Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zone

Z is for Zone.

This A to Z Challenge took a lot of writing and thinking time, but it put me in the zone. I needed to get in the zone so I could rededicate myself to this craft of writing. Other people blog weekly—and now I feel I can count myself as one of them.

 A weekly blog will be easy, now that I’ve written daily here in this challenge. I want to thank the Insecure Writer's Support Group for offering this challenge each year. I never thought I’d do it. Now I don’t think I’ll ever stop! I’m in the zone!

Get in the zone—author zone, that is! Go write something awesome today!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Your Story

Y is for Your Story.

You have a story to tell. Only you can tell it.

Years before I started writing, I watched a movie where the little girl kept a music box locked away where no one could find it. Inside the box she hid all the songs she wished she could sing. I was very taken by the symbolism of this storyline, for I felt I had a voice that was also hidden in a box that no one would ever hear. That voice is my story.

You have a story too. It is a story that only you can tell. You’ve been protecting it for years, afraid someone would mock it or destroy it. So it has stayed hidden in you music box, and you are the only one who has the key.

Your story is worth telling. It is unique to your circumstances. You can give it voice like no one else. Even if you only share it with friends and family, it is worth writing because it is yours. 

Unlock your music box and let your story sing for all to hear!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A to Z Challenge: X is for Exactly the right time

X is for Exactly the right time.

Do you ever think life gets in the way of living your dreams? Do the if only thoughts discourage you in your daily activities—if only you had more time or energy to write, if only you didn’t have  to work a full time job, if only your kids weren’t all still in diapers—sound familiar? The if only thoughts can be very destructive.

A friend who is a member of my church would often say to the congregation, “You’re in the right place.” He said this to encourage people who had been struggling all week long so they would know that being in church was a good thing, taking the sacrament was a healing power that would cleanse and strengthen them, and that no matter what else was going on in their lives, being at church on Sunday was exactly the right thing to do.

In my writing, I have often wondered about the things that have “gotten in the way” of finishing my work in progress. Learning the craft was not a hindrance but a necessity. But other events that took place over the years were absolutely necessary too, even though I did not know that at the time. I realize now I was meant to be exactly where I was every step of the way. For instance, I left my full time job to write, but ended up caring for my father and grandmother who became ill. While I cared for them I could learn my craft and develop much needed skills. And the time I spent with them in their last several years was priceless to me.

Now I realize taking the A to Z Challenge was exactly the right thing to do too. It made me put myself out there in the blogger’s world, account for myself, and be more visible. I’m an introvert at heart, so anything that makes me stand out is painful—but it’s one of those necessities in the writing field if I ever wish to have my books sell. Now that I’ve been doing it, I kind of like it!

So X is for eXactly the right place at the right time. You are in exactly the right place in the right time in your life too. Don’t forget it! Now, go write something awesome today. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Challenge: W is for Worth. Is it worth it?

W is for Worth. Is it worth it?

Play it safe of take a risk? I decided to take the risk—and it’s been worth it, every step of the way.
About eight years ago I left a comfortable career to pursue my writing passion. It meant giving up so much in order to learn a new craft. I had to study again like a freshman in college, associate myself in a new circle of people, surrender my mind to endless plot ideas, characterizations, grammatical rules, and creative thinking. I gave up a secure way of life with a steady pay check, all because I had a story to tell. While I am so close to getting the first book published, I often think about what life will be like ten or fifteen years from now—after the series is complete. Will I have wonderful tales of endurance and perseverance to tell? I hope so—I’m keeping a log as I go.

I can’t predict the future, but there’s one thing I do know. If I decided not to take this risk, in ten years I would be ten years older and empty handed. My life is so much richer, so much fuller, all because I decided my story was worth it.

Your story is worth it too. Don’t give up. Take the necessary risks, and make your dream come true.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A to Z Challenge: V is for Valiant

V is for valiant.

Bilbo Baggins came back to help the dwarves in their journey. He didn’t have to—but he did. When Thorin Oakenshield questioned why, Bilbo gave a most valiant answer.

We can sit back in life, knowing who we are, knowing where we’re going, and take comfort in our position, or we can open our eyes to those around us who are searching for the same comfort and know not where to find it. Bilbo was valiant—he chose to put his life in continuous danger so that others could reach home—a place he knew well, a place he knew others deserved to find.
What a great missionary moment!

A to Z Challenge: U is for Utterly Hopeless

U is for utterly hopeless.

When Thorin Oakenshield hung onto the fallen tree teetering precariously over the cliff with the other dwarves, and while the pale Orc, Azog, emerged from the fiery battle, he could not deny his fate any longer. Thorin had to face Azog, even though it was utterly hopeless. He left his perch to confront his opponent, and his inevitable death.

Thorin took the blows, but was no match for the giant dwarf-killer. What happened next was thrilling. When Thorin lay helpless and about to have his head taken by Azog’s minion, Bilbo Baggins left the tree, attacked the henchman orc and killed him.  

Then the rest of the dwarves took courage from this and joined in the fight. They held their own until the eagles came to rescue them all.

Sometimes we must face an utterly hopeless situation before we see the light that is waiting in the dark—waiting to swoop down and save us. In A Doorway Back to Forever; Believe, Robyn reaches an utterly hopeless situation. She has to draw on the skills she has seen in order to win. It’s the only way she can gain courage to believe.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge: T is for Telestial...or Tallisete

T is for Telestial…or Tallisete

Tallisete is Robyn’s provincial hometown. The neighbors are friendly, the corner bakery is a meeting place for the veterans in town, the park has old-fashioned playground equipment from an era gone by. It’s the last refuge for the Skyborn travelers seeking peace from the Bloodborn recruits—but Robyn has yet to learn why.

Tallisete will grow and change as the series progresses, much like Robyn will. So the name reflects that progression, much like the levels of glory that Paul described in First Corinthians:

 There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; of one star differeth from another star in glory. ~1 Cor. 15:40-41.

Christ laid out the three degrees of glory in a vision to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon:

These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun…And again we saw the terrestrial world…whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn…even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament. And again we saw the glory of the telestial, which is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. ~D&C 76:70, 71, 81.

Celestial sun, terrestrial moon, telestial stars—they all have a role in the story. But in A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe, we start with the telestial, or Tallisete.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z Challenge: S is for Song of the Orb

S is for Song of the Orb

When I taught instrumental music, the kids loved to play movie themes. The more simple the melody, the more likely it could be arranged for all levels of musicians. One year, fifth graders begged me to play the theme from James Bond—intricate rhythms, tough intervals to hit on a stringed instrument, complicated melody and bass line—but they were psyched. I can’t say it came off perfectly in tune, but I can say they had a blast pushing themselves to learn it!

I decided early on to include music in my story. Music is a powerful tool for good or evil, depending on its message and nature. I want this story to point in the direction of hope, and so the song had to be uplifting.

The orb sings a message of eternity. The melody is haunting, but the lyrics tell the story of faith that is inherent in the series.

Listen, now to the Song of the Orb
Believe it whispers wisdom
Trust your heart to follow its path,
Defending the royal kingdom.

                                         Honor the gift that was given to you.
                                         Remember your promise there.
                                        Restore the truth to its glorious end,
                                       Becoming a royal heir.

I chose a simple melody so that anyone can learn it quickly. The meter is common time. It's set in a minor key, beginning with a leap up to a major 5th , then slowly descends down the minor scale back to the tonic. The notes stay within a few steps of a natural minor scale—not too high, not too low—easy for a beginner to play on an instrument, easy to sing as a solo or in a chorus. I wish I had a recording of it to share, but that’s for another day.

At least you can read through the lyrics and find whatever meaning that brings peace to your soul. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A to Z Challenge: R is for Robyn

R is for Robyn.

 This past winter’s single digit temperatures robbed me and my dogs of our daily walks. When I did brave the elements that held on with white-knuckled tenacity, I could hardly call it a walk. Even the month of March went out like a lion, biting at my legs, gnawing at my cheeks. No relief in sight.

Then the robins came.

My limbs were stiff but my heart danced with joy—the intrepid robins were everywhere—trumpeting the gallant victory call—spring was around the corner!

Winter’s sleep is awakened by the promise of a life-giving spring. We know this, but we forget when we are paralyzed by the cold. If we can hang on until the robin comes, we’ll see the sure sign—the harbinger brings the promise of  warmth and renewal.

One of my main characters is named Robyn. She is much like the bird—sent to herald a new beginning. But my Robyn must learn courage before she can bring the morning to a world gripped by midnight. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Q is for Question

Q is for Question

I was the black sheep of my Sunday School class. I didn't want to be. I was just curious. Little did I know, my curiosity made me an outcast in my own religion.

My family was Greek Orthodox. We were a faithful church-attending family. As a youngster, I loved learning about Jesus and I knew he loved me. I held my breath when the incense got too strong, and I sang the hymns in Greek, not knowing the language. While I loved the lessons from the Bible I felt disconnected with the outward culture and doctrine in the Greek Church. It didn't help that we weren't actually Greek—my father was Egyptian and he would have raised us in the Egyptian Orthodox (Coptic) faith had there been one in the area at the time we were born. So, the cultural disconnect was very real. I didn’t feel like I fit in.

 I was the one with the weird questions: Why do we baptize babies when Christ was baptized as an adult? Why are there so many churches? Why are they all so different?

The question that set me apart as the black sheep also set me on the path to knowledge.

This was the question: If we need to be baptized to go to heaven, what will happen to my Jewish friend when she dies? After all, it was not her fault that she was born in a Jewish family. Why would God punish her for not being raised in a Christian home? And for that matter, what about all the people in the jungles of South America who never got a chance to even hear about Christ? What would happen to them?

They had no good answer. I felt alone in a church full of elites who were perfectly happy, sure of their ticket to heaven, while other people lived their lives unaware of their inevitable eternal punishment. I was only eight years old when I asked the question about my Jewish friend. When I realized their answer meant she would not make it to heaven, it changed me. I matured that day—and I was determined to find a God that loved everyone equally, regardless of circumstance.

A question can be a weapon of destruction. It can break a barrier that others never meant to be broken. But once through that barrier that same question can lead to more questions which lead to truths that were there all along—they just needed to be discovered.

A question can be a tool of construction. The more we ask, the more we learn, the more we build. We encourage children to ask questions—we should not be afraid of the questions they ask.

In A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe, Robyn is obsessed with Magic-Sense, the ability to see and hear beyond earthly sight and sound. Her questions lead her to answers beyond the doorway. 

In a sense, Robyn’s quest is much like mine when I decided to search for the kind of church that was no respecter of persons. In finding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a doorway was opened for me into a world that transcends earthly sight and sound. Hmmm….Robyn may be onto something beyond fantasy. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z Challenge: P is for Prison Break!

P is for Prison Break!

Kit gets captured by a henchman from the Dark Lord, Sylvare—but she’s not about to stay in prison. Her cell mates give her the desperate news: they’re waiting for the Clearing, a time when prisoners are paraded in a large arena and given a choice—join Sylvare or be eaten by wild dragons. That’s enough for Kit to find a way to escape before her time for the Clearing is set. All the other prisoners are too weak and afraid to go with her, except for one girl, Amelia. Kit and Amelia make a run for the bridge back to Forever.

The henchmen discover they’re missing and the girls race to stay ahead of the guards. But they get separated—Kit has no idea if Amelia makes it to the bridge. She has to face the darkness of Midnight alone…or does she?

Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z Challenge: O is for Orb

O is for Orb

Pinocchio had Jiminy Cricket. 

Luke Skywalker had the Force. 

Whether it’s a children’s story about a puppet following the wisdom of a cricket or a science-fiction action film where the hero is guided by the Force, the timeless theme of listening to the still small voice abounds in our culture. Being in tune with your conscience is an art, discerned as young as early childhood and perfected over a lifetime. Religious and secular-minded people may disagree on the source, but they all agree on this—your conscience is real and it can guide you in all that you do.

In A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe, Robyn learns of her own Skyborn heritage, her own connection to a higher force. In order to grow strong as a Skyborn warrior and in order to defeat the powers of Midnight, she must face tests and challenges that will give her courage and strength—but she is not expected to do this alone. Robyn is given a gift—an orb. It is a walnut-sized crystal ball filled with liquid and starshine from the Eternal Fountains of Forever. In a sense, the orb acts to guide her conscience. It pulses and sings when a situation is safe. It changes colors for different warnings. It even boils a fiery red at the onset of danger. The orb helps Robyn to make choices—following the promptings of the still small voice she holds precious in her hand.

We all have an inner orb in our heart. If we listen we can learn its song and follow it just as Robyn learned. Unlike Robyn, our orb is not something we can physically hold. Wouldn't it be neat if we could? Wouldn't it be amazing to hold it in our hands, to watch it work, to hear it sing, and to feel its warmth?

But wouldn't it also be dangerous to lose it…?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z Challenge: N is for...NOW!

 N is for now…!

I want a starter’s pistol to go off every time I need to act on something NOW!

No false starts, no procrastination—pure preparation, finding your spot at the starter’s line, then the anticipation of the shot that announces, “There’s no turning back.”

“On your mark, get set, GO!”

 And I go!

Four years ago I got excited about the race to get my novel written and published. But I kept leaping to the sound of false pistols. I had this amazing idea with no skills as a novelist to write.

My first draft was too short and full of every mistake a writer could make. I sent it to an editor and she gently told me to learn the craft…ouch! But not really, because I knew she was right.

I read, studied, took online courses, went to workshops, wrote, re-wrote, sweated, slaved, felt inspiration, felt like giving up—everything. The next year rolled around and I thought I had it—another false start. For the life of me, I could not see the POV issues I had. I kept writing in third person omniscient! It was like the sea glass on the beach—I couldn’t see my mistakes until someone pointed them out. ARGH!

But I kept at it and got better. More study, more reading, more writing, more ideas, more editing, more critiques. I seemed to get past some major problems—plot structure, POV, but I still had issues with showing vs. telling. And my main characters were all the wrong ages. The false start sent me back to the locker room again for a major overhaul.

So, last year I worked my fingers to the bone. I submitted a few chapters to one critique group and I got a request from another group to read through the overhaul—for the first time I heard comments like, “You’ve learned a lot. You’re on the right track. I couldn’t put it down.”

Wow. Were they telling me I was ready to stand at the starter’s line? Will I hear the right starter’s pistol go off? I’ve been mistaken in the past, I didn’t want another false start.

 Time will tell. But for the first time in four years, I feel like the time is now—! Really now. This year. I’ve learned to wait for the starter’s pistol—the right one—and the wait has made all the difference.

But when it goes off, there’s no turning back! This book will be published!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z Challenge: M is for Midnight into Morning

M is for Midnight into Morning

Opposition creates tension, conflict, and great storytelling. It drives a story forward, giving the characters purpose. It makes readers become emotionally attached to the character’s situations, sucking them into the story as they watch their favorite characters make choices that lead to more opposition. The plot threads become one giant knot of conflict until the protagonist unravels the mystery or bravely destroys the ties of bondage.

It’s always darkest before the dawn—this is not just a mere cliché. Biblical references talk of the 11th hour—the spiritual despair that is felt by the faithful who, when they are at their wit’s end, cry out for the master to save them. The 11th hour is not eleven o’clock at night, as some would expect. Midnight sets up the beginning of the darkest hour—which falls deep into the night. But thankfully morning’s light breaks the bonds that midnight forces upon us. Midnight never wins—morning always comes.

We all go through our midnight-into-morning moments. Sometimes it feels as if midnight will consume our spirit. But oh, how the rejoicing comes when dawn breaks into morning! We hardly remember the sorrows of midnight—morning is that powerful.

In A Doorway Back to Forever; Believe, The Kingdom of Midnight is an evil place—The Kingdom of the Morning is a glorious destination. Readers will travel from Midnight into Morning on a fantastic adventure. And when the story ends, it is my hope that they will gain courage to believe in the coming of the morning in their own lives again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A to Z Challenge: L is for Legend

L is for Legend.

A Royal Family offers a Golden-Heart.
A traitor plants a black decoy.
A line is drawn in the sand.
A prince destroys the black decoy.
A royal family offers a golden heart.

This five-line poem is a chiasmus. The first and last lines mirror each other, the second and penultimate lines do the same and the middle line is the symmetrical midpoint. The style of writing was popular in ancient Hebrew and can be found in scriptural texts such as in the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon. JK Rowling wrote each Harry Potter novel using this style, also known as a ring cycle. Mirrored events can be seen when comparing first and last chapters within her books and so on, as well as comparing book one to book seven, book two to book six, etc. What a fascinating mind to be able to think in a reflective style and write this way!

My humble attempt at a chiasmus is displayed in my telling of the ancient Legend of the Before-Time. In book one I introduce the first five lines of the poem. In the following books the chiasm continues, telling the tale of the Legend of the Kingdom of Forever in a way that only those with Magic-Sense can understand. By the time readers are absorbed in the story, they’ll be fluent in chiasmus writing, and the fullness of the Legend will be revealed. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

A to Z Challenge: K is for Kristin

K is for Kristin.

Kristin Hill, aviation artist and good friend of mine, learned a valuable lesson about perseverance—and gave me inspiration to tackle a daunting rewrite.

Kristin was privileged to fly in a U-2 spy plane, reaching the edge of the earth’s atmosphere. As an aviation artist it was her responsibility to represent this event on canvas. She entered the painting in several aviation art competitions only to have it rejected several years in a row. She was devastated. It meant so much to her to have this experience, then to have the painting rejected was so difficult to handle. 

 Her mentor finally pulled her aside and told her the painting would continue to be rejected because it had a major perspective problem. He showed her mathematically through a carefully constructed PowerPoint presentation why the composition was flawed—the angle of the plane was off enough to make the painting seem unsettling to the viewer. She had missed this in the drawing stages, but could now see clearly the mistake she had made.

 Her mentor was pleased, but not finished with her—he challenged her to start over, redo the painting from a blank canvas, then give a presentation on this very problem and how she solved it, in order to help other artists overcome the same kinds of mistakes. It was a daunting task, with major time constraints to deal with, but she did it bravely and graciously. Not only was the painting accepted in the next exhibition, but it won a significant prize. Everyone applauded her for her willingness to re-work the painting. When they saw the before and after, side by side, they could see the obvious change.

At the time this was happening, I had gotten several critiques back from my work in progress. In review, I realized I needed a giant overhaul of my manuscript to salvage my story. I had to narrow down point of view characters, change the age of my main characters, and really pay attention to showing vs. telling. It would require months of work. But after seeing what Kristin could do, I knew it was the right thing for me as well. She was my inspiration. I named the new file Kristin. Each time I opened it to work on it, I thought of her and her success.

We should all have a Kristin in our lives to help push us on!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A to Z Challenge: J is for Jurassic Park!

J is for Jurassic Park!
Sometimes you need an awesome piece of music to help motivate your plot. John Williams's movie scores are some of my favorites. We're performing Jurassic Park this semester, so it's been running through my head a lot. Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, April 10, 2015

A to Z Challenge: I is for Inspiration

I is for Inspiration.

What do you find inspiring? Do comforting scriptures or encouraging words of wisdom push you along in your journey?  Or maybe you are a visual person, where light, color, and shadows open doors of creativity?  How about sound? Does a familiar tune spark joy or sorrow? Do sounds in nature evoke feelings of expression? 

Are you motivated by the actions of a great person, or are you compelled to act in the face of danger? What pushes you out of your comfort zone? What makes you want to discover more?

Inspiration comes quietly to some, like a gentle whisper from an old friend. Or sometimes it brightens your mind like fireworks on a clear dark night. However it comes, one thing I’ve found to be consistent— inspiration propels me to act.

Did you ever feel inspired to write your story? A Doorway Back to Forever is my story—it’s about me. Not directly, but symbolically. My conversion story inspired the fantasy. I owe this journey to inspiration.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A to Z Challenge: H is for Harmony

H is for Harmony

A good story is the sound of harmony on paper.

I’m a music educator. I enjoy performing in orchestral and wind ensembles, but what I really love is conducting—that’s where the real fun is, and that’s also where the work is. Conducting gives you the opportunity to analyze a musical score from all angles. A great composition is no accident. It’s crafted with a careful balance of rules and intuition created from the heart of a gifted composer. The fun comes when I can connect with the language of the composer and convey the meaning to the members of the symphony so they can execute a breathtaking performance.

The writing process is so very similar. A memorable novel is no accident. Technique takes years to learn and a lifetime to master. There are layers upon layers of depth and meaning in each line of writing, all waiting for the reader to discover and enjoy. As a newbie, I’ve come to love this process of creating harmony on paper. It’s a challenge, it’s hard work, it’s relentless, but it is worth the effort.

My dream is for everyone to one day sing my story. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A to Z challenge: G is for Guardian, and Gabriela, (and Michael)

G is for Guardian, and Gabriela, (and Michael)

So, if you found a magical doorway leading to Forever, there’d better be good guys on the other side of the door to ensure you hadn't walked into a trap, right? Robyn steps through and meets her escorts, or guardians, in keeping with the A to Z challenge, riding two beautiful white-winged horses. Gabriela the Wise and Michael the Brave have their swords drawn and ready to protect Robyn, once they convince her they won’t kill her.

Michael and Gabriela have a colorful, romantic back-story that won’t be revealed until book four in the series, but there will be lots of hints about their relationship prior to that. At one point Robyn asks Gabriela if she and Michael are married, causing the two of them to turn bright red.

I had a lot of fun with these two characters, which is probably why I developed an extensive back-story for them. In staying true to their names, Gabriella shows remarkable wisdom and Michael has seen battles that would make the bravest warrior shake in his boots. Robyn grows to rely on them, maybe closer than she should. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A to Z challenge: F is for "Feempf-Nempfner"

F is for “feempf-nempfner”

When my husband was a silly pre-teen he and a buddy of his got a kick out of a sign in front of a corner convenience store. Peanut butter was on sale—but you’d almost never guess. The sign was constructed haphazardly with cut-out letters. The person who put the sign together must have had a shortage of letters but an overflow of determination. Whoever it was used whatever they had in the stack to write the words “peanut butter.” But when my husband and his friend tried to read it out loud, it read, ‘feempf-nempfner.”

When he told me this story while we were dating, he made sure he used his geeky-voice to say “feempf-nempfner,” which made my side split with laughter. I already had a crush on him, I admired his wit and charm, but there was something about the sound of “feempf-nempfner” that threw me into hysterics every time he said it. After twenty-six years of marriage, I still make him feempf-nempfner sandwiches, feempf-nempfner and eggs, feempf-nempfner on apples, and we laugh like we’re still dating.

When a side-kick in a novel has a gimmick, it helps endear the character to the reader. I fell in love with Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. His one-line gimmick, saying only “I am Groot,” made him the favorite in the bunch for me. So, when I revised my novel, looking for a way to make some of the secondary characters stand out, I decided that my husband and Groot would assist me in my endeavor.

Meet Kyle, a member of the Light Brigade—an albino Skyborn friend of one of our main characters, who developed a speech impediment after a wild boating accident when he was a child. He’s got spiky hair, wears sunglasses, is handy with a laser lights, swords, orbs, and general magical mayhem, but he can only say, “feempf-nempfner.” It doesn't stand for peanut butter, but only those who read this blog will know the origins of Kyle’s lone utterance.

Tomorrow…G is for Grimmer. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for ears that hear and eyes that see

E is for ears that hear and eyes that see.

Back in my college days, a friend and I took a stroll on the Jersey Shore weeks before school let out. We had the beach to ourselves, meandering in the waves and talking about how we would change the world one day. Every few steps she pointed at the sand and rocks, then called out, “Oh, look—sea glass.” She bent down to pick up a shiny green piece of glass that had been polished by the constant crash of waves on the shore. Sometimes she found amber pieces, white, and a few bright blue ones. Each time she reached for the glass, I strained to see where her hand would lead to—I could not for the life of me see the glass until her fingers were right on top of it.

“How can you even see that?” I asked. “It looks just like the rocks and shells around it.”   
“It’s simple,” she said. “They’re everywhere.”

We kept walking and she kept finding the glass that my eyes were untrained to see—so frustrating! Finally, I got the hang of what to look for. By the end of the morning I had a few pieces of glass to take home. My few were not much compared to her colorful collection, but they meant the world to me because I found them on my own.

We never figured out how we’d change the world, but I learned a valuable lesson from the sea glass—truth is out there, whether you can see it or not.

In my story, Magic-Sense is the very real ability to see and hear beyond earthly sight and sound. For a fantasy novel, this is a great way to propel my characters into the mystical world called the Kingdom of Forever. But it has a deeper level of meaning, one that is symbolic in nature. We have spiritual eyes and ears that can be trained to see and hear beyond earthly sights and sounds. And so, my novel is a fantasy story with a deeper message—for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Doorway. And Danger

D is for Doorway. And Danger.

The Doorway is the foundation of my novel, A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe. Did you ever wish there was a magical doorway that could take you back to a world you once knew? Walk through the door and you enter a realm that holds the answers to questions you've always pondered, adventures you've always dreamed of living. I've always imagined how it would be amazing to step through a doorway into such a place. But I never imagined the danger…

D is also for danger.

In my story, it is dangerous to believe in such a world. Belief in anything that could be construed as magic is forbidden, even outlawed in some parts. Magic had a turbulent past until it was finally banished from earth, forgotten by most but protected by a small handful of faithful followers. These people struggled to keep magic alive in secret until the day when it would be fully revived on earth.

 My two main characters, Robyn and Kit, find themselves standing in front of such a doorway, trying to decide if the danger is too great a risk. If Robyn can believe her eyes and if Kit can believe her ears, they have half a chance of making the right decision…

On Monday, E is for ears and eyes… Happy Easter!

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Calemir

C is for Calemir.

People crave stories about a hero. Why is that? I have a theory. Deep down inside our souls, there stirs a truth about heroes: we cannot make it to the next level of our existence without the help of a super hero—a savior, if you will. It resonates on a subconscious level whether a person has been raised to believe in a savior or not. How can I make this claim? Heroes can be found in ancient stories throughout the world, from the beginning of time and on through today. Just look at the classic heroes in literature—from ancient Asian folklore, to the Greek and Roman mythologies, to the tale of Beowulf. Add to these, modern movies, television, books— Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars— the hero saga is everywhere. Cultures from around the world and for generations have had hero’s tales passed down through the art of story-telling, all because of their fundamental connection to our psyche.

A good hero can do more for a story than save the day—he offers hope to his readers—people who might live in despair. Escaping in the pages of a good story has helped children endure poverty, hunger, abuse. Tales of a better world have renewed hope for families living under oppression. Hope keeps people alive who otherwise would feel no need to live, and the telling of stories has been a vehicle to perpetuate that hope. So, my story has a hero—Prince Calemir.

Prince Calemir is the son of King Barsoum and Queen Elise in the Kingdom of Forever, a fantastic world cut off from earth after a poison was unleashed by a traitor to the kingdom. Prince Calemir is the protector of the Golden-Heart, an energy source that creates light and life—and doorways back to Forever. When the children tap into their Magic-Sense—the ability to see and hear beyond earthly sight and sound—they activate their Awakening, a doorway that leads to the magical world, and to Prince Calemir.  But as the children discover the mysteries beyond the doorway, they also learn how important it is to have a hero. They need to find the courage to believe in a hero again—which is a dangerous thing to do.

Tomorrow’s letter is D. D is for Dangerous. Why is it dangerous to believe in a hero…?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Back cover blurb

A back cover blurb can be just as difficult to write as an entire novel. If a potential reader likes the cover, she'll flip it over to read the blurb on the back. If it's compelling enough, you've got a sale.

My back cover blurb is still in the works, but here's what I've got: 

Magic-Sense waits beyond this door—are you brave enough to enter?
Magic-Sense waits beyond this door—are you brave enough to enter?
Magic-Sense waits beyond this door—are you brave enough to enter?
Magic-Sense waits beyond this door—are you brave enough to enter?
Magic-Sense waits beyond this door—are you brave enough to enter?
Magic-Sense thrives beyond this door--are you brave enough to enter?

Magic-Sense waits beyond this door—are you brave enough to enter?

Robyn and Kit, twelve-year old girls, were born with a deadly secret—forbidden Magic-Sense. They can see and hear beyond earthly senses. 

Magic once flourished on earth. Now, people are murdered for practicing it. But experiencing magic first hand makes them wonder—is it a curse or gift?

Their curiosity opens a doorway to the kingdom of Forever, where Magic-Sense began. They discover the truth: magic must be restored to earth—and soon. But joining the cause means risking death.

When a traitor to the kingdom captures Kit, Robyn's choice is made. She teams with her older brother for the rescue. The three children begin a journey that changes them—forever. 

A little bit of danger, conflict, mystery, action--hopefully enough to get a person to say,"Yeah! Tell me more!" Well, more is coming--tomorrow, with the A to Z challenge.

C stands for Calemir, (who is that??)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A to Z Challenge: A is for Adventure

I've decided to take the A to Z challenge from the Insecure Writer's Support Group website. Again, this is huge for me, but hey, why not dream big?

The idea behind the A to Z challenge is to post every day for the month of April (excluding Sundays) using the letters of the alphabet to drive your post. I read some interesting ones last year, thinking it was fun and amazing, but never dreaming that I would do it myself.

But here I am.

So, my theme for the month will be advancing my fantasy novel--A Doorway Back to Forever. I'll be giving interesting tidbits of info about the novel, how it started, where it's going, the whole adventure. Maybe by the time this challenge is over, I'll have enough confidence to take it to the next level. I'm excited to see where it will all go.

So the adventure begins!

Tomorrow will be the letter B: Back cover blurb for book one...! (that's a lot of B words...!)