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The Chrysallis

The Chrysallis

I never thought about the theme of my first book, The Day of First Sun, not until I began the process of renaming it. I started by thinking it should be named after the item that caused the problems in the first place, or the object that would make the situation worse. But instead of going down that road, without picking out one point in the book that I could use for the title, I thought really hard about what the book deep down, was really about.

Change. When I looked at the action, the storyline, the characters, what I came to the realization was, everyone and everything was changing. Annie’s relationship with Cham changes, Amelie changes, Sturtagaard changes and Jack Ramsey changes. They open their minds, learn something, change their existence in ways they can’t imagine when the story begins. Turning points that move the character from point A to point B.

I thought of a metamorphosis. And then I thought of the Chrysalis. How the caterpillar begins as one creature and through an act of nature, changes to something so different, their life takes on a new existence. And that’s where I knew the title should remain.

It mirrors my own life over the last decade and a half, monumental changes that I’ve allowed myself to go through, partially because I had no choice and partially I wanted to make it better, make it mean something. As I look back on all that has brought me here, to the third re-write of my first book, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come, the change that I started when I took the first step down a long and interesting path.

Like the butterfly, I hope to spread my wings and fly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Zola Got Her Charge

How Zola Got Her Charge

Preparing for a book – even a supernatural book – I do a little research. When I was planning The Day of First Sun, I needed to find a type of fairy that would be a nanny to a magical child. I came across the Aloja Fairy, protector of pregnant women and children. Perfect.

I used the small bit of info that I found in one book, and ran with that small snipet, since I didn’t reference the fairy much. Not until I decided to expand on the story. I needed more. So I searched for Aloja Fairy online. As it turned out at the time, both my blog and my book listed on Amazon.com popped up in the search results. Apparently, I was the Aloja Fairy expert.

When creating a new world it’s easy to make it up as you go along. You start with an idea – do a little research – and make the ideas work for your story. But I needed to expand on what I had already learned. So I clicked to every link that appeared until I could get a full picture of what my Aloja Fairy would be like. I changed her hair color, added deep pools of black eyes when she got angry, I made her vain, and she grew up in the Catalan region of Spain; a clearer picture, a life and somewhere in there a fuller story.

It’s all make believe, but if you base it in some kind of tradition, you can make fantasy seem a little like reality. Maybe a little.  That’s where the prologue to an untitled Annie Loves Cham novel was born. How Zola Got Her Charge.

Sturtagaard Doesn’t Sparkle Even Though Edward Cullen Does

Sturtagaard Doesn’t Sparkle Even Though Edward Cullen Does

Before they became the, it thing, they were monsters; wicked beings without souls. So scary was the concept of the vampire, early cultures used them as an embodiment of all evil. The soul being what makes us human and them, the vampire without. So what the hell happened? How did they go from beings of the devil, missing their humanity, to loved, admired, and dare I say it, sexy boyfriends?

I like my monsters to be the embodiment of evil, to terrorize and then be vanquished with a large pointy stick. We should be so lucky to relieve ourselves of our problems that easily.

Vampire folk in lore dates back Mesopotamia, where inscribed on pottery was tales of blood sucking monsters and through history many other cultures adopted a form of that type of monster.

Vampire fear came to a head in the 18th century, where a frenzy of vampire sightings occurred in Transylvania leading to grave robbers identifying and staking potential vampires. When government officials took part in the staking and killing of the dead bodies, mass hysteria broke out leading to the “18th Century Vampire Controversy.”

So really, how did it get to this fevered pitch where people want to date them? What happened to these monsters, once restricted to life in dark and shadows to now sparkling in the sunlight as if a four-year old dumped glitter all over them? Where the standard is now Edward Cullen, sullen, cranky and frankly not someone I’d want to date, I stand strong and shake my head. I prefer mine to be ridiculously evil, snarky and brilliantly fun.

The vampire known as Sturtagaard, aware that his greatest nemesis currently tracked him, had planned on lying low, but a primal hunger overcame him forcing him to hunt. From an open window in his temporary lair, he gazed out onto the street below as he pondered his next meal. Not an area filled with tourists, it did see plenty of foot traffic, though most ordinary people wouldn’t be compelled to come to this side of the town.

Quickly weakening without a source of blood to feed on, he still took time to search for the right prey because for the vampire, feeding under duress felt so crude. Sturtagaard preferred to take his time; enjoyed seducing his quarry and playing with them before finally taking their lives. But now, with his feeding so late, his hand shook in his lap as he finally realized he couldn’t afford to be choosy and he would have to settle for someone off the street, someone like…her.

For more about Sturtagaard, the vampire who doesn’t sparkle, read The Day of First Sun on Amazon.com.

Third Time’s a Charm

Third Time’s a Charm

frontcover51.bmpI took a perfectly acceptable four star reviewed book and rewrote it. Most people heard I was going to do this and questioned my sanity. Why would you do this? Isn’t that a lot of work?

Yes it’s a lot of work but sometimes you have to put in a lot to get a lot back. It started with my blog tour for She Wulf, in September, 2012. Within the first two days I had three of the most awful reviews I hope no one would ever receive. Basically, everything from my writing, to my editing, to the location of the book to title were critiqued and criticized. Honestly, I never cried so much in my life. After that, most of the reviews that came in read something like this “I liked it but…”

I couldn’t speak for the first week. Every time I replayed the blog tour I cried. I pulled away and out and to a break from Twitter, and from Facebook. I stopped blogging. Pretty much I was ready to quit writing. Give up on that dream that I’ve had since I was seven. But something stopped me. It was the desire to do better. Pretend that I was a fabulous writer and I could make this happen. I also had an amazing editor who told me I shouldn’t quit. That I had something there. She gave me some of her time and instructed me on how to edit, what to look for and offered suggestions. If it wasn’t for the time she volunteered to work with me, I’d be working a full time job by now in some other field other than writing.

But I’m here. And somewhere after receiving those editing lessons, I made a decision. If I’m going to fix what’s wrong with She Wulf, I’m going to start at the beginning. That’s why I rewrote The Day of First Sun.

It’s a total and complete gut job. I kept the characters and the basic storyline and then I proceeded to do a line by line rewrite. I deleted almost as much as I added. I changed a lot. It’s far better, though I thought that about She Wulf and found out I was wrong. But it’s all about the positive. It’s a far better book.

Currently the book is in the very capable hands of several friends and colleagues and I’m hoping to have a serious discussion with each and every one of them soon, about the merits of the new book. I hope they like it. I hope I did well. Because by the end of the year, there will be a third edition of The Day of First Sun and if I’m really good, a better version of She Wulf.

Is it worth it? Only time will tell. I hope you like it.

 

 

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