Friday, July 26, 2013

On Writing Melia: The Freedom of Flight

When you write a story, when you create a character, what subconscious influences are at work?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that I grew up listening to the John Denver song The Eagle and The Hawk over and over and over again. Now, discussing the power and freedom symbolized by flight—specifically, the flight of the majestic eagle—with a reader, my memory offers up this song like a gift.

And as I listen to the rhythm like a heart beating hope, and the chords layering a known but impossible to describe revelation, along with John Denver's soaring vocals, I think…maybe…maybe this is why Melia is an eagle.

Maybe this is why she flies.

And maybe this is why choosing between freedom and true love is so difficult her.
And I find myself pushing play… over and over and over again.

Just like when I was child.

Just like when I hoped.

Just like when I dreamed… of so many things.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Booklicker: W...W...W... Wednesday

The Booklicker: W...W...W... Wednesday: My Take [on True Love's First Kiss]:

This book is different than any other book I've ever read, and as we book-lovers know different is good. When I read it it's like I'm sucked into a world that's magical and enchanting. I'm also reading this book for a blog tour, my review and an excerpt will be up on the 9th of August if you're interested to know more about this book and to have a taste of what this book has in store for you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bristles Aside, The Porcupine is a Harmless Creature

I finish reading Butterfly Porcupine by Susan Francis. My response to this book baffles me. As someone who writes I can get picky about stupid things. In the beginning, so much exposition. That's what I'm thinking. Then those back and forth scenes between Tasha and Kai that cover the same ground. I'm like, hmm. Finally, the prologue—okay, I confess—doesn't thrill me, but there's that interesting point about Natasha (Tasha) Wood growing up in Trinidad.

What can I say, I love reading about foreign countries even if I've never had a chance to travel there, maybe more so when I've never had a chance to travel there. Other cultures fascinate me.

Gradually, this book sucks me right in. I finish it in about twenty-four hours spread over two days…

The first thing that hooks me is the rhythm. It's steady, but not heavy or droning. Something like a flutter, maybe a heartbeat. Whatever, it's sheer reading pleasure, this rhythm. Everything paced, even, nothing rushed.

Tasha grows on me. She's not easy to get to know. She's a bit sensitive, self-conscious, very reserved. By the time my kindle is showing 40% I'm wondering why I have to read Kai's bits.

Then somewhere along the way I stop being irritated when their points of view cover the same ground.

When did that happen?

Not sure.

There are thoughtful, insightful perspectives woven into the story. How teenagers segregate themselves, how they deal with their problems in constructive and not so constructive ways, how they self-destruct and re-construct themselves, how they reveal themselves. And I really like that these two teenagers, Tasha and Kai, have families with problems. Broken families functioning as best as they can, and yet as-best-as-they-can wears on everyone involved.

My favorite part of the book is the very last section of Chapter Thirty-Three. I won't give it away because it's the end—right before the epilogue. A big smile burst on my face and I got a little chill.



I love love love how the quotes for Part One and Part Two pull the story together in a poetic way along with that intriguing title: Butterfly Porcupine.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fangirling Dexter: Episode 8.04 Scar Tissue

So everyone knows production wrapped for Dexter forever on July 10. Sob. And that it wasn't nominated for a single Emmy. Boo. And the cast was at Comic Con this past week. Yay.
But did you know that tonight's episode, 8.04 Scar Tissue, was the best episode EVER? I've already watched it twice. I was so riveted and freaked out. I screamed. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

The opening scenes with Deb and Dr. Vogel in the shipping crate—besides being incredibly intense—tied everything up with a huge bow. Dexter's origins, Deb's choice, Dr. Vogel's unapologetic obsession.

Pretty awesome.

And then came the scenes with Dexter and Dr. Vogel where he got angry with her. And everyone watching knew: She just doesn't get Dexter and Deb.
But you get the feeling that by the end of Season 8, she will.
I didn't see the end of this episode coming. At all. Maybe I should have. My husband predicted  Deb would commit suicide—like Harry. But I was like, No Way! Then there was that scene with Quinn. But the way Scar Tissue really ended freaked me out. And next episode's previews—couples counseling—can't wait to see Dexter mad at Deb.

Interesting Fact: I agree that one of the strengths of Dexter has always been the writing, but I never knew that—unusual for television—50% of the show's writers were women.

Fangirling Pick of the Week: The Dexter Panel at San Diego Comic-Con

And of course…we're all waiting for Hannah!
Michael C. Hall quotes: 
"I think I really need to focus on some rituals to get out of character."—SDCC panel

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Siege Perilous Talks Indie Fantasy & Science Fiction

Are you a fan of fantasy and science fiction? Are you an indie author of fantasy and science fiction?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you might be interested in learning more about The Siege Perilous, a roundtable of four reviewers who review the works of indie fantasy and science fiction authors. I can't remember how I stumbled upon their first podcast/review of Unicorn Western, but by the time I was finished listening to the hour-long podcast (which is also available on iTunes) I was hooked. The roundtable discussion by reviewers Eric Guindon, Ted Whitemell, Jason Helferty, and Val, was lively, humorous, and thorough.

With both trepidation and hope, I submitted Queen of the Realm of Faerie Book 1 for their review. After some time, I was notified that the podcast review of Nandana's Mark (now the first part of Half Faerie) had been completed and posted. I mentally prepared myself for a listen. While the roundtable didn't fail to point out what they felt were shortcomings in the novel, they also highlighted some of the aspects of the story that are precious to me as a writer: the unique cosmology and original storyline.

I was thrilled to survive The Siege Perilous.

Curious about how it all began, I contacted the show's host and creator, Eric Guindon. He shared his purpose for creating the show and its evolution.

"The podcast got started shortly after I began my foray into self-publishing. I saw how hard it was to get yourself noticed as a self-published author first hand. I created the podcast to remedy the situation for as many of the good self-published authors as I could. I reached out to my friends and acquaintances who like to read the sci-fi and fantasy genres and they generously agreed to be guests.

"I thought a long time about the format I wanted to use. It was important to me that the podcast only do positive reviews. If a book is submitted to us but we don't think it deserves three grails (our stars) or more, we'll not review it. We don't want to bring negative notice to any authors. The author interview idea came later when I thought it would be nice to make the podcast more of a cross between a reviews podcast and a book club. With the interviews we can give more exposure to the author and get to know where their coming from. It also give the listeners a chance to get to know the person behind the book; which I think is important.

"What I hadn't planned on was that doing the podcast is actually good fun."

A few weeks after the roundtable review of Nandana's Mark was posted, I had the opportunity to discuss the book in a companion episode with the reviewers. It was indeed a lot of fun.

The Roundtable:

The host, Eric Guindon, is an IT professional who has always loved reading fiction, especially science-fiction and fantasy. His love of reading is only exceeded by his desire to write fiction as good as he has read. He shares his life with his wife Kathryn and daughter ZoĆ© -- not to mention a host of pets, including his dog, Thor, and three cats. Eric is the author of The Reluctant Messiah, An Unexpected Apocalypse, False Messiah, Seven Tribes: The Spear's Point, and A Wizard's Life: Apprentice.

Ted Whitmell is a Science Fiction and Fantasy fan with a literature degree and a technical background. He hopes to someday find time to write his own grail-worthy fiction.

Jason Helferty spends his days working for the federal government in Ottawa, Canada, and his nights as an avid gamer playing all kinds of games, from FPS’ to RPGs, and taking care of his new baby girl. His favourite genres of fiction are fantasy and sci fi.

Valerie “Val” spent her high school years in an intensive writing program at an arts high school. She followed this by a degree in Art History and then a Masters in Communciation Studies. She currently earns her wages as a technical writer and editor for the federal government of Canada. In her spare time, she is an avid reader of blogs and novels, with a passion for new media. She is also a sleep deprived new mom, learning the ins and outs of parenting.

Friday, July 12, 2013

On Writing Half-Mortal: Who is Lola?

When I began writing Daughter of Light series, I fell in love with the concept of half-faeries, or mortals with faerie blood. I imagined these people as more attuned to the intangible realities that surround, vibrate, and penetrate the mortal plane. I also imagined (inspired by existing faerie literature) that as humanity has progressed through the industrial and technological age, mortals have become unable to see full-blood faeries. However, that isn't the case for half-faeries.

Half-faeries in the mortal world—beings with a mix of mortal and faerie blood—can see faeries just fine in the 21st century.  They're the only ones who can. What a divide. To see faeries and be the only one among billions on our planet to do so. I imagined full-blood mortals would suspect and, perhaps accuse, insanity.

This is the root of the symbolism of one of the characters I'm developing for Half-Mortal. Lola is a half-faerie, the daughter of Gabriela and mother of Jade. Each of these women has come to terms with their ability to see full-blood faeries in a distinct way.
Gabriela, abandoned by her full-blood faerie mother and raised in a rural Texas community in the early 1900s, grew up isolated from anyone who might have helped her come to terms with her ability to see creatures from another realm. She shuns the faeries she sees as evil spirits. However, as we shall see in Half-Mortal, her daughter Lola takes a very different path. As will her granddaughter, Jade.

Years ago, I stumbled on this song by Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne." I heard it as the mourning of a love lost. A man fell in love with a woman who carried him to another plane of existence. In the moment, the transportation thrilled him, but he ultimately rejects both her and the journey she might take him on.

Whenever I hear the song's lyrics, I can't help but imagine a husband or lover who can't reconcile the magical perspective his love brings him with the limitations of his own ability to perceive. Thus he abandons her, even as he will always long for her. This particular version performed by Cohen in 2008 is so perfect, the old man reflects.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever...

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway: 10 Print Editions of True Love's First Kiss

The Goodreads Giveaway for 10 print editions of True Love's First Kiss is on! This is a big, beautiful book—696 pages—priced at $18.99 on Amazon.

About True Love's First Kiss~

True Love's First Kiss is a journey of self-discovery in a fantastical world. It’s also quirky and whimsical, as well as dark. And it’s epic, but it all starts with one half-faerie and her best friend, a pixie. It's ideal for the reader who loves getting lost in a big, thick book with an intriguing cosmology. 

About the series~

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie is a fairy tale fantasy series that bridges the Mortal and Enchanted worlds. The main character, Melia, is an eighteen-year-old half-faerie, half-mortal.

When the story opens in the first book, Melia is troubled by her dark moon visions, gossip she overhears about her parents at the local market, and the trauma of living among full-blooded faeries with wings--she doesn't have any.

As the series unfolds, the historic and mystical forces that shape Melia's life are revealed. Each step of her journey--to find the place where she belongs--alters her perceptions about herself, deepens her relationships with others, and enlarges her world view.

True Love's First Kiss is a compilation of the first three books in this ongoing series.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

True Love's First Kiss by Heidi Garrett

True Love's First Kiss

by Heidi Garrett

Giveaway ends August 09, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fangirling Dexter: A Sympathetic Serial Killer…Right...

I've been a fan of Dexter since I discovered the series on a desperate Netflix hunt years ago. I wanted to find a series, and Dexter kept coming up in my searches. Once I read the description and realized that it was about a serial killer—a sympathetic serial killer no less, right… and that all the red on the cover was blood, I was like, eww, no way am I going to watch a series about a serial killer.

Gratuitous violence, uh-huh.

I don't think I would have ever ordered the discs if I could have found anything else to watch, but I couldn't. So it was one of those WTF moments.

I was so hooked.
I love dark, dry humor.
Dexter is loaded with that and so much more.

Recently, I wrote a guest post about my top 10 favorite TV shows. Dexter, of course, made the list, because it's not just Dexter. Debra. Debra. Debra. Dexter's foster sister is a magnet from the moment she utters her first off-screen expletive in Season 1, Episode 1.
"Dex, please, pretty f@%king please with cheese on top."

And then Dexter's monologue continues…

That's my foul-mouthed foster sister, Debra. She has a big heart but won't let anyone see it. She's the only person in this world who loves me.
I think that's nice.
I don't have feelings about anything, but if I could have feelings at all, I'd have them for Deb.

We mailed back Season 1 and watched Season 2 in about 24 hours. Finished about 6 am in the morning. Couldn't stop watching Lila—or Dexter wrestling with his dark passenger 12-step program style.

Then we were stuck, waiting…for Season 3. And since then, every year, I'm embarrassed to admit how much I look forward to Dexter.

What's the hook?

Dexter is complex, layered, well-written, and deeply psychological. Aware of his dark side, he's a Peter Sellers Being There-like chameleon.

Debra is his light. A strobe light, a lava lamp, and sometimes just a flashlight that needs batteries, but she has depended on her big brother, counted on him, hoped for him, and believed in him all her life.

When she was sucked into his darkness in Season 7, the finale had me frantic. Would the series violate what I loved most about the show? Would Debra slither down Dexter's dark rabbit hole and drop into his abyss?

Thank god the answer was no.

In Season 8, Episode 1, we learn that she's found her own abyss.

And that felt real and true. I was so relieved. But when Charlotte Rampling came on the screen I almost peed my pants. In that moment, I knew Dexter wasn't going to let us down. Season 8 is going to be epic. And I decided I wanted to do a little fangirling to celebrate.

Forty-five minutes until Episode 2.

But who's watching the clock?

Fangirling pick of the week: Jennifer Carpenter's Interview on the Season 8, Episode 1 "A Beautiful Day" Wrap-Up podcast.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Does it Sparkle and Rush and Gurgle?

At the same time that the world of Little, Big turns melancholy, the mosquitos arrive, uninvited to my garden party. While the littles abduct Lilac, my palm smashes petite bloodsuckers.

Some readers say nothing happens in this story.

"…and almost nothing happens."
"I was bored out of my mind."
"It was too long and too boring."
"I tried to read this but just couldn't slog my way through it."
"I'm someone who always finishes a book, but this one was impossible."

Not me, I'm hooked. As lost and enchanted at Edgewood as Violet's descendants.

And things do happen.

Smoky is cured of his anonymity—he marries Daily Alice Drinkwater and they… aren't the only ones who have children.
The tale's shepherd, Mrs. Underhill is mysteriously installed beneath the knoll—her home proper, within the roots of an oak and thorn in deep embrace.
Doc writes animal stories—one every day. (Of course he talks to them.)
Cloud reads those tarot cards—the Lesser Trumps.
The city mouse's house decays and regenerates into the Old Law Farm.
And Auberon, the youngest of Smoky's children, is found by Sylvie—who doesn't quite grasp the boundaries of her love's imaginary study.
Probably because, well, Sylvie, she has her Destiny.

Does it ramble? Does it meander? Does it sparkle and rush and gurgle?
Yes; yes; yes and yes and yes.

It's a river running, fraught with magic.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Will You Come to the Party?

I'm reading Little, Big by John Crowley. I'm so enamored of this book. Every time I pick it up I want to step outside in a drop-waist dress (print with tiny flowers) and straw hat. Perhaps a pair of lace gloves, but definitely with bare feet. A garden party is called for. Stretched out on a chaise lounge, spreading my toes. Drinking tea from a glass teacup. With a saucer. I imagine Cloud sitting next to me with her tarot cards, smoking one of those brown cigarettes (downwind, of course).
In the backyard, where the grass is long and weeds ferocious, is that flick in the corner of my eye a butterfly or—racing heart hoping—someone Little?

I can't say enough good things about the prose. Be assured though, Little, Big is not for the dilettante reader. Only the truly avid bibliophile should come to the party. First impressions are of a sedate gathering, but the attuned will soon snap to the humor that presses out from all sides. As the sun sets beyond the white fence, dusk vibrates with laughter. I turn the pages and smile. It's all so clever I can hardly stand it.