The Writing Process Chain Blog Hop

Firstly I am not sure I am doing this right, but here I go.

A few weeks ago an author/blogger I know asked me if I wanted to be involved with the chain blog hop. Basically she posts and tags several people and they tag others they know and so on. We discuss our own writing processes and pass the baton.

The Questions are:


What am I working on?

When a sudden plague of mysterious cancers strikes the southwestern city of Nan-li, it falls to Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar to investigate, entangling her in a royal trap that may cost her life.

When a sudden plague of mysterious cancers strikes the southwestern city of Nan-li, it falls to Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar to investigate, entangling her in a royal trap that may cost her life.

The Lost Tales of the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy

Today I just published my first Peers of Beinan Series novella, “The Poisoned Ground,” as a paperback.  Find it in “The Lost Tales of the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy” for kindle at http://tinyurl.com/ALLost.

In May I plan on releasing Poisoned Ground to kindle as a separate novella (May 27th) and The Lost Tales into paperback.

I am also working on a May release for book two of the Legendary Women of World History Series, “Catherine de Valois.”  From there, my focus turns to finishing the “Princess Anyu Returns,” the third and final book in the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy.

Princess Anyu Returns concludes the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy

Princess Anyu Returns concludes the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy

2015 will mean the beginning of the next Peers of Beinan trilogy looking at the Great Migration and early settlement of the planet.


How does my work differ from others?

My background is poetry, music, and academic non-fiction.  As many of you know, I was originally published as a poet, then as a non fiction writer with Yahoo Voices.  I love non-fiction; I love the research, the learning, and the amazing connections you find when you explore many different academic disciplines.

 

My writing very much grounded in this love of learning, knowledge, and getting the facts, the data right.  I usually say that I am not so much imaginative as I am logical (my blood is red, not green, I swear — even if you heard otherwise!).  I extrapolate and redact very well which is a fancy way of saying that I am good at filling in gaps in a pattern and figuring out what should be there.

Ghosts of the Past

Everything I do is very scientific — even when I am not writing non-fiction or science fiction.  I try to be as non-fictional as I can within the boundaries of the story.  I bombard people with questions and work very hard to get details RIGHT.  So when someone is murdered by crossbow (as happens in “The Ghosts of the Past”), where that quarrel (crossbow arrow) lands is precisely chosen based on what medical doctors have told me.  Whether a person dies instantly or has a few seconds/a minute to get out last words can be a matter of just millimeters or centimeters.  And yes, to me, it is important to get it right.  A medical doctor is likely to be reading that scene.

Now the same applies to my history work with the Legendary Women of World History.  First, I draw upon primary source materials — but then I go to the archaeology and anthropology to help me fill in gaps.  I also ask questions.  For example, author Alexandra Butcher of Bristol, UK helped me know what Boudicca and King Prasutagus probably ate at their wedding reception which I set on the beach of the North Sea (Iceni lands being right on that North Sea coast).

I made up the whole wedding/beach scene for the novella.  But it’s a believable scene because it applies a dozen different facts or probable facts based on geography and culture.

Most writers I know are more willing to just make things up.  The scientist in me will not do that; I have to create things that are believable to me within the boundaries of the known.  Fortunately, I am blessed with a great education that helps me do that.  Though I must ask the BBC to please please please make more programs available in the United States.  That way I can do even better work!


Why do I write what I do?

I want to inspire people and encourage people to think about and discuss social issues.  Too often we feel the weight of life’s challenges.  We become overwhelmed with difficult life events.  We feel lost.  We lose hope.  We judge others.  We fail to care.

But none of this has to be.  We can do better.  We can make choices that make tomorrow better than today.  We can change our world with every choice we make in every single day and every thought in our minds.

As Sentient Beings we possess this amazing ability to learn from the experiences of others.  The people we learn from do not have to be real; they can be legendary or fictional too.  When we see people or characters go through the same challenges we face, we relate to them — and are inspired to take up the same solutions that they find success in.

Books have an enormous power to transform our lives.  Can it be any wonder that literacy has always been at the heart of slavery in all its forms?  When we keep people from reading, we also block them from finding solutions to their problems, cutting them off from vital role models for success.

I write to teach, to inspire, to transform the world around me.  I also write as part of the music of my own heart and soul, the songs that have brought me through adversity and into the Light.  In singing — whatever the form — I rise up from the ashes of my life’s challenges and soar on powerful wings of joy.


How does my writing process work? (something like do you plan it all, do you start with a short story and do you work from there.)

The process varies with the individual article or story or book I am working at the time.  Sometimes I create the cover art first.  Sometimes I spend weeks full of 15 hour days just researching.  Sometimes I just get a melody in my head and start writing whatever comes into my heart — music, lyrics, prose, whatever it decides to be.

The editor in me is a cold, harsh mistress.  If something does not sound right to my ears, it does not stay on the page.  For me, music and novels are very little different.  This could be an extension of my sight loss; I am low vision.  But it is also just part of being a musical creature.  My writing is musical and that quality gives it an elegant, legato sort of character that I hope inspires and stirs souls.

 

I tag:  Alexandra Butcher

Alexandra Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.

 

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

 

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6

Throwback Thursday: Evolution of Great Succession Crisis cover art

It’s Thursday.  You know what that means:  time to flash back to the past and see where we’ve been.  For the next three Thursdays, we will look at the evolution of cover art in The Peers of Beinan Series, visually exploring how the book covers have changed since the series launch in August, 2012.

Cover art for The Great Succession Crisis, 1st edition paperback as published in September, 2012.  Thanks to constructive criticism from reviewers, this cover art changed for the revised edition.

Cover art for The Great Succession Crisis, 1st edition paperback as published in September, 2012. Thanks to constructive criticism from reviewers, this cover art changed for the revised edition.

September, 2012.  Two copies are formatted and printed from the original SmashWords digital publication.  I have one; my mother has the other.  Among the problems with this original print:  no page numbers, mis-spellings, and imperfect punction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official first edition cover for The Great Succession Crisis from October, 2012.  Only sixty copies were printed of this edition

Official first edition cover for The Great Succession Crisis from October, 2012. Only sixty copies were printed of this edition

October, 2012.  The back cover is now gold.  Sixty copies were printed as the official “1st Edition.”  Less than five copies were sold; the remainder were donated to various literacy programs.  If you received a copy from one of these programs, that book is now worth something!

 

 

 

 

Great Succession Crisis Extended paperbackJanuary 2013 After listening to early reviews, The Great Succession Crisis was revised by about 25%.  An extended edition was also released to restore the data files deleted at time of original publication and to add in supporting non fiction data.  In both cases, the original stair cases is now replaced with the M31 Andromeda galaxy.  This version would remain the classic version of The Great Succession Crisis Editions.

 

 

 

 

 

In January 2014 the cover changed again, abandoning the heraldry and leaving just Anlei walking among the stars.

In January 2014 the cover changed again, abandoning the heraldry and leaving just Anlei walking among the stars.

In January 2014, the cover changed again, deleting the heraldry in favor of Anlei walking among the stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????April 2014.  With the revised edition now taken out of print in favor of the better selling extended edition, the cover is completely redesigned to the current form featuring a younger, angelic Princess Anlei praying, the blue-white Beinarian sun behind her.  Why is she praying?  Find out in the final chapter, “Long Live the King.”

Repost: Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni on BookGoodiesKids

cover art for Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the Iceni

cover art for Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni

Reposted from  http://ow.ly/2FuAt2

 

In 43 CE Roman conquest of Britannia seems all but certain — until a chance meeting between King Prasutagus of the Iceni and a runaway slave of royal decent from the Aedui tribe in Gaul changes the fate of the British islands forever.

Based on the accounts of Roman historian Tacitus and supplemented with archaeology presented by the BBC.

Interactive: click on interior hypertext links to access enhanced content.

For children, teens, and adults age 10 and up

Includes K-8 study guide for students, educators, and home-schools. Lessons: geography, reading comprehension, critical thinking skills

Targeted Age Group:: age 10 and up

What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Boudicca came about after discussing women’s history with a friend and discovering how few people know about the amazing contributions of women across history. In particular I chose Queen Boudicca because I love her story of courage and heroism. Ancient British cultures believed in equality between women and men, cultures, incomes, and so forth. She gave her life defending Britain from the Romans. That’s inspiring!

How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My prologue and epilogue characters are a 5th century mother and daughter from the Dobunni tribe coping with the Saxon invasions. They enable me to tell Boudicca’s story from a British point of view. The rest of my characters are directly historical. In some cases, where we simply do not know the names (example: Tacitus, typical to Roman sensibilities, did not tell us the names of Boudicca’s daughters), I gave these persons names from names known to be popular at the time.

Book Sample
Seven days after the destruction of Londinium, Gaius Suetonius Paullinus assembled a mighty force from the fourteenth legion, veterans of the twentieth, and other available Roman forces for a final and decisive confrontation with the ‘killer queen’ as the legionaries called her. Choosing a carefully strategic field surrounded by thick forest so that the Britons could only engage the Romans from a single, narrow opening safe from the sort of ambushes the tribes proved themselves so skillful at, the governor ordered his powerful legionaries into the center of the battlefield with cavalry and more lightly armed troops standing nearby on the wings and concealed in the woods.

As the Britons approached, Gaius Suetonius Paullinus addressed his forces proudly, “Despise the savage barbarians, men of Rome, how they scream and shout to strike fear in your hearts. Do not listen to their cries. What are these warriors of Britannia? Women, soulless creatures without proper weapons, without your disciplined training. They know nothing of order or glory! They are weak children who gladly will flee the moment they see true warriors working together with joined and flaming swords wrought of the victories we have all forged together with our blood and valor. Against you, they cannot stand for they fight as individuals – but we fight together with one voice. Among their multitudes, only few have the strength to pursue honorable combat against you. Destroy these and the rest will fall away. Hold your formations and strike them with your swords and javelins, knowing they cannot hurt you. For today the field is ours. We shall be victorious! VICTORY OR DEATH!”

“VICTORY OR DEATH!” chanted the legionaries in battle fury.

Across the field, Boudicca drove her chariot in front of her people, her daughters safely with her, “Women and men of Britain, warriors, friends, and allies. Come now to the cause of liberty and freedom for all the tribes. Remember the savage brutality of Rome – against druid priestesses and priests whose only crimes were of the heart and soul – against our belief in freedom and liberty – not for a few but all people, women and men, nobles and commoners, druids, farmers, crafts people, and all the many ranks and talents of our society. We who dare see sacredness in the faces of all, who war with one another, yet cherish life. We who see glory and honor not in just the deeds of a few, but the deeds of the many, no matter how great or small. We see honor and goodness in individuals and refuse to give up our personal liberties for the advantages of a perceived majority. And yes, we treasure our daughters. In Rome, it is said, many daughters are left to die just because they are girls. Only boys, they say, are fully human. Look at me now and see through the lies of these Romans. Remember our teachings, our customs, that which make us who we are. No matter what the goddesses and gods bring us this day, hold tight in your heart all that we hold dear. Remember the way that Romans treat our people: raping our virgin daughters as mine were in front of all of us, flogging those who dare stand up against them as I was, and killing or enslaving all who refuse to bend knee to them. Do not bend your knees to Rome. Do not give in to the comforts they promise you should you simply conform to their ways. For slavery – of the soul and the flesh – are all they can give you.

“But we will not give in. We refuse to be slaves. Together we rose against them – and won. Camulos, Cathubodva, the Morrígan all stand with us for our cause is righteous! See the ravens circling above? Soon the ravens shall feast on Roman flesh. Behold our warlike spirits! With ravens do we soar – in prayerful victory around the bonfires – or among the glorious dead. Life as slaves we do now refuse. Victory or death are our only choices. On this I am resolved, a woman, a queen, a Briton!”

Author Bio:
Laurel A. Rockefeller was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska where she received her bachelor of arts from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in writing, psychology, and medieval and Asian history. In 2009 she joined Yahoo Voices where she writes non-fiction articles covering a broad range of topics. In August, 2012 Laurel launched the Peers of Beinan medieval science fiction series with book one, “The Great Succession Crisis,” book one of the Anlei’s Legacy trilogy. In March 2014 she launched the “Legendary Women of World History” series. Laurel currently lives in western Pennsylvania with her beloved cockatiel.

Repost: Interview on BookGoodies

Self portrait taken January 24, 2014 showing new haircut, new hair style, and black eye makeup.

Self portrait taken January 24, 2014 showing new haircut, new hair style, and black eye makeup.

Here is the repost of my interview on BookGoodies.com as found at http://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-laurel-a-rockefeller/

 

Author Bio:
Laurel A. Rockefeller was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska where she received her bachelor of arts from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in writing, psychology, and medieval and Asian history. In 2009 she joined Yahoo Voices where she writes non-fiction articles covering a broad range of topics. In August, 2012 Laurel launched the Peers of Beinan medieval science fiction series with book one, “The Great Succession Crisis,” book one of the Anlei’s Legacy trilogy. In March 2014 she launched the “Legendary Women of World History” series. Laurel currently lives in western Pennsylvania with her beloved cockatiel.

What inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write by the amazing stories of courage, intelligence, and perseverance I see all around me, especially in my own life and in the lives of countless women whose names history never recorded. I care deeply about the world around me and have lived a very challenging life, surviving those challenges mostly through my belief that tomorrow will be better than today. Social problems seem to really inspire me to write, to demonstrate that solutions are out there if we all come together to make the world a better place. Star Trek showed me what fiction can do in changing our world. I want to change our world; the status quo is not good enough! We can and must do better.

Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process depends on genre. I write medieval science fiction (The Peers of Beinan series), biographical novellas (The Legendary Women of World History), and non-fiction (articles on Yahoo Voices). Research binds all three together. When I first get an idea for a story or article, I immediately learn as much as I can about whatever it is. This involves watching documentaries (I love Dr. David’s Starkey’s work from the BBC like “Monarchy.”), reading science and social science websites, and so forth. The research phase always begins the process, but never stops there; I constantly stop to fact check or look for information on whatever detail I am working on. Being accurate is very important to me; I write assuming my readers are experts on whatever it is that scene involves.

That also means I love to talk to people from different professions and backgrounds. I’ve consulted with engineers, emergency room doctors, lawyers, parents, teachers — you name it — from around the world.

After I create that knowledge foundation, I typically just free write whatever comes to me. I’m notorious for writing a section, reading it back, and then discarding large chunks — then starting from paragraph one all over again. This is why my third Peers of Beinan series book has taken me 14 plus months to only get to chapter two (annoying, I suppose given the cliff-hanger ending on book two). I write and rewrite and rewrite until I get it right. If I don’t hear a fluidity, that musical quality I am known for, I will ruthlessly discard it until it sounds JUST RIGHT!

Princess Anyu from Laurel A. Rockefeller's  Peers of Beinan series

Princess Anyu from Laurel A. Rockefeller’s Peers of Beinan series

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I am rather hands-off with my characters. They just talk to me and I write down what they say. I agonize over action verbs because I hear their voices in a precise way and feel the action they experience (as a blind/low vision author, I cannot “visualize” in the conventional sense; my inner “sight” is more of a sound/touch experience). Because I am not a visual person, sometimes I find the characters almost angry at me for not being able to always render them as accurately as I want to. They have sight; I do not. That can be a challenge for me.

What advice would you give other writers?
There is no shortcut to writing. The only way to master it is to DO IT. Practice. Do not treat your first draft as the perfect draft; usually it is not. Usually there is something you can do better.

Princess Anlei at the beginning of The Great Succession Crisis

Princess Anlei at the beginning of The Great Succession Crisis

Listen to others. So often we get caught up in how we feel about our work that we fail to pay attention to the constructive criticism around us. Never personalize this. Usually (there are trolls out there who just love to bully and nitpick) people want you to succeed. Trust in that and let them help you succeed.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I did not know self publishing existed until about two months before I self published my first book, “The Great Succession Crisis.” Once I researched and learned more about it, it became a no-brainer for me. The traditional publishing route came off as very expensive and very difficult with few benefits to authors.

So self-publishing is the way for me.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think print-on-demand is the future of paperback books. Some say that paperback is dead, but it’s really not. People like to hold physical books when they read.

The old traditional publisher and mega-bookstores are falling away. Instead, I think the emerging idea of print-on-demand kiosks will replace your mall bookstore. Just like you can order eyeglasses and pick them up in an hour, I think we will see print books done the same way. You place an order at a kiosk, pay for it, and then either pick it up in an hour or have it shipped to your home.

What genres do you write?
Juvenile, young adult, new adult, science fiction, fantasy, biography, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, romance, action adventure

Library of Erana – one year old! Lessons, advice and reminiscence

Originally posted on Library of Erana:

Apparently this blog is one year old today. It doesn’t seem a year! So what has the last year brought and what have I learned? Has the adventure been worth it?

I was a little sceptical when I began, if truth be told. Would the blog take away from writing time? Would anyone want to read my posts? What on earth would I actually write about?  I don’t post every day, but I do try and post weekly and vary the interviews, I reblog, I follow others and now I have twitter I tweet the posts. Whether that helps is another post entirely.

The blog doesn’t have a massive following, but it does have followers, and some of them are kind enough to comment on posts, to reblog and to tell others. I’ve had various positive comments and I have more author and character interviews than I ever expected, of…

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10 More New Products You May Have Missed

Originally posted on Zazzle Blog:

We here at Zazzle have been adding so many amazing new products lately, it might be hard to keep track! Here are some of our favorite products that have recently joined the Zazzle family and are just waiting for your designs.

1. Serve up some custom class with our beautiful new serving trays

2. Let everyone know what you have to say on a custom speech bubble dry erase board

3. Check on how your hair-do is doing in a personalized compact mirror

4. Wear your art on your nails, using our new Minx nail art decals

5. We have so many great new customizable accessories for the little ones, that we couldn’t pick just one! Keep your baby coordinated with a personalized bib, blanket, or burp cloth.

6. Make your mark on our official Post-It Notes

7. Grab your glass, and claim it as yours with…

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Successful book marketing is not luck

Boudicca facebook bannerSuccessful book marketing is not luck I found this blog post this afternoon on twitter and i absolutely have to share it with you.

small social media banner for Ghosts of the Past

small social media banner for Ghosts of the Past

It applies “The Secret” and speaks to the power of being positive.  If you have not watched Bob Proctor’s “The Secret,” you can find the links, along with some commentary I wrote, at http://voices.yahoo.com/the-soul-mate-paradigm-societys-definitions-of-12474076.html?cat=9