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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Conversation with Moonlight, or, What Goes on in My Head; Plus a bonus blog


So the Cardonian Chronicles continue, this time zeroing in more on Moonlight and her quest to put an end to Barnabas's villainous plans. Joining me today is the woman herself. The Baroness Tumero and her husband are also here, though not sure why since I didn't actually invite them. Anyway, let's get started. 

KL: Moonlight, it's a pleasure to have you here. I really admire the way you stepped up to help Cardonia.

M: Yeah, well, don't think we're friends or anything.

KL: Of course not. So, at the end of The Dream Traveler, you went running off after Barnabas, who had captured Ren and Becca, and was on his way to take over the Steeple Basin. You insisted the others stay behind, and only agreed to let Tilda join you because she said she knew the path that Barnabas was taking.

M: There was no sense in putting the others in danger. Tilda was the best choice, and she brought me straight to Barnabas as promised.

KL: Now, I don't want to give any spoilers, but I'm guessing things didn't go as smoothly as you hoped once you found him.

M: (gritting her teeth) Let's just say things got interesting.

KL: Meanwhile, you had no way of knowing what was happening in the Fortress Basin with Raven and the others.

M: No, casting messages back and forth was too risky, so I had to hope they were making progress in breaking through the Persuasion Barnabas had used on everyone.

Baroness: I beg your pardon? I never believed a word that man uttered. Now, the Baron on the other hand-

KL: Here, Baroness, have a glass of wine. Anyways, it seems that more than once, Moonlight, you had to choose between taking on dangerous tasks alone and allowing others to help you. Would you say you're more of a lone wolf?

M: I just don't want to be the cause of anyone getting hurt.

KL: I see, and- 

M: I have to be getting back now.

KL: Oh, but I just had a couple more questions.

M: I really don't have any more to say.

Baroness: Oh, aren't we guarded?

Baron: Quiet, Mirella.

Baroness: You there, can't you see my glass is empty?

KL: Sorry, your ladyship. Did anyone see Moonlight leave? I really wanted to get a selfie with her.

Baroness: These chocolates are quite good. We'll just take the box with us, and the wine.

KL: Sure, go ahead.

Baron: Best be going, Mirella.

Baroness: My hands were just starting to warm up. The fires in our sector are never hot enough. They're all smoke, and it always blows directly into my face. This is a lovely chair. Baron, this is the perfect chair for our shelter. We'll take it with us.

KL: Um, actually, I need that chair. Here, you can have this little blanket.

Baroness: Are those animal hairs on that blanket?

Baron: I'm leaving. Take the blanket and let's go.

KL: OK, well, safe journey back to Cardonia. Enjoy the chocolates. 


Thanks for joining us, everyone, and to find out more about the struggle to defeat Barnabas, pick up a copy of Moonlight Hunting, book two of the Cardonian Chronicles.


Bonus Blog
Author and Blogger Bonnie Ferrante Interviews Cheryl Johnson About Her Picture Books

Author Cheryl Johnson:
I started making up characters and little monsters and aliens from eight years old. I loved reading non-fiction and historical novels, like Caddie Woodlawn and Little House on the Prairie as a child, but the realm of fantasy was my chosen place to dwell. Fairy tales and science fiction were what kept me enthralled and reading every day.
Nowadays I like making up environments and characters that a reader can still identify with but feel entertained by it... read more

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What's In Your Tool Belt? Plus a Bonus Blog Teaser

MacGyver was a master of being resourceful, using everyday objects to get himself out of life threatening situations. My life isn't threatened on a weekly basis, but I like to pretend I'm a flexible thinker, using whatever resources I have at hand, especially when it comes to the grueling climb towards getting noticed as an author.

Photo of metaphorical author mountain courtesy of Castlelass/Morguefile.com

Now I can thank my mother for not allowing Ken dolls in the house and refusing to buy fancy Barbie clothes. My sisters and I learned to make do with other dolls as romantic partners for our Barbies. We also got pretty good at turning old baby clothes and fabric scraps into couture for our shapely heroines, so I do have some experience with ingenuity.

I know it's not unheard of for indie authors to make it to bestseller status. Sure, I could whine about how those lucky ducks had entrepreneurial backgrounds, or friends in high places, or a budget close to my yearly salary, but that would only leave me bitter and stuck in the same place, while time ticks away.

Taking stock of my resources at hand, I find internet access, persistence, stubbornness, an ability to learn, and a willingness to put in some time and effort. Let's not forget friends and family. Valuable stuff, but not exactly out of the ordinary. Until my inner MacGyver takes over, and finds a way to use these resources in a jaw-droppingly inventive and effective way. 

I'm still working on the ultimate trick that will send my books soaring into Amazon's top 100, but I'm nowhere near ready to throw in the towel.



BONUS BLOG!
Bonnie Ferrante interviews Lucia Greene, author of A Tunnel in the Pines
https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/__trashed/

Ferrante: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
Greene: Writing as a journalist was challenging, but writing creative fiction presents the ultimate challenge. Being an author means you get to create a world, and a story, that’s your own work. At its best, your characters take control and the dialogue and story spin forth according to their direction. That’s the sweet spot. But facing a blank computer page and coming up with that first sentence? That’s the hard part.
Read more to learn cool stuff about worms and Darwin, and to get Greene's response to Three Random Questions. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Something Strange - I Mean Unique - About Me

I see faces in strange places. I suspect I'm not alone in this.

It started when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. Looking into my closet, there, on the sleeves of my dresses, were faces. Fantastical, fairy like faces, creepy enough for me to keep the closet door shut. There was also a witch's face on a drawer of my bureau. Twisted and framed by frizzy hair. Eventually my sisters and I hung a towel over the drawer to hide it.

faces image courtesy of Oleiah/Morguefile.com
Even now, random marks and shapes take on life and meaning. Streaks on my car window seem ready to leap off the glass. A wisp of hair on the shower tile mimics a dancer's movements. The most recent experience with this was in my Pilates class. Lying on a roller, gazing up at the ceiling as I pressed down on the arm straps I found an entire scene of characters playing out some unknown story. I'm pretty sure it was a love story.

I've seen a wolf's head on a knobby branch of the tree in my backyard, and I swear the Green Man came to visit in the guise of one of my ferns.

I don't usually see such things in clouds, though, and oddly enough, I don't have good facial recognition. If I've met you once, even twice, chances are if we run into each other out of context, I won't remember who you are.

Of course this isn't something I typically bring up in conversation. That would totally blow my cover as someone who passes for normal. But that makes me wonder... how much are we "normal" people actually hiding?


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

But Where Do Books Really Come From?

Painters, sculptors, songwriters, authors, and all sorts of artists everywhere are often asked where they get their ideas, what inspires them, or what influences their work. I was recently asked to think about creating a bibliography for my most recent book, Moonlight Hunting

But I really didn't do a whole lot of research, was my first thought. A little fact checking here and there, but nothing big. Thinking back, though, I was able to pinpoint three authors whose books have definitely shaped my fantasy writing, more than I realized at first.



1. Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar trilogy popped into my mind first. This series follows a young woman as she rises from being little more than an afterthought about to be married off to being chosen by a magical Companion (like a spirit guide in a horse's form) and becoming the right hand woman to the queen. I love a good underdog story, and have enjoyed this one many times over. The theme of someone reaching deep within to find their inner strength and triumph over all is one I love to play with.










2. Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series has been an inspiration, too.  I love the way Shannon Hale takes time with each of her characters. So much time, that practically each one gets their own book! I followed suit with Moonlight Hunting, picking up where The Dream Traveler ended, but giving different characters a chance to shine.















3. Finally, there's Piers Anthony's Xanth series. These books were my favorite Christmas gift for several years, which made things easy on Mom and Dad. At first I thought it was mainly Piers Anthony's creation of Xanth that influenced me. He, among many authors, modeled the process of building your own magical world. It seems the only rule is to be consistent. Other than that, let imagination take the lead. What surprised me (other than the revelation of how sexist these books actually are - I was a very naive adolescent) was being reminded that in Xanth, all citizens have a unique magical gift. Huh. Just like in Cardonia.




So there you have it. A literary version of Moonlight Hunting's mix tape.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Resolutions

First, I was appalled to see that it's been nearly two years since my last post! Shame on me (The trouble with having a blog is not knowing what to write in it. So to anyone reading, I'm open to ideas). But I was also surprised to see that clicks to my blog are approaching 1,000. That's probably the biggest number I've reached in any of my social media author endeavors!

fireworks photo courtesy of Castlelass, via Morguefile.com

I'm writing today because of my latest endeavor, which is to complete Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan's Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days. Today is Day 4. My task was to declare some writer's resolutions and post them in Coach Teresa's blog, as well as my own. Here they are...

  • First, I resolve not to give up on my writing. Ever.
  • Coming up, I have a book launch, and I resolve to stay positive and enjoy every minute of it and not stress about how many people show up and buy my book (I also resolve to pursue lots of ways to promote the event, which will be for Moonlight Hunting, Book Two of the Cardonian Chronicles, my young adult fantasy series; Thursday, August 25 7-8:30 at the Laurel Book Store in Oakland).
  • I resolve to be a voice for other indie authors by giving honest reviews of their books.
  • I resolve to post 3-4 days a week on my Facebook page, and also in the FB group my cousin created for me.
  • I resolve to begin working on Book Three of the Cardonian Chronicles within the next week.
  • I resolve to keep reading and learning from other authors.

Personal resolutions are so much more fun in the company of others' resolutions. Feel free to post some resolutions of your own and I resolve to be your personal cheerleader. Go team! Go you!

cheerleader photo courtesy of Sgarton via morguefile.com