Monday, July 29, 2013

Soon To Be Released - The Third Sign

The Third Sign is a scifi romantic adventure with a dark twist and non-stop action. This story was exciting to work on, flowing out like someone had stuck a spigot in my brain. Those who have read my Huntress novel and shorts will recognize common elements between The Huntress, Mea Brin, and the Black Widow, the volatile, dangerous heroine in The Third Sign. I do love strong, kick-ass females! Priya, the other heroine, is almost as feisty, but also brings a great deal of heart to the story. And the hero, Tier, offers so much more than just the yum factor. The story takes these characters on a wild ride, with plenty of twists and action to keep even adrenaline addicts busy.

Novel Description:

Abandoned by her brother and out of her depth in one of the foulest prisons in the galaxy, Priya finds an ally in a half-mad newcomer with a deadly beauty and a mysterious past. Together they hatch a plan to break out of the prison, but before they can put their plan into action, Priya’s brother Tier arrives as a new inmate. Determined to rescue his wayward sister, he is dismayed to find the child he knew has become a bitter, wild young woman, with a companion as magnetic as she is murderous. Between one woman’s fury at his desertion and the other woman’s seductive menace, Tier discovers escaping with his skin intact might just take a miracle.

They call me the Black Widow, the spider who kills and eats her mates. If I have another name, I don’t know it. My past is lost in blood and shadow. It never mattered until Priya, the quicksilver girl with a laugh like sunshine, and her brother, the first man to touch me without dying. For them, I would leave my darkness behind...but can I?

This title will be released soon through as a kindle ebook and print book.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do You Haiku?

Recently I discovered the difference between haiku and senryu—wait, let me step back a bit. First, I saw the word senryu and thought, “What the heck is that?” Then I discovered the difference between haiku and senryu. I had no idea that senryu even existed. I was fascinated by this little piece of the world of Japanese poetry, and intrigued to find that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

As an amateur haiku-ist (love making up words like that), I admit to having a great deal to learn about the mechanics and nuances of haiku creation. If you’re here looking for a lesson from a haiku master, you’ve stumbled into the wrong blog. You’re perfectly welcome, of course, but if it’s detailed, official information that you seek, there are infinitely more knowledgeable sources than me.

Haiku originated with the Japanese, a people that have an unbelievable talent for quiet elegance and simple majesty. Haiku revolves around the magic number 17—a traditional Japanese haiku is made of 17 characters or less. This does not translate well into Western languages, however, so when we adopted this form of poetry, we changed it from 17 characters to 17 syllables or less. I hope the Japanese people see this as a compliment (imitation being the greatest form of flattery) and are not offended that we’ve bastardized their poetry.

Both haiku and senryu are in this form, 17 characters or syllables in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 respectively. But where haiku traditionally focuses on aspects of the natural world, senryu focuses on human nature. There are nuances to both forms of poetry which govern their creation, but this is the simplest description and basic difference between them.

(Admittedly Amateur) Examples:

Singing and silence
Fill distance between lovers
Sweet feathered courtship.

My child’s smile could light
Vast rooms full of grim shadows
Joy chasing sorrow.

I’ve not ventured far into the realm of senryu, but I’m excited to learn about it and itching to practice. As a nature lover, it’s easier for me to create more traditional haikus, but challenge is good for the soul and mind. And hopefully, while I’m practicing, experienced senryu poets will be kind. If you see my senryu efforts elsewhere on the net, please don’t point and snicker.

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Writing Inspiration

I’m sure every creative writer has been asked at one time or another, “Where do you get your ideas?”

For many writers, the answer is as much a mystery to them as to their readers. It’s easy enough to say that the world around us is an endless source of inspiration, from the goofy neighbor that’s just asking for characterization, to books and movies that offer infinite imagination, to historical and current political and social issues. Sure, the world is a hotbed of ideas. But how does a long-ago bloody battle and creepy historical figure get translated into a full-fledged, infamous story about vampires? Where is the point in a writer’s mind where interesting facts become a fictional story?

For some aspiring writers, this is a question of deep, abiding interest. How do they take information and morph it into an absorbing story? It’s a very good question that unfortunately has as many answers as there are writers. One of the basic foundations of creative writing is to write what you know, which is a great place for any new writer to start. But this method is complicated when entering the realms of fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, horror, etc. Personally, I’ve never visited another planet. But most of my characters have.

For me as a scifi writer, books and movies play a large part in building my foundation of knowledge and creative imagination about science fiction. But I still can’t tell you how I go from a kernel idea to a convoluted storyline complete with cast of characters. (I suspect magic. Or perhaps a mental defect.) As a very visual person, I often “see” the action in my mind, like a movie unfolding. This helps to put me into the world, to build the scenes and flesh out my characters. It also helps me remain in a specific point of view, or smooth out a switch in point of view, which can keep reader confusion down and enhance their immersion in the story…but I digress.

Or maybe I was just avoiding the question. Because the truth is storylines and ideas often pop into my head from no source that I can pinpoint. And with my highly character-driven writing style, my stories often seem to get written without much discernable input from me. Scary? Um, yeah, I’ll admit it can be disconcerting. But it’s also the most fun I’ve ever had.

For those still looking for a source of inspiration, keep reading and keep writing, as often and as varied in subject as you can. Very likely inspiration will find you. ;)

Peace & Love,

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Glory of the Short Story

The creation of the short story is a dying art. It’s being killed off by an unwelcoming market and dwindling audience. Publishers (especially print, but also electronic) shy away from accepting short story submissions, since they aren’t nearly as popular and lucrative as novels. It seems the only authors publishing shorts are the well established writers who have already proven their marketability, the desperate authors who offer their shorts for free, and the smattering of authors who enter and win short story contests.

I find this tragic. As a reader, I dearly love devouring short stories, quick reads that usually have some insightful impact or delightful twist. Shorts seem to pack more of a brutal punch than longer works, probably because they’ve got a lot to say in a tiny space. There’s no getting used to the characters, settings, and plot pace—it all comes at you at mach speed and whirls you along for the ride. As a writer, I revel in the challenge of creating shorts. Can I get the reader involved and engaged in the characters and plot in such a confined word count? Shorts also give me a chance to get out my creative juices when my longer works have me temporarily stymied.

But what are short story writers to do when the current market has such a strong bias against shorts? Write nasty letters to the publishers? Well, that might release a therapeutic amount of hostility, but it won’t change that downward trend—no one responds well to anger. Instead of writing letters to publishers as an author, try writing (polite) letters of protest as a reader of short stories. Articles and letters promoting shorts could help, too, on blogs, forums, e-zines, etc. And try actually reading short stories, as many as you can. We are the market. If we can generate more interest, perhaps the publishing world will revisit and rehabilitate the dying art of short stories.

Peace and Love,