Thursday, May 3, 2012

A-Z blogging challenge: W and X

W is for WORK!! Writing is a ton of work, especially when you're a kind of a perfectionist. I don't know about any of you but when I write, I write a section in my head over and over before I even put pen to paper. And yes, I put pen to paper. I have a hard time sleeping so at night I will lie in bed constructing a scene over and over in my mind. I work dialog again and again until I feel like I have the scene perfect. THEN I will write it down in my manuscript's notebook. Writing things down let's me see what needs fixing or things I can add or take away, so my margins fill up pretty quickly. Finally I type everything up, and it all goes through what I call the smoothing and polishing stage. So by the time my pages are typed up, they have gone through seven or eight rounds of edits. It's a crazy process, but it works for me.

Trying to catch up so I'm going to keep going...

X is for eXceptional support. Yes, it's a stretch, but it's true. Writers, especially first time writers, need so much support. We rely on our friends and family for all kinds of help, whether it's a late night cup of coffee when we're on a roll (Thanks honey!) or our pleas for criticism when someone reads our work. These people keep us going when all we want to do is tear our manuscript to pieces or give up or just sit and cry.

I have several of these people that I use for different things. My husband to be reads my work, fetches my Starbucks, gives me a hug and tells me I'm awesome when I don't think I am...basically the man keeps me going and knows every twist and turn in my world second only to me. I use him as a sounding board, and anytime I'm stuck we talk it out until I have it all worked out. When he reads my manuscript, he gives me insight on "Hey, if this happens later, you could maybe hint at it here..."

Two of my best friends read my work and can always be counted on for some great criticism. I love it when I get my work back from them and it's literally bleeding red ink. These women read more than anyone else I know, and more importantly, they read quite heavily in the genre I write in. They know crap, and they aren't afraid to point out the stink in anything they read. They have called me out when something I write sucks, so when they tell me what I wrote is great, I know they're being sincere. When they read my novel, I get a little better idea of what the fresh reader will think. They are familiar with the characters and some of the general plot lines, but they don't know what major plot twists lie ahead. For this, and so much more, I love them.

Finally, I have a very dear friend who is also an aspiring author. She reads my chapters as I finish them and gives me great feedback as a fresh pair of eyes. I haven't told her any real details of what's coming in the novels, so when she reads she has the kinds of questions that a new reader would have. I love this and though my novel is confusing because I feed it to her a chapter at a time, she keeps reading and always gives me feedback. Lady, you know who you are, and you're awesome.

To all of my eXceptional support system, I love you and I thank you for keeping me going.

Only two more letters to go and I'll have finished (late but finished) my first blogging challege.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z blogging challenge: V

V is for Valkyen! YAY! Lol, I LOVE this character. He's one of my favorites, and a lot of that is because I based him on my younger brother (whom I love with my whole heart). This is totally what he would look like.

Sir Valkyen Thymbault is a Paladin First Class, in an elite order of knights who anwser only to the King as his personal knights. Paladins are above normal knights in that they have been specially blessed by both crown and church, and given special distinction because they guard the King. They have vowed to give their lives in protection and service to their monarch.

Valkyen comes from a family full of over-achieving brothers. He is the youngest and has a lot to live up to and large shoes to fill. His father, Valerian, is well respected by the King and has been close to the royal family for years. By choosing to become a Paladin, Valkyen hopes to earn his own distinction among his brothers.

Valkyen's story is one of leaving home and discovering that the world is a much bigger place than he originally thought. Nothing is really what he's been told, and his view of the world broadens enormously. He grows up. It is a plot line in the books that is very special to me.

A-Z blogging challenge: U

U is for Ursylla. Ursylla was the second wife and Queen of Oakenvale. Her daughter, Talia Abri, is King Tharyn's only heir and will therefore someday rule Oakenvale. The first book in my Elbion series begins in Sovereign at a festival celebrating her official coronation as Princess.

Ursylla and her daughter were extremely close. Losing her mother at the age of sixteen was very hard for her, but she has found many ways to still feel close to her, including moving into her living quarters in the castle and retaining much of her mother's staff as her own. In fact, even though she's been gone for more than five years, her presence is still strongly felt throughout the castle. Talia and the memory of her mother, are characters to keep an eye on.

I love this picture by fantasy artist Nene Thomas, and though it represents a character in her husband's book (I believe), when I saw it, I thought, that's what my princess should look like. She looks beautiful, but secluded and a little lonely, which is precisely who Talia Abri is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A-Z blogging challenge: T

T is for Tessalyn de la Rocheport. This is a special character that had been a large question mark on my story board. But she really emerged over the past year and took definite shape. I modeled her after my good friend Ashley Nixon (*heart* you lovey), who writes about amazing pirates. So it was only natural to model a pirate character after her! And since her birthday was this past week, I hope she loves this post!

Tessalyn is a pirate of the Bounty, an island fortress in the Southern Sea that is where most of the world's pirates call home. My pirates are pretty radically different from anything out there, I think so anyway, so before you get visions of Disney's Pirates 3 in your head, don't bother. They are far more comparable to the Italian mafia. Instead of an everyone out to get their own sort of feel, they're more concerned about earning and moving up in the fleet, all through their piratey ways. The attitude toward these pirates varies. Some people love them dearly as family and friends, others respect them as being protectors of their towns and ports, and still others hate them for the vicious theives they are. :)

That being said, Tessalyn is one of the best earners on the seas even though she is closely related to the first family of piracy. At just thirteen years old, she and her cousin Ysabella, took their first ship. They re-christened their score The Lady's Slipper, and reveled in their cargo of ladies finery bound for Kingsport. Since then they have each commandeered their own faster, larger ships, becoming two of the most successful pirates on the seas. Tess has deep brown hair shot with gold, and it curls in loops as large as her gold hoop earrings. Her current ship, The Sea Queen, has been specially constructed, from its four mast, eleven sail rigging to the cornflower blue and butter yellow catspaw glass in her stateroom.

Tessalyn comes in during the second book strongly. She has a huge part to play. I cannot wait for the world to meet her. Oh, and lastly, Happy Birthday Miss Nixon, you are awesome!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A-Z blogging challenge: S

S is for Signs and Symbols. They are everywhere in Elbion. One of the most important signs/symbols is that of the Mark of All Gods.

The Mark of All Gods is a specific symbol that represents a few different things depending on the context. The symbol on its own represents the entire pantheon of gods, the tweleve supreme beings of the heavens and the amorphus Chaos God. So put into the context of say, being on a temple, it then comes to mean a universal place of worship.

The most important context of all, however, is when the mark is found upon a person, as in a birthmark. This is very rare. It means that the person with the birthmark was born gifted by all of the gods' bloodlines. Is this confusing? Think back to Greek mythology and its many stories of children fathered by a god or goddess. Now imagine that there was a child who claimed all of the Olympians in their parentage. Get it now? Its an incredibly rare event. These children are often called the Godborn, and Ariadne just happens to be one of them.

So what can these Godborn do? Pretty much anything really within some limits. Since magic originates with the gods in Elbion, in order to have access to a particular type of magic you had to be related to one of the gods. The more closely you are related to them, the stronger your connection to their magic. A Godborn has a strong bloodline connection to all of the gods, so they have access to every type of magic there is. Godborn who are like Ari and aggressively study magic, become immensely powerful. Their great limitation is their mortality, which is bound by the laws of magic and the exchange of power. For example, Ari once saved Famke's life with her magic and it very nearly killed her. Like any muscle in the body, one's capacity for power can be exercised and grow, but it is never limitless.

In my novels, signs and symbols are everywhere and hugely important! They are something to watch for!

A-Z blogging challenge: R

R is for Revenge. Revenge plays a huge part in my books. Revenge is one of the leading motivators in most people, and as such, I relay that into what I write. Elbion is full of revenge; between people, between nations, between gods...old disputes and new.

One of the best grudges (well, maybe more like my favorite grudges) is the one between the Marked and the Hathwain. So I thought I'd leave off with this picture which inspired me greatly in one of the battles between these two forces. I love it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A-Z blogging challenge: Q

Q is for Queens. The Fortuna throne is a matriarchial monarchy. The throne passes from mother to eldest daughter. The line of Fortuna queens hasn't been broken, ever. Famke's lineage is pretty awesome, here take a look at a small piece of it...
The names with the boxes around them are people who are dead, and Andromeda is the current queen. I could tell you stories about all of these people, but I'll stick with just the basics. Ceraphyna reigned for several years before giving birth to her twins Erick and Ellia. Her other three children soon followed. She passed away peacefully in her sleep at an old age. Her only living sibling Caysera lives in the south of the valley with their sister Calleigh's children.

Ellia took up the throne, married soon after, and quickly became pregnant. But then Erick was killed in battle and Roan along with him. Ellia went into labor but both mother and child perished. Thus the crown passed to Andromeda. Her sister Sirra married Garrett Ironstar and moved to his Keep, while Mikal has become a Kor (a general) under Kieran Matthias (the High Warlord).

The Fortuna queens are strong women. I love them and I hope you do too...