry Potter
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Gladiator
  • Cinderella Man
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Seabiscuit
  • Lincoln
  • Pride and Prejudice

7. What do you watch for TV?

I got hooked on The Walking Dead and have recently discovered Downtown Abbey but I don’t watch much TV. I’m sick to death of reality shows and unfortunately that’s what is popular. Toddlers and Tiara’s? Honey Boo-Boo? Jersey Shore? Housewives of…whatever? Teen Mom? Seriously, what is wrong with our society? But I guess there is an upside. They can give you ideas if you’re looking for flaws to blend into your characters but I can’t bear to watch them.

8. What advice would you give to fellow bloggers?

Be yourself and for heaven’s sake, don’t fret over things like stats or the number of followers you have. Enjoy the authentic connections you’ve made. That’s the real treasure of blogging.

My Questions for the Nominees:

  1. Name anybody famous, living or dead, whom you would like to have a conversation with. What would you talk about?
  2. What is your favorite book?
  3. What is the one thing you’d like most to change about the world?
  4. What advice do you have for writers?
  5. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do with your newfound wealth and how would you spend the rest of it?
  6. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  7. If you had six months to live, what would you do with the time?
  8. Do you have any regrets?

The Nominees:

Alice Huskisson Author

Author A.J. Adwen

Book Marks

Where Do I Go From Here

Destiny Allison

Disregard the Prologue

Lauren Sapala

versatileaward1The Versatile Blogger Award

The Rules

Thank and link to the person who gave you the award.
Tell seven facts about yourself.
Pass it on to seven other bloggers.
Link to specific posts on their blogs so they’ll be notified by pingback

7 Facts About Me

  1. I have implants. No, not those kind, silly. Dental implants. I had perfectly straight teeth without ever wearing braces and then four of them were crushed in a car accident.
  2. I still have my tonsils and wisdom teeth but had my adenoids removed when I was losing my hearing at age five
  3. I am taller than average at 5’8”
  4. I love to draw, paint, and create.
  5. I owned a scrapbook store while working full-time at my former job (no, I didn’t sleep much).
  6. I don’t like to cook. In our home it’s often said, “If it ain’t burnt, it ain’t Mama’s!” (No we don’t normally talk that way). I just don’t have the patience to stand at the stove. I’m easily distracted by things I’d much rather be doing (i.e., writing) but I’ve found that a glass of wine can keep me in the kitchen.
  7.  I do love to bake, though and am often told that the creations I make are better than store-bought, which bewilders me because the creation generally originates from a box cake. I won the award for best creation at the neighborhood cookie swap. Don’t laugh. It was a highly coveted award (LOL). I didn’t know what I was going to make until just before the party. I found out later that the women in the neighborhood spent weeks planning and scheming, even finding out the favorite flavors of the judges. When I won, it was highly contested that my creation of chocolate covered, caramel filled cherry mice didn’t qualify as a cookie, but it was all in good fun. 🙂

The Nominees:

Christa in New York

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Destiny Allison

Disregard the Prologue

Sairyoume

The Other Side of the Story

The Write Niche

A Grammar Lesson From a Second Grader

commas save livesI thought I’d post something a little fun for Friday. This was a conversation I had with my seven-year-old daughter last night.

“Mama, did you know commas save lives?”

“Really? How?” (I’m pretty sure I know where she’s going with this but I’m looking forward to hearing her explanation).

“Well, if you read, ‘Let’s eat, Grandma,’ but the comma is missing then you’d read it like ‘Let’s eat Grandma!’ See, commas save lives!” She giggles. I shake my head and smile. “Do you get it?”

“Yes, I do. Thank goodness for commas!”

“I know! What if, when I was feeding Sophie (our puppy), instead of saying, ‘Time to eat, Sophie,’ I said, ‘Time to eat Sophie!’ That just wouldn’t be right.”

So, if you’ve got some time to kill writers, check for those missing commas. Oops. Let’s try that again. If you’ve got some time to kill, writers, check for those missing commas. You could save a life.

Another Reason to Add Imperfections in Your Character

You Need More Scoundrels in Your Life: How to Write a Han Solo Hero in Six Easy
Steps!

I came across this post by Tiffany Reisz on Janice Hardy’s blog and wanted to share since it relates to the point I made in my post What the Perfect Face Can Teach Writers About Characterization. While I only made a general reference to building flaws into your character’s behavior, Tiffany’s post provides six tips for doing just that.

Why do we need such flawed characters to become emotionally invested? I think it’s because we can relate to those imperfections.  We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. We all falter. We root for them because if they can persevere, even change, then there is hope for us as well. They inspire us to get up, dust ourselves off and try again.

“I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret.  I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled.  Their virtue is lifeless and of little value.  Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.”  ~ Boris PasternakDoctor Zhivago

Gearing up for the Launch Party

What a generous soul. Let’s help her out, people!

Destiny Allison

I know I’m the only one doing metaphorical somersaults about the launch of my new novel, Pipe Dreams. Everybody and their mother has a book out these days and in the age of the Indie, writing a book doesn’t carry the same weight it once did.

But I think it’s wonderful that so many are finding ways to express themselves and live their passions. We’re not all Faulkner or Michael Angelo. What we are is growing, learning, and becoming the people we want to be. So I think every book, artwork or green seedling in the garden is cause for celebration.

I also know how hard it is to find the time, energy, and money to pursue those passions. So my launch party is going to be a little different. Instead of making it all about me, I’m going to make it about all of us.

And I’m asking for your…

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What the Perfect Face Can Teach Writers About Characterization

Recently on the show Live with Kelly and Michael they presented the picture of the perfect face. The idea behind the “perfect face” was to take the best features from some of the most beautiful people in the world and combine them to create the image of the perfect face.

the perfect faceI couldn’t find a copy of the picture they displayed on the show but I found one that is similar. I apologize if anyone reading this bears a close resemblance to it but combining the perfect features of others make this image a little freaky.

jennifer-grey-nose-job-before-afterThe little imperfections in people are what make them interesting. Without them a face becomes boring.

Think of Jennifer Grey from the movie Dirty Dancing. She had rhinoplasty some years after the movie and when she appeared on a TV sitcom the public didn’t know who she was.

The image on the left shows her before and after rhinoplasty. She was adorable, right? After rhinoplasty she lost that unique quality that made her recognizable. She’d become ordinary.

Here are some images of famous people who are known for their “perceived” imperfections.

Michael Strahan: gap between the teeth.
Michael Strahan: gap between the teeth.

Martin Scorsese: bushy eyebrows
Martin Scorsese: bushy eyebrows

Adrien Brody: prominent nose
Adrien Brody: prominent nose

Seal: facial scars
Seal: facial scars

Now imagine if these features were modified. Would these people be as memorable? If Jennifer Grey’s transformation is any indication, then the answer is, “Probably not.”

The same goes for the characters in your book. Don’t create what is known as a “Mary Sue” or “Marty Stu” which is a character that is too perfect to be interesting or memorable. Without unique characteristics the reader loses the ability to distinguish between characters.

Add things other than facial imperfections or unusual physical features. Give them a unique expression, a phobia, or an annoying habit. Throw in those little oddities. Make them endearing. It’s what readers love and it’s what they remember.

Marketing With Harry Steinman: Part IIII

Words of wisdom on self publishing from the man…Harry Steinman.

readful things blog

I am beginning to love Thursdays, how about all of you? Time for another round of do and don’t about Marketing with the very talented Gentleman Mr. Harry Steinman.

The feed back from this series has been great, but every author needs a bit of encouragement, so if you feel you have learned something here or are just enjoying listening to the story of another author, please let Harry and I know that you would like for us to continue:) Without further ado–Harry Steinman

 Pantser or Planner?

Twelve Tips to Self-Publish

By Harry Steinman,

Publisher With a List of Exactly One Book

Some authors are “pantsers”—free-form writers who write ad hoc, and then edit like crazy. Others are planners, methodical writers who follow outlines…and then edit like crazy. The best approach to writing is the one that works for you.

Publishing is another story. Only planners succeed. Publishing…

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Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: The Reader’s Perspective

Terrific post. Definitely worth the read.

Jack Woe

The merits of self-publishing vs. traditional-publishing has been discussed at great length in various blogs from the point of view of authors.  Never, or very rarely has this been discussed from the point of view of readers; the people that ultimately buy the books.  This is my attempt to correct that.

This blog is inspired by The Trials of Self-Publishing: Why I Consider It a Last Resort and Eisler on Digital Denial.

Publication Snobbery

When I buy a book, I don’t consider the publisher at all.  Whoever published the book doesn’t matter.  This also means I don’t care if it’s been self-published.  Not one bit.  It does matter how well it’s written and edited — and that there aren’t so glaring grammatical errors I’m not sure what’s being said.

To dispel a myth, traditional publishers offer little protection from any of those points.  True, I can be reasonably sure…

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