Sunshine Award

Sunshine Awardsunshine-award1

The Sunshine Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. It’s sort of an interview. Because I’m so new to the blogosphere, I don’t know much about such things. However, I do know that I’m very pleased (and actually humbled) to accept the Sunshine Award from Mary J. McCoy-Dressel. This is exciting to me because Mary writes in the Romance genre. I take that to mean that my writing has some cross-over appeal. I hope anyway. You can see more of Mary’s writing at: A Walk With Words.

Since my blog following is so small, I’m taking the liberty of tweaking some of the Sunshine questions to give them more of a writing slant. Here goes!

What inspired you to start blogging?
It’s part of what I jokingly call my “grand experiment.” I decided to try indie (independent) publishing for my 2012 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel, Atonement, Tennessee. Blogging is one of the things writers have to do for their indie books.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Here’s another dose of humility. Teagan’s Books isn’t an imaginative name is it? However, I was so pleased to finish the NaNoWriMo novel — or any book — that the blog name was like a proclamation for me, “I finally did it!”

Is your glass half full or half empty?
I prefer the “cheese” metaphor. There’s a business fable called “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. Cheese means satisfaction, contentment, success, etc. Since this post is already long, I’ll let you learn about the cheese on your own (link above). But somebody is always moving my cheese, so I have to find new cheese in new places! It’s a cute story.

If you could go anywhere on a week’s vacation – just to write, where would you go?
Some place with ruins. They make my imagination soar. Places like Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Machu Picchu (Peru), or Palenque (Mexico).

How much time do you spend blogging – in other words, are you one of those lucky people who can dash off a blog post in no time, or like me and take forever on one post to get it just right?
I have a stressful full-time job, so my spare time is committed to writing my books. However, since blogging is a part of indie publishing, I budget some time each week for it. How long it takes to write a blog varies depending on the nature of the blog. This one is longer than I typically write so it’s taking longer. (I think half a page is a good length for one of my update posts. That takes half an hour or less.) If I’m doing a longer post, like a character interview or anything that requires a longer format, I spend a good deal of time.

What TV shows (or favorites) influenced your writing?
When I was a child Star Trek (original) and The Twilight Zone showed me that there was a broader way to look at the world around me. The Twilight Zone in particular influenced my writing. I always liked the bizarre twist on the natural world that I saw in it.

I love that different people can read a book or watch a show and have a completely different take on it. That’s a good reminder to a writer on several levels. Also when novels are transformed into TV shows or movies, they are usually much different from the book. That isn’t always a bad thing. One example is Charlaine Harris’ “Southern Vampire Series” of books, which became the TV series True Blood. The TV show is wildly different from the books, but I like both. Actually the theme song for the show, Bad Things, by Jace Everett, was the first thing to draw me in, not the show or the books. There was something about the lyric, “When you came in the air went out…” It’s a great blues song! (But come on… Alexander Skarsgard? How could I not?)  I tried to give you some pictures, but they kept going to the top of the page… Like i said — new to the blogosphere…

Winter Is Coming!

The Dead of Winter — Draft Complete!

Winter is coming…. Winter is coming!

Maybe there is something to be said for insomnia.  Before the first 24 hours of spring were complete, so was a draft of “The Dead of Winter.”  Even though there was less than an hour to spare… even though it’s a very rough draft (at least as far as the ending is concerned), I can honestly say “Draft complete!”

There is a huge amount of editing ahead of me, in order to make the ending plausible, and to keep it in line with my concept of that world, the characters, and the spirit of the story.  The work is far from over, but I do have a solid draft.

At the ending, my biggest roadblock was knowing that somehow my young heroine had to face the villain.  However, I had placed two issues in my way:  I wasn’t heavy-handed with the use of magic in this fantasy, and I didn’t want anyone to rescue her at the end.  Help – fine.  All out rescue – no.  That meant I have a little twelve year-old girl, facing a supremely powerful psycho-villain.  Making that plausible, while staying true to my concepts for the story, seemed impossible.

Then yesterday a friend asked how the book was going, and I mentioned those two issues.  She reminded me of the story of David and Goliath.  I realized that she was right – it could be done.  (No, there is no slingshot involved.  Ha-ha.)

I’ll tweak the ending, and go to a couple of places early in the story to make small adjustments that will make everything tidy at the end.  Then come April, I’ll put Winter aside and let it steep for a while before I do a final edit.

While Winter is steeping, or brewing, or what-have-you (if you think it sounds like I’d like another cup of coffee, you’re right), I’ll dive into my big experiment with indie publishing.  The National Novel Writing month book, “Atonement, Tennessee” will be the test subject for that experiment.  Indie publishing is also the reason why I started this blog – just getting my feet wet ahead of time.  Blogging is part of independent publishing.

Happy springtime, everyone.  Here’s to new beginnings.


Spring is coming!

My heroine in The Dead of Winter hears the eerie warning, “Winter is coming!” Well, the warning I hear is spring is coming!

I’ve thought so many times how badly I’d like to finish at least a draft before winter was over yet again. So a few weeks ago I gave myself the deadline of astronomical spring.

Now the vernal equinox is only a few days away [Wednesday, March 20th]. Also, I have to work. So wish me luck. I need it.

Pitchapalooza! Dead of Winter

While I was practicing my “pitching” I decided to quickly write a “Pitchapalooza!” entry for The Dead of Winter (along with the one I did for Atonement, Tennessee).  The contest begins with a random drawing, but I figured – what the heck.  I wasn’t any good at softball, but I hope I’m better at this kind of pitching.  Here goes…

Pitch:  The Dead of Winter

Emlyn is only twelve, but the fanatic Brethren think she’s a threat; an abomination.  Why?  Emlyn has a talent — she can see ghosts.

The Brethren took over her homeland, took away women’s rights, and forbade most learning.  All beliefs but theirs are heresy.  Emlyn’s family betrays her to the Brethren when she hears the supernatural warning, “Winter is coming!”

 Now Emlyn and her teacher are on the run.  They meet and join with travelers belonging to the Deae Matres – a society of intelligent women who seek out knowledge.

Emlyn visits new lands with customs that amaze her.  But it isn’t fun and games.  She has a dire task.  The entire world is at risk.  The Veil between the worlds of the living and dead has been torn apart by evil nightwalker, Arawn.  He seeks revenge on the Deae Matres for imprisoning him beyond the Veil, in the Realm of the Dead.

As the Veil deteriorates, chaos ensues when the dead cross into the living world.  Emlyn outruns the Brethren, but not Arawn.  She has to confront the nightwalker and restore the Veil.

This richly detailed “high” fantasy will appeal to fans of Ursula Le Guin and Terry Brooks.