Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Reader Question!

Via Pinterest
Okay, peoples! Here's a question for you... everyone who takes any interest in my blog should pretty-please answer this question:

  What kind of posts do you like to see?

 And also, how often do you think they should appear?
 As in: what's the absolute LOWEST amount per month you think is nice for you as readers, and what would you consider to be really a maximum?

 Because as we get deeper into summer, I'm wanting to do this blog justice... (well, actually, you lovely people who read it, justice!)

   But I'm also stacking my plate full of projects, (as well as everyday work and such that isn't really too negotiable.) So I've got a lot going on, and I need a structured plan with which to approach blogging.
Via Pinterest

   What I'm saying here is that I love you guys! Everybody who stops by and comments and joins the
conversation... it's like being visited by flower fairies. Both beautiful and inspiring!

 So I definitely want to keep you lovely creatures happy and content with what you find here!

 On the other hand... I don't want to be putting more time and effort here than is required, thereby shorting the completion of the other projects going on in my life.

   So, enlighten me! You who ARE my audience... tell me! 

 What do you think??

Via Pinterest

Friday, June 27, 2014

Camp NaNo Is Coming Right Up!

 Well, June is nearly over, and as any of you who are aware of the Wrimo programs may already know... that means that NaNo Camp July is right around the corner!
 Like... RIGHT around the corner.

 This means that I'm a wee bit stressed, because I've been really, really wanting to wrap up Winter Queen before the first... so that I can start back on Prince of Demarken! I am really looking forward to getting back to that story!

 And that's what I've been up to.

 Well, better get back to work. Winter Queen isn't going to wrap itself up all alone!!! Wink

Monday, June 16, 2014

Author Interview: Perry Elisabeth

  Today we have joining us another homeschool grad turned author, but she doesn't just author. She also formats and designs covers, as well as any other graphics that a person might need. So, without further ado, please help me welcome the talented Perry Elisabeth!

  *There is applause, though the audience is darkened so you can only hear the wide spread, hearty  clapping.*

  Perry is a Christian, homeschool graduate who has written and published several works; "The Heavens Declare," "Light of the World," "Pearl's Practice," and most recently releasing "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler." She lives in beautiful Oregon with her best-friend-turned-husband and their sweet baby boys. Find her books and other writings and connect with her at:

She is also running a give away for her recent release, so check out the Rafflecopter widget at the end.
 (Tomorrow she will be over at  Destiny of One, announcing the book's release, the giveaway winners, sharing one more excerpt and blogger Sarah Holman's video review.)

E: Thanks so much for joining us, Perry! We're so glad to have you here this time, and we hope to get you back for a reader interview sometime later.

Perry Elisabeth: Thanks for having me! I enjoy the opportunity to share some of my writing journey and process. And, yes, I'll be back for a reader interview for sure! :)

E: Tell us a little more about yourself and your writing.

PE: Let's see... about myself: I'm 5' 2", 22 years old, the oldest of 8, married to best friend Tyler, mom to two little boys, author of 4 books, and freelance book and graphics designer. And I like lists. (Can you tell?) If anyone was to know anything else, they can just ask! (It gets them an entry in the giveaway, too!)

About my writing: I tend to write because I can't stand not to and because I see a need in the world for certain kinds of books for certain audiences. I keenly remember the speed with which my sisters and I would exhaust the supply of appropriate books at a library. I'm passionate about increasing the amount of decent reading material available for Middle Graders, and I'm specifically interested in writing for homeschoolers.

E: Those are very laudable goals! I well remember the "devouring books" part, too. Wink
 So, let's get started on the fun stuff! What's your favorite genre/genres, and what do you think really draws you to that/them the most?

PE: I enjoy writing contemporary, realistic fiction. I guess I'm a little bit of a nonconformist (thank you, Dad), so if there are a plethora of books in one particular genre or for one particular audience I'm inclined to try to fill the gaps in the genres that aren't receiving as much attention. I also think it's encouraging to children to read about their real world and about others like them. Plus, it's so much more natural to me to write about what I know and have either experienced or observed.

E: What's your most favorite writing related advice?

PE: I am sitting here trying to decide between "Write what you know," and "Show; don't tell." I appreciate them both; the former because it helps add the ring of truth (and I believe it can be applied in any genre to one degree or another), and the latter because I know there is nothing more disconcerting to a reader than the way "telling" jerks them out of the flow of the story. Major no-no for suspension of disbelief, I've learned! ;)

E: Good point.
What is your favorite type of character to write? Why do you think that especially appeals to you?

PE: I enjoy writing characters who are lively and have a sense of humor. I enjoy being around people who are this way--whether they're real or fictional.

E: Where do you like to get your characters? Do you like to draw off of people you know, other books, or just pull them put of the blue?

PE: Typically my characters are my own invention with bits and pieces drawn from my observations of real people. I'll borrow this and that from my stock of personalities, mannerisms, patterns of speech, etc. My characters tend to be composites of things I've gleaned over time. That said, I have included a few minor characters based off real people as sort of "cameo appearances" (one of whom married me the year after I wrote a character based off him in "Light of the World"!)

E: That worked out well, then, hm? Smile (I don't think everyone should expect that result, though, so we'll add that note of caution. Wink
Some writers talk about their characters getting out of control and things happening that they didn't intended to happen; have you ever experienced this?

PE: Nope! Maybe I'm too bossy with my characters for them to get away with this. I think, though, it has more to do with the fact that I believe the character of the characters drives the plot, so I'm careful to craft my characters' characters to be the type that would believably do what needs to be done to tell the story in my mind. (How's that for a totally confusing, run-on tongue-twister?) I guess that's another way of saying I'm bossy. ;)

E: How do you write, is it "start with page one, scene one" and go through it in order; or just "whatever scene pops into your head"
(and that might mean that you have the entire middle of your book written before you even start on the beginning)?

PE: I definitely have to go in order. I find I do my best writing when I'm living out the story in my mind and letting it flow onto the page.

E: How do you plan your stories' "bones", or do you?

PE: I do plan my story's bones, although I can't over-plan. I recently learned this the hard way--by outlining a story too specifically and making it so I couldn't get the actual writing of it to flow. Now I have to let that one sit a while. Sad.

E: That is sad! True confession: I've done the same thing. I've got a lovely little plot that my sister and I worked out to the detail, and now it's just STUCK in my head, and has been for years. Some day i hope it will loosen, but until then I write other things. Wink 
Have you tried any plotting, outlining, methods; and what works best to your way of thinking?

PE: I typically start out with a story idea that ranges from a couple sentences to a few paragraphs. Something like: "There will be this cat who can write. She belongs to a detective and decides to help him by going under cover and collecting facts on a case since no one would suspect a cat. What should the case be? There will be someone selling a rich heiress's personal information to the tabloids." When I wrote "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler," I purposely avoided deciding who the culprit was ahead of time. I discovered it along with Mia, the cat, as I wrote the first draft. So, for me, it works best if I have a clear idea of what the story is trying to accomplish, and just enough idea of how to get there without being too detailed. Then I work it out naturally as the story moves along. And praise God for rewrites! ;)

E:  That makes sense! I totally agree with not knowing who your villain is, if you can pull it off, because that will save you agonizing over whether you're giving away too many clues or not! I have a mysterious villian in Traitor's Knife and it was difficult to write it "light-handed-ly" enough!
What is your worst writing trouble?

PE: "I tend to write too much dialogue," she replied. "Indeed, I have to remind myself to describe settings and actions." She nodded mournfully. "This is, after all, a book. Not an audio drama."

E: What is your worst writing fault? How do you identify and rectify it's effects?

PE: See above. Additionally, having too many ideas. I've fixed that one by making a habit of writing them all in my Ideas book for later use.

E: Well, I think a lot of people can relate to that last problem! I know I certainly can! (If you figure out the solution, come back to share it with us, won't you please?
Hey! It's been great having you here! We've so enjoyed learning more about another writer's mental workings! Thanks for participating.

PE: Thanks so much for interviewing me, Elizabeth! These are some great questions to think through, and I enjoyed answering them!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 13, 2014

20k in June: Done Early!!!!

 Yes! You read that right!

 I am already done with my 20k for June.

 Do you think I'm happy? Wink

 You bet I am!!!

 Here's what happened...
                             I had managed 10k since completing my May 20k, but I was experiencing down-turn.  I was getting to the point where I had kind of written myself into a corner, laying down good and vitally necessary scenes, but not having a clear track of where they all went in the timeline. (That's me! A fly-as-we-go writer!!! Wink)

 This had built up to the point where I was beginning to feel some creative claustrophobia.
   I couldn't tell why, but I knew I'd felt that creeping, panicky feeling before.
 "Oh, no!" I thought, "I'm about to shut down! My creativity is taking a dive."

 So my good lil sis came in late from working and she listened to my progress report, and the sneaking suspicion that I "didn't know what to write next!" *Panic attack! Panic attack!*

 "Well," she said, whipping out a blank sheet of paper ripped off an old calendar, and grabbing up a pen. "We have to figure out everybody's timeline!"

I cringed inside, desperately wanting to scream "NOOOOOooooo!!!" and bail out the window.

 I hate the intense thinking it takes to synchronize timelines.

 But Abi had the bit in her teeth, so I just clung to the saddle and went along for the ride, feeling the figurative slap of every tree branch we dove through.

 "If he is here, it takes him a day to get to back to the castle. So, why would it take him so long to come the first time?" She scowled, "This isn't good."

 "But...!" I defended anxiously. "It's snowed, and he doesn't know where he's going, he has to look for it. He's tracking the sleigh!!! That's how he finds it!"

"Okay," she nodded, miraculously accepting the logic. "But why does it take the sleigh so long?"

 "And the sleigh also doesn't know where its going, so they're wandering around trying to find it. So when he tracks it, he also wanders around."

"Okay, but horses are faster then sleighs."

 My brain whirled. "But it's deep snow all through the forest. So... that slows the horses down?"

 She and I have both ridden in deep snow, so we both know this is a good argument.

 "All right, but if the sleigh leaves heading back to the castle before he does, how come he arrives so much earlier?"

 "Because... the sleigh alters course, and goes to the glen. Then they are persuaded to stay there for... overnight! They stay overnight, because it's cold and there's thermal water activity in the glen, making a warm environment in the caves."

 "Okay... we'lll give you that." she scribbles it down on the timeline she's roughly charted out. "So, this looks like it could work."

 I breathed a sigh of relief, to have escaped the dreaded time constraints at last. Then we both went to bed... and the next day, I wrote 5k that afternoon. I know? Crazy, right?

 But the next day I wrote nothing... because stuff happened.

 And then the next day a wrote another 5k! Things just kept coming into my brain and then flowing out through the keyboard, and I was like... "I'd like to quit now, I'm tired of sitting, but... but...!!! Here's another thing that happens!!!!"
 Oh the feels that went on in those scenes! "And... here's another thing!"
   And there would be another thousand words or two.

 It was super fun. Also kind of tiring, but the emotional high from these terrific scenes was so totally worth it.


 So I treated myself to an Klondike bar I've been keeping in the freezer for just such a purpose. Smile

 ...And... that's how I finished my 20k for June so early.
 Now I'm not sure, but I think I may take a bit of a rest to catch up on my sleep!
 But then I'll be back at it, 'cause I've got this ms on the run at last and I want this thing DONE!!! Smile

Monday, June 9, 2014

Author Interview: Colette Black

Okay! We're back to doing a few writer interviews on E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog, and to start us off this summer we're joined by Colette Black, author of the recently released Sci-Fi YA adventure/romance "Noble Ark".

(Can I just take a minute to say how much a love that title? I can't explain it, but I like it so much I'm now sad I didn't think of it first, and write a book to be named it... Wink)

 Anyway, I didn't... so here's the lady who did! Smile
E: Today we welcome Colette Black, author of sci-fi novel “Noble Ark” which I have started reading. This a interesting work, titled after the ship shuttling through space under threat of attack by a uniquely frightening breed of pirates; the rapacious Mwalgi, (or ‘Gi as they are sometimes referred to) view humans as nothing more than a physical source from which they extract a certain substance.

 Thanks for being here, Colette!

Colette: Thank you for the opportunity. I love talking about Lar, Aline, and the Mankind's Redemption universe.
E: So, Colette… first off, I’d have to ask: How is Mwalgi pronounced?

C: I'm not much for pronunciation guides, but it sounds pretty much as it's written Mu-wall-gee (with a hard g).
E: Okay, thanks! That should help our internal ear as we read! Is it totally weird that my brain wanted to read "Mowgli" nearly every, single, time? (As in, the boy from The Jungle Book?)

C: The similarity between Mwalgi and Mowgli from Jungle Book is an understandable connection to make as they carry many of the same letters and have some similar sounds, but the similarity is entirely coincidental. The stories have nothing in common. The origin of the word will be explained in the fourth book in the series.
E: How did you come up with these things… they seem quite a bit different than most alien species in general, so what all components went in to creating this fearsome type of pirate?
C: I've written a fair amount of horror for the short story market, as is evident by the number of horror stories versus sci-fi and fantasy in my anthology, The Black Side. When I came up with the Mwalgi, I wanted them to be aliens that could truly make a person's skin crawl. There had to be sufficient justification for Aline's feelings toward them and the animosity of the crew members. They look and act human enough that they're not completely foreign, but they immobilize their victims and put them through excruciating pain in the process of taking what they need. The species' history was the primary influence in their creation, but I can't go into that at this point in the series.
E:  The two MCs in this are the human girl Aline, and the Mwalgi misfit, Larkin. As a writer who is always on the lookout for plots and twists, I have to say on first blush this looks like a far out re-imagining of the Beauty & the Beast tale. How would you describe your basic story template that spring-boarded Noble Ark?

C: I find it amazing that I didn't see that parallel until well after I'd written the story, but it is accurate. Like many authors, the idea started with a dream...a very bizarre dream. I played around with the characters as I'd imagined them, what could have happened in their lives to make them the way they were, and thought about how they'd ended up on a ship together as adversaries then turned into co-defenders.  From there, the story grew.
E: Larkin comes across as a very complex character, and he definitely starts out with his own agenda. In the introductory scenes he’s almost predatory in his determination to achieve his mysterious plan… and the suspense that builds is very effective. What made you decide to take that angle with your MMC?

C: Good question. I don't know that I made any conscious decision to go in that direction. As I answered the who, what, when, where, why questions about Lar, he formed into a complex character as if on his own. It was almost like he already existed, but I just had to get to know him well enough to write his story. Same with Aline.
E: The atmosphere you’ve created in Noble Ark is very strife ridden… as a book aimed at the YA audience, how did you decide what level of “graphic” you were comfortable going with for this novel?
C: With a nineteen and twenty-year-old protagonists, the book is actually New Adult, a sub-genre that has been growing in momentum. I go with my gut instinct as far as the level of graphic detail. 

Sometimes, I feel like there are two camps in the writing industry. One says that you write the characters as they are, no matter how disgusting or evil, and represent them as truthfully as possible. Diametrically opposed is the side that says what we write must inspire and uplift. Like many, I have a line that's between the two. I think we do need to be true to our characters, but not at the expense of our own values. 

For example, I don't really swear. Never have. In some of my stories, I get a kick out of making a world where the environment or history has caused less offensive swear-words to become prominent. I think that's fun. However, there are some stories that have a swear word here and there because it just fits the character and the situation. There are also some words and expressions that I just find too uncomfortable to ever use. 

Every writer has to find that balance for themselves, in relation to language, sexuality, and violence. As a devout Christian and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,  my line is probably more conservative than some of my friends. I think that's okay, and I will defend their right to print whatever they feel comfortable with as part of the first amendment, even if I don't buy their books. I also defend my right to to characters who don't cross certain lines. Some think I'm too liberal, some too conservative, and like baby bear, some find it "just right."

E: Where did you go for ideas to create the language that the Mwalgi use? And how extensive is the invented vocabulary... those can get complicated quick! Do you have a dictionary of Mwalgi words to refer to when you need a reminder?

C: I do have a dictionary, divided up by phrases, words, objects, plants and animals, etc. I'm sure that a proficient linguist could rip the Mwalgi language to pieces, but I find myself fascinated by language origin and couldn't help but play around with it. I considered becoming a linguist at one point in my life. With the Mwalgi language, it generated from their history and I can't go into that without giving away spoilers. A few people have partially figured it out, but I'm not going to tell the full story until the fourth book. There are a lot of hints along the way if you'd like to try to piece together the mystery of their origins. ;)

Thanks for the interview. I appreciate your time and your interest in Noble Ark. If you enjoyed it and would like to stay informed about the "Mankind's Redemption" series and future projects, you can sign up for my newsletter through my website at

E: Thanks for joining us, Colette! It's always fascinating to hear how things come together for an author, and with imaginary worlds it makes it even more fun!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sunflower Award: 11 Strange Things about Me

Sarah Scheele over at Stardust & Gravel has tagged me to participate in the Sunflower Award. Basically, each blogger answers eleven questions, gives eleven random facts, and then tags eleven more bloggers to participate. 

I've done something similar several years ago on a different blog, but it feels about time to do something fun and random like this again. So here goes!


Give 11 random facts

Answer 11 questions

Tag 11 bloggers

Give these bloggers 11 questions to answer 

1. I like going barefoot in the balmy seasons, but my feet hurt, so I generally wear shoes. I hope that my sis and I can fine tune our shoe-making technique to create the perfect shoe for me, and let me open up my range of activities! (Did I mention I have the greatest youngest sis ever?!)
  As it is, I moderate the foot trouble by staying off of them most of the time.

2. I know how to butcher out farm animals, and have done so. So I'm a lot more knowledgeable about what it takes to break a fictional bone, or snap a fictional neck than most writers are, and when books mess this aspect up, they lose major points in my estimation!

3. I can to small talk just fine, and have done so more times than I can count. But I really enjoy a conversation when both people can get deep into exploring some resonant theme, and I can learn something new, even if it's just the other person's perspective. That is time well spent!

4. I have too many WIPs to work on... (over 20) which should not surprise any one, so maybe that doesn't really count. In other news, my new resolution is to finish more of them, stat; so I'm looking forward to accomplishing that goal!

5. I am constantly dissatisfied with my art works, but I keep trying to improve anyway. My expectations are kind of unrealistic, but my favorite style of paintings are those that look more realistic than photos, so I'm always comparing myself to that, and falling dismally short!

6. That being said, several people have placed enough faith in my to have me do art for them, for gifts and illustrations, and this is emboldening me to no end! I'm actually starting to get really excited about my possibilities of hugely improving in this area to where I can create "blow you away gorgeous" cover art. Can't wait!

7. I do not like hot, spicy foods... too much garlic powder can ruin a dish! But I love vinegar-dill pickles, and sauerkraut, which some people can't seem to understand. I guess I've just got Germanic taste-buds, not South of the Border stuff!!!

8. I have had my age mistaken to be about ten years older than I was, ten years younger, and once a sales lady said "Your sister is so smart!"
 I smiled, "Yes, she is." I said, "And actually, she's my mom."
 I guess I just come across as ageless... no body gets it right! ;-)

9. I have a 5.5 lb chocolate poodle who makes me smile when I'm blue, and Belgian Tervuren farm dogs who are so amazing to train, they are a joy. I and my sis have trained them (to varying degrees) and it's so marvelous to watch your work blooming into impressively obedient dogs! It's one of the things that really make me smile, big time.

10. I've tried journaling or diary keeping, but there were too many interesting things going on to stop and write them down, it seemed. I did once keep more of a "log" when we first moved to Nebraska, and that is interesting to look back on from time to time. I kind of wish I did more of it, because they're be interesting too, but I don't take the time.

11. I love looking at my carvings, which are all so miniature many of them can sit on a penny. And I carved them with a Swiss Army knife, so that's kind of an accomplishment. (Mostly out of pine, but some other woods given by a woodworking friend.)
 My collection of them is unfortunately rather small, since I gave most of them away to friends as I made them. And my carving days are kind of passed at this point. But the ones that I have make me smile on the rare occasions that I run across the little box of them when we're cleaning the room.

1. What’s the last sentence you wrote in a story?

“Hey!” the serving girl hurried forward with a wave. “Hey, this girl needs help. I told her you could get her away from here… the old lady wants to hold her for ransom.”  (From Thaw: Winter Queen)

 2. What was the last movie you watched?

 We're in the middle of the Search for the Medallion... we got halfway through last night, then paused it and went to bed. Looks like we'll have company tonight, so we'll have to wait under tomorrow night to find out if they make it out of the waterfall pool!

 3. Do you have a favorite quote?

 4. Favorite food?
 Not really, anything with potatoes and butter is a good start! But then pasta is sooo good too, and chocolate... chocolate counts as a food, right? Yes, I guess those would be my right-off-the-top-of-my-head top three favorite foods.
5. Have you ever seen a shooting star?
  No, don't think so. I spent most of my childhood with poor eyesight, so seeing anything was kind of a trial for me. On the bright side, this made me rely heavily on the other senses when dealing with people, so I've got a highly developed "sense of intuition" when it comes to meeting new folks. basically, I think I just pick up on all the subtle clues most people miss 'cause they're too busy looking!

6. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three books, which would you bring?
 The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1950's edition. Those things are treasure troves of seriously useful stuff, and that's what I'd want on my side in any adventurous type deal. Like Sherlock Holmes said, knowing where to look it up is half the battle of intelligence.
7. In real life, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned?
 If you mean Futuristic, as in sci-fi? No. If futuristic, as in beyond this mortal veil, when Good shall reign supreme? Yes! Absolutely, I can't wait!
8. In fiction, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned? (Other worlds count.)

 I like them all. Especially the futuristic ones, because there are fewer mistakes... at least that jump out at me. Knowing what I know, most historical authors mess up the time period or realism pretty badly somewhere or other, and it just ruins it for me. (One recommendation: Samuel Shellabarger books, are terrific historical fiction. Read them! Start with Captain from Castile... a heart pounding adventure novel that is really factual.)

9. What’s the strangest thing hanging on your wall in your room?
 Hmm... depends on you definition. If peacock feather draped off the bookshelves are strange, that might be it. If a globe suspended from the ceiling by a copper wire holder family members fashioned by hand, then maybe that. Other then that it's just regular stuff... paintings/drawings I have done, shelves full of art supplies or books.
10. What’s your favorite bird?
 My favorite bird might be the turkey, 'cause it's seriously good to eat. Or it might be the dove, 'cause those are so, so elegant and beautiful in every movement. There are a lot of flashy, colorful birds too, but once you go there you could be lost a long time! Oh! What about the Cock o' the Rock? Totally orange bird all over! Very pretty.
11.  Robin Hood or King Arthur?
 Robin Hood, hands down. I read the book as a teen, the real old fashioned book with the Olde English wording and it captured me in a way few books have. "Out upon thee, scurvy varlet! A murrain take ye!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

 I was tagged in the Writing Process Blog Tour by Caroline Keeth, of Three Little Birds. She had been tagged by Kathryn Lang of Growing H.O.P.E

 I'd like to pass the baton on to:
 Sarah Scheele, of Stardust and Gravel
 Kelsey Bryant at Kelsey's Notebook
Deborah O'Carroll at The Road Of A Writer
 Joanna Holden at It's a Writer's Thing
& for my fifth pick I nominate whoever wants to jump in and grab a bit of the fun!
 These are all really good questions for any writer to ask themselves, because once you know these, a lot of other things can fall into place.

 1. What are you working on? (Well, this one is easy... )

 Right now I am working on  Snow Queen retelling... I had wanted to write a story/novella/novel called Winter Queen, but was a little stymied on exactly the angle to tell.  After the release of Frozen, (which I enjoyed very much, but had a lot of points to argue with it, too!) the missteps they had taken fueled my imagination. 
 The original Snow Queen tale was basically a metaphor for maturing, learning to see the bad in life as well as the good, and keeping the balance. (Also, that dedicated friends are worth hanging onto and make life better?)

 Frozen is about... um, sisterly love? (I think that's what they all say, though anyone with an opinion can get different messages out of it.)

 Winter Queen is about how the pitfalls of emotional instability, especially growing up, (when we are changing and becoming more powerful in every level and yet so insecure, so unsure of how to use that new power wisely) And how, if we allow ourselves to be swayed into a "victim mindset" it can cripple us and those around us in a myriad ways.
  The only way to overcome the natural, self serving, "poor me" mentality takes true maturity, the real acceptance of responsibilities for our actions and the consequences we are capable of causing. When we step out into the light of adulthood and say "I accept what I should have changed, and let go of what was not up to me." Then we have found the balance place where we can use the power that is in us, as adults, to promote balance and stability in those all around us, as well as within ourselves.

 2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

 I like to blend a lot of real facts and very realistic situations into the imaginative earlms, I think it gives them a deeper meaning and gravitas, but also I hope that readers can learn actual true things from my stories. That's what stories do best, in my opinion, so I certainly want to be delivering as well as I can.
  So many readers have commented on the "real feel" of my settings and characters, and I prize that aspect of writing very highly.
 So I conscientiously aim for as good a tale as I can tell, with an almost pseudo-historical accuracy... to the point where someone might read my work and then years later be browsing through history and come upon an interesting incident or fact, and think "Oh, OH! Like that book I read!"

 Yep. Wink

  A lot like that book you read. Smile

3. Why do you write what you write?

 Well, this is a subject I've given considerable thgouth to, and I like to talk about story telling theory!
  I like fantasy, mostly because my mom read the Hobbit out loud to us kids when I was seven; but also because the LOTR books were such encouragement for me all through growing up... So I feel like spec-fic can tell tales that are Truer than any other kind, because we get to see how things really feel with all the unsee-able stuff that makes up most of life. The physical realm is really only a small slice of living... and it's the inside battles that can be the hardest to win.

 An angry giant can stand in for the internal problem of having a bad temper.... it must be defeated or else it will continue to wreck things!

 And those un-seeable thigns are the ones spec-fic, (fantasy or sci-fi) can really grapple with exploring to the full degree. So, when I write I feel like I'm trying to describe a mental/emotional/spiritual fact by translating it into the same place that our brains go to process a lot of things: the dream world. Where anything can happen, and even the cloudiest of ideas can be seen and felt in living color.

   So that's basically my writing theory on fantasy, and why I'm drawn to spec-fic in general. I have a lot of respect for history, and my dad as well as other family members are very drawn to studying up on all different aspects of it... so I'm pretty well exposed to a wide range there. I have a few historical fiction ideas that I feel are novel enough to be worth putting down on paper... (I really hate the thought of simply re-drawing an already overdone plot-line!) But the hist-fic doesn't have quite the prominent place in my heart as spec-fic does.

4. How does your writing process work?

Ah! That's the tough question.
 I generally get an idea, and it can be from anywhere: something mentioned in conversation, two random thought patterns colliding to form a new and kaleidoscopic train wreck of a situation, or often times an element from my dreams will hang on long after I'm awake yelling at me "Hey! This is super neat! Take a closer look."

 I generally let those all percolate for a long time, maybe a few months, sometimes several, several years. When I feel the plot has boiled long enough and built up a nice head of steam, I sit down, lift the lid off the pot and try to catch what bubbles out onto paper.

 It's taken quite a bit for me to get the hang of it, but by now I feel like I'm getting a handle on the process. I try to go frotn to back, but if a scene wants to come I just let it. We sort that out later... though I try to keep mental tally of where everythign is headign adn who is in waht condition at any given point in time.

 I used to be famous for my memory back during my schooling days, so I think this definitely serves me in good stead in this method of writing. It's only rarely that I get a little mixed up and miss something... and usually that's because that thread may have morphed in another scene that bubbled out, showing a little different side of that particular vein.

 I have my in-house editor, perfectionist sister comb through it, and she also helps me brainstorm as we go, so when she reads through she knows what is supposed to be there and will catch it if it's conspicuously missing.

 When we two have trashed the grain out of it, we throw away the straw and commit the gleaming grain to the keen eyes of betas, who give us further feedback.

 From then on out the process is just about like anyone else's I suppose... it morphs into the process of publishing, and is not the writing process anymore!