Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing in Joy--and A Giveaway!!!

When I opened my email and found Natalie Bangheri's delightful artwork depicting Ela and Scythe from PROPHET, I was struck by the joy she'd added--Scythe's just-fed tranquility and that secretive quirk of humor in Ela's quiet little smile and bright eyes. 

Humor--to say nothing of outright joy--was the furthest emotion from my mind when I wrote the initial scenes of PROPHET. After all, my brave young heroine, Ela, had just accepted a death sentence. How could she possibly enjoy life while facing assassins, battles, tyrant kings, and hideous venomous monsters at every turn?

However, mortals in every realm intuitively stave off stress by seeking joy in some form. A hug from a cherished sibling before facing an army, spiritual encouragement from prayers, coltish devotion from an overgrown monster-horse, and even jesting with fellow prisoners when you've been unfairly sentenced and tossed behind bars. With every chapter, the more I wrote of Ela's perils and fears, the more joy surfaced in the manuscript and in my characters' thoughts and emotions. 

Mid-manuscript, I paused, stared at my computer screen, and thought, "Even Shakespeare's tragedies featured clowns. Why shouldn't I add some joy and let readers have fun along the way?" 

What do you think? Do dark scenes demand a touch of joy now and then--the merest hint of hope to encourage our heroes, heroines, and readers on their journey?

Adding to the Joy! Enter to win a copy of Prophet, or Judge, or King in paperback or MP3! Outside U.S.A., win an e-book copy!  To enter, click on the Rafflecopter form below, and follow my blog. You may also select other options for additional chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Worst Part about Picking Titles

As an author, I was fortunate—I believe—to keep the manuscript titles I presented to Bethany House Publishers for my current Books of the Infinite series. All three titles, Prophet, Judge, and King, passed muster and have appeared on the final printed copies. Hurrah! Alas, my current work hasn't been as easy to name. In fact, it’s been tough. I’m still trying to decide if my current title-pick is right. I’m suffering from Title Trauma, and that's as chilling as my fave Exit Glacier pictured above. Why? Like most authors, I’m fretful about naming my books. Much like naming a baby, naming a manuscript is (potentially) a lifetime commitment that summarizes your labor in a few short words. And choosing the perfect title, like choosing the perfect baby name, can be stressful. Titles are the book’s intro—a hook to lure publishers toward your work and, ultimately, a tool to pique reader interest. Authors who create a short, catchy title that’s unique and appropriate to the book’s content can usually rest assured that their work will carry and keep its unique name throughout the publication process. Some titles, however, are changed during the publishing process because they’re considered unmarketable. Too long, too similar to another title, or just plain wrong, as proclaimed at BookRiot. Which leads us to an author’s worst-case title scenario, once potentially faced by F. Scott Fitzgerald. What if the publisher had accepted The Great Gatsby under its original title—Trimalchio in West Egg!? Yep. One wrong word-choice, and I could join the Awful Original Titles list. Revised from a previously post at: A Book Lover's Library