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Becoming Lola – Day 1

Becoming Lola – Day 1

It’s time I reinvent myself. I’m thinking of dyeing my hair orange and calling myself Lola. (Nov 24, 2014)

The last six months have been some of the worst both personally and professionally. I’m sorry if I haven’t been happy for some of you in your successes or supportive of some of you when you’ve been at your worst. And as I try to figure out whereto go from here, I had a very weird epiphany in the shower this morning. Day one starts today… (Feb 28, 2015)

This is what the world sees of me on the outside. Put together, shiny, okay. But after the last six months, after the last sixteen in a half years of raising children, that’s not me. As my life on the outside seems rather normal and put together, on the inside it’s chaotic and I feel like I’m constantly living on the edge of the storm being sucked in at regular intervals.


This is me. Everything gets shoved into a disorganized mess, because I can’t keep up. My closets are the same way. Everything gets tossed aside, forgotten. Messy piles of disorganization.

This website is much like my life. I started three years ago to become an expert in fantasy and science fiction to coordinate with the sale of my first book The Day of First Sun. But as I struggled with the book and a job I didn’t like, I wrote a book about the struggles of being an introvert trying to sell sponsorships. My focus on the website has been about that. And now my website is a bit schizophrenic and doesn’t know what it is. Much like me. I wish sometimes the world would stop and give me 24 hours just so I can sort through everything, clean it up and try to fix the ills.

frustrationMy children both have issues that need attention and because of that our family is scattered, fighting to stay above water, mostly alone. While I wallow in all of this mess, an epiphany hit me in the shower.  More of a plan. I decided I would seek out experiences. Some outside my comfort zone, and others, just to try something new.

Today is day one. With the stress of a depressed child and one with debilitating anxiety, I’ve gained some weight. Not much but enough to no longer fit into my clothes. I’ve lost muscle mass, my lower back and stomach hurt. Day one is a restart of the plan that I currently live daily, though I’ve gotten lazy and cheat too much, because I’m a stress eater. This time I’m determined to follow the plan with more dedication and less cheating. Body for Life has been my go to for years. When I follow it, I’m stronger, healthier and happier. And today is killing me as I retrain my brain to eat what I’m supposed when I should be eating it. I’ll cheat on my cheat day next Saturday. I can hardly wait. So the point of day one is, before I can fix the rest of my life, I fix this.

I share because someone else might benefit, someone else might realize they’re not alone and that some times is helpful. I’m finding my voice but not letting these issues hold me back any longer. I have a plan. I’ll be learning new things, going outside my comfort zone. Though I don’t plan on running a marathon or climbing Mt. Everest, I will try to train for a 5 K (as long as my back holds out) and I desperately want to take lessons at the American Ninja Warrior Gym I found on-line. Yeah, I’m a fan. Some like reality television, I like me some obstacle courses.

There’s more on my list that I’m keeping a secret. But I promise I’ll share. I also promise that I’ll take into consideration any suggestions as long as they don’t involve deep water. I’m terrified and trust me I’ve tried to overcome that. Or anything that could endanger my back, because I lifted my yoga mat funny and was in pain for three weeks.

Some adventures I’ll share with my kids others will be solely my own. In the end, I hope I come out of the stress and anxiety with a greater sense of who I am. Less chaotic, with a greater ability to help my kids, and a plan on how to achieve the dream I’ve had since I was seven, being a writer. Wish me luck!

Oops I Did It Again…a Rewrite That Is

Oops I Did It Again…a Rewrite That Is

The Day of First Sun - Copy to Use I was 7 years old when I read my first Nancy Drew book. There was something in that smart girl that resonated me and I wanted to read every adventure. But I didn’t just want to read the stories, I wanted to write them, create my own world, characters and adventures.

Life, it sometimes gets in the way. Infertility, a difficult pregnancy, the death of a child, threw me off of my course, the path I set for myself when I graduated college.

It took a wake up call, meeting a high school classmate, a published author to fuel my jealously, to snap the dream back to me. I finally wrote that book.

It took all of 6 weeks from start to finish, all 170 pages of it. It took at least 15 drafts two of which were self published. I hired marketing help.

I wasn’t ready. I didn’t understand how to edit, forget about using Twitter and Facebook effectively. Without holding up my end of the bargain, marketing, well it left me back to square one.

A horrible book release for book 2, left me constantly 5 minutes away from quitting. Paralyzed to move forward, which is where I’ve been for over 2 years as I try to figure out y life as a non writer. But I still come back to the desire to make it right, to finally live that dream.

I’ve been lucky because had I not gone down that road, I wouldn’t have met a collective group of great, smart women who have taught me some of what they know about marketing, writing and editing. And I would have learned nothing.

After careful thought, I re-wrote my first book again. I re-thought the entire series. Rather than selling books with flaws, I chose to improve the product. The premise was good but… I hope I fixed the but.

That is why I chose this major rewrite. I took a long look at the book and the series and pinpointed where I fell short. I took out chunks of the book, changed relationships and rewrote what turned out to be a majority of the book. Though the story is the same, it gets there in a different manner. One that I hope answers questions, feels complete, with characters that are worth reading about.

I often wonder why no one has said to me, you’re an awful writer you should quit. I’ve mostly experienced encouragement, just enough to ignore the bad reviews. Just enough to try again. Maybe this time I’m nearly 10 minutes away from quitting, and at least in the end I know I’ve tried.

I’m very proud of version 20 of The Day of First Sun and I look forward to it’s release. I can’t wait to share.

It’s been an emotional few years picking myself up and dusting myself off, but I did it. Sometimes it’s all we know what to do.

Pre-order The Day of First Sun, check out Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Biggest Lesson I learned is…Editing

The Biggest Lesson I learned is…Editing

I’ve learned a lot in the four years since I first wrote The Day of First Sun. I’ve made a lot of mistakes too. But as I put all that I’ve learned into practice, I find myself  finishing my final edit of that first book that I’ve completely re-written for the fourth time. The reason behind the re-writes stem from my early mistakes with editing. I say this because, when I first wrote the book, I never processed the story in between each edit. And without that time to process the book, the story and the characters, I never saw the book for what it could be only for what it was.

When I made the decision to re-write the book, it had been over a year since I had edited, read and touched that version of the book. It was that time that allowed me to see so much more of what the book could be and as I edited, I re-wrote. I took out the scenes that I knew made no sense, I strengthened sections that needed additional information and I added more than I thought I had in me because pieces of the book revealed themselves to me as though I was treasuring hunting and discovering a new treasure.

And it was a treasure. As the story opened up to me, I learned more about Annie and Cham, more about the murderer, the suspects and the victims. I changed locations, added tension and instead of wrapping the story up with a neat little bow, I let the story work itself out slowly and thoughtfully.

It’s the biggest lesson I learned from the last four years. Editing. Not that it’s crucial, because it is, but giving yourself time in between each edit to process the work you did and let it sink in before you begin the next edit. Before I would finish a draft and eight hours later begin my next one. It left little time to really think about the book.

It’s taken this months to edit this book, not days or weeks and I even took a break in the middle to rethink what I find to be a crucial character than the editor didn’t think was. I needed time to decide what I would do with the character, and when I was ready (when book two of the series draft one was completed), I began to clean up those final suggestions and thoughts the editor left me with. Tonight I inserted the changes to Annie’s newest nemesis, which I think are far stronger than what they were because I gave myself time to consider what I needed to do with them.

And now, I’m looking over the edge of the cliff. The one that represents the publishing of this edition of the book. I glance over the edge, no longer worried or scared that the book isn’t good enough. I did what I set out to do, I made it stronger, I gave it more to feel about, I made it better. I’m more excited than I have ever been over this book and I can’t wait to share.

Editing will always be the most important thing you can do for your book. A professional editor will not only make sure all your commas are correctly placed, but whoever they are they will make sure your story isn’t confusing, makes sense and it readable.

I thank my editor every day.

 

Once More With Feeling

Once More With Feeling

I love chai tea, I love the spice, the sweet, I just can’t drink the latte anymore. So in my quest to find a non latte drink, I finally found a blend that I truly adore and decided to buy the loose tea at a tea store. Yeah, they really have those. As I entered the store, I noticed a song over the speakers and I had to ask the sales clerk if it was indeed “Walk Through the Fire,” from the musical episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The girl became excited and mildly surprised that I even knew that and my daughter responded by saying “Mom, you’re such a dork.” Which is really the pot calling the kettle black.

While waiting for my order to be bagged, I found myself discussing the merits of Buffy and the show and the episode in question. What it comes down to is those that loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer understood just what the show was about. It wasn’t just a female lead, but she was the strong female character, not a bitch, but a real woman who could be strong, could be insecure. The point is she’s a real woman who deals with real issues and can still kick ass when she needs to.

We discussed our love of Buffy and how impressive the musical episode really was (Joss Whedon, creator not only wrote the episode he wrote all of the lyrics and music) I was reminded of the influence the show had on me as a writer and of my character Annie Pearce. As I write her, I think about how she should respond to the people and situations in her life. As I work through Annie, I’m always reminded of the honesty of Buffy. Annie can’t always be strong, she can’t always be right and she can’t always need someone to get her out of her situations.

After I left I knew I needed to download the soundtrack. I needed the catchy songs and the reminder of how to write a character that struggles and endures. I just downloaded the music and as I finish my final draft of The Day of First Sun, I’m conscious of making sure Annie isn’t too much of anything. That she’s just right and that she’s human.

Once More with Feeling is the constant struggle of finding ourselves and our place in the world and how we find our way to fitting in. The music brings me back to the struggle and influences how I write and edit and create a story that’s believable and one that the reader can fall in love with the characters and in that love, they will want to stay and be there as they grow and change.

And yes, I’m a dork, proud of my love for the fantasy television show. But most importantly the show is mere fun.

 

 

Third Times The Charm

Third Times The Charm

I had this brilliant idea for a book and I wrote the first draft. But then my book She Wulf came knocking on my door. Instead of finished what was then known as Heavenly Gifts, I put it aside to write this new story. After restructuring my book series this year, and re-writing The Day of First Sun, I decided the new second book in the series would be the original story I had intended on writing and I decided it was time.

I started from scratch, re-writing this brilliant idea, examining what happens when good intentions go horribly wrong, when everything must be in moderation or else. I still love the idea, but the book, again, doesn’t want to be written. It keeps fighting back. And as much as I keep pushing forward, it insists on telling me, it’s just not right.

First the story started out like a fish and grew eight legs to eventually become an octopus. I scaled way back, took one direction and moved forward. The problem for me now is that the book is a boring procedural mess of a book that I can’t even keep enthusiastic about. Mind you I still love the idea behind the book, but the book once again has denied me. It’s just not right.

So again, I put the book away, still not finished. I still don’t have a viable ending. All I have is a great premise and a head full of ideas. I have my characters lives in my head and I’m anxious to get them out of there. So I took from the book some scenes that go together and I’m using them to write a completely different book. They are now my new outline. All I need to do is fill it in.

I’m still shooting for a second book when I release the new version of The Day of First Sun. It’s pushing it but it’s coming. So here’s to the third time being the charm. I may finally find that second book.

The Quit Debate

The Quit Debate

sheryl banner whateever wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

As I start this blog entry I’m really want you to know I’m not trying to whine or complain. I’m just taking stock of the last year and making decisions. This is really meant to be a look back and maybe someone, somewhere can benefit from my mistakes. Or maybe you can relate or maybe this will make you feel better because things aren’t as bad for you. Or maybe no one will read it. I can never be sure.

I’m seriously thinking of quitting. I’m not sure I have what it takes to be an independent author and maybe the last four years were simply the act of fooling myself into thinking I was actually a writer. Pros and cons cloud my mind as I contemplate giving it all up and I change my mind so fast that my head is ready to spin-off. I wish I had me to talk to when I started this process, when I decided to write my first book. This debate started when I released She Wulf and agonized over horrible reviews and it’s come to this because I haven’t sold a book in months. Granted I haven’t been pushing them, I’m just starting to think it’s not going to happen.

I know I’ve chosen a difficult path for myself and I know we all can’t be best-selling authors, but I was hoping for something a little more. I at least put myself out there and I tried, but honestly, bad and so so reviews make me believe that my work is just that, so so and bad. Either that or I’m failing miserably finding my core audience. Regardless, I’m finding it difficult to find the inspiration to keep at it. So if my legacy in the end becomes a cautionary tale for other writers so be it. I’ll just have to find that happiness somewhere else. In the meantime, I honestly feel like I have something useful to share. So here it is the many things I’ve learned about writing and publishing. I hope it inspires or helps, either way, it’s one perspective that not many chose to share.

1) Editing. Hire a good editor. My first go round I went through CreateSpace. I’m not saying their editors are bad, I’m just saying it wasn’t the perfect situation for me. I need someone who I could easily contact. Someone that I can throw ideas out to. Someone who intimately knows my book, story and characters. Before re-releasing The Day of First Sun, I had it re-edited. To this day I can still go to my editor, Ashley and ask her questions. She one of my biggest supporters and one of the reasons I’ve hung around this long.

2) Editing. Yeah. You really need to edit. Two drafts might be enough for some, but for me what I learned about editing is this, finishing one draft and starting the next one after only eight hours of sleep isn’t long enough to process your work, think about the direction or come up with new and unusual plot points or characters. I edited The Day of First Sun at least six times, one right after the other. When I decided to re-write it last year, I picked it up for the first time after a full year, and boy did I see it differently. So much so it became a complete rewrite. Though the story is the same, it’s really so different and I might say even better.

3) Editing. Again. See number one and two. Don’t be afraid to re-write, move, or edit out stuff. I tried so hard to create the world in the first book that I wanted to include everything, including flashbacks, spells, and creatures. Write them down and save them for the next book. As it turns out, I removed the memory modification scene from The Day of First Sun. I think I’m actually using that spell in my second book in the series.

4) Editing. And you thought it was something else. Make sure you trust and like your editor. This one is for Kira, who after I received horrible, mean and nit picky reviews for She Wulf , she kept me sane, was a great support and took time out from her busy life to teach me new ways to write and edit. I wrote Yeti with her help. She spent weeks coming up with lesson plans and going through the story re-teaching me how to write and edit my work. I can never thank her enough for doing this on her own time. Her support has been amazing. I wish I was a better student and had more to show for it, but because of her my rewrite of The Day of First Sun is far better than it originally was.

4) Write everyday. And you thought it was about editing again. Nope. I’m done with editing. I wanted to be a writer when I was seven years old. I did write a lot when I was a kid. I had my own detective series with a female detective named Jeffrie Marcus. (Thanks Nancy Drew.) When I got my first job out of college I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect and I knew I wouldn’t write a book at first, so I worked my way into a writing position so that I could do what I wanted and make money while I contemplated my first love. Eventually life got in the way of my dream. Kids, death, depression can muck up your life and they are things you can’t go back and change. It’s the one thing I truly regret is that I stopped writing. So if you want to be a writer, write even if that means you write a line a day.

5) Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Tiberr, Instagram… Buffy had the Evil Trio as her arch nemesis. I have Twitter. You have to be social on social media if you are trying to sell your books. I have yet to master this which is part of my problem. Social media is not necessarily for introverts. I still have no idea how to make it work. I’ve hired help and she’s been fabulous increasing my twitter following and Facebook author page, but I’m still at a loss as to how to create these relationships the marketing experts always talk about. I’m trying to build a following but for me I think I just don’t know what to say. Find out who your audience is and what they are interested in and talk about that. If you figure it out please let me know.

6) The blog. Now here’s my problem with blogging. I don’t read blogs. I usually found the information very high level and not usually useful. Also, see number five. I just don’t know what to say. I’ve been reworking and rewriting trying to find that one thing that gets people interested and every once and awhile I hit on something that people want to read. But mostly it’s high level and quick because none of us has time to read lengthy material. What I do know is, talk about yourself and share. So here’s my sharing.

7) Don’t jump into self publishing unless you really know what it consists of. I jumped right away. I didn’t edit my work enough. I rushed without learning about professional editing, without talking to agents, or attending book fairs.  Talk to other authors, find out what’s out there. Find someone like me who’s willing to share the pitfalls. I’ve done this several times to other aspiring writers because I want them to go in knowing what they’re getting themselves into. I wish I knew.

8) You can’t please everyone. I have a writer friend who’s had the opportunity to talk to agents and others in the book industry. Each one of them has offered her suggestions on how to change her book. She’s made so many changes that the book is far from her original vision for it. I suggested she make changes that make sense and yet allow her to retain her vision. She’s rethinking her book because unless one of the agents is taking her as a client, she can’t try and please all of them.

9) You can’t please everyone but you can accept suggestions. As part of eight, here’s nine, similar and yet different. This friend once told me she really liked one of my characters, one that I had only written into the first half of the book. After discussing our books with each other, I realized she was right. I should include Jack Ramsey in the latter part of the book and planned how to do that. I figured an FBI agent whether he was in charge of the case or not would want to be there to see the case through and I had him conclude the investigation by being there to capture the murderer and arrest him. The second major change came after my editor pointed out that all of my relationships started before the book’s timeline and that maybe it would be more interesting if we saw the start of some of those relationships. I thought about it, agreed and changed one of the key relationships in the book. Jack and Annie no longer knew each other prior to the story. It changes how they interact and creates a little tension and confusion. Make the changes that make sense, because you can’t please everyone. Please yourself first.

10) Believe in your work. I love my characters. I love the story lines. I love my book series. I really believe I have a great idea for book series and a television show. If I don’t believe that I should stop writing.

11) Most importantly, believe in yourself. No one else will. You will find supportive and helpful friends but only you can write and edit and do the things you need to do in order to make your dreams happen and you have to believe that you can do it. If you don’t believe in yourself you won’t get very far. You are a writer, you deserve a chance to try to make it. We don’t always get what we want but if you have no faith in yourself, you will never achieve anything. And I discovered I believe that I can do this.

Am I bitter? Sometimes. Do I lack self-esteem? When it comes to my books, right now yes. But I’ve learned a lot in the last four years. And one of those things that I’ve learned is, I have a lot to offer. I’m a good writer with a good idea. It’s just going to take me a little longer than some. And in reality I was never really going to quit. I’m a writer after all and that’s what I was born to do.

Abominable Snowman and Yeti and Big Foot Oh My (And don’t forget Sasquatch)

Abominable Snowman and Yeti and Big Foot Oh My (And don’t forget Sasquatch)

 

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My children like all things supernatural,bizarre, impossible. In a weird sort of way, they challenge traditional thinking by believing anything  is possible. My oldest enjoys aliens, ghosts and Big Foot and spends a lot of time watching documentaries discussing the possibility these things truely exist. One of her favorite shows is Finding Bigfoot. The premise of the show is a group of investigators travel to various locations searching for evidence that Big Foot exists. While most of the team believes wihtout a doubt that Big Foot is real, the lone biologist spends most of her down debunking whatever evidence they discover.

The quest to prove the existence of the Yeti, Abominable Snowman or Big Foot has been a part of Western cultural since the 19th century but because of the lack of conclusive evidence proving an apelike homenid lives in the mountains, the scientific community regards these creatures at mythical or legends.

With all that we know, with every piece of modern technology that researchers have at their disposal, is it really possible in the year 2013 to not have discovered a large humanlike creature roaming through mountain ranges and forests across the world? Yes because think of the massive amount of acreage you would need to trek through. And no, you need to have more than one creature to reproduce. How can nature hide so many? For me that’s what it always comes down to. There has to be more than one for the entire creature population to survive. How can we not find a tribe, a flock, a village?

Is there really a difference between the Yetis, Abdominable Snowmen, Big Foot or Sasquatch? Not really. They are all said to be humanlike ape creatures, all spotted by indigenous people in varying regions. The Yeti, are said to reside in the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet. The term Abominable Snowman was created in 1921 by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury who led a journey up Mount Everest. After discovering unique footprints in the snow, (he believed were the grey wolf), the sherpa guides suggested the footprints actually belonged to The Wild Man of the Snows called metoh (man bear) kangmi (snowman). Henry Newman, a contributor to the The Statesman in Calcutta coined the term Abdominable Snowman when he mistranslated the word “metoh” as “filthy”, substituting the term “abominable.” And lastly, Big Foot or Sasquatch are similar ape like hominids inhabiting the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

 

bigfoot

I love the mythical creature. Whether I believe they exist or not, they add a little fun to any story especially when in the created made up world, they are actually real creatures. Since it would be awfully crowded to have every creature in every book, I can glance over it by giving Dave Smith, Annie and Cham’s best friend the love of mythical creatures, so much so I gave him a job at the Wizard Zoological Society as a field researcher. He is sent to Colorado to investigate a new Yeti colony recently discovered. It’s on the fringe of the story has no real value to the story but to add richness and history to the character. But it’s there as a building block to the world I created. If you can suspend your disbelief that is.

Whether or not they do exist, I have no issue with the desire to find out. I am curious and a part of me would love to know for sure. What is your favorite mythical, mystical creature?

 

 

Monday Monsters – Hundred Handers

Monday Monsters – Hundred Handers

hundred handersSo I don’t always create my own monsters. Sometimes I re-cycle from other sources, something I’m not alone in. As I researched creatures for my books, I recognized several from Harry Potter. Because sometimes, the sources for monster and creature ideas can be found in ancient Greek Mythology. Stories rich in character, monsters, places. Timeless stories about the human nature told in the fantastical or grotesque depending on the plot.

I borrowed the idea of Tartarus Prison from Greek mythology. Hades’s underworld, a place where once you enter, you can never leave and Hades’s rules with an iron hand. No one ever escaped. In my Urban Fantasy, the prison  houses the worst of the worst in demons, vampires, dark wizards. So horrendous, no one would ever want to find themselves there, a place that could turn a rather normal person crazy nuts. It is magic you know.

Who should guard such a place filled with the mystical creatures? It can’t be the mere mortal, the one who lacks the strength  and agility to handle the multitude of beings that pass through the doors. The logical choice could have been Cerebus the three-headed guard dog which defended the entrance to Tartarus. Though it would be borrowing from Greek Mythology and fit in my story, it would be taking from Harry Potter, too new to not be considered stealing.

I ran across the story of the Hundred Handers. The three children of Gaia the Earth Goddess and Uranus the Sky God. Their children so ugly, fierce and frightening, their father tossed them into a pit in Tartarus. They sought revenge against their father, eventually fighting with the Olympians and against the Titans, for control of the universe.

I’ve asserted in The Day of First Sun, that the giant guards were descendants of the Hundred Handers, with less arms and heads, mere giants, big and strong enough to handle the creatures that paraded through the prison on a fairly regular basis.

Greek Mythology allowed the ancient Greeks to explore and explain the world. I wondered, what would vicious fifty headed, hundred handed creatures be trying to explain. Their mother loved them regardless of their hideousness, their father threw them into a pit. Experts suggest that because these were considered the first beings created from procreation, and their parents disagreed on their care, it caused fighting between the Gaia and Uranus. In other words this is the first instance illustrating marital strife.

There was always a reason for the stories, an explanation, a lesson to be learned if you know where to find them.

 

Monday Monsters – Aloja Fairies

Monday Monsters – Aloja Fairies

fairyOkay. It might not be a good title for every creature that I’d like to highlight, because not all of them are monsters. But they are all magical creatures. They were all created as a way to bring order to the world, to make the harshness of the ancient world not as scary, offer hope to its inhabitants.

As I was developing Annie and Cham and their friends, family, and histories, I decided that if I were to have Annie motherless by age three, a single father might need a nanny to help him. But you can’t just have a nanny help raise two magical children, now could you? When you come up with issues like this as you put together your new world, you need to fill a need. So I took out my handy-dandy, magical creature go to book of magical creatures and researched the perfect creature that would fill that magical nanny need.

I happened across the Aloja Fairy, a creature the originated in the Catalan region of Spain. They are water women symbolizing fertility and life-giving virtues, said to protect pregnant women and children.  I thought I struck gold. Nocturnal beings who also have narcissistic tendencies and enjoy viewing their reflection in the water, who also enjoy fine clothing.  I still have difficulty adding that aspect of the fairy into my character of Zola because for me she’s not that half of the tradition, rather she’s a substitute mom to Annie and her sister, stern and respectful, loving and caring, one of the few beings who can control Annie. The Aloja Fairy, the water woman, bonded to Annie by an unbreakable magical spell, something that will last beyond the Annie’s mortal life on to her children and their children. The fairy who can feel Annie’s needs before Annie herself knows what she needs.

As I researched the Aloja fairies, and trust me there’s not so much in the way of this type of fairy being, I came across The Fates, three goddesses also known as the Moirae in ancient Greece traditions. Their connection was that both character were female creatures responsible for mortal lives. whereas the Aloja is responsible for the birthing process and caring for young children, The Fates spun the length of yarn which represented our allotted life span for each mortal being.

These creatures I believe were related to ancient religions that believed in both a male and a female G_d and to those who believed the female goddess was more important of the two because she contains and conceives life. As I put all of these pieces together I found myself with far more than a magical nanny. I found myself with a character with a rich back story and history and possibly another book plot.

For me it’s about creating a creatures based on existing beliefs of our ancient ancestors. To find out more about Zola and her past and how the Fates figure into it, read How Zola Got Her Charge.  Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

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The Sidekick

The Sidekick

Superman, Arrow, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, literary heroes with something in common, yeah they all fight evil, stand up for the common man, they act on the belief that justice will be served.  

With all that said, I’m really thinking of the sidekick. You know, that person who hangs around the hero, the character you can far more easily relate to because they’re more like us, the one’s we think we can be like. They hold many roles, these sidekicks do. Oftentimes they act as the comic relief, or the straight man all with the purpose to better the hero, make them more likeable. The character of the sidekick gives the hero a friend, someone to talk to, and someone to assist them in bringing about justice for the victim. They are the confidante, understand and know the character better than he knows himself and offer the hero a mirror which reveals their true selves.  

I know of Batman and Robin, Of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Superman and Jimmy Olsen. But I really know of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak, at least through the eyes of Arrow the television show that I discovered in the middle of last season. As much as I love Urban Fantasy, I’ve never been much of a fan of the comic book. I find them confusing in that the story is mostly told through the drawings. I far more prefer prose, and all that words bring to the story, but now I digress. What I really think about is the role of those sidekicks and what they offer to the hero, to the story.

Oliver Queen the billionaire playboy. Portrayed as the most unlikable character that cheated on his girlfriend with her sister, before getting shipwrecked on a deserted island where he survived for five years. Flashbacks, reveal a glimpse of the irresponsible, selfish man he once was. We compare his past to the man he’s become and the mission that his father left for him before he died in the boat disaster. He becomes the Hood in order to save his beloved city and take it back from those who wish to harm it. While in the process of protecting his secret, he chooses to let those who once knew him believe that he was still that man.

But through Felicity Smoak, the computer genius sidekick, we catch a glimpse of his other self, for she defends him and the choices he makes. She spends her time assisting him catch the villains with her computer as well as coming up with quick snippets of wit, in the middle of an intense storyline, offering that touch of comic relief.

I often wonder who in The Day of First Sun, is Annie’s sidekick. It occurs to me that maybe the role belongs to Sturtagaard the vampire who offers comic relief or the character to play off us. But that’s not really it. Maybe it’s Cham, her best friend who takes a back seat to Annie. But he’s not the sidekick either. It’s not until I started writing Heavenly Gifts where I really think Annie has found her sidekick. A young Wizard Guard named Emerson, the one who worships the more experienced Guard, the one who’s not quite a full-fledged Wizard Guard, who needs just a little help, who might be able to humanize Annie. It’s something I hadn’t really thought about until just recently. Who will be Annie’s comic relief, who will offer her assistance and who will defend her above all others?

We all need our champions.

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