Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two New Releases!

Two new announcements!


http://www.amazon.com/Deception-Peak-Ians-Realm-Saga/dp/B00J7VFZP8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395974568&sr=1-1&keywords=Deception+Peak+audioThe audio edition of Deception Peak published by PDMI is now available and  you can even listen to a clip of it. This dramitization of the first book of the Ian's Realm Saga is masterfully created by Matt Josdal. I did a post about Matt not too long ago.

Included in the audio is Lexa's Song of the Saga music with the lyrics from Deception Peak. It's a wonderful unabridged edition of the story!






The second announcement is the release date for my new dystopia novel Altered published by Master Koda Select Publishing Launch date is APRIL 15...A Facebook Event and Blog Tour happening!

 The Privatol invades American soil, and crops propel the engine. Uncontrollable tyranny has succeeded in dictating where people live, what they do, and what they eat. When Abree, a spunky twelve-year-old is taken away to learn the process of modifying seed to Newly Constructed Food she discovers an evil plan that could alter the fate of the human race, and a way out if only she can escape to tell the others.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Using Social media for inspiration

I rarely talk about social media on my blog. But I was just thinking, as I prepare to dive into my work-in-progress novel, how much I really enjoy Pinterest and it's not because I look at it as a marketing tool.

It's an inspirational tool! In fact, Pinterest not only helps to inspire me, but it's a quick reference for my writing as well. Let me explain.

Once I have a premise in mind, and a world I envision, I start researching.

For instance, the novel I'm working on is a story about mermaids. Not the Little Mermaid kind. No. I thought it would be fun to explore the myth of mermaids.

Where are they? Why hasn't there been any eye witness accounts?

I won't go into the details, as the story hasn't been written yet, and I don't want to give spoilers away. (It's a story not a documentary). What I do want to do is show you my process. It may help authors elsewhere.

To begin, I need to visualize the world of Pouraka...a term in Maori language meaning 'cradle'. I knew what I wanted the world to look like, but I also wanted to see it in real life in order to describe it. So I Googled sea caverns and started pinning images on Pinterest. In the next few weeks I had images of dolphins, mermaids, caverns, underwater shipwrecks, articles from the Titantic, and divers, pasted to my Pinterest board. It's a beautiful board, rich with sea live. I can browse through the photos and get lost in that world! Which is exactly what I wanted to do.

Now, while I'm writing, I keep that browser open and when I need to describe something under water, I scroll through my board. It's so much easier getting the feel for the story while looking at images.

I have a board for Cassandra's Castle, too and I keep adding to it whenever I find clothing, landscape, historical images of that period. The board has really grown since I first started writing the novel.

Hope this helps you!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Day the Dragon Saved the Princess!


I love writing prompts! This is one I could not pass up!  

In a land far away the rain was so plentiful that roses grew as high as the tower windows with long spiny branches that searched for the sun. Clouds called the earth home and Princess Desiree wondered what color the roses would be if they bloomed.

So depressed was the lovely young maiden that her desire to walk in the garden dissipated. She would sit in her bedroom reading seed catalogs and unearthly horror stories written by the castle jester, who himself hadn’t laughed for a decade.

There was a knock on her door.

“What?” Desiree yawned. She knew who it was, the little guy, silky blond hair and big brown eyes, the castle page that came to Desiree’s room with a message from her father every evening. The message was always the same.

“Come for dinner and bring your smile. Love Father.”

The boy handed her the envelope and she pushed it away. “Dinner.”

“No your highness. This note is different.”

“What do you mean it’s different? It is dinnertime, is it not? Though one can hardly tell time any more, the sun dial is permanently broken I fear.”

“Your highness, it is dinner, but the note says something different. Your father wanted to make sure you read it.”

Desiree grabbed the note, somewhat irritated with the boy’s pestering. “Very well,” she said. “Run along then.”

The boy bowed low and dashed out the door.

Desiree unfolded the letter.

“Come for dinner and bring your smile. We have a guest tonight!”

“Oh dingleberries!” Desiree threw the letter on the bed. She didn’t want guests. Whenever father invited a guest to dinner they were usually courtiers from Breckenshire. Stuck up ladies that had very little to say other than to coo and woe her father. Desiree walked to the open window and pulled it shut, sealing out the moist air. “Father doesn’t need cooing, he needs someone to bring some sun into his life. But I supposed the heavens are wrenched upon the earth forever.”

The table was laid out in all the royal family’s finest china. The servants had arranged a centerpiece of floating candles in a crystal bauble, a place where spring flowers should occupy. She snickered and took the seat the butler pulled out for her only once peering at the woman who sat across from her. The woman was her father’s age, gray haired and very persnickety looking, she smiled at Desiree.

“Dez, dear,” the king began. “This is the Duchess Bremworth and her son, Theodore.”

Desiree failed to notice the young man sitting next to his mother. Tall, dark hair bouncing on his shoulders, the boy wore a finely embroidered doublet covered by a cape, which he allowed the servant to remove.

“My honor, your highness.” The young man’s chair nearly toppled over as he stood and bowed.

Desiree snickered again. “Theodore,” she greeted.

“You may call me Teddy.”

Deisree rolled her eyes.

The Duchess reached across the table to take Desiree’s hand but the princess pulled it away. “We are so thrilled to meet you.”

“Why?”

The king coughed and forced a chuckle, immediately changing the subject to the weather in Brumswick and sea trade between the Dimland and Beluka. Evidently the pirates were causing a rucus and the king’s fleet had lost a ship in the fog, or something to that sort. The Duchess listened as though she really enjoyed hearing about shipwrecks. Theodore, or rather Teddy’s eyes stayed glued to Desiree.

It was most irritating, eating steak and having someone watch her chew. So instead of minding her manners, Desiree spat the fat on her plate, guzzled her water, and gnawed at the bone in a most unladylike way thinking such rudeness would repulse the lad and he would at least look away.

Instead he set his fork down and smiled.

She licked her fingers.

He smiled broader.

She picked her teeth.

He handed her a toothpick. She refused. “My nails are sharper. I keep them trimmed in case I have to claw out an eye or two.”

“Dez!” The king had stopped talking long enough to hear her comment. “Be nice.”

“I am. In fact, Father, I am going to be so nice I will excuse myself from the table. I feel a pull of the tummy coming on.”  She stood, Theodore stood with her.

“I’ll walk you to your door.”

“Don’t bother.”

“Yes, Teddy dear, do see that Desiree makes it to her room all right. I would hate for her to faint on the way with no one there to tend to her.”

Why did the Duchess have to interfere? Desiree thought.

But instead of causing more of a scene, for her father’s sake, she stepped out of the room and let Theodore follow her.

“When you feel better, I would like to come back and visit you,” he called to her.

“Why?”

“Because you are a lovely lady and I would like to know you better. Would that be all right with you?”

She reached her door and turned to glare at him. “What ever would we do?”

“We could walk in the garden.”

“There is no garden. The sky is gray the days are wet. The flowers rot and mold on the stalks. They stink. The garden trail is muddy and would soil the beautiful gowns my father buys me. No, dear Theodore…”

“Teddy.”

“Theodore Teddy, I do not walk in the garden. I don’t even go outside. It’s all I can do to open my window and let in the dismal dew that beads on my forehead and adheres my curls to my head. There is no sense in you coming over because I have no smiles. I would only treat you cruelly.”

“I could change that. I could bring sunshine into your life!”

Desiree sneered. “Whatever,” she said and slipped into her room.

The next morning, when wind rattled the stain glass on her window, and trees bent over from falling rain, their branches breaking on the sill, thunder woke her.  As she did every morning, Desiree looked out over the gray earth and sighed. But something  in the clouds caught her eye. A burst of light! Not the cool blue of a lightning bolt, but a bright flash of fire. The sky lit up again.

Desiree pushed the window open farther just as a roar unlike the sound of crackling thunder or crash of falling trees rumbled overhead. No longer were the day gray, but black, as a shadow crept over the castle. The princess gasped. As if anything else dismal could happen, a dragon hovered above the tower.

Before she slammed the window shut she heard the neigh of a horse and saw whom else but the obnoxious Theodore jumping off his mount and drawing a sword?

“Idiot!” Desiree yelled, though it was fruitless what with all the thunder and roaring and wind competing for airwaves.

She watched the battle as a fire bolt flew through the clouds at the young man. He dodged the flames and released the reins of his horse, which immediately took off at a gallop.

“Oh great!” Desiree thought. “He’s here to stay. Perhaps the dragon will eat him and my troubles will be over.”

The young man was tenacious though, jumping over and rolling away from fiery dragon breath, luring the beast ever closer to the ground. The princess watched in awe, curious as to the outcome.

Once, Theodore must have seen her in the window for he called out to her. “I will save you my lady!”

“Good!” she called, and jumped back as the dragon’s wing busted a brick from the castle wall near her lookout.

Theodore pulled his arrow from his quiver and aimed. The dragon roared sending a flame that ignited the arrow. Theodore fired. The projectile hit the dragon in the eye. The beast recoiled and burst into the sky blowing hot air through the entire kingdom. Charring tree tops as it rolled over and over through the atmosphere. The rain turned to steam, the clouds dissipated, letting the sun through.

Desiree raised her hands high and shouted gleefully. “Huzzah! Sunshine!”

So excited was she to see the sun again, that she quickly changed out of her princess gown into her riding clothes. Running out the door she passed the bruised Teddy who had fallen exhausted in the mud, down the road to where his horse stood shivering. She mounted the beast and set off at a gallop westward. Never, never to return to that dismal gray kingdom again.
Epilogue
Theodore was immediately tended to by the page, his mother summoned. The duchess married the king and Teddy became the heir. He was attributed to bringing sunshine into Desiree's father's life. 

The princess lived happily ever after.






Saturday, February 8, 2014

John Renehan

Fan art??? Already? This is so cool! 


You remember John Renehan, who did the map for the re release of Deception Peak? He blessed me with a little drawing of Stenhjaert, the dragon from The Realm.

 If you aren't an author I need to tell you that fan art and fan fiction can be one of the biggest compliments anyone can give an author, aside from a five star review. It's an honor!




John is a remarkable artist and author as well. He and I traded work. He wanted a book cover and I needed a decent map for my new Deception Peak

 "As an inspired Fantasy writer, I have always held a passion for visualizing my fictional work through art and the written word. Much of the art I have created over the span of the thirteen years I have been drawing has been conceptual work for the Fantasy novels I write and to build and brainstorm the vast worlds in which they take place. Most of this work consists of designs of weapons, armor, drawings of creatures and races and maps of my realms, mostly for my series; The Gatekeeper's Realm; a Swords & Sorcery epic. Much of my creative inspiration comes from European mythology, and the works and imagination of J.R.R Tolkien. His influence inspired me to create my own fictional worlds and over the years developed the extensive cultures, histories, mythologies and even languages. Books such as Unfinished Tales and The book of Lost Tales, volume I & II gave me a vivid idea of the endless possibilities of world building with a fantasy universe. For 12 years I have watched my world grow and evolve. It has been a long but fun and rewarding process, and I don't dobt for a second that it will always be expanding. Every day I come up with something new. Often it is the smallest things such as adding a name to royal family trees or larger scale, like an important event in my world's history. Whatever it is, my imagination simply doesn't stop. Personally, I don't want it to. My art has recently expanded beyond the fictitious worlds. I see myself relatively new to the art world, and stepping into it is... honestly indescribable. There is such a freedom to art- it gives you an entirely new perspective of everything around you."


 
So next week when his book is launched, I'll post the link and you can read all about it! For now, you can visit his Facebook Page.

The Sorcerers Wrath
 A young Woodsman and a mysterious Elf join forces to prevent a Necromancer from breaking the Lord of the Underworld from his eternal prison. Copyright ©

Across the tallest spires of Dokh'Dor's iron towers, gazing out to the enormity of the Daemons Teeth Mountains, Vallaki walked with winter's first ice crunching under his feet, waiting. He observed the rolling Norduil Hills, beyond the Plains of Endless Skulls and the burnt-out villages that dotted the west horizon. He waited- both excited and impatient for his company. The scroll he needed was of great importance. He had learned that its secrets contained knowledge of the Arkath Stones; believed to be ancient and powerful magic from the forgers of the Gatekeeper's Key. The Arkathians, mightiest of the Eldornians that's race had long since past into legend- in all their cleverness and mystery- could not keep their secrets from him. The guardians of the gate to the Eternal Prison were now gone, and that which they fought so hard to protect was unguarded. The Stones would reveal knowledge of the key, perhaps its location. Were this true, Vallaki would finally have the preparations for his invasion. He had many clever servants, hundreds of thousands of followers that vowed to fight and die for him, and many dark beasts from below the surface of the world. Once the key was in his hands... He would be ready. His master would soon be free. Two
thousand years of planning had lead him to this moment. I have walked the endless shadows... And learned all the secrets they hide. The Necromancer smiled inwardly at his success, his amber-crimson eyes following the twilight skyline. Molkoroth would be proud of him, he was sure of that. Yet, it would still take time before he could release his master from the Eternal Prison, and time he did not have. The moons would soon meet, and his only chance would be revealed. If he failed, the Underlord would choose another, and he didn't dare imagine the punishment he would face. And unto thee, Sorcerer, Lord of Men, (/ are for Italics) /I name my Lieutenant. But should thou fail me, thou wouldst feel the anguish of every soul to have entered these gates, for all time./ No, he thought. Nothing would stop him. Throwing his black robe around himself, Vallaki pondered. He took a breath, relishing the icyness in his decayed lungs. The chilled wind didn't bother him- no mortal concerns or desires had affected him for thousands of years. Yet the body in which he walked; the frail shell that concealed his spirit form, seemed somewhat bothered by the the bite of the frost as he suppressed a shiver. He dismissed the thought when a sudden presence crept into his awareness. A man hooded and cloaked in tattered crimson robes approached the battlements with a black box in his hands. He watched the newcomer approach, his fire-amber eyes expressionless and hidden under his low hood, but his heart beginning to thunder with anticipation. The robed man approached his lord nervously, his bowed legs

wobbling. “Did you bring that of which I asked you?” The Necromancer asked. As the words left his lips the old man cringed, like a dog lashed by his master, and nodded. “Yes, Great One.” “Were you followed?” “Nay, Great One. I took great precautions into bringing what you desired.” The man extended his arm, carefully, and placed the long wooden box into his master's thin hands. 'You have done well, Naketh,' Vallaki responded, bringing a glint of relief in his servant's face. 'Molkoroth will reward you greatly in Undur.' 'I exist to serve thee, Great One,' said Naketh, bowing his head. He was Lord of the Exalted Ones, and one of The Necromancer's most trusted commanders. Even though his legions of Cultists had proven to be little more than arrow fodder against the armies of the alliance, the Exalted Ones had proven their worth to their lord on many occasions. He personally had lead five thousand Loyalists into the siege of Dannadar, his knowledge of strategy and leadership earning the respect of even the war-hardened Fell Knights. “Were there difficulties upon your journey?” “Some, my lord. Resistance stirs in the west among the hills beyond the Plateau of Felkovar, but the Forsaken Legion moved swiftly on them as we passed.' 'Mere brigands are no trouble to my legions,' Vallaki said. 'The Westlands do not have the strength to repel an all-out assault. However, As I remember, the Forsaken Legion was ordered to march south to Beltonnia. Have my commands fallen upon deaf ears?' 'Nay, my lord. Lord Karos sent word not three days ago that his men breached the barrier that protects that... Haunted forest.' 'Good. Then the Veil was not as unbreakable as the Wood Elves thought.' 'It was difficult, so said Karos,' Naketh said. 'If not for the assistance we gathered from the Shadow Elves from the south-lands, our magic would not have caused a single mark.' 'I find that difficult to believe. Undurish
magick surpasses any in these known worlds, even that of the Elves.' Naketh shrugged his shoulders, following his lord's gaze to the mountains beyond. 'They are desperate to hide whatever lies within those glades, My Lord.' 'Perhaps,' Vallaki said, inspecting the box in his hands. 'Now, tell me of the Gambians. They agreed to the meeting?' Naketh shifted his stance, remaining steady but as though trying to refrain from shaking. 'Our meeting with the Kel-Thaear went on without interference. However...” Vallaki flinched, impatience tugging at his brain. “However?” Naketh was sweating, that familiar dread returning to his black eyes. He knew his next words could end him, so he chose them carefully. “They will not unite under our banner, Great One. I fear the Gambians are not so easily persuaded to serve the Underlord. They were weary of us, and threats were made also. They do not wish the Gate to be unlocked, nor the Key of the Gatekeeper found.” Anger flashed across The Necromancer's face. He had his suspicions that the fey of Gambiar would resist him, and that troubled him immensely. His armies were vast, and his allies grew in numbers, but the Gambians would give him both the military strength and the knowledge of the Eternal Gate to succeed. The Underlord's patience could only be pushed so far. “Are the Gambians not enemies of the old Arkathians? They spent thousands of years spilling each other's blood.” “Yes, that is true, Great One.... Which is why perhaps they agreed to the negotiations at all. The Gambians are very untrusting creatures- paranoid and weary. They steal themselves away in their silver fortresses and white cities, caring nothing for the concerns of the lands beyond their borders. Many thousand apologies, Great One.' “Yet you acquired the scrolls,” Vallaki said, pushing away the frustration that clawed at him. “By slitting their throats, my lord,” Naketh said snidely, licking his lips. 'Fear not, Great One. We have time still, and we now have the scrolls. They were guarded well, and I am certain they will be of much use to you.' Vallaki opened the lid. Inside, a bundle of withered parchments were rolled together with delicate care. He pulled the scrolls out, carefully. Carved into the lid was an inscription. The tongue was old Arkathian, which he could not read. It was a dead language, and few in all Agasanthia knew it. Fortunately for Vallaki, Naketh was one such soul. Arkathian was a language shared secretly since the time of the wars of Agasoth and the downfall of the Dark Lord Felkovar. Passed down by the descendants of the Gatekeeper, the bloodline of their ancestors had almost passed into legend. Naketh had found folk who knew of the ancient speech, and had tortured and mutilated them until they taught him the speech. Vallaki read the carvings, frowning. /Mell'e novau tallathi sovah arkath Marlo ankuii deleth noli./ “The words written here, do you know what they tell?” he said, placing the open box into the Cultist's hands. Naketh shivered, but kept his voice steady. /“Secrets sworn of the Arkath Stones, For the Keymaster and the Queen.”/ “It speaks of the Gatekeeper and The Emerald Queen,” The Necromancer said. 'But she is dead. We also know nothing of the Gatekeeper or his bloodline.' “Ly'Thalath, the mightiest Emerald Queen is indeed gone from this world,” Naketh said slowly. “But her successor may yet live.” Vallaki met Naketh's eyes with a black glare. “Her bloodline was extinguished, I made sure of that.” 'If that is true, Great One, then these scrolls... the stones... would be of no use.' Rage stirred in Vallaki's heart. The Emerald Queen; a title given to a bloodline of Elves from the Elder Days, was foreseen by soothsayers as the guardian of the Ethereal Gate, the consort of the Gatekeeper. He made sure that chance was snuffed out. He had razed Ly'Thalath's birth city to the ground, slaughtering every firstborn elf-daughter within its walls. And now he needed her? Dismissing the festering anger, he thrust the scrolls into Naketh's hands. “Read them.”

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Name a city contest

Do you all remember the dragon contest I had when I first started writing Ian's Realm? I was hard pressed for a name for the dragon and ended up asking my friends and family to help. Well I am at that point again, for a different story.

The setting is about 2034 and the One World Order has spread it's evil jaws over the North American Continent. The story takes place in the home town of Nathan and Abree Barber, brother and sister, and their Mexican-American friend Ivana Garcia. They live in a small city north of Mexico, oh maybe about 75 miles or so from the border.

When I first started writing I was going to use the New Mexico town Socorro, but I decided I didn't want to use real city names as some of this world and it's setting is fantasy/dystopia. So I'm asking my fans to help me name the town where it all takes place.

If I choose the name you'll get a free edition of the book which will be published this year.

Thanks!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Matt Josdal and Deception Peak Audio!

PDMI Publishing is releasing an audio book of Deception Peak in the very near future. (This month I hope!!) Narrated by talented actor, voice over artist and audiobook narrator based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Matt Josdal.

You can hear a clip of Deception Peak at the PDMI Publisher's website.

I must mention that the music Lexa Rose created for us is inserted into the audio book in place of the poems of the Northern Songs. So I think you're going to like this one. I'm thrilled with the versatility, and fresh crisp vocal Matt is offering to the story and can't wait to play this audio in my car, and for my grand kids! I hope you will be just as excited.  

Born and raised in a small town in Saskatchewan, Matt attended the University of Saskatchewan where he obtained a B.F.A in Drama (acting). Since that time, Matt has made his way in the worlds of both theatre and voice acting, with a special focus on audiobooks. In addition to performing and recording for external clients, Matt has also started a small audiobook publishing company, Aurora Audiobooks, that focuses on producing Canadian stories.

When not doing audio recordings, Matt is in theater performances, currently working on Anton Chekov's "The Cherry Orchard" (presented by Live Five). 
 
Thank you Matt for a GREAT! job, and thank you PDMI for making this a reality!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Spats

My involvement with the new projects I have going has directed me down some trails I wouldn't have  been treading otherwise. For instance, I've found myself being the costume coordinator for Xylon Productions LLC. Overwhelming yes, but once I began hunting for costumes, the rewards have been wonderful. Especially since our focus is turn of the century Edwardian. The industrial revolution was taking a toll in those days. Back then people thought it was a grand step forward. But since that revolution has passed, one can only look back and measure where we've come compared to where we were.

Take shoes, for instance. Well not quite shoes. Spats to be specific. I wanted to write about the spats I bought. They tell so much of the times. Not everyone wore high button shoes. In fact, spats was probably more popular than the high top shoe, and much more affordable I'm sure. They were used to protect the shoe, and for style I think too.

We have some young violinists in the movie that I have to costume, so after getting the drop waist lacy dress for one of the little girls, I needed to detail it out with those wonderful things people wore back then called spats. I was fortunate enough to find some true Edwardian spats for a young person.


You know what amazes me? These are felt, an unwoven fabric probably made from sheep's wool. And those are buttons. They didn't have to put all those buttons there, but they did. People didn't have to tat beautiful laces for their dresses either, but they did. I am completely amazed at the time and energy that folks back in the day would take to dress, and not just to dress warm, but to dress beautifully.

It saddens me that our society today rushes through life shunning the artistic details that once meant culture. Ever since I was a little girl I was awed by the beauty of hand made clothing. Clothing that wasn't just sewn. No, for every fabric someone raised sheep, sheared them and spun the wool and then wove the fabric. So too with cotton. I once knew a woman from Japan who had spun silk with her teeth when she was a little girl. Can you imagine? And then to make fabric from all the silk that was spun, and not just plain fabric, but intricately designed patterns.

I know there are still people on this earth today doing these things. Far too many of us have lost touch. So when I look at these spats here and think about all those little buttons, each with a button hole lined with a woven strip of linen and stitched by hand...I am reminded of a people who didn't watch TV. They didn't have computers. They spent hours at their craft, perfecting their skills making beautiful clothing like these. Or crafting hand carved furniture and stone fireplaces such as we'll be filming this December (note the blog post for the Hackbarth House).

It kind of makes me sad that we don't see these kinds of skills anymore. When people say man is progressing, I wonder.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pinterest and Portugal

http://www.pinterest.com/diendrial/cassandras-castle-reference-and-inspiration/
Have you used Pinterest?

When I was first invited to use it I was a little suspicious. But now I am completely sold. It's like a big picture book and who doesn't like to look at pictures? You can share anything. Lots of people share recipes and lovely foods. Whereas I like to see the artistic rendering of delicious meals, I don't do a lot of cooking but I love eating and I'm amazed at the talent needed to make a meal a piece of art. My daughter has that talent. Fun stuff when you think about it. I love browsing through decorated cakes, ingenious candy ideas, and scrumptious main dishes.

Some people love fashion and I have to admit, I've posted my share of lace up boots and Victorian era dresses! I also love looking at antique clothing. I found some images of old fencing outfits to die for!

My friend Virginia Lori Jennings and I have a word art board. (I actually think we have two. One for her account and one for mine.) That's a board I like pinning to because I love grabbing neat little sentences that mean much more than the number of words that are in them, and pasting them in a photograph or painting. Like the one above.

I've recently started a board on Portugal and other images that have inspired my book Cassandra's Castle. Now, I didn't start that board just to advertise. I use it. I wanted a place to go and be reminded of the country side and the people where my story takes place. This helps as I write descriptions in the book. It's also a board I'm sharing with those people who are helping me discover costumes for the movie.

I found a gorgeous photo of a meadow in Portugal which reminds me of the meadow Valerio has made his rebel camp in...Greenstay is the name of that meadow in the novel. See if you can pick out which photo it is!

My friend Rose Mancuso gave me some photos of her trip to Portugal and I put them together for the cover for the book. I think you can see these castles in some of those images on Pinterest.

I'm in love with Portugal and its people. Maybe someday I can go there. A land with beauty, and history. You know I was passionately drawn to the story of Manuel II, the young king who was exiled for the rest of his life from his homeland, and who gave his heart to Portugal. I can see why. Look at all these beautiful images!

Before the book comes out, I will have more things to bring to the table. Thank you Pinterest for helping me see the richness in this little part of the world!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cassandra's Castle inching her way into Reality!

It's happening! We've begun pre production of the movie and as with any crazy project we need funding. I've started a quick little fundraiser with GoFundMe simply because any funding with them will be immediately available when we start filming at the end of December and the beginning of next year.

 

As far as location...we've been invited to film in the Hackbarth House, a wonderful old house which is also rumored to be haunted. (So watch the screen carefully!) This location is local for us, and perfect for our 1908 interior settings. Built in the 1800s this house has all handmade furniture that was crafted by the original owner. Hardwood floors, a unique hand carved fireplace, incredible relics throughout. I can't think of a better home for the parlor scene than the parlor in this home. If you've seen the trailer, we filmed that scene in Port Townsend at the Admrial's House in Fort Worden.
We have a special treat for this scene. Our musicians Paul Burback and Justine Jeanotte who are writing the film score, are also writing the chamber music that the children play. For those who don't know the story, the children have recovered from their time in the sanatorium, having suffered from tuberculous. The Queen and her family care so much for them that some of the children are taught to play music by the young duke (prince) Martim and make additional money for their family by playing in the courtyard for guests. In this scene, Martim is practicing with his students before his parents arrive, and just as Cassie makes her entrance in the castle. 
Our violinist, Justine is bringing her students to portray the children in the movie, and they will be the ensemble that performs the music. It's going to be a lovely time. And of course, we're going to want to have the most beautiful costumes for them! Which is one reason we've begun this crowd funding now.


We've got some great perks for anyone who donates, and really I think the best is being a part of this fun project! Please consider helping out!

GoFundMe and help Cassandra's Castle become reality! Thank you!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I was inspired by this post titled "A Plea to Narnia Fans".

"A Plea to Narnia Fans"

I'm going to try something new next month, December. I'm going to do a little bit of what you might label fan fiction. I'll be writing a story about Susan Pevensie. It will be a blog series I hope. And it is totally my interpretation so I also hope I don't step on anyone's toes. C.S. Lewis is my mentor and I love the man and his work dearly. I hope I can do this story, and Susan justice!

Jeremy Lott wrote a simple post suggesting that for too long readers have imagined that Susan Prevensie, one of the four children who became Kings and Queens of Narnia, and who Lewis mysteriously left her out of Narnia in the Last Battle, met her doom. But in conversations with Lewis, he tells us that what people were imagining just wasn't so.
"What Lewis said to his favorite readers was that he hadn't meant to suggest Susan was damned, just that her story diverged from the one he was trying to tell.

Lewis wrote to one young reader that Susan was written out of the story not because "I have no hope of Susan's ever getting into Aslan's country" -- that is, Heaven -- "but because I have a feeling that the story of her journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write."

Lewis admitted fallibility and issued a startling invitation: "But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?"

And if the master asks that...then here I am!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where the two oceans really meet

Where the two oceans really meet?

Researching for the new story Abbott, I needed to know the term for when two large bodies of water meet. The answer for my purpose is confluence. In the story Abbott and his two passangers are greatly affected by the current and wind as they drift further than they should during a squall and storm.

I love what bodies of water do to the dynamics  of the earth.Cape Point being the most dangerous and awe inspiring of any of those bodies.

The sky was already dark, but when lightning bolted through the sky, she saw the thick rolling clouds traveling at gale speed. The first warning drops fell soon followed by a downpour. Wind lifted the waters into giant crests, white caps splashed over the railing of the ship and the sea swelled.
”I’m not so sure this was a good idea,” Promise shouted to Ivar over the sound of the beating rain.

“We’ll be fine,” Ivar answered just as another flash of lightning lit up their faces. One by one the crew members congregated around Promise.

“Orders?” Anna hung onto the rail as the ship tossed violently.

Promise glanced up at the sails beating in the wind, the main mast rocked with the tide. Clouds above sped dangerously over them carrying flashes of lightening. “Reef the main sail. Hurry! And fasten your safety lines!” Promise shouted to her crew.

Three women ran to the ratlines but before they reached the sheets, a giant swell rolled the ship, tipping the vessel starboard. Spinning the ship’s wheel Promise maneuvered the stern into the waves.

“Bertha, hold the helm leeward!”

The woman grabbed the wheel. Promise pushed past Ivar, shoving the end of a safety line to his chest. “Hook up unless you want to swim.”

Fastening her own line, balancing against the surge, and bucking the wind, Promise moved to the bow, which was now facing the wind, and set the bow anchor. Anna set the anchor at the stern just as Promise called to her. “Take up the slack."


The sway of the ship steadied though the surge continued. Breakers washed over the deck and heaved the vessel over its crests. There was nothing more they could do but to stand watch and keep from falling overboard. It was then Ivar shouted, pointing to the sea and the black form that arched through the swell.

Whether the serpent was there to shipwreck them, or not, Promise couldn’t tell, nor could she change their fate. They watched with relief as the dreaded sea slave swam away.

By midnight the storm had quieted, and the swells lessened though the ship still rocked. They were out of immediate danger. Promise weighed anchor and allowed the ship to sail, though still reefed. Rain continued to wash over her as she stumbled to the hatchway, exhausted. Ivar stood on the steps watching her. His grin was gone; his eyes wide.

Pity he didn’t know how to use those muscles to help keep the ship afloat.

Promise inhaled deeply, afraid to walk past him, but there was no place dry on the deck to sleep. She pushed her hair out of her face, wiped the water that ran down her nose, and strutted for the steps. Ivar surprised her when he stepped aside.

“You’re the most beautiful person in the world,” he whispered when she passed him. He touched her arm. Not with Silvio’s powerful magic, but gently. “I mean that. I’m indebted to you for all that you do. For who you are.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came.

“Get some rest I’ll keep watch. I think I remember how to do this. I’m not completely worthless.”

“You remember? You remember what?”

As soon as she asked, she recanted for she looked into his eyes and saw his past again. An ocean voyage brought him to this world. A storm, a raging sea, and a portal that spilled out his pirate ship into the very waters they’re sailing now.

“Get some rest,” Ivar said.
 -Abbott Book V of the Ian's Realm Saga in progress

Release date TBR

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Anikan


Late. Very late. And I just finished writing some of my novel Abbott, which is actually book V of The Ian's Realm Saga. I always get kind of philosophical this time of night. Thinking about why I'm writing this story I need to give you a little heads up.
(Heads up...lumberjack term. Means something is falling...from above. On you if you don't turn and run!)

There is a character in the series that isn't much different than a character in Star Wars. Those who know me personally know who it is, and who he resembles. Before I tell you who, I want to tell you why.


I never watched Star Wars when the series came out. Not until my friend brought all the DVDs over last year and said 'you have to watch them!'. So I did. From number 1 on. Of course, when I told people that's how I watched the series they shook their heads and grunted something about how I shouldn't have done that. Dumb me, I thought number one came first...oh well...

By the time I watched number three I wanted to strangle someone. It would have been the closest Jedi if I could have found one.



How could anyone do that to a child? They should have been lasered and shoved into the recycling robot. Taking the young and innocent Anikan away from his mother, away from his planet, away from his destiny. For what purpose? To turn him into a monster?

How can you sit there calmly, eating popcorn, and lisen to that sweet innocent voice of the young Anikan ask, "What's going to happen to me?"

I was devastated. Yes! DEVASTED! And livid to see Anikan's demise. I hated the Jedi. I hated Lucas. I hated the dumb humor that tried to make me laugh when my heart was aching for this young man torn between a lie, and yes, a lie.

I knew that someday, given enough time and experience, I would write a happier ending for Anikan. It may not be fan fiction (believe me, it's not), nor does it have anything to do with outer space or Yoda. But it does have to do with a distraught angry young man that just needs the truth handed to him in a way he can understand it.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi, you have nothing to do with this one...Out damn spot! ...unless your name is Amleth.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What's happening?

I feel like the locomotive has chugged on out of site! I'm so far ahead of everything and everyone that you'll see me standing on that little platform on the caboose waving.

I once had three books published. Then Hydra Publications downsized and gave some of their authors their rights back. And since they informed us that they aren't going to publish any new books I grabbed my rights and ideas. I've since been welcomed with open arms by PDMI Rara Avis Imprint and I am thrilled with the people and the platform.

Unfortunately the move set the books back. Rara Avis did what they could to finalize the anniversary launch of Deception Peak. They did an absolutely beautiful job too and this book is so readable! You do need to pick up a copy. The  eBook has all the images, and the paperback is gorgeous plus the short story Silvio  is included as a bonus feature.

In fact each of the books of Ian's Realm will have one of A TALE OF THE FOUR WIZARDS shorts included with it. I really...REALLY wanted you all to read those stories because they are relevant to the upcoming sequels.

Hence the locomotive.

You all know about Deception Peak, Dragon Shield and Rubies and Robbers. I've talked so much about those stories. The adventure of Ian in the Realm. What I haven't talked much about is what comes after them.

A Diary of a Conjurer is book IV. It's written and being edited now. Of course, it won't be published until the Realm Trilogy is completely launched. Diary is a story that tells the tale of Silvio, and a very special character you've already met in Ian's Realm.

After Diary...is the story of Abbott. I'm writing Abbott now and enjoying it tremendously. You'll meet the little boy Abbott in the fourth wizard tale, Reuben (which is included with Diary of a Conjurer.)

Not until Abbott is published will we get to read Cassandra's Castle. Which, by the way has already been made into a screenplay and the team (see my website) is working on filming this next year. Cassandra's Castle is finished and pretty much edited and waiting in the queue.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Thank you WIWC


I was really fortunate to participate as part of the faculty at the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference this weekend. Quite a humbling experience as I sat in on talks with some accomplished speakers such as author Karen Finnyfrock and screenwriter Hilary Weisman Graham. I helped award winning author Randall Platt with a chat house. And though I don't think I contributed more than a few words, I've had time to reflect on what I might say should I ever be asked to do my own workshop.

Looking back over the last couple of years, and it's only been two, I'm kind of amazed at the journey from beginning a really bad manuscript to finishing some fairly successful books. Amazed, and excited that I'm on a ladder with so much further to climb. And so many talented people guiding me!

I enjoyed Hilary's workshop. The interview we did with our characters was not unlike mega blogger's Kriss Morton's Fourth Wall Friday, where she has her authors step into the story and talk with one of their characters. It's a wonderful way of understanding who they are. Do you remember a while ago we had a blog hop where we did that as a group and how much fun it was? I'd love to do that again. She also gave us a scenario to put our characters in. It was fun and I may use it in my next book.

Another workshop I attended was taught by Peter Mountford. We discussed how an author can create distance with the narrator's voice.

If you are interested in furthering your career as a writer, taking your work to the next level, I highly suggest attending workshops and learning from seasoned authors. The experience is so valuable.

Wouldn't it had been wonderful if we could have sat down with someone like C.S. Lewis and heard his
advice in person?

Read C. S. Lewis'  response to letter from an American girl named Joan with advice on writing:
  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
  4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please, will you do my job for me.”
  5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
(C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children, p. 64.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Making of the Dragon Shield Trailer

I know I've talked about our Dragon Shield Trailer before, but because it's entered again in another film festival, and we're vying for the People's Choice Award, I wanted to bring up some of our work in progress snapshots and videos so you can see the effort put into this project.

It was a wet and rainy day at Point No Point. So wet, we thought we might have to call the filming off. But Robert and Stuart Odekirk traveled all the way from Preston to help us so we plodded on and fortunately the rain eased by the time we got to the lighthouse.

Alex Chandler is a college student that does cinematographer as a hobby. He's the one that filmed The Dragon Shield. Here you see him working with my grandson Isaiah. What a great coach he made, and Isaiah was pretty darn good taking directions. Maybe because he got to play hookie, not sure but I think the boy likes the idea of being an actor. He wanted to know why his character (Daryl) isn't in my next book.

Three of the dancers are my granddaughters, and the other two are their best friends and my adopted granddaughters. Equally as rainy, we filmed this scene at a friend's house. The girls were really fantastic. I'm so proud of them. Meet Kaempern dancers Jade Gaube, Autumn Gaube, Memory Hernandez, Montana Carver and Dakota Carver! 
FIlming the trailer Dec 30 2012 from Dianne Gardner on Vimeo.

Robert Odekirk is an amazing person! From jousting and training horses, acting as a stunt man in major movies, handcrafting armor for him and his horses, and leading a boyscout troop, all as hobbies because he works a full time job! Robert came in the pouring rain with his son to be in this trailer. I am just awed at the work he does! Here you see him dressing for the shot as Dad climbing the hill to meet the dragon. 

Quiet and attentive to a director's instructions, Stuart is a joy to work with. He's learning to do everything his dad does plus he plays guitar and is in a band. Right now Stuart is attending college but you'll see him soon in Cassandra's Castle. He wanted me to make sure all his fans know that yes, he DID hit that doll with the arrow! A Hungarian Longbow, by the way.

Those are all the videos I took while filming. But there's another part to this trailer and that's the music. For those who read the book, you know about the Northwind and the Songs of Wisdom. The poems in the story add a little flavor. Prophetic, lamentations. The poem that we've titled The Ballad of the Dragon Shield is the first song that Ian hears when he returns to the Realm.
 
Alas, sweet prince, our story’s long
For all the ages you’ve been gone
The dragon’s might has overcome
Our village lost to evil’s throne
Our people flee.
Our bodies bleed
Our forest cries,
Our soldiers die
Our hearts have ached our gladness yields
For thieves have seized our wondrous shield,
Thieves have seized our wondrous shield.

The Realm is in trouble.

When I wrote the songs I knew they had to have melody to them at some point. I asked Alex if he knew of anyone who sang or wrote music and he introduced me to Lexa Rose. One day after sending her the lyrics, she sent me back a recording--four part harmony--of the melody she wrote. I was flabberghasted!

We've gone on to record all the songs of the Trilogy.

That wasn't the end. All the shots had to be edited. Alex Chandler is an amazing dude! Working well into the night, and putting up with my nit picky critique (it couldn't have been easy for him!) He finally put together The Dragon Shield Trailer.


With a little ingenuity (the cave shots were photos my hubby and I took last summer at Ape Cave), some luck (really, he didn't plan that bird flying to the song!) We came up with an award winning trailer.


Maybe, with your help, we can win another award and a little pre production money for the movie Cassandra's Castle that this lovely team...and more...are commencing on filming!

Thank you for your vote!



Thursday, October 17, 2013

IMTF Entry!

The Dragon Shield Trailer has been accepted as an entry into the IMTF International Film Festival. We're looking for some votes for the People's Choice. If you like this trailer, would you please cast a vote for us?


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blog Stop today: Creating a Character

Author Michael Turner has a guest post of mine on his blog today.


Writing a novel is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together and the most difficult part is the beginning. If you’re like me you’ll take the border pieces and fit them together first because they’re the easiest to find. They have flat edges and they frame everything in. Once you have them in place you can pretty much group the other pieces by color, patterns and design and get an estimate of where they might fit in the picture.


A novel is pieced together much in the same way. You have to find the framework. I’ve heard this framework called a plumb line, and other people call it a premise. Basically, you have to ask yourself the question…what is this story going to be about?   READ MORE...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

How do Ian and Abbi feel about the new book?

Today Marian Allen has me and the kids on her blog! She asked a question I never had been asked before.


Ian Wilson1How do your main characters feel about launching day, and about launching a new edition of Deception Peak?
I thought I'd go to the source...

Me: Ian? I think this question is for you. 

Ian: Right! Well you know we’ve been through this before and personally, I mean, no offense, but...read more...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fencing!

I just found out today that my BELOVED fencing center may be closing. So I'm BESEECHING you to please help. 


I'm offering some books as perks, and if you are in the area, some free fencing lessons. Please Please help this cause. With everyone pitching in we might be able to keep the fine sport of fencing alive in this area.

I am seeing kid's lives change because of this sport. I wish that everyone would catch the fire on how elegant fencing is!


Ian's Realm Blog Schedule

Weekends Guest Posts and Guest Titles
Tuesdays Outside-In
Thursdays Art, Music. Movies