Monday, December 31, 2012

BRoP Year in Review--Sue Burke

As 2012 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys and triumphs of the year. To that end, we bring you the 2012 Blog Ring of Power in Review! We’ve teamed up with this years’ BRoP interviewees to bring you eleven days worth of “year in review” guest posts and ten fabulous giveaway prizes! Each day a new guest post will be shared and you’ll have another opportunity to enter the giveaway—so get hopping! And be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!



Sue Burke

For the last few years, I’ve been bringing readers the Middle Ages in its own words. I’m translating a medieval Spanish novel of chivalry, Amadis of Gaul, a chapter at a time at the website http://amadisofgaul.blogspot.com.

It’s a long novel divided into four books. Since reading a novel on a blog can be tedious, in 2012 I published Book I in paperback and Kindle format, available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1466475714/

Book I is the oldest part, originally written in the early 1300s. It tells the story of Amadis’s childhood and first brave deeds that made him the greatest knight who ever lived. Now I’m translating Book II, in which he is rejected by his beloved princess and almost dies of sorrow before a damsel rescues him from his distress. He goes on to achieve greater fame than ever until ... well, no spoilers. Book II should be finished on the website in July 2013.

This novel became the Renaissance's first best-seller, and it set the standard for tales of chivalry, filled with adventure, magic, and love. It inspired a century of sequels and spinoffs, including Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.

I’ve continued the tradition of fan fiction. In 2012, I published “Chapter XXVIII½: Amadis of Gaul and Zombies.” No work of classic literature is complete without zombies. You can read it at: http://amadisofgaul.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/chapter-xxviii-amadis-of-gaul-and.html

More seriously, I also wrote the story of an incidental character from Chapters 11 and 12. She’s a damsel who by chance accompanies Amadis’s brother as he defeats an evil giant, and as a result she faces her own test of wisdom and courage. That story, “The Giants of Galtares,” will appear in an upcoming issue of Beyond Ceaseless Skies ezine:
http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/

Whether you’re interested in a historic era as it perceived itself, or you want read one of the pillars of European literature, or you’re investigating original sources of sword and sorcery, or you’re looking for an unforgettable fantasy, you can find it in Amadis of Gaul. I’ll be bringing you more medieval excitement for a long time to come. This book drove Don Quixote mad. What will it do to you?






You can find the first part of Sue's BRoP interview here.



Sue Burke lives and writes in Madrid. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, much of her career was spent as a reporter and editor, covering everything from dog shows to politics to crime. She began writing fiction twenty years ago and have published short stories in various magazines and anthologies, as well as poetry and non-fiction. Her current project is a translation of the medieval fantasy story, Amadis of Gaul.

Where can your readers stalk you?

Is your book in print, ebook or both? Both!

Amadis of Gaul CoverAMADIS OF GAUL: In medieval times, troubadours and poets recounted tales of knights-errant. They fought evildoers and magical beings, and each knight served his lady in accordance with the rules of chivalric love. Amadis of Gaul is the most famous tale of chivalry from Spain. The novel, divided into four books, recounts the life of Amadis, the greatest knight in the world. This is Book I of the novel. It became the Renaissance’s best-selling literary phenomena. It went through 19 reprintings, was translated into 7 languages, and spawned 44 direct sequels, as well as fueling an entire genre, complete with fan fiction. Jousts were revived with theatrical pageantry, and “knights” came in the guise of their favorite characters. This is a new translation. It leaves nothing out, will carry you back in time to enjoy this transcendent, delightful adventure. It includes a preface, introduction, notes to chapters, and an appendix discussing the relationship between Amadis of Gaul and Don Quixote. Amadis of Gaul is one of the pillars of European fiction. It opens a window not only to a wondrous fictional world but to the real medieval world that produced it.

Our authors have generously donated a variety of fabulous prizes!

•    Prize pack containing an e-book copy of Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today's Promise, In An Iron Cage, and A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley McPhail
•    Prize pack containing an e-book copy of The Watchtower, Under Cover of Wicca, and Of Covens and Packs by Darke Conteur
•    e-book copy of The Flower of Isbelline by Heidi Garrett
•    e-book copy Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flashpoint by James Garcia, Jr.
•    $10 gift card to www.anabananacreations.com (courtesy of Pauline Baird Jones)
•    Winner’s choice of paperback copy Daughter of the Goddess Lands or Shadow of the Horsemen by Sandra Saidak
•    e-book copy of Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Entering is easy – just use the Rafflecopter below. Winners will be chosen from among eligible Rafflecopter entries (chosen by Rafflecopter) and receive a prize of our choice. We’ll do our best to give the print books to those that don’t have an e-reader, but we can’t make any guarantees, so please be aware when entering that you are most likely going to win an e-book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop to check out each of the stops on the Year In Review – new chances to enter the giveaway each day!

Linky List of Stops
Linky Code

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Next Big Thing Meme

I have so many prescheduled blogging topics--BRoP Mondays, science links Fridays, and Blog Chain alternate Tuesdays--that some weeks I don't even come up with my own idea for a post. This is why I tend to avoid participating in blogging memes. However, I've been approached three times now for this meme by Dean Rich, Sandy Appleyard, and Heidi Garrett. Since three is a magic number, I figure I should go ahead and do it, even if that means adding an extra post to my schedule. (No one minds that, right? Um, don't answer if you disagree.)

What is the [working] title of your next book?
Twinned Universes (Catalyst Chronicles, Book Two)

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Twinned Universes is a sequel to Lyon's Legacy, which is about a scientist forced on a mission to clone her hated rock star ancestor. The clone himself takes center stage here; he insisted on meeting the man he was cloned from. ;)

What genre does your book fall under?
Science fiction involving time travel and alternate universes.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I have no time to watch TV or movies (other than what my son watches over and over and over), so I'm unable to answer this question. However, I have a Pinterest board with images of how I picture some of the characters, so please check that out.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
To solve one murder and stop another, the clone of a TwenCen (20th century) rock star must use a talent he never knew he had.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I plan to self-publish it as a paperback and e-book in 2013. I'm not sure of exactly when it will be published, as I'm still working with the cover artist and editor.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote it well over a decade ago; the original draft was published on a friend's website as To Thine Own Self Be True. I don't remember how long the first draft took, but it was probably less than a year. I've come back to it between other projects.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Tough question. I would say Glimpses and Summer of Love for the time travel and music connection.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The Beatles, particularly John Lennon. I also owe thanks to Aviva Rothschild and Susan Ryan for introducing me to Beatles fan fiction. In fact, a scene from one of Susan's stories inspired Lyon's Legacy, which in turn demanded the sequel.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The rock star ancestor, Sean Lyon, is similar to John Lennon in some respects. There are several parallels to Hamlet. Most of the story is told from the POV of Paul Harrison, Sean's clone, and his friends, all of whom have grown up on board a spaceship and have limited experience with Earth, let alone the TwenCen. They may not always get along, but they care deeply for each other.


As a rebel, I'm not tagging anyone; I know many bloggers have already participated in this meme anyway. But if you haven't and want to, feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Science of the Week, 12/28/12

This will be the last science post of 2012. How do you feel about the turning of the year? Do you have any goals for 2013, particularly writing or reading-related ones?

Anyway, on to the links:

Birdsong study pecks at theory that music is uniquely human

Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution

What would it mean to live forever?

Microbes lose in Amazon deforestation

Enzymes key to survival in newborn mammals

Data challenged old views about evolution of early life

How stars look young when they're not: the secret of aging well

Hawaiian Islands are dissolving, study says

Long life and resistant to diseases? Our money's on bats to survive the apocalypse


If that's not enough science for you, you can read the January 2013 issue of Scientific American. It has a special feature predicting what the next 50, 100, and 150 years will bring. There's an associated article about how space travel will affect human evolution. Other topics include bionic connections (Luke Skywalker's prosthetic hand is mentioned) and megafloods. 

Finally, twin peaks in the data from the Large Hadron Collider suggest that there may be two Higgs bosons that decay in different ways. Scientists are still unsure if this is a statistical blip or a challenge to the Standard Model of physics.

If I had to pick the top science story of the year, it would have to be the discovery of the Higgs boson. Would you agree, or do you prefer another news story?

Enjoy your weekend, and we'll be back on Monday with the final BRoP Year in Review blog post and giveaway.















Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Interview with Alex South

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Today I have an interview with Alex South, featuring his latest short story collection, Seven Stories High. Welcome to the blog, Alex.

1.    Please tell us about yourself.

I am a writer from Manchester. It’s a mad city, which is perhaps why I feel so at home here. ;) I have released two books so far – both collections of short stories. I also blog about writing (www.sevenstorieshigh.com).

2.    Please tell us about your latest work.

Of the two books I have written, Seven Stories High is the one I’m proudest of, and has been the best received by readers. It’s a collection of seven short stories. The stories are all very different. For example, in the first, Rob is on his way to the pub when he sees a perfect clone of himself in the living room.  The situation escalates as more start to arrive, and we follow him as he tries to figure out what to do! Whereas the next story is about a teenager that starts receiving strange letters in his locker, telling him to do bizarre things and promising him a new world, in which he will have considerable influence.

3.    What drew you to writing science fiction?

For me, science fiction is the freedom of ideas. It’s the ‘what if?’ genre. I have a big imagination, and love the freedom science fiction gives me to explore these ideas and see how they can affect the characters in the story. Of course, these ideas often raise interesting questions about morality and society. Take Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. There is a huge consideration of empathy and the extent to which it can be ascribed to artificial intelligence. Philosophical curiosity and science fiction go hand in hand.

4.    How do you get the inspiration for your stories?

As I alluded to, it’s the ‘what if?’. What if you had to eat your friends to survive? What if the laws of physics started to disappear? The rest of the story comes from that initial question.

5.    Of all the stories you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

Copy and paste from Seven Stories High, which is the one I mentioned earlier with the clones. I really like the problems that the main character has to deal with. For example, because all the clones have the same mind they ‘sync up’ which is basically where they start having exactly the same thoughts and saying the same things at the same time. They all start talking in complete unison. It was fun writing the dialogue and getting the characters to think about how to get out of sync. Readers often say that it is their favorite as well, which makes me like it even more.

6.    What other genres do you write besides science fiction?

Any! I’ve written stories about everyday people chasing their dreams, about gangs and drugs, about insanity, about witches and curses – ghosts and cannibalism. I’m currently writing a detective thriller.  A good story is a good story. It doesn’t really matter what genre they fall under as long as I enjoy writing it and it’s a good read.

7.    Who are your favorite authors and why do you admire them?

I’ve been fortunate enough to assimilate a lot of books in my life, and good or bad they’ve all had an impact on me. I’d also like to point out that not just books, but films, poetry, conversations, and even song lyrics have all inspired me and further led me to fall in love with words and stories. However, if I had to choose an author from the zillions of people (all artists in their own way) that have inspired me, I would pick Hubert Selby, Jr. At certain key points he employs this really heartfelt poetic prose that just hits you in the right way. He sum up what it is to be – to exist and think and feel and live – in a really beautiful and very relatable way. I really admire that.

8.    What other writing projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a detective thriller. Basically the idea is that the main character (the detective) is borderline insane, but that you can kind of relate to him. It’s going to be a mix of interesting character development and suspense. I’m hoping I can add something original to a well-established genre. I think eccentric detectives are nothing new, but I reckon I can take the madness to a new level.

9.    What’s one of the goals you hope to achieve with your writing?

To entertain people, to give them joy and new ideas.

10.    What advice do you have for other authors who want to self-publish?

Keep learning and improving and you can’t fail. I would also tell them to watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEMEBBwO6J8

11.    What strategies do you use to promote your work?

Well, I’m quite new to this so I’m still working that out! But I’ll give anyone a free book if they want to review it. I also write a blog www.sevenstorieshigh.com which not only helps me promote but helps me learn from talking to my readers. Also doing stuff like this (this interview) helps.

12.    What’s something people wouldn’t be able to guess about you just by looking at you?

Hmm well I don’t know what people think when they look at me! I guess I’m quite a laid-back and positive person. I also must come across quite strong-willed. They probably wouldn’t guess how sad, lost, confused and unsure I have been at different stages in my life. But I think it’s safe to assume that almost everyone has felt those things at some point – it’s human. Anyway, don’t judge a book by its cover (apart from mine because it took ages).

Book links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Stories-High-Eclectic-ebook/dp/B0093NN38Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356268275&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dolphins-Bananas-Be-Eclectic-ebook/dp/B009IQ9R38/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356268354&sr=1-1


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

And So, Happy Christmas....



However you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, may you enjoy the day.


Monday, December 24, 2012

BRoP Year in Review--Pauline Baird Jones

Enjoy your Christmas Eve, everyone! As 2012 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys and triumphs of the year. To that end, we bring you the 2012 Blog Ring of Power in Review! We’ve teamed up with this years’ BRoP interviewees to bring you eleven days worth of “year in review” guest posts and ten fabulous giveaway prizes! Each day a new guest post will be shared and you’ll have another opportunity to enter the giveaway—so get hopping! And be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!

 

Pauline Baird Jones: The Scenic Route Through 2012 and Beyond I am not sure I like this looking back stuff. The more things change, the more they don’t change in my life. Last year at this time, I was frantically preparing for Christmas and late with a book deadline. (Fortunately, my publisher is very understanding.) This year I’m preparing for Christmas and behind on a book deadline. I know, it’s a slight difference, but I’m too tired to be frantic this year. And late seems to be my new normal.

The highs for 2012 are:

*    Hubs and I found out we will finally be grandparents! Of twins! A boy and a girl! I know it’s not book news, but it is for sure the high point. Won’t happen until 2013, but yeah, a little excited. (Doing grandma version of a jig!)
*    Kicking Ashe released in 2/12. It was my thirteenth novel. Not sure if that was good or bad luck, but have been working hard on number fourteen, just in case.
*    Began process of moving my novels into audio format. I had found one producer to release the audio of The Key, but had not had time or energy to find producers for other books. Then Amazon opened ACX, an exchange where authors can find producers to work with. I’m excited to report that all but two projects are currently in production and I should have five or six out in time for Christmas, with the rest releasing in 2013.
*    Because of the possibilities of the audio releases, I talked to my publisher about releasing my short fiction in digital collections. That was a fun project, collecting my short fiction and getting it out. Do those count as fourteen, fifteen and sixteen? Cause I could use the good luck.
*    Last January, I...recommitted to blogging. I’d blogged off and on for several years, but life--and not knowing what to blog about--kept knocking me off track. I’ve taken a couple of blogging classes this year and am proud to report that I’ve posted at least one blog a week since then. And I have increased my blog output to 3x a week just recently. Even with the blogging classes, it took me a while to find my blogging point of view. Taking the Scenic Route is now my tag line and also my Wednesday meme. What makes this particularly fun for me is that I’ve been able to incorporate many of my hubby’s amazing photographs into my blog, including all the photos in the slideshow on my landing page. Because my life with him has been about taking the scenic route, and taking it to some very interesting places.

And in the looking ahead portion of this looking back blog post, 2013 should see my first indie release as an author. While I love working with my current publisher, and intend to continue (I hope!) working with them, I’m also excited to be expanding my portfolio into the indie realm. Early in 2013 I’ll be releasing my first romantic suspense novel in five years. It will be, I hope, the first in a series set in a city that I love and miss: New Orleans.

The Big Uneasy: Relatively Risky.

When a quirky artist discovers she's related to the New Orleans mob, and secrets thought long hidden begin to ooze up from the past, a handsome homicide detective may be her only chance to survive her "killing cousins."

I hope your year was wonderful and that 2013 will also be a grand adventure. One thing I do on my blog is do a monthly drawing for a $10 gift card to AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats. Happy to do the same for this blog post. To be entered, just tell me one thing you hope for in 2013. Oh, and throw in an email, so I can let you know if you win. Happy Holidays and New Year!

Pauline Baird Jones had a tough time with reality from the get-go. After “schooling” from four (yes FOUR brothers) she knew that some people needed love and others needed shooting. She figured she could handle both without going to jail.
Romantic suspense was the logical starting point, but there were more worlds to explore, more rules to break and minds to bend. She grabbed her pocket watch and time travel device and dove through the wormhole into the world of science fiction and Steampunk. Let’s face it, she’s been making up science her whole life. (Sorry science teacher!)
And while she loves mayhem, doing it legal, by going fictional is way better than getting strip searched. So she goes “Godzilla” on her characters and then gives the good ones a happy ever after.
In her real life, Pauline loves her family, chocolate, bacon, Diet Dr. Pepper, TV, movies and taking it easy. And she loves taking the scenic route.
To find out more about her fictional mayhem, visit her website. The first part of her original BRoP interview was here.


Our authors have generously donated a variety of fabulous prizes!
•    Prize pack containing an e-book copy of Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today's Promise, In An Iron Cage, and A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley McPhail
•    Prize pack containing an e-book copy of The Watchtower, Under Cover of Wicca, and Of Covens and Packs by Darke Conteur
•    e-book copy of The Flower of Isbelline by Heidi Garrett
•    e-book copy Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flashpoint by James Garcia, Jr.
•    $10 gift card to www.anabananacreations.com (courtesy of Pauline Baird Jones)
•    Winner’s choice of paperback copy Daughter of the Goddess Lands or Shadow of the Horsemen by Sandra Saidak
•    e-book copy of Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Entering is easy – just use the Rafflecopter below. Winners will be chosen from among eligible Rafflecopter entries (chosen by Rafflecopter) and receive a prize of our choice. We’ll do our best to give the print books to those that don’t have an e-reader, but we can’t make any guarantees, so please be aware when entering that you are most likely going to win an e-book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop to check out each of the stops on the Year In Review – new chances to enter the giveaway each day!

Linky List of Stops
Linky Code

Friday, December 21, 2012

Science of the Week, 12/21/12

The last I heard, Australia was still around, so I think the Mayan end-of-the-world prediction won't interfere with any science reading you may want to do today. Here are a few articles to whet your appetite:













And on that note, I feel optimistic that we'll still be here on Monday. Enjoy your weekend (and your last-minute holiday preparations), and we'll back with more of the BRoP Year in Review.





Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Back on the Blog Chain--A Writer's Gift

Cole has a timely question for us this round, the last one of 2012:

Christmas is a time of gift giving. If you could gift aspiring authors with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Persevere.

Persevere though the long hours of learning your craft and what you want to write about.

Persevere through the endless drafts needed to make your story as good as you possibly can, even when you get sick of your story.

Persevere on your path, no matter whether you choose to pursue traditional publishing or publish your work on your own. Both paths have their own obstacles.

Persevere even when you when get rejected or receive bad reviews. No book is going to be universally liked. Don't focus too much on promoting one book or story; get the next one out.

Persevere--and enjoy your writing.

Kate answered this question yesterday, and Christine will tackle it tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

BRoP Year in Review--Jacqueline Seewald

As 2012 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys and triumphs of the year. To that end, we bring you the 2012 Blog Ring of Power in Review! We’ve teamed up with this years’ BRoP interviewees to bring you eleven days worth of “year in review” guest posts and ten fabulous giveaway prizes! Each day a new guest post will be shared and you’ll have another opportunity to enter the giveaway—so get hopping! And be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!



Jacqueline Seewald

My romantic suspense mystery novel DEATH LEGACY was published April 2012 and received a large print edition from Thorndike Press September 2012. It can be requested at local libraries. The novel received great reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist among others.

TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, my paranormal Regency romance, has just been published in all ebook formats from L&L Dreamspell. Jayne Ann Krentz gave the novel an excellent review and endorsement.

THE DROWNING POOL, my romantic mystery, was published as a paperback reprint by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery. It is also available in all ebook formats from L&L Dreamspell.

Biography: Multiple award-winning author Jacqueline Seewald has taught creative, expository and technical writing at the university level as well as high school English. She also worked as an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Eleven of her books of fiction have been published. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications. She enjoys spending time with family and friends when she isn’t writing. In addition, she is a playwright, a landscape artist and loves many types of music. 

The first part of Jacqueline's BRoP interview is at this link. Follow the links below to learn more about her and her work:

Website:



Prizes
•    Prize pack containing an e-book copy of Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today's Promise, In An Iron Cage, and A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley McPhail
•    Prize pack containing an e-book copy of The Watchtower, Under Cover of Wicca, and Of Covens and Packs by Darke Conteur
•    e-book copy of The Flower of Isbelline by Heidi Garrett
•    e-book copy Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flashpoint by James Garcia, Jr.
•    $10 gift card to www.anabananacreations.com (courtesy of Pauline Baird Jones)
•    Winner’s choice of paperback copy Daughter of the Goddess Lands or Shadow of the Horsemen by Sandra Saidak
•    e-book copy of Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn


Entering is easy – just use the Rafflecopter below. Winners will be chosen from among eligible Rafflecopter entries (chosen by Rafflecopter) and receive a prize of our choice. We’ll do our best to give the print books to those that don’t have an e-reader, but we can’t make any guarantees, so please be aware when entering that you are most likely going to win an e-book.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop to check out each of the stops on the Year In Review – new chances to enter the giveaway each day!

Linky List of Stops
Linky Code

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can This To-Read Collection be Conquered?

As a reader, I'm spoiled by the sheer range of books available to me, especially in e-book form. My To-Read collection on my Kindle is almost at 400 items. Most of these are samples, but I do have several books in there that I haven't had a chance to read yet. This doesn't include items in my Cloud, either. As for physical books, I probably have over forty I haven't read yet. The stack is most likely taller than my child. I'm planning on posting a picture at the beginning of 2013 as part of wrapping up my reading in 2012, but I doubt I'll make much progress in a couple of weeks.

I consider myself a fast reader; even with a full-time job and a young child, I can still read two or three average-length novels a week. (Non-fiction may take longer, and of course there are door-stopper novels out there too.) I've read 160 books in 2012. Even so, at this rate, it'll take me over two years to clear my To Read items, and that's only if I don't add more books in the meantime. Rest assured I will.

Do I have any hope of making progress with my piles, or will I have to take my Kindle with me when I go? I hate to say it, but in order to make any progress, I have to be very picky about the books I read--and read through to the end. That's why the vast majority of my To Read items are samples; I don't feel guilty about rejecting them if they don't appeal to me. If I've downloaded a free book and realize partway through it doesn't appeal to me, then I'll abandon it and send it to my Limbo collection. I may even have to do this with physical books; I'm planning to drop an out-of-print science fiction series mid-way through, even though I have the next book in the series, because I'm tired of the plotholes and don't care enough about the characters.

How about you? Is your To-Read pile as big as mine--or bigger? Do you have any secrets for dealing with it? Or are you savvy enough to keep your piles of books small?

Monday, December 10, 2012

What's the Point of (First Person) Point of View?

There will be no new Blog Ring of Power interviews this year; however, starting next week, we're going to highlight some of the interviews we conducted this year. Each highlight will include a giveaway, so be sure to take some time during the holidays to check back here and on the other BRoP blogs.

Do you ever feel that you write one point of view better than anything else? I wouldn't say I excel at first person point of view, but I've had some success with stories told using that POV, including "A Reptile at the Reunion" and Lyon's Legacy. One of the reasons why I think it worked in those two stories was that my heroines had distinctive voices. However, not all of my first-person stories have worked so well. A long time ago, I wrote a story about the history of Romeo and Juliet's families, told from Cupid's point of view as he sought to end a curse. I got a nice rejection letter on it, but even after I revised it again, reviewers told me the POV felt too distant. I thought at first, "Well, he's a god; he's going to sound distant." Still, I knew the story wasn't ready to put out there yet, so I set it aside. Only within the last week did it occur to me to wonder why a god would narrate a story like this in the first place. I decided he would be sharing this story with another god. At first, I thought Cupid would be justifying his actions to Jupiter, but instead I decided the curse on the two families was so important Cupid had to remain separate from his wife, Psyche, until he fought it. I haven't worked out all the details of the new plot yet, but I've decided to tell the story as a series of letters to Psyche. I just started the latest draft, so we'll see how this turns out and what my OWW reviewers think of this version.

Do you feel first person POV needs more justification than third person POV? What are the reasons you would choose it over third person? So far, I would use it if the narrator has a unique voice or has a reason to be telling the story, either directly to the reader, via letters or a diary, or to another character. Can you think of any other reasons for using first person?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Hey, Hey, Johnny....

Because the world should never forget John Lennon or his music:







Wednesday, December 05, 2012

It's the End of the World--and We're Giving Away SciFi Books!



The Mayans say the end of the world will come December 22nd. Do you believe them? Or do you think the world will still be here on the 23rd? Want a chance to win some science fiction books (including mine) and some bookmarks? Come enter into the rafflecopter to win! Prizes will be announced on the 23rd- IF/When we are still here.  All you need to do is enter the give-away via the rafflecopter widget to be in the running to win these amazing prizes. The more you click, the better your chances of winning.

Any questions about the giveaway can be e-mailed to Virginia Jennings at jennings.vlj@hotmail.com

Prizes up for grabs: One winner will get:
 One E-BOOK copy each of Angus Day's 'Having Nice Things' (for adults)
One E-BOOK copy of David Estes' 'Moon Dwellers' (YA)
One E-BOOK copy of Virginia Jennings' 'The Alien Mind (4th-8th grade)
One PAPERBACK copy of Cathrine Converse's 'The In Between' (13yrs+)
One Signed PAPERBACK copy of Sandra Ulbrich Almazan's "Lyon's Legacy" (for adults)
One beautiful 'Remnant in the Stars' Themed BOOKMARK from Author Cindy Koepp

Second place winner will get:
 One E-BOOK copy each of Angus Day's 'Having Nice Things' (for adults)
One E-BOOK copy of David Estes' 'Moon Dwellers'  (YA)
One E-BOOK copy of Virginia Jennings' 'The Alien Mind (4th-8th grade)
One PAPERBACK copy of Cathrine Converse's 'The In Between' (13yrs+)
One beautiful 'Remnant in the Stars' Themed BOOKMARK from Author Cindy Koepp

Third  and fourth place winners will get:

One E-BOOK copy of David Estes' 'Moon Dwellers'  (YA)
One E-BOOK copy of Virginia Jennings' 'The Alien Mind (4th-8th grade)
One E-BOOK copy of Cathrine Converse's 'The In Between' (13yrs+)
One beautiful 'Remnant in the Stars' Themed BOOKMARK from Author Cindy Koepp

Fifth winner will get:
One E-BOOK copy of David Estes' 'Moon Dwellers' (YA)
One E-BOOK copy of Virginia Jennings' 'The Alien Mind (4th-8th grade)
One beautiful 'Remnant in the Stars' Themed BOOKMARK from Author Cindy Koepp

Sixth winner will get:
One beautiful 'Remnant in the Stars' Themed BOOKMARK from Author Cindy Koepp

I wish I had room for all the author bios and book blurbs, but this post would take up the whole page (and more) if I listed everything. So please go check out the books on Amazon, then enter the Rafflecopter below.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Back on the Blog Chain: The Book of Darkness

It's time again for another Blog Chain post. Christine's inspiration for the topic apparently came from reviews of her work. Since part of the topic was written in first person, I think it will be clearer if I post only the final questions:

How dark is too dark for your aesthetic? And is writing "dark" and "emotional" a "bad" thing?

I have a good idea of what's too dark for my taste: the boundary is right between Mockingjay and The Book Thief. Both of these stories involve war, and the heroines of both stories suffer greatly, to the point of giving the reader "suffering overload." Is all this suffering justified? That is, does it strengthen or weaken the characters in the end? Although the ending of Mockingjay was bittersweet, it provided hope that the future would be better, and the main characters did get a reward for what they'd endured, even though some of the damage done to them was permanent. I personally didn't get redemption from The Book Thief. To me, the ending of The Book Thief destroyed everything Liesel had been building during the rest of the story, so I felt like the plot was negating the theme of the book. I would have liked to have seen what happened to Liesel between the ending and the epilogue in order to determine whether books really did do more for her than offer a distraction from her situation. Maybe I should re-read the ending--sometime after I read my Mount Everest of Unread Books.

As for dark and emotional writing, stories are supposed to engage our emotions, so there's nothing wrong with doing that. Is there such a thing as being too emotional? Different people and different cultures have different ideas on how acceptable it is to express emotion, and readers vary in how well they perceive emotions. For example, stories written for young children might use said-bookisms, extravagant gestures, and dramatic words to convey emotion. A more experienced reader might find this type of showing over-the-top and prefer a subtle style. People also vary as to how dark they prefer a story to be; moods or circumstances may make a person more or less tolerant of dark writing. No one story can appeal to everyone; even classics and best-sellers get one-star ratings. All an author can do is write the story as true and as well as she can, then let the story go and trust it will find its audience.

Kate discussed this topic yesterday, and Christine will address her own topic tomorrow.


Monday, December 03, 2012

Blog Ring of Power--Sue Bolich

It turned out I was a bit premature last week when I announced the final Blog Ring of Power interview for the year. Please help me welcome Broad Universe member Sue Bolich to the blog. I just finished reading her fantasy novel, Firedancer, set in a world where four races each control (or attempt to control) a different element. I really enjoyed the world and the book, and I plan to read the sequel, Windrider, next.

This is the first of the BRoP five-part interview; here's the schedule for the rest of the week:

Tuesday, The Writing Life--Dean
Wednesday, The Creative Process--Terri
Thursday, About Your Current Work--Theresa
Friday, Words of Wisdom-- Emily

Now, let's get to know Sue a little better:


How long have you been writing?

My whole life. I can remember making up stories in my head before I could read or write. I won my first writing contest in the 6th grade. It’s just always the thing I’ve done to fill any spare minute I had. I remember writing on paper plates in the woods on woodcutting expeditions with my family as a teen.

 Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

I wrote a lot of short stories as a teen, and one really bad western novel. I got hooked on Tolkien at 14 and of course then had to write an epic fantasy. It’s still in the drawer. Deservedly so!

When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

I sold my first non-fiction articles to national magazines in 1991, which encouraged me to think I wasn’t too bad, and then my first fiction in 2001. But I don’t think I considered myself a “professional” until I forced myself out of corporate world into fulltime freelancing and made it my primary occupation.

What genre do you write?

Fantasy mostly, with some light SF, a little steampunk, and lots of stuff with an historical slant. I am working on an alternate history series that begins in Salem 1692 and runs through “a” version of the Civil War and on into a very different Old West. I have a degree in history so I try to work in my interests wherever I can, and history is so endlessly fascinating!

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

I like examining the big old themes of duty, honor, and how people balance the conflicting passions of their lives to accomplish what must be done. What will they save? What will they abandon? How much can they take and still be the people they want to be?

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Working with horses. I’ve had them all my life. I can’t imagine life without them.




 What do you suppose that fire thinks about as it cooks your dinner behind its cage of containment stone? Jetta ak'Kal knows--but no one listens to a Firedancer who has failed to protect her assigned village from an assault by living flame. The Ancient, the strange, elemental fire imprisoned at the heart of the world, took her lifemate, her reputation as the most talented Dancer of her generation, and nearly her life. Now her clan demands she redeem herself, yet seem strangely indifferent to her insistence that the Dance itself that has always bound the Ancient seems to be failing. Assigned to Annam, a village with no previous experience of fire, Jetta and her new partner, Settak, find themselves battling the naive ignorance of the villagers, the hostility of arrogant Windriders whose mastery of air could kill them both with the flick of a finger, and occasionally each other as they struggle to find new and more powerful forms of the Dance. Pursued by fire crawling up through every crack, by a new love she does not want, and a nagging suspicion that there is more to her assignment than her clan bothered to tell her, Jetta must forge unprecedented alliances in this high and beautiful place before the Ancient breaks free--for if it does, there will no longer be anything left to fight for.
Links:




"Leave singing to the Hag to Fifth Ranks, lad, if you don't want to end up a witless madman shrieking to the storm from a cell in the Tower of Winds."

Good advice, all in all. Sheshan ak'Kal lives to regret that he did not heed it. Desperate to remember the windsong that once let him sing even the great storms off the sea to tatters, he forgets for one foolish moment of shared rage that Wind's gentle sister is the angry, vengeful--and quite insane--Hag.

With the Hag stalking him across Metrenna, singing a wild, terrible note that only he can hear, Sheshan discovers that weaving torrents of living air between his hands is no longer enough to keep her at bay. For his clan, his life, and a fragile new love he has found with the most unexpected of women, Sheshan must learn a new song, and become what none of his people have managed in millennia--a Windrider indeed.
Links to Sue's Social Networking Sites and Buy Links:
Blog:
Facebook page:
Twitter:
Amazon Author Page:
Firedancer buy link:
Windrider:
Smashwords:
B&N

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