Saturday, August 18, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I did it! I sent off my very first submission to Cricket Magazine this week and I’m not going to lie. I’m terrified!!!!! I know everyone says there’s nothing to be afraid of, but every possible doubt ever had, has run through my head this week. What if I misspelled something? What if they don’t like my cover letter? What if they don’t like my story? Worse yet, what if they hate it?! For those that don’t know me very well, I’m a Worry Wart. If there is something to be worried about, rest assured, I am worrying about it! Therefore, I declare here and now, that to quell that voice in my head that says, you can’t, I will not speak another word related the Big Bad What if of Negativity! Or at least that is my goal. J And speaking of putting away that negativity, what better way to do so than to celebrate with my first ever Blog Award! Woohoo! ^^ J
In true Oscar fashion, I’d like to thank Karen Elizabeth Brown for awarding me with the Liebster Blog Award! If you don’t know Karen, she is the wonderful author of the newly released novella, Medieval Muse. It is available as a free read on Smashwords so if you haven’t gotten a chance to check it yet, head on over and check it out!
This award works in groups of 11. The first part I get to tell you 11 things about myself that you wouldn’t normally know by reading my blog, and then I’ll answer 11 questions the lovely Karen passed on for me to answer. Last, but certainly not least, I will award 11 other lovely people with this award and ask them 11 questions to answer on their blogs! Sounds fun, no? ^^ J
So here are 11 things that you may not know about me:
1.       I love wood working. When I was in High School, I needed an extra class to fill out my schedule so they put me in woodshop with a total of two other girls. I don’t think I’ve ever loved another class more, except maybe Japanese. That was pretty awesome too. I made all kinds of things that actually looked cool when they were finished like that wavy Bud Vase there.      Cool, huh? J
2.      I play the violin. I picked it up in the sixth grade because my brother did, and I always did what my big brother did because he was just cool like that. J I’ve been out of practice lately, but I have to admit sometimes I really want to just bust it out and play along with groups like Escala and Bond. Those gals can really play!
3.      I hate spiders. And other creepy crawly bugs. Praying mantises are really cool. But I hate spiders.
4.      Before I decided I wanted to really be a writer, I was dead set on becoming a big time Hollywood director. One of my best friends wanted to do the same thing and we were both going to go to LA Film School and blow Hollywood away with our awesome talent. >:D Unfortunately I changed my mind in the last couple months before graduating and did not become a big Hollywood star. My friend however is still chasing that dream, and is currently taking classes at a film school in Portland. I’m super proud of her and even though I won’t be joining her in the directing world, I still hope that someday I can write a super awesome script and we’ll still blow Hollywood away with our awesome talent. ;)
5.      I love videogames. Some of my favorites are the Final Fantasy Series (X, X-2, XII, and XIII),
      Harvest Moon, and Rune Factory. I grew up watching my big brother play all kinds of videogames and so we are both big videogame fans. Except I have a hard time playing anything war related or something without a good storyline. If it doesn’t have a good storyline I like, I don’t play it.

One of the book series that’s had the biggest impact on my writing are the Beka Cooper books by Tamora Pierce.
      Most Medieval or Middle Ages books focus on the nobility with a character that is most likely a noble, a princess, or some other high up position that we’ve read about a million other times before. Not a bad thing. Just overdone. In Beka’s books, we see the everyday people, how they live, survive, and struggle. For some reason I had never really stopped to seriously think about them. Sure I thought about them in passing, but not really thought about them. Now the book I’m    working on is immersed in the everyday streets of a bustling city, far away from the castle. Okay the castle does come in later, but it’s not a huge part of the book just yet. ;)
7.      When I was a kid during the summer, I would stay up until 6 a.m. reading stacks of library books. Sometimes when I heard my dad getting ready for work, I’d pretend to be asleep until he left, then go back to reading. Those were good days. J
8.      Another thing I picked up from my brother was Poi. It is Hawaiian fire dancing and it is
amazing to watch. I’m not very good at it, but my brother is. He also practices more. Hehe ^^ J Because I’m terrible at describing it and a picture is worth a thousand words, I found a video that shows you what it essentially looks like. It’s pretty cool. :D

9.      I collect fairy figurines. Every year, my family and I go to the coast and I make sure to bring at least one to add to my collection.
10.  I am working on my green thumb. I enjoy gardening, but I have to admit, my plant skills are still a work in progress. I have one of those upside down tomato planters, but thanks to Bambi and her friends, I’ve had to start over on the tomatoes…and all the    other outside plants as well. *Glares at Bambi*
11.  I enjoy photography. I took a class in high school and so every now and again I use my super awesome photography skills to capture nature and hopefully create a beautiful piece of art. J
Here are the 11 questions Karen asked to answer on the blog:
  1. What kind of music inspires you when you write?
I love to listen to a variety of music, but when I write, the music has to be lyric-less. Otherwise, I find classical, Celtic, and videogame soundtracks pretty inspirational. J 
  1. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas ^^ J
  1. Barefoot or sandals?
Barefoot when walking on sand. Sandals everywhere else. :]
  1. What are your goals for writing this year?
I would like to finish the novel I’m currently working on now and then hopefully publish a few short stories and/or novellas along the way.
  1. What are you reading right now?
Right now I am reading a library copy of Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead. It is a rendition of Robin Hood, which I must confess, I have never actually read. It’s like all the classics that people have known about for years, but never actually read. Now I can say, yes, I have read a version of Robin Hood. ;) And I would definitely recommend it.
  1. Do you outline before you write? If not, do you have some other preparation for your story?
Hehe. I struggle with outlining. I try to outline, but it never comes out right. So I make a vague outline, which then gets rearranged and changed a dozen times as I work on the story itself. The best way I’ve found to go about a type of outlining, for me, is to write down events that I know need to happen and fill in the blanks as I go along.
  1. Who or what is your special muse?
That’s a tough one. I would probably have to say… Well...books, sometimes videogames if you can believe it (Final Fantasy especially. Gotta love those chocobos! J), and movies. I love movies. ^^ :]
  1. Do you have a special place to go to get inspired?
I actually don’t. But I should.
  1. Do you prefer to write during the day or at night? Do you have a schedule?
I try to write during the afternoon because I normally work early mornings, but I’m very much a night owl. I could stay up all night if I wanted. Sometimes I do. >:]
  1. Favorite author(s)?
  1. Beef, chicken, fish or tofu?
Chicken for the win!!! >:D
Now comes the part where I pass the Liebster Award on to 11 other lovely people! Unfortunately as I am still very new to the blogging world, I don’t really know 11 other bloggers yet. L However I would like to leave it open that if you would like to take the 11 Question and Answer challenge, post it on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments.
For those that decide to try it, here are your 11 questions:
1.      What are your top five favorite books?
2.      Do you have any special/odd talents? What’s one of them?
3.      Paperback, hardcover, or eBooks?
4.      What’s the name of your first pet? If you’ve never had a pet, what would you name one if you did?
5.      Where is your dream destination, you’d absolutely love to go to?
6.      What was your favorite subject in school?
7.      What is your favorite movie, actor or actress, and TV show? If you don’t have a favorite TV show, pick another movie. J
8.      What’s your favorite way to travel?
9.      Favorite music group?
10.  Paper or Plastic?
11.  If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Have a great weekend! ^^ :D

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why ask why?

If you’ve ever spent a good amount of time around a young child, you’ve probably heard the infamous question, “Why?”
Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I touch that? Why can’t I have chocolate now?
Young children ask these kinds of questions a lot. Why? Because they’re learning about the world around them and they want to know more about it. So what does this have to do with writing? Surprisingly, quite a lot actually, especially if you’re working on a story that involves a lot of world building, or is set in an alternate reality. Just like a young child learning about their own world, your readers are being introduced into a completely new world and they want to know more about it.

What really does happen when you touch that? Perhaps you have a giant pink flower that grows close to the ground and when you touch it, you become paralyzed! Well why do you become paralyzed? Is it because the flower is a carnivorous plant and now that you’re stuck to it like glue, it’s going to slowly digest you? Or perhaps it’s because the flower is actually a conscious being and it’s so terribly lonely that it’s willing to imprison you for the rest of eternity just so it isn't so alone.
Another factor, though maybe not as relevant to consider, is why does this flower grow so low to the ground instead of way up in the sky? Does it not like catching birds? Perhaps they don’t taste good or they are just terrible conversationalists with all that screeching and squawking. You could even go as far as to say why is it pink? Or why doesn’t it talk if its conscious? Before you know it, this flower has a backstory and its name is Lila. She was one of five seed pods, but now she’s cursed never to speak again, so her conversations are all one sided with the poor victims she’s ensnared along the way.
Remember though, that you only want to share what’s actually relevant to the story, so since she can’t tell you she had siblings, you should probably just leave them off the page for now and share about them later in a short story or in the extra features you post on your website for those die hard fans that can’t get enough of your stories. ;)

One of the most important places to ask “Why?” is in your character development. This will really help not only define who these people we’re reading about are, but also why they are that way, and how they are likely to act/react because of this. For example, there are two slaves in a medieval market place. Both are young women and they are both sold to a wealthy slave owner. One slave girl—let’s call her Rosa—is delighted, but the other girl—Cora, is terrified. Your first question should be, “Why?” Why is Rosa delighted, and Cora nearly sick to her stomach with worry? The answer lies in their backstory. Perhaps Rosa used to come from a farming family and she knows that if she can win her new master’s trust, she can escape at just the right time back to her family’s farm and hide there until it’s safe to travel further away, where no one will suspect she’s a runaway slave. That seems like a perfectly reasonable reason to be happy about the sale, but what about Cora? Cora has lived a very different life and where Rosa sees a potential escape possibility, Cora sees a potential for punishment. Why? Maybe when she was a girl, she tried to steal her father’s horse to sneak away and meet a boy she thought she was in love with, but she got caught and her father beat her for it. She never entertained another rebellious thought again and so where one girl sees a window of opportunity, all Cora really sees is a potential to get beaten or maybe even sold into a worse situation.
Why does one character choose one thing versus something else? Only you can answer that question but remember to also ask what motivates them? Why does it motivate them? Why is that important? If you can't answer these questions, then you might need to go back and take a closer look at their backstories. These are all questions that will help you get to the bottom of that character that you just couldn’t quite figure out and before you know it, your characters just might be writing that story for you! J

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Medieval Muse Launch Party!!!

Another wonderful author is making her debut today! I am proud to be able to present Karen Elizabeth Brown's new e-book Medieval Muse!

Medieval Muse

By Karen Elizabeth Brown

What happens when Victoria Budroix receives a cameo that promises to give her the desires of her heart? Since she doesn’t know what that would be, a trip to medieval times, intrigue, threat of war and an overbearing lord are on the list for her to choose from. Or could it be meeting her one true love?

Sir William of Conrad has escorted a stranger home to be under his protection. He discovers this woman speaks her own mind and melts his heart. He faces his father’s outrage and a broken alliance with the neighboring clan by falling in love.

Medieval Muse is available as a free read from

Karen Elizabeth Brown’s passion for writing is what fills her entire life with exhilarating inspiration. She spends her days writing, doing research and studying about the subjects of her stories.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys music and reading, especially medieval fantasy. Born in Southern California, she migrated to Southern Oregon in 1974 where she now resides in the Rogue Valley with her family and friends. Find out more about the author at her official website: