Tag Archive | story

Weekly Update – Finding Callida

I’m in the middle of writing Heir of Vengeance, and that means I have to start working on a new character: Callida Serus, Malina’s older sister.

When I first started planning The Ripple Affair over a decade ago, Callida didn’t exist. In fact, though Malina mentioned having a sister, she was never supposed to appear, remaining a blurb in a sentence for the entire series.

But you know how writing goes. Plans get thrown out the window and characters tend to surprise you.

Callida came about as I was writing the ending for Heart of Deceit. And now that she’s arrived, that means I have to figure out her character – her motivations, her wants, her strengths and weakness, her future. Let me tell you…that’s not easy when the character didn’t even exist until the fourth book was finished.

So this week (as I’ve been recovering from another flu bug), I’ve been spending some time figuring her out. I can’t say I completely know her as well as I do Edward, Bernie, or Malina yet, but she is getting there, and she’s already proving to be a nice contrast to her younger sister. I’m excited for you all to meet her when Heir of Vengeance is complete!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! Have a great week! 🙂

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Weekly Update – NaNoWriMo Is Almost Here!

It’s that time of year again!

Late nights writing.  Endless supply of tea (or coffee, depending on your preference).  Sticky notes with plot changes stuck all over the walls.  A perfectly crisp outline suddenly becoming a scribbled and crumpled heap as characters do their own thing.  Becoming a hermit as you attempt to write a novel.

Oh, and this all happens in a month’s time.

Yep, folks!  It’s NaNoWriMo!  

I’m coming in as a veteran of about four years, and I’ve yet to finish a novel in a month.  (Edits are too tempting for me.). But despite the lack of finishing, I will say that attempting to write a novel in a month is not only fun, but also a good way to build a habit of consistently writing.  It’s not easy to take time out of your day to write, especially when you work other jobs and have other commitments.

So as we inch closer to November 1, I’d like to wish all my fellow writers good luck at NaNoWriMo this year!  There’s going to be lots of great stories being told, and even if you don’t finish by the end of November, don’t be discouraged!  Telling a story doesn’t have to be limited by time.

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – Oops…

I’m in the final edits of Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, and I have to tell you…I’m regretting something major that I’ve done in this series.

(Incoming spoilers in case you haven’t read the first book in the Captain Patty series or are not wanting some small snippets from the upcoming book.)

So…Patrick.

Yes, Patrick.  The original Patrick Peterson and the second Captain Patty’s husband.  If you recall, there’s a small blurb about him in Book One that says he was shot and killed by Rudiger Bartleby during a pirate raid.  Patty (the wife) and baby Reuben escaped and went on to become who we know them as today- a chocolate-addicted cartographer and a sassy pre-teen with a love for all things stink pot.

But as I’ve been working on Book Three, and writing Patty’s backstory on how she met and fell in love with Patrick, I find myself saying, “Oops!”  Maybe I shouldn’t have offed Patrick so quickly before I developed his character to something more than a name.  He’s been too fun to explore and he’s brought a lot of comedy and life to the story.  Should I have really ended it so soon?

It’s one of the struggles of being an author: when do you write off a character?  Grant it, Patrick’s death leads Patty to get her own ship and keeps her and Reuben safe for a while from Bartleby, but still…when you grow to love a character so much, it’s hard to part with them.  (Believe it or not, character write-offs are sometimes just as hard for the writers as it is for the readers.)

So I guess this post serves as a giant “Oops” to my readers.  If you enjoy Patrick as much as I, I’m sorry to say he doesn’t come back (what happens in Book One can’t exactly be erased).  I do hope that, despite his appearance in only one book, you’ll enjoy his presence and contributions to the story, short as it might be.

And if people really, really, really enjoy his character, well…I guess there’s always a spin-off.  😉

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – The Ripple Affair Series Hashtag Game

Have you ever seen trending hashtags on Twitter?  They can be awfully fun to read sometimes.  Recently, a hashtag called #MovieSynopsisIn5Words had been trending, and many took to their phones to Tweet funny phrases describing movies using only five words.  

Well, book characters can do that too!  Only this time, they’ll be talking about what they know best – The Ripple Affair Series!

Listed below are what some of my book characters have written for their own hashtag game: #RippleAffairSynopsisIn5Words.

Edward, on The Ripple Affair…

Romance novel becomes soap opera.

Waffles on Reign of Change… 

Apples contain lots of fiber. 

Emmerich on When Dreams Break…

Nice guy finally gets girl.

Bernie on Heart of Deceit…

Bernie/Marcus becomes the new ship.

King Arden on Reign of Change…

Good king makes bad dad.

Queen Maria on When Dreams Break…

Dinner party fails despite plans.

Aldaric on When Dreams Break…

Ex holds grudge for decades.

Malum on Heart of Deceit…

Boss must do everything himself.

Bohden on When Dreams Break…

Mysterious prophet covers plot holes.

Sir Rikert on The Ripple Affair…

Wise guy ignored like always.

Stay tuned for next week where the characters for The Adventures of Captain Patty do the same!

Also, thoughts and prayers for everyone affected in Las Vegas today!

Weekly Update – Daydreaming Counts As Writing, Right?

I freely admit that I had trouble paying attention in school when I was a kid.

It had nothing to do with the teachers.  They were great people, always trying to make lessons fun and engaging so we kids could learn.  But despite however hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep focused sometimes.  My mind would wander, and I’d daydream almost throughout the day (unless I got to read out of a book, that is…)

Even during the summers, when I was playing basketball or riding around in circles with my bike in the driveway, I’d daydream.  I’d put myself in stories or I’d create new episodes in my head of TV shows I had watched.  

Daydreaming was a part of life, and it wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I learned that it could also be a sign of being a writer.

As I work on finishing my edits and getting the cover designed for Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, I find myself occasionally daydreaming, even as I write.  I think of possible routes my story can take or how I can shake up my characters’ lives. I think of how I might want my dialogue to sound or whether I want to expand on a side plot or not.  And even though I’m working on the new Captain Patty, I’m already dreaming about how I want The Ripple Affair to end and how I want its sequel series to begin.

Though I would never recommend daydreaming when you should be concentrating (focus on your school work, kids, or you’ll have to learn the hard way like I did and realize studying is actually a good thing, ha!), it’s always fun to take the time (when you can) to “write in your head.”  Daydreaming is a way that writers plan their work, a sort of pre-writing as many others have called it.  Daydreams allow you to see plots and characters and settings and learn if they could possibly work.  It’s a way to test the product before the product is produced.

As this week comes to an end and a new one begins, may you find joy and happiness no matter what sort of dreams you create.  Have a wonderful week!

The Story of Family

Have you ever learned your family history?

Where you come from, who you’re descended from, what stories lie hidden in the mysteries of the past?  It’s an interesting topic, often full of surprises, and it was an adventure I took part in during one summer in my senior year of college.

Being a student of history, I suppose it was only natural to want to know what happened that made my family, well…my family.  And as I started to dig through old records and genealogy trees, I found a whole bunch of interesting information…

  • My family was very fond of building churches.
  • Many of the men were soldiers.
  • My family came from as far north as Sweden and as far east as Mongolia.
  • My family was really, really fond of sailing (I guess that explains why I wrote Captain Patty).
  • Hardly anyone in my family farmed (which also explains why I tend to be really terrible at keeping plants alive).

These are just a few of the stories from my own family history, and I’m sure if you’ve studied your family’s past, there would be many more stories to tell!  But what’s interesting about genealogy is the stories are all unique.  Some are dramas, some are adventures, some are romances, and some are tragedies.  But each of these stories come together to tell the story of one family throughout the ages, a story that every one of us can tell.

When I first started writing The Adventures of Captain Patty, I originally didn’t have Patty’s last name as Peterson.  But after careful thought, I decided to connect Captain Patty to my first series, The Ripple Affair.  Why?  Because with all my writings, I wanted to tell not just the story of an adulterous prince or an on-the-run navigator.  I wanted to connect the individual stories to tell one, giant great one: the story of the Peterson family.

(SPOILERS)  If you read Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer, you’ll learn from Reuben that he’s a direct descendant of Marcus Peterson, the famous bowman from The Ripple Affair.  And later on, through more eventual stories, you’ll learn that there are other members of the Peterson family with their own stories to tell.  But like my own family genealogy, the fictional Peterson family is full of different stories and personalities with a single story to tell, and my hope is that that story, the story of family, is one you can connect with as well.

 

Why We Love Superhero Stories

Tomorrow marks the release of “Captain America: Civil War”, and already the internet is buzzing with excitement.  We can’t wait to see Cap and Iron Man fight it out as both old and new Avengers pick sides to see what the future of Earth’s mightiest heroes might become.

Chances are the film is going to do well at the box office.  With past successes in other movies and comics, along with a loyal fanbase and decades of storytelling, superheroes are a type of character that seem to never go out of style.  We loved them as kids and we still love them as adults.

But why?  What is it that makes people like Superman, Storm, Silver Surfer, and Wonder Woman so appealing to us?  Why do kids pretend to be Batman, Spiderman, or Black Widow?

Here are a few reasons as to why I think we love superheroes so much:

1. Superheroes show that we can overcome any obstacle.

Name a superhero who lived an easy life.

No, really.  Try it.  It’s pretty difficult, isn’t it?

Superheroes rarely had it simple.  Whether it was losing their parents, fleeing home, or trying to fit in despite being so different, every superhero had a struggle.  Peter Parker dealt with bullies.  Some of the X-Men tried to hide because they were ashamed of who they were and how people would react.  Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents being killed and lived with the trauma from it the rest of his life.  But what they struggled with soon became their strength.  Peter’s uniqueness (along with some good advice from Uncle Ben) led him to not abuse his powers as Spiderman.  The X-men took their differences to promote peace and unity.  Bruce took control of his fear and turned it as a force for justice.  They all had chances of running away from their problems, but instead, they faced them and grew because of it.  Being a superhero isn’t just about saving others- it’s about saving yourself, as well.

2. Superheroes prove that character counts.

Grant it, not all superheroes are considered role models for the kiddies, but for the most part, superheroes promote values that are often overlooked in society.  Humility, integrity, justice, faith, love…though we often cling to these values, too often their opposites get more attention (and sometimes, praise).  Superheroes, however, promote being good because…it’s good.  There’s no catch, no deal, no requirement.  They’re simply helping others and protecting the weak because it’s the right thing to do.

3. Superheroes celebrate uniqueness.

Superheroes can represent the best of what humanity has to offer, but best of all- they’re unique!  Though some heroes often act as copycats of one another, they all have something that sets them apart.  Whether it’s who they are or what they look like, superheroes show that there isn’t just one type of person who can save the world.  We all can!  And we should never allow our differences to stop us from making a difference ourselves.

4. Superheroes show that we can work together.

Grant it, Cap and Iron Man may be ignoring this point at the moment, but they certainly aren’t the first set of superheroes to have a fight turn into a movie blockbuster (Batman vs. Superman, anyone?)  But even though heroes can disagree, they also are willing to set aside their differences to join forces for the greater good.  Though I won’t speak for Cap and Iron Man (spoilers!), other heroes united to accomplish great things and save the universe.

So whether you’re Team Cap, Team Iron Man, or Team I-Don’t-Care-Who-Wins-Because-DC-Is-Better-Anyways, I think we can agree on one thing: superheroes are great!

And we love them for it.