Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A sick nation...

Sometimes in the deep of night I lay awake staring at the dark ceiling and thoughts of what's happening with society and the world run through my head. It's these times when I often stumble across good tidbits to use in my writing. Last night though, what I stumbled across was a terrifying realization. The largest part of it was stirred by the supposed Health-Care Bill.

My nation, my country of the USA is sick, very sick, and just like when I have to watch my children suffer through an illness, powerless to fix it, I am powerless to fix anything now. This country was once great. I'm still very proud to belong to her, but the foundations are crumbling so badly, the strong pillars she was built on are hardly recognizable.

I ask myself over and over if everyone has lost sight of what's really important and while I see some glimmers of hope, I'm more often served a dose of proof that we have.

One huge dose of truth: Both bills require all Americans to get health coverage or pay a penalty. A PENALTY for not having health insurance? WHAT THE HECK IS THAT! Not right, not right at all and the marrow in my bones twists in agony at the thought of it. It's one more dose of poison to kill just a little more of this great nation.

Oh, some may think it's no big deal. Everyone should have health insurance just like car insurance. Except we can choose to not have a car, how do we choose to not have health or life without ending it? This is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard of. And this might surprise you, but I do have health insurance as does my immediate family. But I know people who don't and they don't because they can barely afford to put food on the table let alone dump money into an insurance they may never collect on or if they try to, the insurance company will weasel out of it and give reasons why they won't pay or will pay just a little bit.

Come on "We the People" wake the hell up, will you! I'm begging you.

Something that might look wonderful, like some undoubtedly think of this health care bill, is never what it first appears. This fine for not having health insurance, what the heck is it for? Think really hard on why they would need that. And what happens to the person who makes just enough to cover food, shelter, and heat when they can't afford either. What kind of prices will be on these new health insurance plans? Who gets to decide what is affordable for a person? People behind a desk most likely who have nice cushy incomes and have no idea what it is to have absolutely nothing. It's my experience, living in poverty much of my life, that government pays little attention to the fact people must live - paying attention only to how much money they can squeeze out of each of us.

It's making me angry. Especially since my daughters are just getting old enough to have to deal with all this crap - crap that no one I know has caused, yet we will suffer the after affects of other's stupidity.

What's next, after they have forced us all to pay out the butt for health insurance or shovel over hundreds in fines and still can't support their deficit? What happens then? How far will things go in the name of fixing things?

Here's an idea - quit trying to make things better and go backwards a bit to fix up the foundation again so we can stand with our heads high.

Yeah, I know, crazy, right. That's why I'm a fiction writer...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Curse of the creative mind

Okay, this must be every writers best and worst dream all in one.

I now have four complete novels written from beginning to end. They are the books of my new Disillusionment series, some I've written about on this blog before. As I read through them again, I can't believe how much I'm being pulled back into the stories and I wrote the darn things. But that's not the problem.

The problem is, book four isn't completed yet because I started it wrong and got hung up so I need to go back and find the true beginning before I can call it finished. Book five is written, edited, good to go. Book six is well on its way with more humor and crazy characters than I've ever had all together under one cover. So what do I do - I go planting more seeds.

I got into a conversation about all that's wrong with the world, pondering fixes and why it won't get fixed and my crazy creative mind took that and did one heck of a crazy S turn--not unlike our scenic Pennsylvania roads that started as cow paths -- and landed in among the thought of something like this "what if Earth is always in misery and at war because we as a species are being prepped for some bigger battle" and there it was. ARGG - the seed for book seven now growing in my head like a bad fertilized weed.

Meanwhile, the character's from book six watch out at me from their sketches hanging on my office wall and laugh (not really, use your imagination here!) at me because I thought they would only star in one book. HA, the bumbling idiots from book six - as I and my middle daughter so affectionately call them - apparently had a whole other story ready for themselves to prove they might not be so bumbling.

The good news is, Daughter of Gods: Book One will be out for November. Yes, this November. It's hitting the presses within the week, I expect. I'll let you know exactly when it's available. Revenge of the Gods is hot on its heels for next spring and Starlight and Judgment for fall of next year (2010). Freedom Wars --- well... Not so much. I'll get it there, the whole thing is worked out in my head, I just can't keep my eyelids open long enough or my stiff fingers to type it all fast enough while taking care of household, sick kids (who shared the bug with me for a few days) and a day job as publisher. Curse of the Gods (book five) is good to go, just needs one last proofread. Then Descended (book six) is well on its way. And apparently there will be a book seven.

The funny thing is, sometimes I ponder the possibility of having no more ideas like I did recently when I wondered what I would do after Descended was written. So, something like this happens as if to laugh in my face.

As I've said often today -- at least I won't get bored in the near future. I just have to work like a frantic idiot to do everything life insists I must do, and everything I want to do (oh, I donno, take care of my kids) and the things my creative mind refuses to not let me do.

There's not enough hours in a day or energy in this body some days. Guess I'll just keep doing what I can as well as I can and that will have to be enough.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Twisted Things...

I recently stumbled across an article disputing our new president's birth certificate. To quote: "Part of the problem for Mr Obama is that he has not produced his original birth certificate." And I felt absolutely, totally, and completely ill. How does crap like this happen when honest to goodness people like my family have to fight and claw just to get our teen-agers a driver's license? I can guarantee you, when we take our daughter in, they won't want a digitized version of her birth certificate. She also recently couldn't cash a check written out to her at any of three banks she tried because she had no "photo" identification. Yet someone can be elected to lead our country with a digitized representation of his birth certificate?

I work with photo images and in art programs on the computer all the time. I know how easy it is to create something, and while I don't know all the details or what not on the president's birth certificate, it bothers me no less to hear things like this.

Why? I don't know. If anyone has read any of my latest books, I've been writing about the fall of civilizations for a while now. I've studied ancient societies, their rise and falls and have learned that nothing good can stay for long just as nothing bad can. I just hate watching it happen so stupidly, I suppose.

I sit here in my office and am glad for my flamboyant imagination that can whisk me away into another world where my characters have the power to actually do something about the messes they are in...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Money Things

Times are tough all over - who doesn't know that by now? Quite a few states do not have budgets balanced, including my own. I've tried to follow the budget talks but it's a muddled up mess and I'm a person who can understand philosophy talk from Arthur Schopenhauer and the World as Will and Representation. I thought his "will" was difficult until I tried to weed out some useful information about the state budget.

And my fifteen year old who took a summer course studying 1920's history came home and asked me why they are still bothering to call this thing we're in a "repression" when to her, after studying all the signs in class, it seems far too obvious that we are already in a "depression."

The two different words mean nothing to me. I know it's time to make the garden bigger, get the hunters in the family to improve their aim, buy only the bare basics (raw meat and veggies, flour, sugar, salt and eggs) at the grocery store, and cut back on things we don't need to survive. Maybe it's because of how I grew up that my idea of what is "needed" is far different from some others, I don't know. And at the same time, I have to chuckle because "city folk" would probably consider me at the lowest rung on their ladder of life.

Does it matter? Not really. I'll do what I need with the knowledge, stubbornness, and ability to improvise left to me from my grandparents and parents and hopefully teach my kids what the true meaning of "need" really is.

How far down and for how long we go, who knows. Corruption and sloppy handling of funds has states and the entire nation in a tangled mess of impossible debt, and there is no way to fix it in my opinion because there are two types of people. There are those who have never been at the bottom (even if they think they have been) and can't make the sacrifices or see past the false lies of people in power to allow someone who knows how to fix things (because it won't be easy or pretty or comfortable), and there are those who know what it takes to improve things. We'll need to get our hands dirty and stop living with luxuries people - to get out of this mess we are in. We could do it voluntarily the easy way - not pleasant but possible - or we'll be forced kicking and screaming to do it. So as a whole, we'll have to learn things or do things the hard way - kicking and screaming with much suffering.

It stinks, I hate to see it happening when my kids will be forced to suffer it, but common sense does nothing to open people's eyes. They have to be beaten into the mud face first before they'll realize—if they will even then. We've got the "blame game" down to an art, and the removal of personal responsibility perfected.

I've studied ancient cultures for too long now to be surprised. I just wish everyone else would stop being so blind or greedy or whatever you want to call it. And maybe we should all return to doing what's right even when it's not pleasant.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Tired Writer

There come times when kids, work, and my creative mind wear me down to a point where I must just stop for a bit. Unfortunately sometimes when I try to stop, my creative section of mind refuses to cooperate with the "down time."

Well, I refused to touch the memory stick that has all five of my current books in progress stored safely on it. Still, my creative side nagged - nag,nag,nag,nag.

To skip around the long story, the result of my two evenings "off" is here:

I fed my creative side by doing something that was basically just a compilation of what was already done (didn't work the brain). The site is far from finished but if any of you get board, there's plenty to keep you reading for a while :) Hope you enjoy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Growing up old fashioned

I received an email today that seemed right on time. I was talking with a friend of mine (my grandfather's niece) who is a little younger than I am and has a daughter a few years younger than my youngest daughter so we got the two of them to play yesterday. We also got on the topic of how hard it was to raise our kids with people saying so often that we should have them doing all the activities available and things like that.

When my friend called to ask about getting the girls together, I had to holler down to the swing set in the back yard from my garden in the front yard. We were both outside, but my older two were off, one paint balling with her boyfriend and the other up at the college for a summer course she chose to take, so I had only one lonely child. We walked to get there and my friend walked her home.

I'm not a total stickler. We do have an X-box (not a 360) and a Play Station 2. We have a collection of DVDs and got a satellite dish about two years ago. The television wasn't on at all for the past two days except for the hour or so my husband watched it yesterday.

We keep busy with other things. My youngest helps with the dishes, takes care of all her animals and sweeps floors and helps sort and fold laundry. I also have her busy in the kitchen stirring what needs stirred and grabbing ingredients. My girls are not involved in sports or clubs or any summer programs to keep them busy. And they are not bored. I raise them like I was raised, kicking them out to play in the yard if they don't do it themselves, giving them things they must do - be responsible for - so they have a sense of accomplishment. I trust them to make their own decisions with me there keeping an eye on things, but not interfering unless I have to.

Now I hear "school all year round" and "summer school, why don't you have your daughter in it, it's a great program, you really SHOULD do it." And all I can think is "do not take my kids more than you already do!" and whatever happened to parents raising kids? What ever happened to letting a child learn how to occupy themselves? Game systems and televisions can all be unplugged and/or put off limits. But I'm very aware I live in a wonderful place, especially in this day and age. We're stuck in a time warp, changing only marginally from one decade to the next. This became very evident to me the day we had someone here from Harrisburg and they stared as if their eyes would pop out when I told my kids to go play outside. In our yard, the worst thing that might happen is they will get sprayed by a skunk.

So when this arrived in my email box today, it hit just the right note. I still raise my kids like I was raised in the 70s (and 80s but remember the time warp thing here) and everything here applies.

To Those of You Born 1930 - 1979

At the end of this email is a quote of the month by Jay Leno. If you don't read anything else, please read what he said.
Very well stated, Mr. Leno.

1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. (Oh YES, so very true. Now we "must" be strapped inside so we can't move more than a few inches and we ride along side motorcyclist who no longer have to wear helmets - someone please explain that one to me!)

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. (I HEAR THAT LOUD AND CLEAR!)

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ? (Not really, but it makes me sick to see what our society has become.)

~ The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:

'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of swine flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us...go ahead and ignore this.. For the rest of us....pass this on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Killing Characters

I have to ask myself why my characters seem to run full steam in demanding their stories be written when my life is getting ever busier. I have other things I need to do. Weeds need pulled from gardens and trimmed around trees. I have mulch to spread, meals to cook, and laundry to do but my characters don't care. They muddle my mind until I'm left with no choice but sitting down with my laptop and racing through chapters of scenes. I suppose that should be a good thing considering the book I was stuck on and seriously considered tossing in the trash is the very book I'm over half way through now.

At some point in reading through the books I have written, it occurred to me that I was avoiding writing Revenge of the Gods because of something that has to happen in it. In most of my books, the plot is open for twists and turns but in Revenge of the Gods, two major events have to happen to torture the main characters and put them on the paths that carry them into the books I have already written (book three and five of the series). My daughter convinced me not to ditch Revenge of the Gods saying that what happens in it is needed to make the following books even stronger. She isn't wrong. But I hate writing such painful scenes.

I had to create a character that becomes very important to a main character's personal growth. Without giving too much away, I'll say this: I had to create this character knowing the life would be short and have a very violent end. That is what held me up - I couldn't write a character I didn't like, but I didn't want to kill a character I did like. It's like killing off a dear pet, especially since this character and the story situation grew to bring up painful memories in my own "real" life. I didn't do that on purpose - not consciously at least - but that's how it happened. And for twenty-four hours after I wrote the terrible scene I felt lost and depressed just like my surviving main character. But I managed to wax my car while I tried to recover from the tragedy.

My best friend always told me I was good at getting into people's heads. To put it simply, I can empathize with people I meet and with the characters I create. I like to think that is what helps me make my characters so dynamic and likeable. But—darn—it kills me when I have to kill one of them. In the back of my mind I'm screaming - SAVE HIM - and I could easily do it, but then my main character wouldn't have a reason to dive down a completely different path she chooses because of it and the third book would make no sense.

So, tonight I will return to my laptop to write the final scenes of Revenge of the Gods knowing they'll be very hard and sad and I'm glad I'll be alone so no one will see me bawling. And I'm glad I'll be able to go right into proofreading Starlight and Judgment to pull the character and myself out of misery.

So there's your hint - I promise to try to get the two books out as close to each other as I can to ease the sorrow...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Setting Records

Over the past few weeks, I wrote a 99,000 word novel from beginning to end. That is a record for me. It started with two sentences that popped into my head one day and I had to type them out right away. It went like this:
The moment Tarenek sensed energy in the storm that had nothing at all to do with drumming thunder or slashing lightning, he knew his nightmares weren’t only dreams. No, this energy linked to a soul, the soul he killed every night moments before waking breathless in a sticky sweat.

Actually, the original didn't have Tarenek's name included. It was just a couple sentences about a "he" that I expected to stash away in my hard drive. Then I got bored one night and started drawing. Coralie Angenil (new) and Tarenek Brye Annis (all grown up from the first books of the Disillusionment series) came to life so easily that it was scary, and if I ever get my scanner out from under papers and manage to plug it back in again, I'll post them.

A little background: in Daughter of Gods, the parents, Tryn and Cedrik, are young and just meeting. In the second book, Revenge of the Gods, which includes their children Kira and Tarenek, the consequences of the first book come back to get them quite literally. I've yet to get it beyond page 55. In the third book, Starlight and Judgment, Kira is 23 and struggling to find her way. She manages in part because of 14 year old Tarenek. I wrote it in about 7 months and thought that was good. I enjoyed her character a lot too. In the 4th book, Curse of the Gods, Tarenek is the young age of 392.
That's not a typo. It's also not old for an immortal, is it? The fourth book skips about 150 years of Freedom Wars and a couple hundred years of peace. I started it somewhere at the beginning of May this year and finished the last chapter two days ago, June 3rd. I only wrote during the night, after 9 p.m. and I managed to snag a couple Saturdays.

From those first two sentences, the rest of the story unfolded as easily as thread unrolls from a bobbin. Emotionally wrenching and uplifting all in a few weeks - definitely a record for me and I loved every moment of it. The speed of it was due in part to returning characters (Kira who is 6 years older than her brother, but after 392 years, who's counting?). It was also due in part to my middle daughter having a photographic memory and what she learned in science class this past school year. I knew what Tarenek could do, what internal demons he constantly fought (it made him so very interesting to write), but I didn't know how to make it concrete. I expressed my concern about his abilities one night and she responded with a huff and: "Molecular combustion and molecular dispersion should take care of it all." Surprise! She was right, and all I had to do was ask her for explanations and review a bit of her notes.

When will it be released? Hmmm, well, Among the Ancients and Daughter of Gods come out this year, 2009. I'm hoping to have Revenge of the Gods complete for next year to put before Starlight and Judgment- then they will fall as they may so I hope to see Curse of the Gods in print by 2011. And to think, that used to feel like a long time into the future...ugh.

Till next time,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's Spring time

Spring is here. The yard is mowed, the gardens are...started. I have cleaned out the front flower beds (two small ones and one large one about fifty feet long). I also have my peas planted in the vegetable garden, managed that in between rain showers so they should have a good start. And I have my tomato plants ready to go on as soon as I'm sure all threat of frost is past. I need these plants for the spaghetti sauce I'll make. I need it now because since I've been doing the homemade sauce my family refuses to eat the "store bought" stuff. We also have three additions to our family.

My daughter's fourth grade class raised ducks from eggs this year. The children who were able to offer them a good home were to fill out a paper to be put in for a drawing. Ducks - I thought - need a natural pond - which we do not have although there is one close. I told her I didn't think it was a good idea. She asked dad. Then, the other night I got a phone call from my youngest's teacher. Her name had been pulled - she was the new owner of three baby ducks. And the first thing that popped into my head was "who filled out that paper?" See, we already have two dogs, eight fish, one rabbit and a slew of wild birds we feed. When my husband came home, the only thing I could say was "what did you do?" LOL.

Turns out my oldest's boyfriend knew a few things about ducks. Within two days, we had a pen fit for royal ducks and I now know they don't really need a pond, just fresh water. We can manage that. And our littlest dog, a cockapoo, has taken on the rule of surrogate mother even annoying my middle daughter (Bambie's main caretaker) with waking her up in the middle of the night so Bams could go check on the peeps in the front room.

As always, we've adjusted. We're so very good at doing so. Onward and forward - as always no matter how muddy the road ahead.

I'll forget we have no wood to burn and the furnace quit. I'll forget that allergy season is in full swing, work is slowing way down, and the checkbook is nearly empty. Life is much better when you just focus on the good things like the joy a 9 year old gets from holding a fluffy yellow duck or the fresh new leaves uncurling on the trees.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Why Writers Write

I've been doing this "writing thing" since the early 1990s. I've been online since 2002. In that time, I've worked and networked with more authors than I can count. I've also learned a few things about writers.

Generally there are two categories - those who write for fame and fortune (who are quickly and completely frustrated right from the start) and those who write because they have no other choice.

Today I took another blow to my writing ego. I shared the devastating "returns" syndrome with so many other writers and the thought "why the heck do I even bother" screamed through my mind as I unpacked the unexpected boxes with the unexpected bill. Yet, here I sit at my computer, another window up behind this blog, one with the first three chapters of my next book. Crazy - yeppers. I would like a room with a window please.

I slave over my writing, getting lost in the characters' lives, making sure every word, sentence, paragraph and chapter has a purpose and the right emotional punch. Why? I do not, nor did I ever, expect fame or fortune. In fact, fame would flat out terrify me. Fortune would be nice, but I'm not delusional - I know how the book business works and the author is at the bottom of the totem pole after everyone else (printer, wholesaller, stores) has taken a huge bite.

So, what do I write for? I suppose the answer to that is I write for my characters and for the handful of people who I know will enjoy my tales as well as for anyone else who should find one of my books. And I write because I must.

I fit squarely into the category of writers who need to put stories to paper as much as they need to breathe. Sure I can "not" write. In fact, I have gone for long periods of time being busy with other things, but a really odd thing happens. My head jams full of scenes and characters and I get really cranky. I know that's true because this week, after sitting at the computer for two hours and writing out 6,000 words straight, my kids said "PHEW - no more grouchy mom now." And I sink into my chair and wonder if I was really that bad.

Here looms another night well into the wee hours of the morning spent with two new characters who are a lot more fun than my "real" life right now because I know what the next several chapters are going to be and won't be able to sleep until they are purged. I get a lot of enjoyment out of that just for the experience of it. I get to escape into creation with the hopes that others will escape with the characters when they are released and ready for order. Whenever that might be.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ponderings and Challenges

I look back over the last few months and wonder how one person can feel so beaten and exhausted from constant work yet show so little for it. And my husband thinks I don't understand. *sigh*

I've worked and worked on everything from my art and writing to others' books to keeping my publishing company Star Publish LLC running yet very few things have landed on my totally "finished" list for anyone else to see. Still, I know what I've accomplished, the bills that I've managed to keep paid, the house I've managed to keep from becoming a barn, the book I've managed to write a few chapters in, the covers I've designed, painted and finished for myself and for others, the formats I've done, the proofreads, the hours spent helping with homework (don't get me on the homework subject unless you want to read a book in a blog). And it's not even summer yet - ack.

Yet, I come in here and here sits my blog as if I've drifted from the face of Earth to be sucked into the void of space. And I wonder —why can't I do it all? My intentions were to keep up with the blog and to more quickly pursue all the other things on my "want to do" list.

And there sits spring, right on my front door step with the garden work that needs done and a need so thick and pressing sitting in my gut that my back and shoulders already ache just from the very thought of what my mind wants to do with everything. I really must get my acre and a half of yard under control again this year. It's been out of control since we replaced an old trailer with a newer double wide in 2004. Been a while.

So I struggle with the frustration of not knowing if I can do everything I want - I'm not 25 anymore like I was the first time I landscaped this yard and I've sat in a computer chair too long instead of toting kids on my hips like I did back then - add in the frustration of knowing days are still only 24 hours long and I'm still in need of 8 hours of sleep - and well, it's not the most pleasant of things. Of course my only choice is to plod forward, knocking things off my to-do list and my want-to-do list and hoping to fill up my finished-doing list real soon.

Wish me luck. I'll need it :)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Breaking Novel Writing Myths

Myth #1 Authors work on one book at a time.

In 2005 I started a book that fell to the wayside, Among the Ancients. It was the rough time, right after I finished my Manipulated Evil Trilogy. That trilogy had characters and a story so big, everything I wrote after it felt flat to me. The second book I started after it, Rise of the Arcadians, had ties to Global Climate Change that helped me keep it going to the end but was a simpler story. I wasn't sure about it, but many have told me now that it's their favorite of my titles so far. So I learned not to judge my own work by what I felt about it. I picked up Rise a few months ago and was shocked to find it really is very good.

Fall of 2008, I finally finished Among the Ancients. Only took me five years. (Can you hear the sarcasm there?) It will be released by summer 2009 - my fingers crossed -, and I must admit, it's turned into an exciting tale. I simply had to work through some plot glitches.

In late 2007, with the other two lingering as Works in Progress, I started on another series, different than the trilogy. It has developed into the Disillusionment Series with Daughter of Gods: Book one, finished and due out this year, 2009. It was a breeze to write in just about 7 months, the characters practically dictating their story, much like the characters of my trilogy did. The third book of the series is also written - Starlight and Judgment.

Now, I have to write the book linking the two of them together. This series is nothing like the trilogy. Each book stands alone, happening years after the previous but with a family who grows through the years. Starlight, Kira, 23 years old in the third book all about her trials, is the 6 year old daughter of Cedrik of the first book and his reason for taking the steps he does. In the middle book, yet untitled, she shares center stage with her parents as a 16 year old.

Does it sound strange that book one and three are done and two isn't even titled or past chapter 3 yet? I really tried not to do it that way. I was unwillingly driven to write Starlight and Judgment, leaving book two with only three chapters done. It all happened because of an annoyingly nagging character. Every time I tried to sit down and write 16 year old Kira, 23 year old Kira would butt in and sketch out her adult scenes in my head. Now I know what events happen to her in the second book to turn her into who she becomes. Now, book two is ready to be written. It's the first time I've ever developed a character backwards.

I have to admit I'm enjoying the character developments happening in the Disillusionment Series and looking forward to moving ahead with their lives as well as the conflicts as the indigenous people of Earth fight against their creators to keep their planet whole and well, not broken and abused. I have at least 5 books planned for the series based on the characters I want to focus on.

So, at one time, I had four books in different stages of development. Not something I would suggest, but whatever works it what an author has to do. Follow the muse :)

Until next time...