Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The most compelling villains are...what?

I'm asking myself that question today as R.J. prepares to send Ela out to meet her next foe--a god-king who isn't all that he should be. Or is he? Perhaps. As I'm mentally walking around this villain and contemplating his mortal flaws, I realize that the proper villain can make a novel. Lift it from mundane to extraordinary. Caricature-villains, on the other hand, drag down a plot--often disastrously. Not good.

So, what am I looking for? Complexity. Touches of mortal weakness, even tenderness, that reveal my villain's soul. (Yes, despite our tendency to remove all human characteristics from the most evil beings and separate them from us, villains do have souls.)

Often, when I'm creating villains, I remember a chief baddie from my Children's Picture Bible. I'll never forget turning the pages and finding--gasp!--this startled man being threatened by huge serpents. Eew! My kid-self wanted those snakes out of the picture. NOW.
Until I read the story of Moses and the Pharaoh. Yeah. Let the snakes eat the rotten Pharaoh!

Later, when I realized Pharaoh lost what he perhaps treasured most, his son and heir, I wondered if the experience changed his hard heart and truly humbled his lamentably proud soul. Was there hope of redemption for this death-wish-arrogant king?

Will there be hope of redemption for R.J.'s overbearing god-king?

Don't ask me. I'm just the bystander.

Anyway, isn't it my job to keep you guessing?

Monday, September 19, 2011

At times, dealing with R. J. Larson’s irrational love of weapons, Biblical intrigue, and epic fantasy beasts is enough to send me screaming from the house. The problem is that R. J. accompanies me. Thinking aloud—the wretch. Running is, therefore, useless. It’s better and safer to sit at home and ponder this dilemma in comfort.

How do I avenge myself?

By reading as R. J. writes. And offering suggestions. “THAT needs jewelry.” “Her clothes are pink—you know they are.” “Palace? Really? What does it look like inside???? Put some gilding on that door!!!!” Or my Kacy-fave, “Eew! Look at the mess you made! Time for a bath/stitches/shave/clean clothes/apology.” Yes, apology. Oh, and I often suggest some fancy trinket to adorn those clean clothes. *R. J. rolls eyes.*

To deal with my Kacyish love of glitz, R. J. sends me off to research shiny details. Yep! I can deal with that!!!!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mindsharing. It's not for the faint-hearted! 

Allowing R. J. Larson to share my thought-space is proving to be a test of courage. Swords, daggers, and the formidable, world-shaking Infinite are crowding out my Kacyish fondness for the color pink and cute shoes. Worse, ambushes of Scalns and other fantasy beasts are cropping up with alarming regularity as the Books of the Infinite series progresses.

Scalns. Seriously? Where did scalns come from? R. J. LOVES the beasts. Kacy wants to send them back to wherever they came from and seal the door forever! *Glares at R. J.*

You’d think we were raised with a pack of rowdy hunters who discussed wild animals and epic weapons throughout our childhood.

Oh. Wait. We were. And here’s a scaln to prove it—drawn by artist-extraordinaire, Katharin Fiscaletti.

Is there any hope that Kacy might tame R. J.'s thought processes? Hm.
To be continued....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I haven't been myself lately. And I wonder if I'll ever be completely myself again. Now, before you post the name of a highly-recommended psychiatrist in the comment box or--better yet--suggest the latest miracle pill guaranteed to resolve exotic personality disorders, let me reassure you that I'm no more (or less?) in need of a mental evaluation than I was before my current personality dissonance took hold.

So why am I not myself?

Well, a year ago, I woke up and heard voices. Yeah. And I saw monsters. Conspiracies. Kingdoms falling. And the Lord was Ela. Not me. Ela--a bewildered girl-turned-prophet, who was about to die.

Not my problem, right?

Sure. When two cups of coffee and a full day's work on my Victorian saga failed to chase Ela from my thoughts, I knew I was in trouble. I'd been dragged, mentally kicking and screaming, into a new genre: Biblical fantasy fiction. What's a sidetracked author to do? EAT!

Fortified with chocolate and potato chips, I emailed Tamela, my dear, patient agent, and explained to her that I was being driven crazy by this unexpected plotline, which was worlds away from our agreed-upon gentle Victorian saga. Tamela, being dear-Tamela, agreed to humor me and represent Ela's story.

Within a week, I wrote three chapters and a synopsis. Within four months Tamela received an offer from Bethany House Publishers. The catch? I needed a pen name to suit my new genre.

A nom de plume. And who better than R. J. Larson? Never mind that I haven't met the person until recently and haven't any idea how to share a website with such a cryptic being. Does it sound as if R. J. and I are uneasy with our new partnership? Well...we are.

Victorian novels are not R. J.'s idea of fun. *sob!*
R. J. is fond of epic Biblical twists, dazzling weapons, and mythical beasts--forget the tea and etiquette. It's enough to make me cry in my Darjeeling.

Fortunately, R. J. likes coffee and potato chips with dark chocolate, and we've agreed to a truce over mochas. For Ela's sake.

There. See? Perfectly reasonable explanation for my "other I" confusion.  It's Ela's fault!

Love and blessings, everyone!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Has it really been YEARS since I’ve posted to this blog, with the exception of a few tame tweets? Oh. My.

Dear readers, make no mistake, I’ve always loved my blog. Life and writing, however, have crowded out precious blogging time—despite my resolutions to post. I pledge to improve. For pity’s sake, even posting once a year would be an improvement! :D

Forgive me, please.

So why am I revisiting this site and dusting it off? Because…I have news.
I’ve signed with Bethany House Publishers to write YA Biblical fantasy fiction! In other words Illuminating the WORD in unexpected, adventuresome, joyful ways. Want a hint? Here it is: If she becomes the Infinite’s prophet, Ela of Parne knows she will die young—yet she cannot imagine living without Him.

The series title is Books of the Infinite.
Book one, PROPHET, is due to hit store shelves and internet sites in Spring 2012! There’s more I could share, but that will be another spot on the blog. An unforeseen twist in my scribe-path.

Until then, dear friends, Blessings!