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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DOTC Blog Celebration: Meet Hannah Emerson

Welcome to the Defenders of the Covenant blog celebration!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Hannah Emerson.

Hannah is seventeen years old, and has lived her entire life in the refuge, an underground shelter, hidden from the invaders who devastated earth before she was born.  I asked her to answer a few questions:

Most prized possession? My locket. It has a picture of my parents in it and one of my older brother, Caleb. I've never met them, but they gave their lives for me. It's the only thing I have from them.

Best friend? My roommate, McKenzie Larson. We've been best friends practically since birth!

Hobbies? Singing, playing piano and organ. Pretty much anything to do with music. My favorite music is anything by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I wish I could have heard them sing in person.

Favorite book? Hmmm. I guess Anne of Green Gables.

Most memorable event? So far, my most memorable event was the day I got baptized when I turned eight. Bishop Carrier baptized me. It was nice. That's the day that Sister Thayer--she's kind of my foster mom--gave me the locket from my mother.

Thanks, Hannah!

The Hannah Prize Package:

A locket and a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD (approx. value $22)

To enter: Please leave a comment on this post letting me know you want to be entered and an email address for contact.* By entering you agree to abide by the Official Rules (please read them!) You can comment here anytime until midnight on March 16.

*If your blogger email is open (I can respond to your comments via email), you do not need to leave your email in the comment.*

Nice things to do that aren't required and will in no way impact the outcome of the giveaway:

Follow my blog
Like my Facebook Page
Follow me on Twitter
Become a fan on Goodreads
Post the Blog Celebration image
Share this post with your friends

On Friday: Meet Derek Halstead

Monday, February 27, 2012

Announcing the Defenders of the Covenant Blog Celebration!

So, where's the party?

Meet Hannah (February 28)
Meet Derek (March 2)

Meet McKenzie (March 6)

Meet Kwetoo'unuv (March 9)

Meet Joey (March 13)

Meet the rest (March 16)
The time has come! 

My debut novel, Defenders of the Covenant, will available soon. I get all strange and tingly inside just typing that. I have been waiting for this day for such a very long time. Therefore, I feel like celebrating! That's right.


Yes! A three week long party to introduce you to my book and give you the chance to win some fun prizes.

Here's a sample of what's up for grabs (this is not everything):

Every Tuesday and Friday for the next three weeks, I'll introduce you to some of the character's you'll meet in Defenders of the Covenant and give you a chance to win a prize! I hope you'll stop by tomorrow to get the party started and invite your friends too!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Posting Today!

Hi, Gang! Today I'm guest posting over at Misha Gericke's blog, talking about great relationships--the fictional kind. Go check it out!

I'm finishing up the edits on Defenders of the Covenant this weekend. It should go to the typesetters on Monday. Yay!

On Monday I'll announce all the deets of the Defenders of the Covenant blog party so watch for that and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All Kinds of Awesome!

Last week just rocked!

Not only did I celebrate twenty years of marriage, I also started edits on Defenders of the Covenant! I should finish those up this week, and the book will go to press shortly after that. It's hard for me to believe that the time is almost here. I. Am. So. Excited! I have been waiting for this for a very long time. I can't wait until I have a cover to show you!

But that's not all! I also got a contract from Rosehaven Publishing for my short Christmas Story, "With Love," to appear in an anthology to be released around Christmastime! That was completely unexpected, but most welcome. Not all the time you get a surprise acceptance. =) That will bring my short fiction total up to lucky number 13.

So, yeah. I'm feeling pretty happy and I want to share the joy!

First off, I'm running a little promo on my Facebook page. When I get to 200 likes (or maybe even sooner, since I'm way excited), I will send out a paper airplane Avenging Angel to anyone who wants one.

The Avenging Angels are the super cool fighter jets in Defenders of the Covenant. You know you want one of these! All you have to do is like the page if you haven't already. Also, I'm offering my sci-fi novella, "The Bearer's Oath," for free to anyone who shares my page with their Facebook friends. So, come join the fun. I try to keep my page active and enjoyable.

And because I want to celebrate the release of my first novel and get the word out about it, starting next week, I'll be holding the Defenders of the Covenant Release Celebration from Feb. 27-Mar. 16! Here's a sample of the prizes up for grabs:

That looks like an interesting assortment, eh? The prizes correspond with the characters in the book. I'll be introducing some of them to you over the next few weeks and you'll have a chance to win these and more. (I haven't quite got all the prizes yet.) Plus, a signed copy of Defenders of the Covenant will be up for grabs, too, of course. So stay tuned for all the details!

What successes (large or small) are you celebrating?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Writing Speculative Fiction: Part VI--In Conclusion

I'm going to do a series of posts on speculative fiction for a class I'll be teaching at an upcoming writing conference. Hope you all will find some value here!
I admit I'm biased, but I think speculative fiction is one of the funnest genres to write in. It allows you to stretch your imagination to the limits. To dream up every possibility and even every impossibility. Speculative fiction can take to the ends of the universe and back again, or to places that exist only in our dreams. You can ride a dragon, travel through a black hole or talk to a centaur. It's a versatile genre too. You can write romances, mysteries, thrillers, adventures, historicals and more that all fall under the speculative fiction umbrella.

Perhaps the reason that I love spec-fic so much is that it gives us a chance to view the human condition through a completely different lens, and in reading about beings and places entirely different from our own, we gain insight into who we are and what it means to be human. So I say, "Long live speculative fiction!"

What are your feelings about speculative fiction? Why do you love it?

Read: Part I--What is Speculative Fiction
Read Part II--Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy
Read Part III--Rules for Writing Speculative Fiction
Read Part IV--Exposition 
Read Part V--World Building

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writing Speculative Fiction: Part V--World Building

I'm going to do a series of posts on speculative fiction for a class I'll be teaching at an upcoming writing conference. Hope you all will find some value here!

I think we can safely define speculative fiction as fiction about the world as it isn't. As it might be. Not the world as it is. That makes world building so crucial. You want to create a setting that is believable, consistent, and so richly detailed that your readers will feel like they are actually there.

You need to know the geography, the history, the culture, the customs, the rules that govern the technology or the magic. The symbols that speak to the people you have created. The way the air feels. The way it smells. The way the light falls. In other words, you need to create every detail for yourself so you know the world as well as you know the world you live in.

There are many different ways to go about creating your world. Draw maps, draw pictures, create models, write down descriptions... Really, anything you can think of. My favorite method is to daydream about the world, all the irrelevant bits that won't go into the story, until I feel like I know the place well enough. Use your imagination and have fun. This can be one of the most enjoyable parts of writing speculative fiction.

A word of caution, though. Readers don't need or want all the details that you have created. In fact, too much description of the world gets boring pretty fast. You have to pick and choose which details to include. Those which will drive the story along. Those which give the reader enough of a taste of the world that they'll be able to fill in the gaps with their own imaginations. Little details go a long way.

Really, I think world building is a large part of the appeal of speculative fiction. It's wonderful to be able to dwell for a while in a new or far-off place, or even somewhere close to our own world, but just different enough to give us a whole new perspective.

What are your favorite world building tricks?

Up next: Part VI--Conclusion

Read: Part I--What is Speculative Fiction
Read Part II--Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy
Read Part III--Rules for Writing Speculative Fiction
Read Part IV--Exposition

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Today I want to wish a Happy 20th Anniversary to my sweetheart, Tracy. Wow, we were so young then, weren't we? And, yes, I am sticking my tongue out! (I think I was licking my lips.)

Tracy has been a wonderful support for my writing from the time I decided to go for it. In fact, I might never have worked up the courage to try if it weren't for him. He uses his vacation time to let me go to writing conferences. He's my chief proofreader and biggest cheerleader. Thanks, Tracy! I love you. I hope we have many more years together.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writing Speculative Fiction: Part IV--Exposition

I'm going to do a series of posts on speculative fiction for a class I'll be teaching at an upcoming writing conference. Hope you all will find some value here!

Exposition, or the explaining of things, is a tricky part of any genre, but with speculative fiction it presents some unique challenges. You've created a whole new world here. There is so much that the readers won't know about it and need to understand in order to get the story, right? History, customs, culture, magic systems or advanced technology, not to mention all the back story that brought your characters to the point where the story starts.

You may think it's necessary to dump all this information on your readers right up front, so you can get the story going once they're up to speed. Not so. You must resist the urge to info-dump on your readers. Nothing kills a story dead quicker than opening with a bunch of exposition and no action, characters, nothing.

There are better ways to handle this dilemma. I've discussed some of them in a previous post, if you'd like to see some specific ideas. It's a fine line to walk, though, because you also don't want to leave your reader with too little information to figure out what's happening. You have to learn the art of dropping in tidbits here and there, like bread crumbs on the path. As I mentioned before, speculative fiction readers like to discover these things for themselves without having it spoon fed to them. It has to be handled with finesse, and the best way I know of to learn how is to read a lot and to practice a lot. The more spec-fic you write, the easier the exposition becomes.

Do you have any favorite techniques for imparting information to the readers?