Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Peasant Queen Blog Tour: My Review

Today, I'm reviewing The Peasant Queen by Cheri Chesley. Here's the blurb:

After running away from home, Krystal is transported to a faraway kingdom where an evil tyrant is bent on taking the crown - and Krystal's hand in marriage. But when she falls in love with the rightful heir to the throne, she must make an impossible choice: sacrifice her one chance at happiness and agree to marry King Gregory, or face the destruction of an entire kingdom.

The Peasant Queen is a romance with plenty of action, intrigue and danger in a fantasy setting. Chesley does a great job developing her characters. I love Krystal's spunk and energy and the way she refuses to take things lying down. Prince Jareth is sweet and romantic. But my favorite character is King Gregory--the villain. He's not my favorite in the sense that I wanted to see him succeed. Not at all. He is my favorite in the sense that he is the most complex and well-drawn character in the book. I found his intensity, passion, and ruthlessness quite compelling, and could totally understand Krystal's reaction to him.

My biggest disappointment was that the magic in the book is more of a background detail and is not important to the plot. For that reason, I'd say the book is not truly fantasy, but it is a wonderful, adventurous romance. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Cheri Chesley is hosting a super cool contest in connection with the blog tour. Click here to find out the details and see the awesome prizes, and leave a comment here to get entered!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Over the Rainbow...

Where the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. *cue Judy Garland*

I've been practicing "Over the Rainbow" with my women's choir, and that phrase really jumped out at me. Especially in light of my own dream-come-true moment this past weekend.

LTUE rocked! I had the time of my life. Seriously. What a fantastic conference it is every year.

When I first arrived, I was nervous about being on panels for the first time. Would I know what to say? Would I sound like an idiot? Would the organizers politely ask me to leave and not do any future panels? Two people put me at ease right away, though. Sandra Tayler and Paul Genesse, both of whom I had just met in person for the first time, gave me some great advice and reassurance. Thank you both, Sandra and Paul! You made a big difference for me.

My panels went great (I'll do posts on each one later), and I learned that I LOVE sitting in front of a room full of people and talking about writing. It was seriously fun! So, my dream of sitting up in the front with the big boys was even better than I imagined it would be.

Considering the number of people who were there, I am totally counting this as the fulfillment of the "present at a conference" half of my Big Goal. I hope I get many more opportunities to do so in the future.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Come See Me at LTUE

Life, the Universe, and Everything starts tomorrow! I am so excited. And nervous. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. I sure hope I conduct myself well on my panels. I am so nervous I'll end up looking like a dork. I've made a bunch of notes, though, and I think I'm ready. Also, there are some awesome authors on the panels with me, so that'll help. If you're going, please come say hi to me. In case you're interested, here is my schedule:

Thursday, 4pm: The Writing Life

Friday, 10am: How to Write a Good Short Story

Friday, 1pm: Dialog Tags and Speech Patterns

Saturday, 10am: Religion in Science Fiction: How to Make it Work

So, there you have it. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Romance Blogfest: First Meeting

Happy Valentines Day, everyone! Love is in the air. It's my nineteenth wedding anniversary too. (Love you, Sweetie!) Here's my entry for the Romance Blogfest hosted by Jordan McCollum.

Here is a scene from my latest novella, "Renegade." It's the first meeting of two survivors of a devastating alien invasion. Technically, it isn't their first meeting. They were acquainted before this, but it's a  first-time meeting after never thinking about or expecting to see the person again. I think it counts, but I'll let you judge for yourself.

"Put your arms up and turn around slowly."
Kwetoo'unuv flinched in surprise and did as he was told. The woman had a shotgun aimed at him. "Don't move," she said. She was an Indian. He recognized her.
"You're Beth. Beth Stone, right?" Her face hardened. She didn't answer.
"I'm Kwetoo'unuv remember? You were friends with my mother. Nancy Walker?" Her expression didn't waver. "I—I think you canned peaches together once." Maybe he didn't want to bring that up. Beth still didn't speak. She held the gun on him without wavering.
"Do you remember me?"
He sighed. "Look either shoot me or say something, 'cause I have things to do."
"You've changed," she said.
"Yeah, well," he shrugged. "I grew up. Can I put my hands down now?"

So, there you have it. Pretty romantic, huh? Trust me. Things get better between them eventually.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writer's Intuition in the Planning Stage

Plotter or pantser, you're still going to need some intuition to guide you in the planning phase of writing. Once you've found that perfect idea, there are a million different paths that idea can take. How do you know which paths to choose? Yeah, you guessed it. Use your Writer's Intuition.

When I'm planning a story, or even when I get stuck in the middle of one, I like to sit down and do some brainstorming. It helps me to list out all the different possibilities, even those I know I won't use, even those that seem cliched or just plain dumb or totally silly. Then I decide what I feel will work best in the story. Sometimes I come up situations I never expected. You've probably had that happen too.

Don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild. Think up all the cliches, the nonsense, the dead-ends, and what-not. Somewhere in there, your Writer's Intuition is going to dish up the perfect direction for your story to take.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Writers Intution and Finding Your Story

We need our Writer's Intuition throughout the writing process, starting with choosing ideas. Notice I didn't say finding ideas. Finding ideas takes curiosity and good observation and a little imagination. Finding ideas is downright easy. Choosing which ideas are worthy of being written is a little harder.

That's where Writer's Intuition comes in. From all the jumble of ideas battling in your head, you'll find the one (or two, or three...) that really lights a spark for you. The idea you just have to write. The one you know won't leave you alone. That's your Writer's Intuition talking. Listen to it. Even if it seems like that particular idea has already been done to death. Even if that ideas not the next "big thing" you've been hearing so much about. Even if someone tries to tell you that no one will want to read that kind of story.

Trust your intuition. Just make sure you have something uniquely yours to bring to the old ideas. Make sure that your passion and excitement for the story shine through. Then it won't matter what's big in the market right now.

Choose the idea that you are aching to write, and a great story will be just around the corner.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rules Are Made to be Broken

I can't think of one single rule of writing that can't be broken successfully. I'm sure you're aware of many examples. So, how do you know when you break the rules and when you can't?

I don't know.

But, I offer it as my opinion that we have to use our  

Writer's Intuition.

Do you believe there is such a thing? I do. I think we can know intuitively how the story were trying to tell can best be told. However, I also believe we are not born with writer's intuition. Well, maybe some people are, but it's not a prerequisite for becoming a writer. We have to develop it. How?

Read, read, read, read, read. Read the type of books you want to write. Get a feel for how words are put together. The more you read, the more the wonderful flow of language will become ingrained inside of you. This shouldn't be too hard. Writers are pretty much born readers.

And write. Write, write, write, write, write. You have to practice. It will take time to gain your own writer's intuition. But you will gain it. I believe that.

I'm going to do some more posts on using writer's intuition in every stage of the writing game, so stay tuned...