Family Matters

I spent hours trying to write a blog post about family for this week. Hours. And in the end, I realized that the question is too important to me to try to fit all of my thoughts into one blog post. I don’t just have words on the topic of family—I have worlds on it. So that’s what I’m going to talk about here.

When you focus on your characters enough—on not just who they are in the events of the story, but who they were before and who they will be afterwards—they come alive in you. You remember family barbecues that never happened, with people who don’t exist having arguments that left you feeling vulnerable, and rivalries between siblings who were born only in your subconscious.

Continue reading “Family Matters”

Remembering Challenger

A while back, I blogged about watching the first space shuttle launch while standing in a small patch of trees lining the water across from Cape Canaveral. I had no idea what my dad was so excited about or why he kept making us look at the island across the way so we didn’t miss anything. When the shuttle launched and we watched it with our own eyes—striving for the sky, reaching for space in a way no one had ever reached before—I understood. It was an amazing experience, and one I’m extremely grateful for.

I was also living in Florida when we lost Challenger. Continue reading “Remembering Challenger”

A “Luminous” Post

I make it no secret that I am friends with A.E. Ash. I’ve already mentioned her once here in this space. We share our writing journeys with each other as well as the day-to-day realities of our existence. Having a writing buddy has been invaluable—someone to share challenges, epiphanies, doubts, and achievements.

She’s been doing some great stuff, like the amazing poem she published with Strange Horizons late last year. It is one of my favorites that she’s shared with me (yes, I sometimes get sneak peeks of poems! 😀 ). You can imagine how incredibly happy I am to see her latest published piece, Luminous, doing so well! It’s a short story published by Book Smugglers Publishing.

Luminous is a scifi romance about a fallen star at the end of his existence taking on human form and a woman who’s been marooned on a planet that was being terraformed just as a war broke out. She’s been doing her job every day, gathering samples and sending in reports, but hasn’t heard back from anyone in nine years. Whenever I think about this, her isolation hits me hard every. single. time.

The prose is of course rich with poetic descriptions, the setting is the perfect backdrop for the characters and story, and the themes are powerful and moving. I was reminded at times of my favorite Greek myth, Bacchus and Philemon. Luminous has that kind of enduring feel to me. I love how the story reminds readers that growing old does not mean becoming obsolete, and that comfort and companionship can come from the most unexpected of places.

As I understand it, Luminous will be available for free on The Book Smugglers’ site on July 21, but you can buy it now on Amazon if you can’t wait.

Writing can be a lonely journey, and I am triply blessed not to be on this path alone. Having A.E. to talk to has helped make the dark times more bearable and the bright times more luminous 😀 I wish all of my writer friends continued success at all their various stages of development, and hope that our readers find lovely gems like this one to enjoy!

Wandering Soul Backstory – Winston

One of the most beloved characters in Wandering Soul is Winston. He’s in charge of Elsa’s house—ordering groceries online, hiring and overseeing cleaning and gardening crews, and taking care of the cooking and laundry. On paper, his job is listed as “butler”, but he thinks of himself as Elsa’s caretaker. She thinks of him as family.

From the very beginning, they shared a special bond. When they met, it was as if they could feel the future of their relationship, like the ripples spreading out from a pebble dropped in a still pond. Their meeting was beautiful and took them both by surprise. I’d like to share that unguarded moment with you.

Continue reading “Wandering Soul Backstory – Winston”

A Season of Light, A Season of Darkness

I love that so many cultures celebrate light during the darkest days of winter. We string up electric lights, snuggle near fireplaces, and gather around the hearth to share food, drink, and stories of our experiences.

A few years ago, I realized that people often overlook the darkness surrounding them in the colder months, and the gifts it brings. Restfulness, sleep, and dreams are all helped by darkness. Sitting in a pitch-black room, the darkness is almost palpable. Without sound or light vying for my attention, my mind has a blank canvas to project perceptions onto. The inky void around me feels like it goes on forever, and my imagination ignites.

Rilke said it best:

rilke_you_darkness

Starting with Love

Before I can really dive into the plot of a new project, I usually need to map out the relationship between the hero and heroine. Once I have a handle on what obstacles they’re facing, the very compelling reasons they have to surmount those obstacles, and how and when they’re going to overcome them, the rest of the story comes together much more smoothly. This also helps me to keep my focus where it needs to be – on the characters.

When I read or write a book, I’m most interested in the characters. I need a vehicle into the story, a narrator that I can relate to on some level, no matter how small. World building is fun, and I can get lost in the details of a new universe for weeks. But I can never let my readers get lost in those worlds. It’s my job to guide them through the sights, and for that, I need to create characters the readers enjoy spending time with (even if they spend much of that time yelling at them to admit they’re in love with each other already!).