So, I feel like I am going to fail at today's challenge... BUT, I have made up for it with the previous challenges up till now, haven't I? If you haven't been keeping up with my challenges, catch up on them here: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT & NINE.
Today's Challenge: The first sentence of the first chapter of your WIP (work in progress).
Let me tell you something: this challenge made me seriously reconsider all my opening sentences. They are TERRIBLE! Well, that's my opinion. They don't seem that catchy to me.
Anyway, I have three WIP that I'll share the first sentence from... I actually have more than that, but I only wanted to share three with you, because the rest of my WIP don't have opening sentences (I start in the middle of a story and work my way out). Enjoy!
"Keegan looked up and smiled as the door finally opened, and Alia and Brainna stepped out, faces beaming." Tales of the Wovlen Book #3
"Kyra stood frozen on the cold metal table, head tilted, and listening intently to voices coming through the ceiling above her." Plasma Chrysalis - SciFi book
"The azure sky was bright high above the tall, green trees of Deepwood Forest." An unnamed fantasy story
Being a blissfully single woman whose got nothing better to do than blog and write books, I spend a great deal of time fussing over my fur baby: Pilot, my dog.
This year for "May The 4th Be With You" day, I wanted to make a Star Wars dog costume so my dog could geek out with me (who knows; I might use the costume for Halloween later as well).
I planned to make several really cool costumes all by myself, then have a photo shoot with my sister's Golden Retrievers and Pilot, and use the pictures to make a Geeky post for May the 4th #StarWarsDay.
Well, needless to say, that did not work out as planned. The only costume that came together in time was Pilot's X-Wing pilot flight suit costume.
The simplest two costumes were going to be Chewbacca and Han Solo:
- Chewbacca costume: a wide brown leather belt, strips of gray tape, and a little brown bag. Put the strips of gray tape on the belt at intervals, attach the little brown bag, and VIOLA! your furbaby costume is done.
- Han Solo: black vest, white shirt (unless your dog has white fur, then the shirt is not needed), a toy gun belt, and a toy gun. TA-DA! Slip it all on your dog and your pooch is now the dashing Han Solo!
It couldn't get any easier, right? Well, in our house, you learn that what should be easy is extremely complicated, and what should be difficult takes a few seconds to do, and what should be impossible takes only a few minutes... Yeah, any plans made in our house are bound to turn into one, gigantic, Firefly/Serenity mess (geeky fandom pun, in case you missed it).
Anyway, all that to say that I only got one costume done:
The X-Wing pilot flight suit was really easy to make, as long as I had a little imagination.
For the computer chest piece:
Small square Card Board piece (whatever size suits your dog)
3 pieces of light colored felt
2 pieces of dark colored felt
2 white, large Lego bricks
1 gray, large Lego brick
1 back of a cell phone case (or anything that's black and square/rectangle shaped)
1 stick of hot glue (using hot glue means that you can use most of the items again later)
12" of Elastic (depending on dog size)
I took the piece of cardboard and covered it in gray tape. Then I hot glued the Lego bricks side-by-side, followed by gluing the back of an old cell phone next to them. I took the quarter and glued it just underneath the camera opening of the cellphone back, then I took the dime and placed it down and a little to the left of the quarter and glued it there as well.
After that, I glued the felt squares in the remaining spaces, placing the two darkest ones above the Lego bricks.
After that, I literally stabbed holes in the top corners and tied the elastic through them so that the entire thing could hang from my dog's neck.
For the white vest:
This took more effort than I thought it would, because I couldn't find a piece of white fabric in our house to save my life.
Finally, I found an old toddler t-shirt. So, I just cut the sleeves off, cut the bottom off, cut the neck out (cutting makes me happy, can't ya tell?) and made a bib-like apparition. After that, I sewed the bottom corners together: right corner to right corner and left corner to left corner (sewing does NOT make me happy, so I don't put much effort into it).
TA-DA! There I have the vest thingamajig... it's a little bit big for Pilot, but nobody will notice...
The Orange Jumpsuit/Shirt:
Now, this is the most striking part of this suit, so I was a lot more picky about it; I pulled an old orange t-shirt out of my dresser and turned it into a shirt for my dog.
For this part, I will let you watch a video.
This particular video really, really, REALLY simplified making a dog shirt, and I did not watch it before I made Pilot's dog shirt.
My dog shirt was a lot more complicated... *cough, cough*...
BUT, I like how mine turned out better than the one in the video. However, I did not have the time to make a video explaining how to make a dog shirt (I'll save that for another time, I guess). So, for a simplified way of making your dog a shirt out of your old clothes, here is a really easy video to watch.
Once you have the orange shirt/jumpsuit for your dog, and the other two accessories all made, then your pet's X-Wing Pilot Flight Suit is all ready to go!
The Educational Link Up party is below. If you'd like to join, here are the "Rules of the Galactic Highway":
· Your post must be educational.
· Your post must fall into one of the following categories - Sci-Fi, Geekdom, or Science.
· Check out what your hosts are up to. - We have been having some great Science, Geeky fun this week and we would love you to check it out. The Hosts will be the first few spots on the link up.
· Follow the person above you or find your fandom and comment on at least one post. - Let's make the universe a little smaller by sharing the love!
Have fun! - If I know the Sci/Fi, Geek, Science world I know you will have tons of fun with this! Keep the fandom conflict out of it though. Trekkies and Wookies can coexist!
Meagan from More Than A Coupon Queen
Jess from Benoit Academy
Andrea from Waldorf Salad & Cottage Fries
Kassondra from Motherhood Community
Nessa from 2 Dorks In Love
As far as I'm concerned, my parents raised me right, and one of the things that they did right was raise my sister and I on STAR WARS. She and I took it from there and made sure the younger siblings got plenty of Star Wars education....
Although some people think it's corny and stupid, Star Wars made a huge impact on the movie making world with its incredible effects (which were, at the time, very incredible), its great story line (at the time, it was really great), and its fantastic characters which left a mark on the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.
- Did You Know: All six of the live-action movies debuted in the month of May?
As a result, Star Wars fans created a totally awesome "Star Wars Day" which takes place on May 4th when everyone can say "May the Force be with you".
One of the first records of "May the 4th" being used is in 1979, which was described by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm:
Friday, May 4
Once the internet became a big thing, "May the 4th be with you" evolved from a saying, into a hashtag, and finally into a full blown holiday! And the best thing about it is this: it is totally fan made.
To celebrate this very cool, fan made holiday, Pilot (my dog) has donned a pretty impressive outfit.
Since his name is "Pilot" it only seemed right for him to be in some sort of flying/pilot suit. Therefore, I made him his very own X-Wing fighter pilot suit!
I know it's hard to tell (note the sarcasm in my cyber voice), but I made the entire thing by myself. That's right! It was all "DIY"...
Tomorrow I will be posting a "How I Did It" blog post for a very special Geeky Group and Link Up that I've come to enjoy hanging out with. So, stay tuned!
BONUS: Did you know that the movie "IRON LADY" is really, really good? It's all about Margaret Thatcher, that wonderful woman mentioned in the above quote. She was the first female prime minister in Britain, and she was a fantastic role model for girls and women everywhere.
After you are done watching the ENTIRE Star Wars trilogy today, you should find the "Iron Lady" and watch it too!
I am really happy to introduce fantasy author and artist, Shannon Pemrick!
Shannon Pemrick was born in 1991 in a small city in the Southwestern corner of New Hampshire where she was raised with her younger sister. Thanks to her limitless imagination, she spent most of her days daydreaming about the impossible in hopes it could one day be possible. This imagination sparked a love of the arts that eventually lead her down the road to writing where she discovered her first book idea.
F.P. Spirit suggested that I send Shannon a friend request on Facebook, because he greatly admires her work and he thought that she and I needed to get together and read each other’s books (which we do, and haven’t done, because all we’ve done is basically say “how-do-you-do”).
As soon as Shannon’s status updates started showing up on my Facebook newsfeed, I felt like she was a part of my family. No. Seriously. She has the same sense of humor that all my family members have. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I haven’t decided yet. But it has definitely made me laugh more than once!
So, without further snickers on my part, I am very pleased to present Shannon Pemrick!
Thank you so much for joining me today Shannon! I am really excited about this. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Do you have pets? Family?
Shannon Pemrick - I'm from the northeast part of the United States where I live with my fiancée, three cats, and a dog who thinks she's a cat…a very large cat. My family is also in the area and I try to find whatever time I can to see them since family is very important to me. I'm an avid gamer (I play a lot of videogames) and I love animals. I'm particularly fond of horses, wolves and butterflies. I'm also an artist.
I would be an avid gamer if I took the time to be such. However, I spend too much time on the internet READING about all these different games than actually downloading or buying any of them to play. Tell us a little about your writing. When did you start writing, and why?
Shannon Pemrick - Writing wasn't something I thought I'd ever do. I was more into the visual arts and my reading and writing skills had always been subpar since I was a child. But one day I got an itch to write a fanfiction (fantasized story using characters from a favorite book, tv series, etc…) and while it wasn't all that great, it sparked an interest and I continued. Later, when I was in high school I attempted to write my own book but it died rather quickly. I didn't make another attempt until I was assigned a project in my senior year of high school that sparked the Experimental Heart trilogy.
Do you write for a particular genre, or do you cross genres? If so, what is your favorite genre to write for?
Shannon Pemrick - My current genre is a cross genre of Sci-Fi and Fantasy but I have several book ideas waiting to be touched that are straight Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Are you a planner or a “pantser” – do you plan out your books meticulously or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Shannon Pemrick - I am definitely a planner. I write out outlines/timelines and plot out main events for my books and then place in minor events. I will deviate from the initial plan or add in more ideas as I go to improve my initial idea (like I've done with my trilogy), but in order for me to make a complete book, I have to plan it out from start to finish first.
Some of the best books and successful authors I know were planners! Unfortunately, that does not seem to be a skill I have. Planning? What is that? Is it contagious? OMG, keep it away from me!
Well then... where do you find inspiration?
Shannon Pemrick - Everywhere. They're in my dreams, in my conversations, random thoughts in my head, and in the world around me.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? Do you do anything unusual while your write?
Shannon Pemrick - I typically work best in silence but I will listen to music if I need some really nice inspiration. I can't have a TV on while I'm writing or I'll do more watching than writing.
TV is my bane. I can write during some shows, but notoriously, if I don’t have my headphones in, I will start typing what the people are saying on TV. Tim Conway drawl in a fantasy story = bad thing. *Facepalm*
Is there a message conveyed within your writing?
Shannon Pemrick - I believe all authors have some sort of message even if they don't realize it. Most of my messages happen to be about self worth and accepting being unique.
Messages about celebrating how unique we are seems to be growing in popularity. I think our culture is hungry for that.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading?
Shannon Pemrick - I haven't done a lot of reading lately. I've been rather caught up in my own writing and balancing a few other large life events. But the last three books I read (read them around the same time) were The Search for Mrs. Claus by Courtney Daisey, The Serpent Cult by F.P. Spirit, and A Week in New York by Louise Bay. The only one I actually enjoyed was The Serpent Cult.
The Serpent Cult ROCKS! Oh… did I just blurt that out loud? Well, it’s the truth.
Can you name your favorite traditionally published author?
Shannon Pemrick - Garth Nix. I love his work.
And your favorite indie/self-published author?
Shannon Pemrick - F.P. Spirit. He figured out how to make this YA hater to like his work.
YA hater? *takes a step back from you - hides my book* You frighten me, oh great wizard... But, Mr. Spirit does have a way about his books, doesn't he? We can fangirl over them together, if you want. *wink*
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books?
Shannon Pemrick - It really depends on the subject, but I like to make sure I'm as thorough as possible in my research because I want to make sure all aspects of my books are believable. My current trilogy needed quite a bit of research when it came to military and weapons. But because the world and natural laws for that trilogy is all made up, most of it came from my head and all I had to do was make it all feel believable even if it was only a tiny bit.
Military is my bane in research. I come from a family of proud veterans and, sadly, I never understand a word they say when they talk about military stuff. It’s one of those things that I need to SEE it in order to understand.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case?
Shannon Pemrick - Yes, I do. I'm not a professional editor and I can't rely on myself to catch all errors but going through the book before my editor does really help catch the silly mistakes and save me a bit of embarrassment. It also gives me time to look over my work to catch any inconsistencies or spots I want to elaborate on.
Self-Proof-Reading is very important in any form of writing. That importance only grows when it comes to one’s own novel though.
Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?
Shannon Pemrick - Yes. There is only so much an author can catch before their brain corrects the mistakes automatically without the author realizing it. A professional editor not only brings in fresh eyes but also fresh opinions and…well…professional editing skills. They'll know more about editing than anyone else.
AHA! So that is my problem: my brain has auto-correct. I knew auto-correct had issues. Apparently it has taken over my mind! *grabs aluminium foil - wraps around head*
What was your experience with getting your book published? How did you start out? Did you have help?
Shannon Pemrick - I tried for a year to be traditionally published. After getting rejection letter after rejection letter I became discouraged and thought I'd never be published. Then I found some information about self publishing and did as much research as I could before pursuing that route. Do I regret going this route? No. This route may be hard, but I'm happier than I would have been with a big publisher breathing down my neck telling me what to do.
Yep. People still kind of snort at the “self-publishing” publishing idea, but I always tell them that I am happier with it because I am my own boss and I get more money. I’d like to see a Trad-publisher fork out 70% royalty!
So, sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order?
Shannon Pemrick -
1. Great World-building
2. Great Characters
3. Solid Plot
4. Technically perfect.
I chose this way to line them up because even though you can have the greatest plot idea, in the end, if your world is bland and your characters suck, the plot isn't going to matter.
I love how everyone always puts “Technically Perfect” at the bottom. I think it is because, if we get the others right, perfection comes a little more naturally.
If you could change anything in an existing book, or series, of yours, what would it be?
Shannon Pemrick - Funny you should ask because this year Experimental Heart: Pieces will be getting a small makeover. I put a lot of work into this book but didn't have the resources I have now and have found many problems that would benefit from being fixed (Plot holes, unneeded content, etc…). Am I ashamed to admit this? Nope, not at all. Personally I feel all books deserve a chance to be gone over and fixed after publication, regardless if they're written by indies or traditional published authors.
Once the changes are done, the book name will be condensed down to Pieces, matching how the rest of the books in the trilogy will appear.
That is the glorious part I love about independently publishing with CreateSpace: there is so much more freedom to go in and “fix” things later without a huge rig-a-ma-ro…
What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My latest book is Experimental Heart: Pieces (soon to be Pieces), which is book one in the Experimental Heart Trilogy. Secrets, is the next book in the trilogy to come out this year, and the third book (Surrendered) is planned on coming out the end of this year to the beginning of next year. I'm also currently working on a fantasy that may become a series, a romance, and a few spin-offs for my current trilogy.
Cool beans! Lots of plans: that’s good!
Tell us a little about the world of your latest or favorite book or series.
Shannon Pemrick - My current running trilogy is Experimental Heart. Pieces, is the first in the trilogy that came out November 2013 and, Secrets, the second in the trilogy, is expected to come out this spring. The world of these books is called Lumaraeon and is a world that has been devastated by war and currently trying to rebuild to its former glory but is under threat of another devastating war driven by the tyrant Zarda who believes he is the only one worthy of running Lumaraeon and holds himself to a god status.
Lumaraeon itself, while struggling with this impending war, is a lush land with diverse creatures. The main races of the land are Humans, Nu Humans, and Elves. Dragons, Dwarves and Wogrons also live in this land but are far fewer in numbers and most prefer to keep to themselves. There were other races in the past but they were wiped out by either wars or Lumaraeon's volatile nature before it was stabilized by the gods.
The land itself is beautiful and diverse with snowy mountains in the North, vast deserts, meadows, and wastelands in the West and beautiful oceans in the South and East. The land's natural laws are governed by the elements, which can be harness by gifted individuals, spiritual plane, which can be access by certain chosen individuals, and the gods who all posses unique abilities that can help the mortal races when needed.
If it has dragons and elves, you know it has got to be a smoking awesome world!
Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Shannon Pemrick - The main two characters for my trilogy are Eira and Raikidan. Eira is a human war experiment of an advanced human race called Nu Human and former assassin with psychotic tendencies due to her gruesome past and lacks certain emotional understanding. Raikidan is a dragon that follows Eira around like a lost puppy. He's overprotective and lacks understanding of human culture and human nature as well as lacks understanding of the concept of personal space. The differences in these two create an interesting relationship that is rather volatile to begin with but becomes strong over time as the two realize they're more similar than they first believed.
There are also many support characters in this trilogy but the main two that stick by Eira and Raikidan's side the most are Ryoko and Rylan. Ryoko and Rylan are also war experiments that have stuck with Eira since they met in the military.
Ryoko is a Wogron (type of werewolf that doesn't go back to a human state but still carries some human-like traits both physically and mentally) and Nu Human hybrid and is a brute class (very strong melee fighter). She's one of the strongest out there and is one of the few female brutes in existences. She is also incredibly beautiful having most desired traits from their society but Ryoko lacks confidence because of it. She finds that her worth is superficial and doesn't believe people can see past her looks to understand the real her. This is where she connects with Eira. The two understand each other in this way and they try to help one another in only ways that they can. This has created an unbreakable bond that sometimes makes it look like they're arguing when they're just talking.
Rylan is a wolf-dog and human hybrid experiment that was an early attempt at creating shapeshifting experiments. He's an excellent shot making him a prime choice for a sniping position in the military and had ice elemental abilities that he's not proud of. Despite his good looks and nice personality, he lacks self esteem and wishes to be more normal than most people around him. Much of this is attributed to his animal DNA. But this esteem doesn't stop him from looking out for Eira much like an older brother would creating an impeccable bond that most don't understand.
I have a particular fondness for all of these characters because of their dynamics. They're all different from each other but it's their differences that bring them together and created a type of kinship that can't be explained or understood by most.
Awww… I love them all already!
Random note: You apparently like “R” names, huh? *snickers to self*
Do you have a favorite character? Why?
Shannon Pemrick - I love all my characters but I do have a particular fondness for Eira and Shva'sika. Many would roll their eyes at an author for picking their main character as a favorite but I can't help it. Eira is so complicated and misunderstood even by herself. She doesn't realize how amazing she is and can only see her dark past. She struggles with seeing how she could possibly move beyond that and create a future for herself. But even while she struggles to like herself she still finds a reason to continue living even if she doesn't understand it herself. She's a strong woman that won't take crap from anyone and will be brutally honest when others would rather lie or sugarcoat a situation. She believes honest truths, while painful sometimes, are better to hear in the end than a half truth or a lie because they hurt less in the long run. She's the kind of person that goes through issues real people have to face and she's the kind of woman some people wish they could be. Even with her past and her abrasive nature, I just have to pick her as one of my favorite characters.
Shva'sika is another character that I love to pieces. She doesn't get a whole lot of face time in the first book of the trilogy but when she does get more later on, she's not someone you can hate. She's an Elvin woman who has lost her entire family but doesn't let her loneliness drag her down to cause her to be bitter. She is charismatic and has a big heart. She'd give you the shirt of her back without question. She doesn't let her beauty cloud her judgment and cause vanity or pride and she isn't the type of person you can just boss around. As big as her heart is, she won't be walked on.
Such strong characters are so easy to make favorites of. And, just a note, I don’t think it’s weird for you to pick your main character as a favorite. I can't exactly say the same for my main character, though. He is… well… special in my eyes. *glares at Keegan, who glares back*
Ahem! Anyway… do you have a character you hate/dislike? Why?
Shannon Pemrick - As much as I want others to have a character they hate and want dead, I don't have one. I know the histories of all my characters. I know what made them who they are. So it's impossible for me to really hate them. Even Zarda, as evil as he is, is so good at being twisted and evil, that I can't really hate him.
I totally understand you there. I think I’d actually feel guilty for hating my baddies. I mean, I MADE them that way. What kind of person would I be if I hated them?!
Well, anyway. Are your characters ever based on real people?
Shannon Pemrick - My characters aren't based on a single person but many of them do have traits from several people I know or have met. I believe this helps them feel more three dimensional.
I think all authors with well fleshed characters find that many of their characters have traits from real people, though not always from anyone specific. It is just the way our imagination works to make things real!
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?
Shannon Pemrick - While my more hated characters may deserve death (or may die), none of them have been based off someone that I've hated in life. Like my other loved characters, hated characters have personalities that are taken from multiple people.
What formats are your books available in (E-book, print, large print, audio)? Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?
Shannon Pemrick - My books are available in e-book, hardcover, and paperback format. I'd like to get it into an audio format at some point as well because I know how useful that format is first hand as well as translated into other languages at some point.
Would you give a fun/silly fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book?
Shannon Pemrick - I'm a poor organizer except when it comes to my books. They have to be planned out while the rest of my life is a total chaotic mess.
Well, I am glad to know I'm not alone. I am of the opinion that chaos does do something wonderful for the twisted author mind…
Is there any advice you would pass on to those authors who are still just starting out? Do's and don'ts?
Shannon Pemrick - My first advice is to never give up no matter how hard it seems. There will always be hurdles and people telling you no, but that doesn't mean they're right and that doesn't mean the hurdles are too big to get over.
My next piece of advice is to make sure your book is sound before publishing. Make sure the book has had other (trusted) eyes on it and make sure you have a professional editor look it over. Also, don't skimp on a cover because that draws a reader in. Actually, just don't skimp on anything. Self publishing can get expensive, but the worst thing you could do is to publish prematurely and get the title most Indies dread…"Amateur".
My last piece of advice will sound a bit harsh to some but I feel it's necessary. Grow thick skin. As an author, I know a piece of work is your baby and you don't want it being torn apart, but if you plan to publish you need to understand that you will get criticism. If you can't handle that, then hide your baby from the world until you can. No one wants to deal with an author who can't handle honest critique and can't accept that not everyone will enjoy their work. Please, make sure you can handle this before you let the world see the precious piece of work you worked so hard on creating.
Amen! Publishing is not for the faint of heart!
Well, thank you so very much for joining me today, Shannon. This was a TON of fun, and I am glad to have gotten to know you just a little better!
For the rest of you out there, I would ask that you please give Shannon’s books and social media a look-see! And, if you find the time, please leave a nice comment below? There will be a dragon at every exit who will kindly inquire if you have done any of those things…
Web: Check out Shannon's website!
Facebook: Follow Shannon on Facebook!
Twitter: Follow Shannon on Twitter!
Amazon - http://getBook.at/EHPieces
Barnes and Nobles - http://goo.gl/335WDj
Toadstool Bookshop - http://goo.gl/wXPs74
Page Foundry: http://goo.gl/v18i7S
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.
Grab a Button!