Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inspiration and Dreams

I've had a lot of fantastic questions in the comments section of my blog tour this month. If you want to read them, please be sure to check out the links for my stops. If you have questions of your own, definitely post them, as well. 

One question really stood out for me, though I hadn't thought too hard about it before. The answer stumped me, at first, and also made me realize how much of my writing is dependent upon my subconscious. Using my dreams to feed my novels is so second nature that I've always taken it for granted, and sometimes forget where my ideas originate. The question came from poster Elise-Maria B.:
"I find it fascinating that you’re able to remember your dreams well enough to put them to paper. What’s the craziest thing you ever dreamt and then used in a book?"
I did post my response on the blog, but for some reason it's still not showing up for anyone but me (gotta love the interwebs!), so here's the answer.... 
The truly crazy things I don’t tend to use (believe me, I've had some strange dreams!), but Cal’s introduction in The Child Returns was a dream and has to be the strangest thing I’ve used to date. He’s what’s known as a Guide in the kingdom of Aerenden. His power allows him to manipulate the elements and at times, he uses rhyme to focus that power.
I have unusual relationship with my characters sometimes. I’ve tried controlling them, but the stories never work out when I do that. And in some cases, new characters simply pop into my head and won’t leave me alone until I write about them. Cal was one of those characters. He first appeared to me as a bodiless voice in a dream, singing the same song he broadcast to Meaghan on the wind. Since I had no idea who he was or his significance, I disregarded the dream. It refused to let me go. For a solid week, I dreamed his silly song until I used it. Of course, he turned out to be a major character, but it took a huge leap of faith to allow that dream into my books. Glad I did!
Thanks for the question and the important reminder, Elise-Maria!

And now I'm curious: Does anyone else ever have great ideas in a dream? If so, what are they?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The God's Honest Truth: A Grandfather's Tale

Recently, someone commented on one of my blog tour stops and asked me to share a few of my grandfather's stories. For those who may not know, my grandfather is one of the major reasons I write. He's a brilliant storyteller, someone who commands attention when he speaks--not because he's loud or overly imposing, but because he's gifted. But transferring his stories to print is a tricky endeavor. Much of his storytelling magic comes from his delivery. His dialect and accent are distinctly Maine. The tell-tale mid-sentence pauses and punctuated exhaled breaths, the accented vowels and dropped "R"s all mask his delivery as unassuming, until he gets to the punchline. To be honest, sometimes I can't tell which stories are real and which ones are made up, but that's part of his storytelling charm. As his last words fall, you don't care if it's real or not. You're in it with him, and that's all that matters.

My grandfather; my hero
He called me tonight, after I sent my mom an email requesting his permission to use some of his stories on my blog.

"Hello, kid," he greets me, as he usually does. "How's my favorite granddaughter?"

"When did I move up the ranks?" I ask.

He laughs. All five of us get that greeting, I think, unless he really feels like teasing us. Then we're last.

But he gets to his point quickly, also as he usually does.

"Well, I can't think of any stories right now, but you can use 'em. Can you not use the names?"

"I can change them."

"Good, good. Well, see, there's one. Did I ever tell you about..."

(They always start like this)

" of our ancestors? Tommy Collin was his name. He came across from Ireland direct. His family wanted him to marry an Irish girl, so they sent back to the old country for one. She came, a lovely girl, and they got married. One day soon after, he took her into town."

He pauses, then says. "Well, this is a true story, you know. He goes into town with her on the trolley, then returns home. Only he forgot he was married and left her right there in town."

"Wait, he left her behind?"

"Ayuh, without any money. She eventually got home, but until the day of her death, she never forgave him. She walked ten feet behind him for the rest of their lives. She refused to walk beside him. You'd think since he forgot her, that wouldn't be the smart thing, but that's what she did. She could always see him that way, you see. And that's the God's honest truth."

Somehow, I believe it is.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pronunciation Guide

The following pronunciation guide applies to all books in the Ærenden series. It's in alphabetical order, with the exception of Ærenden, since that's my top request. I'll be sure to update it as each book is released.

Note: Since I'm not a linguist, the guide is more of a "sounds like" than a proper key. If anyone is an expert at these things and wants to create a proper key, let me know :).  

If I've missed something you want to see on the list, email me or comment and I'll add it.

Ærenden = Air-uhn-den
Adara = Uh-dare-uh
Adelina = Ad-uh-leen-uh
Akaya = Ah-kay-ah
Alcent = Awl-cent
Aldin = Al-din
Allestone = Al-stone
Anissa = Ah-niss-ah
Aristos = Air-ih-stahs
Artair = Arr-tare
Asif = Ay-siff
Astasia = Ahs-tay-shia
Beolagh = Bee-oh-lah
Cadell = Kay-del
Caide = Cayd
Caldon = Kal-duhn
Cashia = Cash-eh-ah
Cissiline = Sis-uhl-een
Edáire = Ed-air
Élana = Ay-lahn-ah
Ellida = Ell-ee-duh
Emalía = Ay-mall-ee-uh
Eudor = You-door
Faillen = Fal-uhn
Faughn = Fawn
Finnil = Fin-l
Garon = Gair-uhn
Iria = Eer-ee-uh
Iza = Eye-zah
Jicab = Ji-kuhb
Kadel = Ka-dell
Laegoli = Lah-ay-go-lee
Maiyahla = Mahy-ah-luh
Malaki = Mael-uh-kye
Mardróch = Mahr-drohk
Mauraetus = Moor-ah-ay-tus
Mycale = My-kal
Neiszhe = Nee-shuh
Nickaulai = Nik-oh-lie
Oceiania = Osh-ee-an-ee-ah
Origio = Oh-ridge-ee-oh
Paecis = Pah-ay-seez
Sabian = Say-bee-ehn
Stilgan = Still-gan
Talea = Tal-ee-uh
Túrú = Too-roo
Zeiihbu = Zay-boo
Zellíd = Zell-eed
Zeyed = Zay-ed

Ancient Æren Words
Although the ancient Æren words have no known pronunciation for the modern people of Ærenden, I'm providing the closest approximation of all ancient Æren words mentioned in the books for your reading enjoyment. 

Cáen`i = Kay-ah-nu-eye (a small breath, kind of like a pause, goes between the n and i, which is what's denoted by the mark)

Y~nçy~ndí = In-Sind-ee (the character y~ is actually a letter in the Æren alphabet; no pause is needed here)

Illú’my~nní = Ill-loo-min-knee  

last updated 15 March 2020

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Unreliable Witness

At the UCF Book Festival last weekend, another author and I started discussing Point of View (POV) for writing. I prefer third person POV, while she prefers first. She said her narrator is an unreliable witness, so first person creates more drama. I couldn't agree more. It's a tremendous tool and true to human nature. After all, how many of us are reliable witnesses? Our perspectives are tainted by our experiences, so no two views will be the same. A rich person, for instance, will think of a thousand dollars as inexpensive, while I cringe when I have to spend one hundred. To me, the other person's view is unreliable. But who's to say mine isn't to him or her? We all tell our stories as if they're the whole truth, but they're really just partial lies to someone else.

"Things aren't what they seem."

Vivian's words echo in my mind as I walk with my daughter today. Abby has long since fallen asleep in her stroller, but I'm not alone. Not really. Meaghan's been walking beside me for several minutes, though she still hasn't spoken.

"It has to happen," she finally says to me and I do my best to ignore her. We've been having this argument for weeks and I'm tired of it. "It's why I came to you."

This time she has my full attention, though I try not to speak too loudly. I'm pretty sure no one else can see her. "To me? What do you mean?"

"It's why I'm telling you my story, why I've pushed you to share it. It matters here, too."


"Earth?" I ask.

She nods and turns her copper eyes into the sun. "Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons."

Now I'm completely confused.

"I'm not done here," she continues. "You'll see soon enough, and I'll tell you the whole story in time. It matters on both sides of the portal."


She smiles instead of responding, though the corners of her mouth look stiff, maybe even cold.


"It has to happen," she repeats, then I'm alone with my sleeping child once more.

I hate when that happens. It's not the first time and I know it won't be the last. Ærenden has been a twenty-year roller coaster ride for me. Ultimately, I'm in control of the story, of where it goes and how it ends. I know this, but sometimes I wonder...

Who's the true unreliable witness here?


Or me?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Updates! (& Pictures)

It's been a busy couple of weeks since my last post and I wanted to give you an update on what's been happening. As I'm sure many of you are aware, The Zeiihbu Master launched on March 25th and made it to #2 on one of Amazon's Hot New Releases charts (thank you to everyone who spread the word about the series).

UCF Book Festival main floor
The UCF Book Festival on April 5th was amazing. I loved talking books with fellow authors and readers and the Fantasy Frenzy Panel with Will Wight and JA Souders had a huge turnout. Every seat was taken and the standing areas were nearly full, despite the fact we shared the Keynote Speaker's time slot. I really appreciate everyone who came to hear us talk. We had a great time and people tell me it was one of the most enjoyable panels at the Festival (yay!).

My first book signing :)
After the panel, I had the chance to meet some of my fans and sign books. For those who were able to stop by and say "hi", thank you. I had a line the entire time and the Bookstore sold out of my third book!

My editor and I, being goofy as usual
Since my only complaint had to do with missing my chance to meet Mike Farrell from M.A.S.H. and get his autograph (sadly, my own fault since I completely forgot), I'd say the festival was a fabulous success. HUGE appreciation to Edward Booker from the Orange County Library System for his expert (and excellent) panel moderation, as well as the University of Central Florida, Barnes & Noble and the sponsors and volunteers for organizing the amazing event.

I'd love to do another event like this soon, so if you know of any, let me know :).

On a side note: I was so busy, I failed to get pictures! The last two are courtesy of my editor, Jessica Lux. If you have any you don't mind sharing with me, please send them my way at or upload them to Facebook and tag my author page. Thanks!


  • Virtual Book Tour/Blog Tour April 15-August 4, 2014 
  • Working on the Audio book version of The Zeiihbu Master
More details coming soon, and yes, somewhere in there I'll be starting Book 4. Stay tuned!