Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Make sure to wear green, or you'll get pinched (that's what happens in my house)!
By the way, don't forget to check out DAY ONE and DAY TWO of this challenge, if you missed them.
So, today's challenge is: a trope in your genre that gets on your nerves.
I'll be honest; I had to look up what "trope" meant.
Trope - a: a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech
Ooookay. A cliche! I got it now. Why didn't you just say so?
So, what is a cliche in my genre (fantasy) that gets on my nerves? I have no idea. Cliches very, very rarely get on my nerves. There is something about the predictable that makes it familiar, like an old friend, and I like that.
Thinking about it now, there is one cliche in fantasy that, only recently, I have come to find a little annoying. It is the super strong, tough, battle hardened, young female characters.
In most of the fantasy books I have read, the female characters are either warriors, assassins, mages, barbarians, or some other type of Xena Warrior Princess or Red Sonja "bad-A". Plus, they are always young and hot. Now, I'm not saying that tough, young, hot chicks are bad or unrealistic. I'm a tough, young, hottie if I say so myself, but not all women are young, hot warriors. Some are gentle and delicate - the healer, and the priestess. Some are quiet, regal, and proud - the queen, the duchess, and the farmer's wife. Some are fun-loving and flirty - the bar maid, the gypsy girl, and the merchant's daughter. And don't forget about the sassy boss - the cook, the store keeper's wife, and the governess. Not all women are Xena warrior princess, or Lessa the dragon rider, or Arya the elfin princess. Also, battle hardened warriors are definitely NOT young and hot. They are beautiful in their own way, but they have many scars and they are tired and worn thin, because they have seen many, many gruesome battles.
The only reason this cliche has started to bug me is because of the reviews a friend was getting on his first book (The Heroes of Ravenford by F.P. Spirit). I LOVED his book. I adore one of the female characters introduced in it. But many of the reviewers who read it were upset because of the "lack of strong female characters".
Excuse me? What in the cube kingdom of gelatinous are you talking about? What happened to the "stop using cliches" sermon?
Everyone wants "fresh content", but as soon as one of their favorite cliches are avoided, they throw a fit.
I guess what actually gets on my nerves in the fantasy genre is the readers. Authors are always getting preached at to create original stories free of cliches. But then they get bashed if they publish a book without cliches.
Shut up, you picky readers! Either read the book and enjoy it, or go write your own. Then let's see how well you handle criticism from other readers like yourself who love/hate/love/hate/love/hate cliches.
OH! And one other thing that annoys me about the fantasy genre: NOT ENOUGH DRAGONS.
When I read a fantasy book, and there aren't any dragons, I feel just like this chick from Game of Thrones:
Don't forget to check out The Writing Challenge - Day One.
Today's challenge: a one sentence summary of your current WIP (work in progress).
Oh boy. Let me see. How do I put this?
The witch did not really die at the hands of the hero and has possessed an important character, causing the dragons and the giants to emerge from hiding and help the Dragon's Son stop her before she summons an ancient demon and starts a world war.
Can you guess which book it is that I am working on? That's right: book #3 in Tales of the Wovlen.
Now, I will leave you to fret about your favorite characters because, yes, they are in peril and, yes, some of them are going to die!
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
I was challenged on Facebook by a fellow author to do a 30 day writing challenge. I read through the challenge list and accepted it, but instead of doing 30 days of Facebook status updates, I am going to make 30 blog posts. If I do one a week, that will be 30 weeks of writing themed blog posts.
Here is the challenge list:
Day 1 is a one sentence summary of the first story you ever wrote.... Well, in this instance, it will have to be the first story I can remember writing. I wrote lots of stories as a kid, but I can't remember what they were all about.
So, here goes: a special girl, called Raina Morning Star, is rescued from drowning and taken in by a merchant family who live in a land where dinosaurs are a common everyday sight and form of transportation.
There you have it!
It was a pretty cool story idea, but the plot never took off in my head. I still love the ideas that I had for the dinosaurs, though. I'll put them into a story some day.
I didn't really know what to post about today, so I thought I would just post a few writing prompts.
What is a writing prompt? (Believe it or not, I have actually heard that question a few times.)
A writing prompt is an idea to get you started writing.
My favorite prompts are for books and stories, but you can find writing prompts for nearly anything. If you use them for writing stories, you can find them in just about every genre - fantasy, science fiction, romance, etc.
Today, I am going to share a few writing prompts that I made. You can find more of them on my website under WRITING PROMPTS.
As you will notice, my obsession with dragons carries on into my writing prompts (and everything else I do, to be honest).
I want to hear the songs of the Wovlen.
Who are the Wovlen? They are a group of people I created. Keegan, the hero in my series (Tales of the Wovlen) is a Wovlen. If you would like to learn more about them, you can check out their page on my website: The Wovlen (it even has a pronunciation guide to help you, because I know you are trying to figure out how to say it right now...).
The Wovlen have a complicated history and culture. And, yes, they even have their own folk songs and lore. You can read some of their songs on my website: Legends and Lore from Tales of the Wovlen.
I would love nothing more than to hear the songs of the Wovlen playing on my computer. I want to actually hear someone put them to music and sing them.
The songs I have written are really only poems. Out of all of my poems, only four of them have a tune that I came up with to sing them to. And of those tunes.... well... dang-it Jim, I'm an author, not a musician! So they aren't very good.
One of my favorite YouTube artists is Karliene. She has a whole playlist to herself on my YouTube, which you can listen to HERE (and I do suggest you listen to at least a few of them).
I love her voice. It's haunting, but still human. The way she composes her music and sings her songs - her style - is exactly what I hear when the Wovlen people sing me a song in the dead of night. Their haunting melodies never stay with me (I forget them by morning), but they force me to wake up and write them down before I forget the words.
If I could choose anyone in the world to sing the songs of the Wovlen, I would choose Karliene... no offence to any of my musician friends. I love you and your music. Don't ever forget that. If you want to put my poems to music, go ahead! But, since none of you have done so yet......
I told my family about my fascination with Karliene's voice and that I feel her voice is perfect for the Wovlen songs.
They suggested I contact her about it.
They think it would be awesome if she made an entire album of Wovlen songs. They believe it would be a win/win for both Karliene and I - she would make money on the songs and album, and I would profit from the extra publicity.
I, on the other hand, have this thing about contacting people (celebrities...cough, cough). I don't feel like I should message or call them out of the blue and ask them for stuff. It makes me feel like a pest, or one of those creepy people that we have all been warned about...
Okay, no. That's not the real reason. I am afraid of being rejected. Plain and simple.
I would rather approach the gal with money and offer her a paying job. I feel that, if I had money to offer, she'd at least take me seriously... and I'd take myself more seriously too.
Alas, money and I are not on good terms. We remain distant acquaintances.
My family also feel that I do not need to offer money to have my "songs" sang, especially when both parties would profit from it in this situation. I'm inclined to agree with them, but I'm still way to nervous to just contact the gal and ask her if she'd put my songs to music and sing them.
After expressing my fears, my family took it a step further.
We are all big fans of Celtic Woman, and one of our favorite voices from Celtic Woman has been Orla Fallon. Her voice is haunting and beautiful. Here are two of my favorite songs she has sang: Siúil a Run (Walk My Love) and Newgrange.
Well, Orla has said that one of her dreams is to sing songs for a movie.
My family really thinks my book is worthy of a movie. Therefore, they think I should contact Orla and ask if she would like to sing my Wovlen songs, and also see if she knew anyone who was in the movie making business.
*Runs away... Hides under bed*
Okay, so contacting Orla is probably WAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of the question.
But is contacting Karliene, the YouTuber who has 50,000+ subscribers, out of the question? Would it be absolutely flagrant of me to send her a message and ask if she would be interested in working with me? Is it worth the risk?
I don't expect much of a response, but what do you, my readers, think of this situation? Do you think I should let it lie? Or should I give it a try?
To end this, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite songs by Karliene. She's a Game of Thrones fan. I'm not, but I love this song: You Win or You Die.
So, this is my first ever video/YouTube book review, and I pretty much stumbled and staggered all the way through it. I got better toward the end, I think, but... yeah. I left out what Genre it is (Fantasy) and I didn't read the "blurp" on the back *Facepalm*.
Needless to say, if you have any tips on making a really good book review on YouTube, TELL ME! I will take any and all tips and suggestions (even if it's something along the lines of "shut yer pie hole and stick to writin' stuff... just be advised that I can throw pie as well as eat it).
Anyway, here is THE ARRIVAL (<--- Amazon Affiliate Link):
When a rash of mysterious and brutal attacks throughout the Hechani Sea shatters tenuous relations, the city-states erupt into a destructive war. Embroiled in the conflict, young Atian officer Kelvar Alexandros is determined to protect his men and his country in the looming trials, despite his growing concern that the enemy may not be as evil as he assumed.
Meanwhile, Mistress Telaine Le Fay, sorceress of Gothrond, is dispatched to investigate the hostilities. Her mission is to discover the roots of the conflict and negotiate a peace settlement. The situation proves unclear, however, and she finds herself inextricably tangled in a web of lies, desperately searching for an elusive truth.
Telaine’s past mentor, the excitable intellectual, Jax, has a problem of his own. His studies have led him to a discovery that could have dire consequences, and he is determined to discover if the threat he fears is indeed real.
In the desert sands of the Great Waste, an adventurous young man named Tor longs for something more than his mundane, everyday scramble for subsistence. Little does he know, Jarwulf, the infamous Blood Berserker from the north, and his mercenary band will soon arrive in his village – and sweep him off to a life he dared not even imagine.
Amidst the tide of darkness rising in Vrold, the only hope may be an unlikely alliance, but evil is rarely obvious. It is a subtle force hiding in plain sight, and the truth is hard to find when even heroes can fall prey to its malevolent will...
So, everyone in the blogging world is doing a "year in review" thing. I hadn't planned on it, but then I started looking through my pictures and thought "Ah, why not?". So here we are.
Don't worry, this'll be short.
My year has been pretty good, overall. Like any year, it has had its upsides and its downsides. Most of the downsides waited to come along until the holidays, though (great timing, right?). The rest of the year, though, has remained pretty uneventful.
First off, I started training Pilot to be a trick dog. He has earned his Novice Trick Dog Title, and we have been slowly, but surely, working toward his Intermediate Title.
You can watch his trick videos here: Week One Training, Week Two Training, and Week Three Training.
He is also planning to become a Therapy dog. He passed the Therapy dog test, but we have yet to make it to any supervised visits.
He helped me make a Star Wars doggy costume tutorial for Star Wars Day, which you can see HERE.
He and I also kept up a daily jogging routine all summer long! Whoohoo! I am super proud of myself for that, and Pilot of course loved it. Cold weather came along, though, and my stupid lungs cease to function in the cold. So. Yeah. Jogging routine is on pause and the old ball and frizbee have been brought out to play instead.
In the Spring, I was able to interview a lot of authors. It was tons of fun, I learned a lot, and I hope to be able to do some more interviews this year.
And, no - I did NOT get my second book published this year. It is finished, but not published yet. Read more about that HERE. If you want, you can read a scene (deleted) from the upcoming book.
I also got engaged....
I'm still a blissfully single crazy dog mom. ♥
I had a fun birthday. My mom made me a Star Trek cake and my sister got me a Star Trek and a Stargate t-shirt.
To end the year with a bang and a bag of lemons, cancer popped up out of the blue and took my grandmother who has been living on our property with us for the last 5 years. She passed away before Thanksgiving.
I was really hoping to end the year by going to the theater to see the new Star Wars movie in my Jedi costume, but that didn't work out.
I was also hoping to have my next book ALREADY DONE AND PUBLISHED AND OUT OF MY HAIR AND AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!.... oops. Did I just pound that out in caps lock? Oh well.
Despite said downsides, 2015 has been a decent year to live. I am looking forward to 2016 though, and I plan to accomplish a lot this year as a blogger, a author, and a dog mom!
As I've been editing book 2 of Tales of the Wovlen, I've also been chopping out unnecessary scenes. The reason for this is the same reason for "deleting" scenes in a movie: the movie is shorter, the story flows more smoothly and the action keeps rolling. It just makes the overall experience for the audience better.
The only difference between a movie and a book is that one can't generally buy or sell a book of deleted scenes, whereas, with a movie, you can purchase the "directors cut" or "extended edition", or get a DVD with special features and deleted scenes. This fact makes if very painful for an author of books. We are cutting pieces of time and effort off our darling, and no one will ever see them. Ultimately, this is for the greater good of the book. Deleting scenes will keep critics happy and fans will never know what they're missing. But it still hurts.
Thankfully, though, there is a solution: I can share these deleted scenes with fans via my blog!
As a special treat, I am going to share one such scene with you today (even though, as of today's date, the book isn't published yet).
This deleted scene comes from Chapter 3 of The Dragon's Due, book 2 in the #TalesoftheWovlen series. As you will be able to guess by reading it, Keegan, our beloved hero, is already getting on everyone's nerves. Saul, Alia and Brainna express their frustration over the situation, and Walneff tries to put it into perspective for them.
The reason I cut this scene out is because it took away from Keegan and the overall sullenness of the chapter. I really liked it, because it lightened the mood, but the mood change is jarring and I don't think the reader needs any help getting things into perspective. They are in Keegan's head most of the time anyway, so they will either resonate with his attitude or they will identify with Saul who is asking "Can I just punch the snot out of Keegan now?"
Without further ado, here is the deleted scene - Frustrations.
Alia cleared her throat, dipped a spoon into a pot over the fire and stirred the contents. "I think it's safe to say I'm also growing very tired of Keegan's attitude." She said, which put Saul back into his flustered mood.
"He’s acting like he is the only one who has suffered through anything!" Saul huffed, pacing angrily "He does not seem to realize we have also suffered the loss of our friends and family, we are being hunted by the same beasts as him, we are as displaced in this world and as involved in all of this prophecy mess as he is!" He kicked a broken tree branch against a tree.
Walneff sighed. “Saul, try to understand how Keegan is feeling right now. He has learned that, because of his existence, hundreds of people, his friends and family, were tortured and murdered. He has also learned that thousands of people now depend on him to fulfill his part of prophecy. How would you react if your shoulders were suddenly saddled with the responsibility of saving an entire land from an unknown enemy? How would you hold under the realization you had been destined to become the savior, and later on king, of your people? What would your feelings, your reactions be when you learned everything in your past made your future, and the future itself depends on you and the choices you make?” Walneff watched as Saul’s face fell and grew somber.
The tall man uncrossed his arms and lowered them to his sides. He opened his mouth to say something, but then closed it.
Walneff dipped his chin, keeping his eyes on Saul’s face. “More than you can understand is resting itself on Keegan’s shoulders right now.”
Saul nodded. “I- I know,” he scratched the back of his head again “I hadn’t thought of it… not in that way.”
“The least we can do is to be patient with him and support him in any way possible.” Alia said, sorrow caressing her face. “I should have been the most understanding of all. I am his sister.”
Walneff nodded with a gentle smile before reaching into his cloak, pulling out his pipe, and filling it. “Wisely said, Alia, my dear.” he stooped down to the fire and pulled out a smoldering stick to light his pipe with “I might add, none of this is an excuse for Keegan’s sore behavior. And, I must also confess, I too have grown weary of it.” He puffed on his pipe and lowered himself to sit on a log “His grumpy behavior really has been putting a damper on my generally cheerful demeanor, and that makes my bones ache.”
Saul grinned as he looked at the old man with a raised eyebrow. “Cheerful demeanor? I believe Keegan would disagree, even if he were in a good mood. He thinks you're always grumpy.”
Walneff looked up at Saul and his diamond blue eyes twinkled with mischief. “Does he now? How interesting! Because I have the exact opinion of him.” The girls giggled, causing a grin to turn up the corners of Walneff's mouth, his eyes sparkling all the more. "Ah, well, I heard a saying once that could be applied to this situation I suppose: 'it takes one to know one'." The girls giggled again and Walneff continued to puff on his pipe in silence.
When people write a fantasy story, they usually coin it as “Medieval Fantasy”. Although Medieval Fantasy is a sub-genre of Fantasy, it is a very broad one. Most Fantasy - stories, movies, or games - is Medieval Fantasy. There are several other sub-genres in Fantasy that help break up the mass. Most people do not know what sub-genres there are or what books are in them. Many times, one book can fit into two or more sub-genres.
There are too many to list and explain in one blog post, but I thought it would be helpful to make a list of the popular sub-genres in Fantasy and mention a couple of books in each of them.
Contemporary fantasy (also called Urban Fantasy when set in a city) is set in contemporary times and contains supernatural elements. Books in this sub-genre would be Dragons in Our Midst, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians.
High Fantasy is set in an entirely fictitious world and have characters, themes, and a plot of epic stature. Books in this sub-genre would be Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, & Tales of the Wovlen (Hey! I can dream, right?).
Historical Fantasy is a rather broad sub-genre where fantasy and historical fiction blend together. Most historical fantasy is set before the 20th century and contains fantastic elements. Branching from historical fantasy is Arabian Fantasy, Celtic Fantasy, Wuxia, Classical Fantasy, and Steampunk.
Heroic Fantasy is set in a fictitious world and chronicles the tales of heroic characters. The Chronicles of Narnia would be in this sub-genre.
Sword and Sorcery (S&S) commonly overlaps with Heroic Fantasy. It is generally characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts with small elements of romance present. Examples of this sub-genre would be Conan the Barbarian, The Heroes of Ravenford, and Dungeons & Dragons.
Dark Fantasy is the combining of fantasy with dark and frightening themes, often combining elements of horror. It also broadly refers to various works that have a dark and gloomy atmosphere about them. The Dark Tower series and perhaps even Dracula could be put in this sub-genre.
Fairytale Fantasy is when motifs and plots from folklore are used heavily throughout the story. Books in this genre would be Stardust, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the Charming Academy Series.
"When is book 2 going to be done?"
"Are you done with book #2 yet?"
"I'm dying here! I need to know what happens! When is book 2 going to be published?"
I cannot tell you how many times these questions have been thrown at me this summer alone. Often times, they are accompanied by a friendly, threatening undertone.
I love it. It means that my book has fans! I mean, that is SO AWESOME. I never dreamed I or my book would have fans.
On the other hand, it is driving me up the wall. I love the questions, but I hate that I have no definitive answer for them.
Book #2 of the Tales of the Wovlen series is currently in the editing phase. I'm done writing it. It's 500 pages long, give or take a little. So, I haven't wasted the better part of a year writing a teeny-weeny thing! The editing phase has been a killer, though. You can't just finish writing a book, slap a shiny bow on it, and throw it at your ravenous readers. If you want it to succeed, it must be scrubbed, polished, shined, and meticulously groomed. Because of this, I'm sorry to say that I have no idea when it will be ready to publish. All I know is that it will be soon (not soon enough though!).
Editing is an exciting stage for an author, because we are watching our baby book go through a growth spurt.
At the same time, editing is a nightmare for an author. We just want our story to be DONE and everyone to love it. We don't want to read through it 50 times, and then 20 more times after that. We don't want to chop scenes out, shorten things up, keep Madam Point Of View in line, or endure the tedious trials of dialogue, grammar, and word-overuse!
WHY CAN'T YOU READERS JUST BE HAPPY WITH AN IMPERFECT WORK OF ART???
The only reason we authors do any editing at all is to please our readers. Y'all should be thanking us instead of threatening us with suicide notes if the next book doesn't come out by Christmas.
*squints at all the bookworms*
However, I do have some good news for you: my beta readers (those who help with the pre-editing phase of the book) have made some very encouraging remarks which suggest readers will LOVE book #2.
Exciting new characters, fantastic battles, goosebump generating scenes, and, of course, awesome dragons are only a few of the good things my beta readers have mentioned about the book thus far. All of it makes me super excited, and I can't wait to share the book with the world!
Seriously, I am way more excited about this book than you are. Like, you have no idea.
What Can You Do While You Wait?
The waiting process is killing me and I know it's not doing you, the reader, any favors either. So, here are three things you can do to make the waiting time shorter!
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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