Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Lost My Muchness Have I"

One of my favorite books and movies is "Alice in Wonderland", or "Adventures Through the Looking Glass". C.S. Lewis was an incredible man, amazing author and devoted Christian. He wrote from a place of wonderful imagination, setting a standard for creating alternative worlds. In my humble opinion he was one of the most influencial fantasy writers in history.

Writing fantasy is a subjective area. Not everyone is going to 'get' it, some are going to be agast, a few might even get indignant - does that mean you should stop what you are creating? No.

The process of creating a fantasy world is vast. Geography, history, languages, people, even animals and trees have to be reconsidered in light of your world. The trick is to not create a world so different from present reality your reader has too hard a time following what you have written.

In the months prior to beginning "Catalyst", Book One of my Guardian Series, I carefully constructed a post-nuclear earth. The crust had shifted from the stress of nuclear warfare. The people have changed from centuries confined inside the Sanctuaries (a post for another day). Everyone has some common ancestry yet not so much as to assume only one people group survived to replinish the earth.

One person's fantasy is never anothers, so I encourage readers to branch out from their familar and favorite authors to embrace something new. Mankind has a thirst for adventure, a desire to be lifted out of their everyday lives even if just for the length of a good book.

So write what your heart tells you to write. If it means creating a new world, then make sure you enlighten the reader to the wonders and dangers of that realm as you see them. If you are using our current time and home, be sure to use places and situations you know best. If a reader thinks you don't know what you are writting about - the critics will slice you up and serve for you for afternoon tea.

And remember -
"Beware the Jabberwocky my son"


Sunday, August 7, 2011

What a Weekend!

Have you ever had a weekend that, as soon as Sunday evening rolled around all you could think was - I need a Do Over!

It went by entirely too fast and several things didn't exactly turn out the way they were planned, and now the sun is going down and I have a list a mile long of things that didn't get accomplished. I find this happening more often the older I get.

When you are a child, every day seems too short to pack everything into, but the special days and the years between crawled. Do you remember the feeling that Christmas would never arrive? Or, how long it took to become a teenager? How long did it take between turning 15 and getting a learner's permit to 16 and getting your own set of keys to Mom's car? The biggest - the feeling time would stop before you became old enough to drink?

Time is a mysterious force. It can race away when you are hand in hand with first love. It can crawl with infinite slowness during chemistry class. I heard on a news show the other day when Congress was debating the budget mess that 1 million seconds ago was in the 1970's; 1 billion seconds ago was sometime in the 1600s and 1 trillion seconds ago was around 20,000 BC. Numbers vast beyond our comprehension, counting away the moments of our existence.

In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Hermione is gifted with a time turner in order to meet her tremendous academic obligations. Oh, what a modern wife and mother wouldn't give for such a treasure! To accomplish all that we set out in a to-do list without editing for the constrictors of time would be a fantasy anyone would buy into. But at what price?

If we could redo time, what we undo? Death? Love? Unravel the fabric of the universe? Wow, maybe just learning to live with the time we have is best.

For now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nerves, Rashes and Insomnia

This morning I woke up a contracted author. A publisher wants to publish my first fantasy novel, Catalyst and I said yes. Signed all the contracts and sent everything in. I am also having my editor begin a review of Book Two, Piaculum. Scary, scary, scary but not cripplingly so. Maybe I need to sleep tomorrow morning.

A large and loving shout out to my friends and family who have been conned or hornswagled into my questioning and moaning. This has been a labor of love and insanity. Love because writing is what I always enjoyed doing but was afraid I would never make a living at it and insanity because at the age of almost 50 who publishes their first book? Apparently me.

I have always written little snippets of things over the years but nothing of substance. Then came children and working in our family business and for many years life outweighed dreams. With the reality of mortgages and PTA, the stories I have always had inside went dormant. But the hope of one day putting it all back together still flickered in the back of my mind.

Then my eldest went away to college, and the clouds soon parted. With time open in my day I began writing the story that had been peculating for several years. That was three years ago.

The initial rough draft took six months to get onto paper. I've edited, rewritten, edited again, gotten professional advice (for the book not for me!) and rewritten more. Eighteen months ago the book was finally ready to start sending to publishers. Query letters and polite rejections later, here we are.

Am I nervous? Incredibly! But the excitement balances the nervousness so far. Writing is a book is raising another child. Your cultivate the story, nurture your characters and discipline them when they threaten to run wild. Releasing that child to the public raises your defensive mode. Will it be well taken care of? Will someone love them the way you do? Did you do the best job you could with the story?

Well, soon all of you will have the chance to see how I did. The process of getting published takes a lot of time. More editing, more revising, artwork, the list goes on and on. I will keep everyone apprised of the situation. Be prepared for ups and downs - I am. Because, this is my third child. I intend to protect her well.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who am I and Where Did I Come From?

I had dinner the other night with three of my closest female friends. Due to schedule conflicts we hadn't been together in almost a year, and the conversation was fast and varied. One is expecting to become a grandmother for the first time while another will have both children in college. Two were going back to work as teachers of children with learning disabilities. After all these great and life changing events, it was my turn.

When I mentioned I had a publisher interested in my book I also mentioned this blog. Linda asked me, "What is your blog about?" and I had to stop for a moment. What is this blog about and for? So, after spending several days pondering the topic, I finally came to a decision.

This blog is my journal, my take on things around me and the way I see the world. It isn't about what I wore on a particular day, or great places to eat around town where I live. It isn't about my children in general or anything in particular. This is what I think, feel, experience, write or hear within a defined period of time.

So this is me, being me, for the first time in a long time. There will be posts on my books and writing, my family and friends, triumphs and tragedies. According to the rules of conversation as handed down by my father, I will blog on everything except politics, religion and the Great Pumpkin. Well, maybe politics if I can't hold the irritation inside any longer.

Northern born, Southern raised, youngest child, biggest mouth - all terms used to describe this child of the 70's. My father was an aeronautic engineer and my mother a librarian. Personally I can't add without a calculator but I do have a passion for books. And I usually have an opinion on everything.

Grab a cup of coffee and come along with me, I have a wealth of topics I want to cover. Tomorrow I think I'll cover something totally different - like the new weather patterns or the lack of good network television during summer months. But whatever it is, I know it will be all me.