Monday, June 29, 2015

Going Forward, Creative Blogging, Nominations

Hello all! Happy Monday morning!

It's been weeks since I posted regularly on my blog, which is all kinds of weird for me. I love blogging and have been religious about it for years. But life has gotten in the way a lot lately. I'm hoping now to return to a more regular schedule. So, a couple of things.

1) I've been nominated as a creative blogger (see below).

2) What I post on this blog may change a bit. In the past I've done a lot of weekday memes and blog hops and things. I won't be forsaking those all together, but I'll be doing fewer of them. The reason being is that I want to focus more on my own writing, rather than reading and blog hopping. 

3) For that same reason, I'll probably post less than I used to: only 2-3 times/week, rather than 5+. 

4) Other than that, I'll still be around a lot. Not going anywhere anytime soon. :D

5) I'm also still working on a whole new marketing plan for my books, and I'll share it and it's results as I go along, so I'm super excited to see how it works.

Creative Blogger:

I was nominated by Jeffrey Scott over at J.A. Scott (thanks Jeff! *waves*). If I am to accept the award, I need to follow a few rules. That's where this blog post comes in.

The rules:
1. Thank and post the link of the person who nominated you.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
3. Nominate 10-20 blogs and notify them.
4. Pass on the rules.

Facts about me:
1. I am a hybrid author (both traditional and indie) who writes across many genres, including scifi/fantasy, historical fiction, dystopian, and crime fiction.
2. I am unmarried, but live with my sister and four-year-old niece in Northern Utah. 
3. I come from a huge, tight-knit family. There are twelve of us kids, all from the same two parents. (Everyone take a deep breath! No passing out while reading my blog!)
4. I run a daycare during the week to pay the bills. I find that I have a LOT less motivation to write when I have to work a 9-5 job. Staying at home with a bunch of rugrats gives me (some) time to write during the day, but more importantly it doesn't kill my motivation to write during my spare time.
5. I am a The Walking Dead fanatic. Anyone who follows my blog for long already knows this. When the show is on (Oct-Nov, Feb-Mar) I do very in-depth analyses of each episode on my blog. I even have a fan account on Instagram and Tumblr. I've actually learned some marketing lessons from these accounts, which I'll be turning into blog posts soon. Stay tuned! :D

I nominate:
1. Alex J. Cavanaugh - If you want to know how to run a successful blog, go follow him!
2. The Geek Twins - Maurice and Nigel, always bringing fascinating scifi, pop culture tidbits I don't hear anywhere else. 
3. C.D. Gallant-King - An amazing author who shares great characters and excerpts on his blog!
4. Johnny Worthin - Another fantastic author with a sense of humor that just won't quit. Once you know Johnny, you won't forget him.
5. Lehua Parker - YA Author with a delightful series about a boy who might just be a shark, set in Hawaii.
6. Ann Marie Meyers - Delightful ME/YA author. Check out her book, Up in the Air.
7. The Brothers Washburn - I love their YA horror. It's just a truckload of fun to read!
8. Jo Ann Schneider - Another fabulous JFP author! Check out her latest book.

I'm supposed to do at least 10, but I'm gonna stop there. 

What blogger would YOU want to know more about?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sorry for the Absence!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Sorry I was gone all last week with no explanation. I had a super-busy weekend, and figured I'd just have to do posts each day, rather than in advance, and then my internet went out. It was a hardware problem, but it really took most of the week to get it fixed. :/

And yes, I could have connected with my phone--I did a couple of times just to troll my networks, answer comments, etc.--but trying to actually create a post from my phone is a major pain in the neck--not worth the effort--so I decided to wait until my internet decided to stop being a bully.

Anyway, I'm back this week. Thing is, I've been doing a lot of thinking about where I want this blog to go. I'm putting together a new marketing strategy for my books, which I probably won't implement until next month, but it will change the way and frequency in which I post.

I'll probably do fewer memes and try to focus my blog more on writing and, what it's named for: Musings on Fantasia. So that means I'll still be doing book, film and TV reviews, focusing on interpreting stories and such. And I'm sure I'll do other things as well that strike my fancy. But without the extra memes to fill in gaps, the frequency with with I post will probably go down to 1-3 times/week.

Anyway, this week may still be a bit touch and go, but after that I'll get back into a routine. Hope everyone has a wonderful week! :D

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Follow Friday: A Character's Shoes + Funny Friday

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

If you can step into one characters shoes (in a book) and be them for a day who would it be and why? Also if you want to be creative, what scene? - Suggested by Seeing Night Book Reviews

This question actually goes great with character week! 

Hmm. This is a really un-creative answer for me, but I think I'd have to go with Nynaeve al'Meara from The Wheel of Time. Favorite series. Favorite character. And I think I'd like to experience the most powerful female Channeler int he world. Just for one day, you know? 

If I had to pick a scene, there are plenty of battle scenes that are pretty dang cool, including when she catches Moghedien. But I always really liked the scene where she rides from one end of the continent to the other, gathering Lan's army for him. One of my favorite scenes, so I think I might want to step into that one. :D

What character/scene would YOU step into?

Welcome to Friday Funnies! Because everyone needs a good laugh on Friday.

(All pictures courtesy of my LOL Pinterest Board or my Geektastic Board.)

Supernatural/Tangled Mashup. Love it!


The sad thing is that I had to watch this for like 30 seconds
before I noticed Vader. :D

Yeah pretty much!

Hope one of those gave you a laugh! Happy Friday, Everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

3 Tips for Writing Fantasy Characters

Before we get to character week, I'd like to report that the Summer Author Bash Party on Facebook last night was a smashing success! I honestly didn't expect so much attendance and participation, and was pleasantly surprised. I'll be contacting the winners of my contests today. Thank you so much for everyone who stopped by and participated! It was so much fun! :D

Character Week: Fantasy

It's CHARACTER WEEK here on my blog, and I'll be giving tips on writing characters in different genres. These won't be tips on how to write a well-rounded character, as is the norm for talking about characters. Rather, these are extra things that characters in specific genres should possess. 

Today, we'll focus on the the Fantasy Genre. Fantasy is really it's own thing. We're talking about creating a world that is vastly different than our own, and as the creator of it, you can do whatever you like with it. You must live by your own rules, of course, but that's another topic. So what kind of characters are required for fantasy worlds. Here are some pointers:

1) Use your characters to explore your world. This doesn't necessarily mean they have to be curious, though that's definitely not a bad thing. They may just need to be able to roam, or know some aspect of your world well enough to introduce it to your characters. Unlike with other genres, where a character may be discovering the world with your readers, in fantasy you generally want at least one character that's already very familiar with it. Use them to show the world to your readers.

Example: We'll use Harry Potter, and we're all pretty familiar with him. Now, he was new to the wizarding world, so we were experiencing the world for the first time with him, but notice most of the other characters--the magical ones--were already very familiar with the world. Between the two types, we got plenty of exploration and discovered the world effectively.

2) They should show/interact with the weaknesses and strengths of your world. Create characters that have ties to the most interesting and extreme parts of your world.

Example: Harry again. Harry had direct ties to the most magical parts of his world, both good and bad (i.e. Dumbledore vs. Voldemort), the most magical objects (Sorcerer's Stone, etc.) and the most ordinary (i.e. Muggles). We also see him right in the middle of the biggest debates (muggles/mudbloods, treatment of various magical creatures and races, etc.) So you can see that Rowling effectively used her characters, both Harry and other side characters, to explore his world.

3) Give your characters a weakness or vulnerability that directly relates to your fantasy world. Giving them something like a physical limitation is all well and good (really not bashing it) but it's so much more compelling when the vulnerability is tied to the world itself, rather than something that could crop up in our world or any other. A strength or potential strength that's tied directly to the world is compelling as well. These just have to be things that only make sense in the context of your fantasy world.

Example: Weaknesses: Harry's similarities to Voldemort; Frodo's vulnerability to the One Ring; Strengths; Daenarys's immunity from fire in Game of Thrones; Bella's immunity to Edward's mind-reading powers in Twilight.

So if you're writing any kind of fantasy story, make sure your characters are intricately tied to your world. It will make the story all tie together better and be more compelling and memorable overall.

What qualities to do you give your fantasy characters?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2 Essential Historical Fiction Character Qualities + Summer Bash Author Party and Teasers

Hi Everyone! Quick announcement before we get to Character Week. I haven't promoted this NEARLY enough because my life has been so crazy lately, but tonight I'm participating in an Author Summer Bash Party if anyone would like to attend.

It's completely online, a Facebook event from 6-9 pm tonight, MST. The URL is here:

Basically it's me and eight other (awesome) authors. We'll each take a 30 minute time slot (my slot is 7-7:30 pm, MST) to run things. We'll ask questions, which our audience will answer. They'll have a chance to ask us questions. And there are tons of great prizes. I'm giving away a bunch of ebooks. I know others are also doing giftcards. And the grand prize we all chipped in for is a Kindle Fire HD. So the prizes are pretty darn awesomesauce!

Other authors include: Allison Rose, A.S. Winchester, Christy Sloat, Emma Raveling, Emm Cole, E.J. Mellow, J.Kowallis, Kirstin Maddock, and Sunshine Somerville.

So stop by at the above URL tonight and ask or answer some questions for a chance at great prizes. We'd love to meet you! 

Okay, onward! (Teasers below.)

Character Week

It's CHARACTER WEEK here on my blog, and I'll be giving tips on writing characters in different genres. These won't be tips on how to write a well-rounded character, as is the norm for talking about characters. Rather, these are extra things that characters in specific genres should possess. 

Today, we'll focus on the Historical Fiction Genre. I write and love historical fiction, but it can be a challenging genre to conquer. 

Here's the thing about historical fiction characters: just like every other aspect of the genre, they require a bit of research. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you view things, but if you're big on historical fiction, I'm gonna take a wild guess that you aren't opposed to historical research. :D

So here are a couple of things to remember about your historical fiction characters:

1) They must have the beliefs that people of the time in their circumstances had. If you're writing about the sixties, you need to do some research into the decade to figure out what people knew and believed. Depending on the character, time period, and setting, it might only be subtly different from contemporary beliefs, or it may be vastly different. 

For example: The middle ages was full of monarchists, most of whom believed in Divide Right to Rule. This meant that whoever became king or queen was God's will and that person, because God had directed circumstances to place them on the throne, could do no wrong. Everything they said, did, or thought came directly from God. This was a sincere and powerful belief of most people who lived on earth at that time. It informed every political and religious decision they made. Can you see how characters living in this time would be vastly different from contemporary ones who believe in democracy, choice and accountability, and the will of the people through popular vote?

2) Despite potentially outdated or ignorant beliefs, your characters must still have some over-arching, transcendent belief that makes them likable and/or relatable. Historical fiction is all about the regrets our society, and sometimes the human race as a whole, has about our past. We need to see both hope and struggle from these characters. In fact, this is a an invaluable opportunity to create dichotomy in your character 

For example: Someone who is closed-minded in some ways due to his belief in Divine Right Rule, but who the reader also roots for because the character is a genuinely decent and compelling person.

Make sure characters in your historical fiction have both these qualities. I've read histfic where one or both of these were lacking, and it definitely did not make for compelling or memorable characters. 

What qualities do you think Historical Fiction characters should have?

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teasers come from Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia. I read book 1 like two years ago and am finally getting around to the sequel. (Yea!)

Another crash. Now I was covered with the fine white dust of her fallen ceiling, broken chunks scattered on the floor around me. That's not what I meant and you know it. 
Do I? All I know is that it shouldn't be so hard. Loving someone shouldn't be so hard. 
I never cared about that. I felt her fading away, pushing me out of her mind and out of her heart.

What are you reading this week?

Monday, June 8, 2015

5 Qualities Characters in the Mystery Genre Should Possess That You Probably Haven't Considered

It's CHARACTER WEEK here on my blog, and I'll be giving tips on writing characters in different genres. These won't be tips on how to write a well-rounded character, as is the norm for talking about characters. Rather, these are extra things that characters in specific genres should possess. 

Today, we'll focus on the Mystery Genre. I write crime fiction, but truly this could apply to any story that involves any kind of mystery, and the characters exploring it.

If you're trying to unfold a mystery for your readers, be it a full on murder or just a minor subplot, at least one of your characters should have at least one of these qualities:

1) Really curious -- The kind of person that will investigate anything, rather than run away screaming the instant things get creepy. This can be a stupid person--the kind in slasher movies that thinks running into the bar where machetes are hanging from the ceiling is really going to save them--or a smart character who can handle him/herself in dangerous situations. Of course anything in between will work too, just so long as they're curious. Otherwise, why would they care enough to follow the mystery through?

2) Really NOT curious -- This can be used too, though it tends to be a little more tongue-in-cheek. The kind of character that is constantly trying to get away from the things happen around or to them can be a little wearying for the reader after a while, but when done right, it can keep the reader interested in what might happen to the character next. It's also a great way to introduce comedy into a potentially dark mystery. 

Other qualities for characters in mystery stories:

3) Observant -- They're pretty much observing clues FOR your reader, so they have to be able to pick up nuances in a believable way. They don't necessarily have to be smart enough to put the mystery together (just depends on the character and how you're telling the story) but they have to be able to absorb what's happening around them.

4) Logical -- They don't have to be Mr. Spock, but unless you're doing a two-crackers-short-of-a-Ritz-sleeve sort of character (and those are the ones that typically die early anyway) you want your character to be at least marginally logical. If they're not, NOT killing them off mid-mystery will seem unrealistic.

5) Resilient -- Mysteries by nature tend to be shocking, so your character, especially if they're in a dire situation, needs to be able to absorb what's happening and move on. They can find an emotional outlet later, but make sure they have at least some resiliency to get them through the dark parts first. 

After creating the characters that will be walking through your mystery, make sure you add these qualities, or some variation of them in. It will make the characters more compelling and memorable to your readers. If at any point you're having a hard time getting your character to do what you want, in a believable manner, then there is a good chance they are lacking one or more of these qualities. 

Mysteries are compelling to human nature. We can't help but sink our teeth in. But only certain kinds of people can carry a mystery novel for your readers. Make sure your characters are some of them!

What's your favorite character in a mystery story?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Back in a Week + Game of Thrones

Good morning, Everyone! 

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As I said last week, I have a family weekend this Friday (in the which I will be playing a bridesmaid) which means that this week is going to be all kinds of stressful-crazy. I'm officially signing off for the the next seven days. I didn't have any time to do advance posts this weekend, and I certainly won't have time to do them during this week.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful week. I'll be back soon! :D

P.S. I haven't done any Game of Thrones recaps this season. I've done them in past seasons, but I just haven't had time since season 5 began. Now I kind of wish I had. How crazy was that episode last night? Definitely the most intense of the season. Just had to put that out there. :D



Are you watching Game of Thrones this season?