Djen in the House

Today’s post is dedicated to my friends and critique partners, Lisa Fender and Toni Burns, who have recently released their debut novel, Fable, Book 1 of the Lorn Prophecy. These sisters are taking a weekend for themselves and their families at beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado. However, they will be checking in regularly (probably from the hot springs) to reply to any questions or comments you post.

I’ve had the distinct and unique pleasure of seeing this book through to its fruition and of working with these wonderful ladies. Yet, while that only came about two years ago, I know the story of their four year journey (first Lisa on her own, and then Toni joining her for the revisions).

Fable, is a true labor of love in that, Lisa and Toni are sisters and this collaboration has brought them much closer together. Toni spoke to this at their recent launch party even after Lisa told her not to make her cry. They were joined by their cover artist, Mike Kloepfer, and the event was a great Fable Launch 078success.

Enough of the heartstrings and more about the book. I’ll let it speak for itself:

Stevie Barrett lives an ordinary life in Golden, Colorado, where nothing remarkable ever happens. That is until right before her high school graduation, when Stevie’s life takes a bizarre turn. Her best friends, Jack and Alyssa, want to be supportive, but are confused by the events plaguing Stevie.

 Stevie’s mom is attacked by men with glowing gold eyes. A strange being spies on Stevie, hidden in shadow. She has waking visions of a people called the Djen and their archaic world. And when her and her BFFs don’t think it can get any weirder, Stevie heals a stranger with a touch. The abilities build until they are a tidal wave awakening within her and threaten her sense of reality.

 Her efforts to understand what is happening lead her and her friends to discover a group known as the Rebellion. These warriors from another dimension are hunting her. Their leader is a man bent on destroying Stevie and possessing her legacy. In order to stop him and save everyone she loves, Stevie and her friends must embark on a quest to find and return Tecton, one of the five Orbs—relics—of the other plane she comes to know as Djenrye. The journey will alter everything she believes, propelling her into another world and another life.

Now, let’s hear from the authors.

RG How hard is it to maintain the ‘voice’ of the characters when you as co-authors and sisters have such distinctive voices yourselves?

Lisa: It is very hard, sometimes we have to meditate on it for a few moments to find a voice of a character. Toni is much better at it than I am. I think Colton’s voice is her masterpiece!

Toni: Now that’s funny, because I think of Colton and Stevie as having come from inside Lisa’s head. The twisted antagonist (Torren) I think was more me – only because of my love for horror and serial killer documentaries. Those tend to freak my sis out.

RG – Lol! I think I’m going to agree with Toni on that one. So ladies, how does critique play a role in helping to keep that voice and the consistency of the story?

Lisa: You and Janet are great at helping us keep that voice. I think sometimes though, you have one way of how the character should be and we have another, hence Torren, but once we explain what we’re doing you both grab the concept and keep us consistent. We appreciate your critiques and can’t see writing our books without both you and Janet involved. I guess what I’m saying is your stuck with us for the long haul!

Toni: I have to heartily second that! And, Robin, you’re twisted imagination helps us remain consistent with the creepier characters’ voices and actions.

RG –  Torren’s tough because he’s young/hurt/bitter in the novella, and older/colder/nastier in the novel. And, thanks for the compliment, Toni ;). This next question is more for Lisa although, Toni, you can chime in if you want. What prompted you to write this particular story.

Lisa: Actually, I sat down one day by myself and thought what kind of world I wanted to make. I knew I didn’t want to write about the usual Urban fantasy characters, like Vampires and Werewolves, I wanted to do something different. That’s when I came up with a take-off of the genie, or Djinni as it were. Then I wrote down everything about them I happened to look up about  Djinni lore and was amazed that some of my story was part of the lore of the Djinn. I had no idea! Anyway, the name Djenrye came from Toni. She had come over to visit one night. I told her my idea and asked how I should spell Djenrye, with a “G” or a “J” and she said why not Dj, like the Djinn. I decided to call them the Djen, instead to match the world’s name.

Toni: Robin, I ask that question all the time. I am happy to help put meat on the bones of the story, but I have to say I don’t know how my sis not only comes up with these great story lines, but keeps them straight in her head! I am in awe.

RG – Well, I think it’s Djenious!  Okay, we’ve been critiquing the novella, which continues your world building and provides some history of Djenrye. I know you’re readers are going to be extremely intrigued by Djenrye and its inhabitants the Djen, Adrone Elves, Faugns, Magi, and others. What one thing about Djenrye and/or the Djen is most fascinating to you? (BTW, there is an excerpt of the novella on Lisa’ blog of 6.14.13, see link below)

Lisa: Well, the one you didn’t mention—the Gods and Goddesses. Although, my favorite right now are the Djen. They are the main characters of the Djenrye world. The Gods won’t really come into play until the second novel.

Toni: The one thing I find the most fascinating is less with the characters, but how they came into existence. But… that won’t come to light until a later book (we have a secret – said in sing-song).

RG – Sorry, easy to skip them as they are so in the background right now. As I watched your grandchildren/great niece/nephew at the launch party, a thought occurred  to me.  You’re leaving a legacy for them. What would you say to them and your children about their dreams and aspirations?

Lisa: I say Go For It! No matter what they are, you can reach your goals if you work hard and dream big. I wish I would have started my novel writing years ago, but I guess this was the time it was supposed to happen. I hope they always remember that I did what I always dreamed of doing and they can too!

Toni: Ditto squared! I have always told my kids to do what they love and I am thrilled to be helping my sis follow that advice… now to just get me on board.

RG – I heartily agree! Here’s a question for your cover artist. Mike, what vision do you have for the upcoming novella and the second book in the series?

Lisa: Even though Mike isn’t here to answer this, (he doesn’t have access to the internet on a regular bases) I can answer this because they are my visions too . Mike puts into art the images in my head. The novella will be the sigil of Phraile Highlae, one of the cities in my world. It’s a saber-toothed tiger with a crown on its head. The crown represents the 5 Orbs, or Ortehlae in the Djen language. Each orb has a particular color, which relates to its representation.

The second novel, Lore – Book 2 of the Lorn Prophecy, is the city of Phraile Highlae, as if you were looking at it from the cliff on the opposite side of the canyon.

RG – That’s the way Stevie Barrett sees it in her visions. Perfect! Lisa and Toni, is there anything else you would like the readers to know?

Lisa: I will let Toni decide what to add here, but as for me, I’m married to a wonderful man who is completely supportive of my writing. I have two grown children, Brandie and Travis, and Brandie has given me two beautiful grandchildren, Madison and Carson. They are all the loves of my life! I am a sci-fi/fantasy nut and have never been one for chick flicks or sit-com’s on TV, although I did like MASH. I do read other genres though, such as mysteries and historical fiction. My favorite books are the Game of Thrones series, Harry Potter series, and of course, Lord of the Rings trilogy. I am a big fan of Dan Brown, Steve Barry, and John Sandford. I do not, however, like books that have become more commercial writing though, like James Patterson or Lisa Jackson. I want a book that takes me into the fiction world and into the characters minds.  I love reading, but I also love hiking and feel blessed to live in such a wonderful state as Colorado. We want to retire in the mountains.

Toni: A secret that’s not really a secret, my family calls me “Tanya”, my friends call me “Toni” and my sister gets to call me either one because she is my sis and my friend.

Front Cover for FableRG – Can I call you both too? You don’t have to answer that. Thank you, Lisa and Toni for making my blog a stop on your tour. Definitely leave comments and/or ask the authors questions. They will be checking throughout the day to reply.

You can purchase Fable in e-book or paperback, by clicking this link, at Amazon.com.

You can connect with the girls at:

Lisa’s Djen Den – http://www.lisafender.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LisaFender1 and https://twitter.com/ToniBurnsMe

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FableBookI

See you all in Djenrye! ~ RG

The Thing That Is Social Media

As a new author, I’ve been told that I need to be on social media. I get it. The way the publishing world is today, you have to be able to market yourself.

And, I am on social media. However, sometimes I feel weird blowing my own horn.

Like this guy.

So, I’m going to suck it up and play my social media tune. Here are my Facebook and Twitter links. If you’re so inclined please LIKE and FOLLOW. It’s greatly appreciated!

Facebook

Twitter

Of course, following my blog is also an accepted form of social media as well. So, feel free to do that as well.

Thank you for reading my plea and for doing any of the above. I promise not to post anything like this in the future as I feel painfully guilty doing it.

Does anyone else have a problem with this?

Yours in shameless self promotion,

RG

As 2012 Winds Down

Thank you

It’s almost the end of 2012. At twelve a.m. Tuesday morning, in your particular time zone, people all over your country and all over the world will yell, scream, whisper, murmur and even silently welcome in 2013, the New Year. There will be fireworks, champagne, handshakes, hugs, and kisses.

Before all that happens, I want to be thankful for a few things.

First–my family. Thankful for all of them and their love and support. Thankful that my son has taken a leap of faith to start a new job that will allow him to explore his creativity and allow for friends and family. Thankful that my daughter has decided to give her school experience another chance and that she’s made good friends that will help her endure. I feel that the new year will be really good for both of them and I hope they go into it with positive determination and attitudes.

Second–my friends. Old and new. Those close and far away. The ones I know face-to-face and those I only know virtually. You all rock! Thank ty friendsyou for your support, your friendship, for holding me in your thoughts and prayers. Blessings to all of you in the new year. May it bring health, happiness, love, and prosperity to each and everyone of you.

Third–the random things.

Thank you to the postal clerk who helped me on Christmas Eve. I don’t know your name, but thank you from the bottom of my heart. When I discovered my daughter’s Christmas package was returned because the customs slip came off, this man made sure that it got back into the system that night. I hope his Christmas was great and that his new year is better.

To all those people in the drive through at Starbuck’s–you know who you are–the ones that buy coffee and sometimes more for the person behind you. Not just you, but all the people who practice random acts of kindness every day, those of you who make someone else smile and feel happy, even if it’s for a moment. That moment, or day, or week, or however long it lasts, is so beneficial. I hope in the new year that you see that paid forward, or continue the practice, or  that it is reciprocated on you.

Thank you to my critique partners (Lisa, Janet), critique group (RMFW-Tues/Thurs), and writing group (GWWG). You are the reason I get better, gratitudethe reason I’m published, and one of  the reasons I keep writing. Also, all of the writing friends (too many to name) I’ve met through contacts and various social media. I hope the new year sees you finish a manuscript, getting published, and having success. And, to Jessica Coleman of Darker Times Fiction for publishing my short stories. Best wishes to all of you.

Thank you to the many (again, too many to name) who are keeping me in mind every time you hear of a job I might be qualified for, and those (Jeremy, Mindy, Bill) who hold a position for me in your busy season should I not find that permanent position.

I’m sure there are other people that I need to thank. My daughter’s flat mates, my son’s friends, and the fact there is now enough snow for my husband to enjoy his skiing. And I thank God for seeing me through this far.

For all of you, everyone who reads this, I wish you a healthy, happy, loving, prosperous, and outstanding New Year! Blessings to each and everyone of you in 2013!

RGTY


If You’re Reading This . . .

. . .then the Mayans were wrong. Honestly, there’s probably another stone page to that calendar that hasn’t been unearthed yet.

Okay, be honest. How many of you were going around yesterday with the words to ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It‘ stuck in your heads? I’ll raise my hand first and only because it was kinda fun to do so.

All this end of the world stuff and recent tragedies got me to thinking . . .

Then, the other day, a friend posted on Facebook that she was consoling her son because he was upset he couldn’t make a snow angel before school. I posted back that there would be more snow after school.

But afterward I had change of heart . . .

What does it hurt to let a child make a snow angel before school?

Yes, he might get a little wet. Yes, there may be a time issue. But, he’ll dry and I’m betting a teacher would understand a few minutes of time for such a beautiful act.

If your children (within reason) want to finger paint naked, slide down the stairs in their sleeping bags, dance on the coffee table, make snow angels before school, or snow men, or snow forts–let them. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow or the next day, etc. Support your children’s dreams (again, within reason), listen to them, let them fall, because they will, and be there to pick them up. If your kids want singing lessons, or art supplies, or dance lessons instead of sporting equipment, let them and vice versa.

Let them shine!

Because, even though the end of the world didn’t happen on 12/21/12, you don’t know when the world as you know it might.

candles burning3

For the people in Newtown, CT, at Columbine, the Aurora theatre, Virginia Tech, and so on, I’m sure it felt like the end of their world.

Keep a special place in your hearts for those who have lost loved ones (that would be about everyone) this Holiday Season. Hug and kiss your kids even if they think it’s mushy.

Have a Merry/Happy Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year!

RG

Matthew 24:36

Farewell, but not Goodbye

Recently I bid a fond farewell to my friend and writer’s coach, Janet Roots. She is returning to the land of her birth, England and will be near my daughter, who is in Wales. This is not goodbye as we plan to keep in touch through the ether.

I met Janet when I attended a MeetUp.com group she started called the Golden Wannabe Writer’s Group in Golden, Colorado. I had just started jotting down ideas for a book when the invite popped up in my e-mail. I had other such invites, but none had felt as right as this one, so I attended the first meeting. That was in June of 2010 and I stuck with this group right up to our last meeting with Janet.

Over the almost two and a half years I’ve known her she has encouraged me, mentored me, taught me the writing craft (still learning), introduced me to my first critique partner, and became my friend. I’ve met some wonderful people through the group, some of which have become good friends and all of whom make me a better writer.

As I said before, this is not goodbye. Our little group wants to stay in touch. To do so, we created a Facebook group and we’ll meet once a month at our regular haunt, Bean Fosters. When Janet is settled in England, we will Skype her into our meetings. We hope to still offer the support each of us needs to reach our goals, whether they be to write and get published, to write for ourselves, or to find out if writing is our thing.

I’ve made other acquaintances in the UK. Some are my daughter’s new friends and others are fellow writers whom I’ve met through blogging, Twitter, and Facebook. I hope to be able to visit in the near future and meet them face-to-face.

Until then,
I wish Janet all the best and I’ll be in touch!

I’m Watching You

I have been all over the page lately. My brain on overdrive.

Maybe it’s the change in weather.

Maybe it’s the month.

Maybe it’s just that my imagination feeling rather hyper.

The way my brain feels.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little review piece to further send the synapses into acceleration.

Anyone know John Reeves? No? Well, you should.

He’s the hero of an action/thriller series by Kirkus MacGowen. The book I’m going to talk about in this post is Wrath, the second book in the series. The first one is The Fall of Billy Hitchings if you want to read them in order.

Wrath picks up with John Reeves return to his hometown where he’s dealing with a little bad family blood, working with an accountant and wannabe, although inept, private detective, and a vengeful, psychopathic, serial killer.

Wrath is a visceral read. It makes you feel the action and some of it doesn’t feel that great if you’re a little squeamish. I found myself drawn in with most of my senses, the descriptions acutely visual.

The one issue I had with it was I wanted a little more John Reeves. This book dealt with his relationship to his ‘estranged’ brother and I felt there was enough of the brother, but not quite enough of John. If you read both books, you’ll see what I mean.

However, that one issue doesn’t keep me from giving Mr. MacGowen’s book a huge thumbs up. I’m looking forward to reading the next John Reeves adventure.

The psychotic in this novel got my appetite ready for the Halloween season. The next two reviews are witchy in nature. Although both have a little vamp and ‘other’ supernatural in the mix.

First is A Discovery of Witches, a supernatural tale woven by Deborah Harkness.

Diana is reluctant to embrace her witch heritage, but when the historian of alchemy stumbles on a ancient manuscript that only       opens for her, the supernatural world around her closes in.

Deborah Harkness creates a rich world of witches, vampires and daemons in this book, the first of three. I did not want to put this                    down. It kept me engrossed and pulled me from England to France to New York and then into time itself where it left me, anxiously waiting for more.

I guess I have to get the next book, huh?

Next is The Forever Girl: Sophia’s Journey by Rebecca Hamilton.

This was an intriguing read about a young Wiccan who discovers that she’s a descendant of elemental witches and a forever girl. I’m not going to go into all that because I want you to read and find out for yourself.

There is mystery aplenty in Ms. Hamilton’s first book of the series. Cruors (vampiric beings), Strigoi (shifters), and many more paranormal beings. There’s also an unsolved murder or two.

This is more of a YA or New Adult read, but I enjoyed it immensely. I did have one issue. The ending. I wish it had left me with a stronger feeling that there is more to come. It did and it didn’t, so I would be okay if it was a stand alone or a series. Since it’s billed as Book #1, then it needs to be a little more leading.

That’s it for book reviews. I would like to throw in a theatrical review even thought the musical is ending this week.

I recently saw a production of Three Penny Opera at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, Colorado. I just want to say Bravo! Also, if you love the arts in any way, shape, or form, check out your local theatre productions. The big stage is not the only place to see excellent theatre. Support the little guy.

Well, I succeeded in throwing my head into a more frenetic tail spin. Anyone have something they’d like to recommend?

If at first…try, try again.

Hello,

I’m back.

The heading on this post is something my parents always told us growing up. I’m not sure where the quote is from…actually (after looking it up) The proverb has been traced back to ‘Teacher’s Manual’ (1840) by American educator Thomas H. Palmer and ‘The Children of the New Forest’ (1847) by English novelist Frederick Maryat (1792-1848). “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

The past month has been full of good news, bad news and all sorts of business.

Prior to my last post, my friend and critique partner’s father died. Right after that, my daughter graduated from University of Wyoming with a BFA in Theatre & Dance, Technical Theatre-concentration, Lighting Design. About four days after that, she found out that she was accepted to The Royal Welsh College of Drama & Music, into their MA program for Theatre Design.

Up until recently, I was working two jobs. It was as if I had no time to do anything other than work and sleep. My writing suffered from this as well as life in general. Last Thursday, my temporary contract ran out with one of the jobs. So, I’m down to one job, with a weird schedule, and it’s seasonal to boot. I’m looking for something permanent, full-time, because I’m not being supported by my writing yet and one paycheck in the household doesn’t cut it.

I attended the memorial and life celebration of John Wright, my friend Lisa’s father. Complete with clown noses to remember his love of performing that role. He has a beautiful family that will carry on his legacy.

Last Wednesday, another dear friend, Ava, lost a parent. Her mother gave up her struggle with age and is now singing arias with the angels. We will miss you Lucille ‘Loretta’ Ruby Curry. You were a class act and a dear lady. I attended her beautiful  memorial and celebration of life. The reception featured a slide show with music from operas and musicals that she performed in, in New York, Denver, and Central City.

Now my life will consist of looking for that permanent job, finding scholarships and grants to help fund my daughter’s tuition, getting her ready to leave home to study in the UK, and last, but certainly not least, writing.

Yes, I’m determined to get this first novel revised and ready. To flesh out the other two, whose ideas and scenes are waiting patiently in notebooks to be typed in. Today is the first time I’ve set down to simply write, in a while. Yea!

I’m also asking for the support of family and friends. I need feedback, I need encouragement, I need support and to know that someone out there wants to read my work. I can’t tell you how writing makes me feel. Just know that this is something that makes me really happy. To weave a tale in my head and put it on paper. To have characters take on a life of their own and start telling me where they want to go. To have a manuscript that is complete, although it needs revision, is the biggest high.

Now, to take all the hand edited pages and apply them to the pages in my computer. Also, work on a suggestion from my writing coach that will help with my revisions.

I’m going to write now. You my ask yourself, “Isn’t that what she’s been doing on this blog?” Well, yes, but it’s not my book.

Until next time…

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