These random ramblings and author musings are designed to entertain, though they might drag you kicking and screaming through my daft indie publishing journey. If you are somehow inadvertently informed, or if you have discovered something useful within, well then . . . count that as a jolly coincidence. Thanks for reading! (header background - Sky_18 Free Texture #133 by Brenda Starr)

20130824

Word of the week: dysania – noun - The state of having a hard time waking up and getting out of bed in the morning. - The Free Dictionary

Writer’s Beat Staff Member Interview – Come Meet . . . Elzevera Koenderink

For a half-dozen years, The Writer’s Beat (WB) online writing community has been a huge grounding force in my writing life. Not only has it enabled me to tenfold improve upon my skills through honest critiques and feedback, it has also connected me world-wide to so many other writers, people I wouldn’t have known had I wallowed miserably in the ages-old belief that “writing’s just a lonely profession.”

Well, thank goodness for the internet! But even more, thank goodness for friends who share in a love for writing and the writing craft, those who understand what you mean by: “No headhopping!” or “Check SPaG!” or “Your protagonist has fallen horribly out of character and there’s no rising tension within the scene, not to mention all of your characters have been stricken with the ‘floating head syndrome’.”

Yes. We writers always speak in code, and Elzevera is one of these writer friends who can crack said code with both the power of her knowledge in the writing craft and the handy-dandy secret code notebook passed around by the covert society of fancy-pants underground writers. (Shh — don’t tell anyone!)

First a moderator and now a fellow administrator at WB, Elzevera is a creative writer passionate about her works-in-progress, and although she lives on the other side of the Atlantic and I’ve only known her through online interactions, she has proven time and again to be a wonderful, loyal friend.

So here she is to introduce herself and talk a little about her current writing project – Elzevera (also known as “Ilseum” at The Writer’s Beat writing community), whose beautiful name I couldn’t resist using the shortened version of, Elze, in my own story, “Open Your Heart to Chance.”

* * *
Several years ago, I joined a writer’s forum called Writer’s Beat. I’m not even sure anymore why I joined in the first place, but I think it was the Character Clinics that pulled me in – a section in which you can pretend to be one of your characters, and have other people ask you questions you need to answer in that character’s voice. Through it, I developed the wondrous, imaginary world of Falyrin, the basis of my first novel that has yet to be finished. I’m not a steady writer, though I’m getting closer to being one, but through the years on the forum, I do consider myself to be a ‘real writer’ now.

I had no intention of being published whatsoever when I joined, while now I can see it happening one day, maybe. I love my characters to bits, and I cannot wait for the world to get to know them as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about a semi-vegetarian, talking fox? Being a bystander while my characters take the story away with them is one of the things I love most about writing. I know everything I put down on paper comes from a remote corner of my own mind, yet sometimes it really feels like I have no control over anything. The story is the way it’s supposed to be, thanks to the characters, and that’s the way it is.

I’ve been working on Falyrin – my baby project – for a good handful of years now, and over the past year I think I’ve been more productive than any other time before that. It feels like something’s actually happening. The ideas have been in my head, and even on outlines, for long enough. Now, they’re finally making it to the paper. With a bit of luck (and actual effort – call it writing-dysania, if you will), I hope to finish the first draft in the upcoming year. The hardest part for me has always been to not linger on what I’ve written, but to write on, to make things happen. I’m looking forward to the editing process. And I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft so I can go on writing my other two projects, taking place in the same universe, but on other planets.

*  *  *
Shaping Life

by Elzevera Koenderink
Published in Shadow Fiction, November 2011
Copyright: Elzevera Koenderink, blogged here by permission

"Are you almost finished, Dad?" Allie swung her legs back and forth, her hands resting on the wooden desk on either side of her thighs, arms stretched. "You've been at this one for over a month!"

"Almost finished. I promise. It just needs one last little touch." Bent over a large cardboard box set on his working table, he furrowed his brow in concentration.

"What's so special about this one? You've done all the others in less than two weeks, and they're perfectly lovely." She smiled, looking around at the small, lifeless creatures spread about the workplace. They were everywhere. On desks, on shelves, on one side or the other of the doorway... Little people, Allie called them, although the term wasn't exactly right. Some did look like miniature human beings, but others looked more like a badly shaped vulture. Others still had tails, or animal ears.

"Ohh, Allie, my dear... This one is different!" The same answer she had gotten the past two weeks, whenever she'd tried to understand her father's drive to put so much effort into this particular project. She let out a sigh.

"Could you hand me the salt please?" The professor looked up and held out his hand.

When she did, instead of sprinkling it into the box like she expected him to, her father put the salt into his coffee and took a sip. She knew better than to ask for an explanation. So she sat in silence, trying to figure out what was going on.

"And now," her father announced in a solemn and somewhat theatrical voice, "the time has come. Only one last thing is needed for this project to be completed. Over here, please," he stated, motioning his daughter to approach.

Allie flustered with excitement, and she jumped off of the desk to join her father.

"What do I do?" she asked with curious eyes.

"Tickle him. That should do the trick."

"Tickle him?" Allie put her hands on the edge of the table and got onto her toes to see inside the box. There was another lifeless creature in it. It seemed no different from the ones that were already sprawled across the room.

"Yes. Tickle him. He needs to experience a strong emotion, but I wouldn't want to frighten him to death. You see, he's only a little creature. He can't handle much. Just tickle him gently. You'll see!" The professor gave her encouraging smile, and Allie looked at him before turning her gaze back to the contents of the box.

"All right..." she said, not quite convinced. She reached inside and swept her finger over the creature's belly.

To her surprise, and the professor's fulfilment, his little body started to twitch, and Allie could swear she heard if only the slightest of giggles.

Amused and astounded, she couldn't help but tickle the creature again. It got struck by a fit of laughter now, and seemed unable to stop. She chuckled.

"I told you this one was different," her father stated with a small smile, laying his hand on his daughter's back. His voice was barely above a whisper. "This one's alive." 

*  *  *
Come visit us at The Writer's Beat writing community, where every critique comes with a free zombie (free-range) and a host of wonderful, friendly people.

And of course, credit absolutely goes to the talented artist who drew the lovely pencil-art gnome. If only I knew who it was!

20130813

Word of the week: epomania - noun - the rage or passion for writing epics - Wordsense.eu

Author of the Month: Come Meet . . . Robert Evert

Yes, yes, I know, I know . . . normally I interview indie authors, but this author’s fantasy series has managed to capture my interest in a huge way. (Hey, traditionally published through a small-ish indie press? Close enough!) I’ve actually grown rather fond of Mr. Evert’s story world and the fascinating characters who’ve come alive within.

Seriously!

If Edmund of Rood, or Pond Scum, or even Kravel and Gurding (two wonderfully devious and strangely urbane goblins), were to sit down to have chat and a mug of beer with me, I would be absolutely delighted! Well, delighted to chat with them, anyway. I’d pass on the beer. But I would definitely wonder: What secrets might they divulge with their guard down in a quiet and friendly discourse . . . ?

Riddle in Stone, the debut novel of a three-book series by the same name, is an absolute must-read before Mr. Evert’s forthcoming release of his second book, Betrayal in the Highlands, and is truly an excellent start to an interconnected story with a neat over-arcing plot line and an awesome atypical protag — erm, uncommon main character. Far too often we read male main characters who act all rough and tough and fairly grunt out their words. (All right, a bit of an over-exaggeration, that one.)

But Edmund of Rood . . . ? He sits upon that digital page and in one’s imagination just as richly complex as anyone you would meet in the real world. And so does Norb the stablehand, Molly the lovely barmaid, Pond Scum the . . . um . . . former merchant, Thorax the extremely loyal and wonderfully brave dog . . .

Ah, but I digress . . . I’ll let Mr. Evert explain:

* * *

I’m one of those people who have always wanted to write a novel. I’ve been writing ever since I read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings back as fourth grade. It’s a compulsion with me. I simply have to be writing or I don’t feel right. My insides get all itchy. I must have a couple hundred half-started stories lying about my house. I believe the correct term for me is “epomania” – the need to write epics. It’s an actual diagnosis. Honest! Go look it up! There’s a 12-step program and everything.

Anyway, a few years ago, I finished my first novel-length manuscript, Riddle in Stone. It’s about a middle age guy who feels worthless. He’s fat. He stutters. He’s in love with somebody who doesn’t give him the time of day. So, to give his life meaning, he sets off on an adventure in the hopes of becoming a hero; but he quickly realizes that being a hero isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Last year, my agent sold Riddle in Stone to Diversion Books. It was released in February and, to my surprise, tens of people are actually buying it! What’s even more surprising is that a lot of them seem to like it! Who would have thought?

I’m currently working on the sequel to Riddle in Stone, Betrayal in the Highlands. It should be released in August. Keep your fingers crossed! If you would like to learn more about my work, please visit my website at www.RobertEvert.com or my blog at http://robertevert.blogspot.com. Riddle in Stone is available at most online stores — including www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com. If you read it, please let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*  *  *
Riddle in Stone is also available as an audiobook: Riddle in Stone at The Audiobook Bay 

Here . . . read my May review of Riddle in Stone

20130802

Author Shout Out: The very talented Miss Holly Current has had her short story, The Poe Toaster, published online in Lost City Review. Come, read . . . you know you want to, and you certainly will not be disappointed, I assure you! You can also follow Holly’s blog, “A Little Literary, a Lotta Coffee.” Again, you won’t be disappointed. Honest!

Word of the week: amenable \ə-ˈmē-nə-bəl\ adj. - 1: liable to be brought to account; 2 a : capable of submission (as to judgment or test), b : readily brought to yield, submit, or cooperate, c : willing


Liebster Blog Award

Holy smokes, and other random exclamations!

I tell you, the number 11 in duplicate has followed me around like a lost little puppy for nearly a year now. Um . . . well, no . . . more the like the itty-bitty leggies of a lost little (invisible) stick-figure puppy. Or maybe like two sets of dancing chopsticks . . . or two yummy double popcicles . . . or one half of a tarantula . . .

Anyway, now the number 11 has come in triplicate—nay, quadruplicate! (Hurray! A whole tarantula!)—as I discovered I was nominated by SLS Oborowsky of Authors Thought to receive the Liebster Blog Award.


To her I say: “Thank you, thank you! Thank you very much!” and I would say this eleven times, but honestly . . . that would get really annoying. I could just hand her a tarantula, though she might not be completely amenable to this.

What is the Liebster Blog Award, and how does it work? Eleven random personal facts, eleven questions answered, eleven questions asked of eleven nominees.

Here, I’ll show you:

First, eleven random personal facts:

1) I’m highly allergic to peppermint oil.

2) I love the smell of honeysuckle and lilac (separately).

3) I’m the mother of four (two human, two canine) children.

4) I abhor money; I think it causes too many problems between people.

5) One of my favorite things to do is to help out fellow authors.

6) I love golden retrievers.

7) I helped build the house I currently live in – yes, with a hammer and nails and hard labor and all that.

8) I absolutely cannot walk in stiletto heels, and I prefer jeans and sweats over fancy skirts and dresses.

9) I used to traipse through the woods in the middle of the night – alone.

10) I think “whimsical” and “wholesome” are the two most fake sounding words – ever.

11) Not much ever “creeps me out”; thus, I wish to eat a scorpion-pop.

Now, eleven questions answered from the one who nominated me: SLS Oborowsky:

1) What is your favorite animal and why? Ooohhh . . . that would have to be the golden retriever, only because they’re so cuddly and lovable and soft and squishy and cute and, and, and . . . need I say more really?

2) If you had a choice to live anywhere in the world, what place would you choose? Someplace warm. No snow. I can’t stand snow. Abhorrent white stuff . . .

3) What is your favorite food? Wow. Um . . . I don’t have one favorite food. I love all foods, really.

4) What is your most memorable moment? Wait, I have a memory? *puzzles*. . . Oh! Hang on . . . yes. My most memorable moment (say that ten times fast!) would have to be my wedding day, when I married the most wonderful man in the world.

5) Do you have a hobby? Gardening, if I ignore the fact I’m terrible with most plants.

6) Do you have a favorite childhood nursery rhyme? Not in particular, although it was an interesting moment in my adult life when I discovered what the rhyme “Ring Around the Rosy” really referred to!

7) What type of music do you enjoy most? Not sure how to categorize it, but stuff by Linkin Park, Evanescence, Muse, and, well, generally music with lyrics that actually make one think or tell a story.

8) Are you a country bumpkin or a city slicker? Oh, country bumpkin, most definitely! I’d rather pull weeds and walk through the woods, haul hay and ride horses than bumble around, lost and alone, in a scary city setting.

9) If you could rewrite a chapter in your life would you? Yes. All of middle school. No, in fact, I’d delete that entire chapter out of my life.

10) Do you have a fear of anything? Clowns, spider webs in the face, and someone driving heavy machinery through the woods. Combine the three, and I’m likely to have a heart attack.

11) Do you have a favorite place you go for a latte, coffee or tea? My favorite place to go for coffee is . . . my writing desk.

Eleven nominees (well, really twelve now, due to a previous mix up on my part!) . . . :

Stephen Dodgson – The Beach in Tenerife
Court Ellyn – Wordweaver
Heather Frizzell – Heather’s Revision Diary
Eve Gaal – The Desert Rocks 
David Gilmore – David Gilmore’s Blog
William Kendall – Speak of the Devil
Logan Keys – Logan Keys Fiction
Lorraine Sears – Red Lorry’s Journey
Ben Wallace – Dumb White Husband (blog)
Lena Winfrey Seder - Pearldrops on the Page

. . . and eleven questions asked of them:

1) What is your favorite mythical creature?

2) What are your five least favorite words, and why?

3) What inspires you to write what you write in your blog posts or other writing projects?

4) If you could have any super power, what would it be, and why?

5) If you knew the end of the world was coming, how would you spend your final day on earth?

6) What’s your biggest accomplishment?

7) If someone handed you a tarantula, what would you do?

8) How do you write? In total silence, or with background noise?

9) Who is your biggest writing influence?

10) Who’s your favorite author?

11) What do you believe is the most important thing in the world?

And finally, here are the eleven official rules of the Liebster Award. (Well, all right, there are really only eight, but I had to keep to the “eleven” theme!)

Copied from the blog “Lorraine Reguly’s Life.” :

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here.)

Once you have written your post, and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

. . . See? Super easy!