Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Interpretation of Ichabod Crane

Sometimes on-screen interpretations inspire me. And baffle me. For instance, I was reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow the other day, and the description for the protagonist Ichabod Crane caught my eye.
"He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose...." (606, qtd Irving "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Fiction 100: An Anthology of Short Fiction)
And while reading this, I couldn't help thinking about the T.V. show Sleepy Hollow, and the actor who portrays Ichabod. As I said, character interpretations both inspire me and baffle me. But what I want to know is...
                        How did this...               Turn into this...?
(Painting of Ichabod Crane courtesy of and Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane on Sleepy Hollow)

Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Reading List

(Photo courtesy of )

Is it too late to make a New Year's Resolution? I feel like last year (and the year before that... and probably the year before that) I spent WAY too much time in front of the screen. Therefore I am determined to read at least three books a month this year. And, taking it a step further, I want to start writing more books reviews, too. Yeah, we'll see how well those go. But in the meantime, here's a list of books I want to read this year:
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Captivating by John and Stasi Elderidge
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • This is Spain by Ignacio Olague and Walter Starkie
  • Princess Napraxine by Ouida
  • The Crystal Portal by Travis Perry
  • Life in a Medieval City by Joseph and Frances Gies
  • Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • Outsider by Klaire De Lys
  • Cress by Melissa Meyer
  • Winter by Melissa Meyer
  • Castles of the World by Gianni Guadalupi and Gabriele Reina
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
This is by no means a finished list. I am open to suggestions.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Klaire De Lys" Website

(Four Horsemen series, "Conquest" by Klaire de Lys)
(Klaire De Lys)

Here is a wonderful new website that I would highly recommend following if your into art/design, makeup, sketches, and lots of DIYs. Klaire De Lys is actually a YouTuber who I discovered a long time ago because of her fabulous makeup tutorials. I really don't know why I didn't start following her sooner. She does wonderful character studies with her tutorials, exploring either a different side of a concept (such as Envy in her Seven Deadly Sins makeup series) or meshing a bit of ancient and modern ideas to create something completely unique. But aside from being a makeup artist, Klaire has cemented herself in virtually every other kind of "art" there is, from drawing, painting, and sculpting to Photoshop, music videos, and singing. Last night I was on another YouTube binge and ended up watching a ton of DIY stuff from her channels. (Dangerous territory after midnight, seeing a mason jar turned into a dragon and thinking, "I can do that.") While I run to the store to get some play-dough for a rose candle holder made out of the lid of a candle, here's the link to her blog. Seriously, give it a gander. There's so much to look at you'll be amazed.

Also, check out her YouTube channels:


Thursday, January 15, 2015

"The Beauty of Names"

All right, so I'll be posting another bit about darker human nature soon, hopefully today or tomorrow. In the meantime, I found this interesting blog called The Beauty of Names. There are lots of lists of interesting names, sometimes their origin and meaning, and it really just a great place to search for character names. Give it a gander.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Interview with Lisa Godfrees

Hello everyone! Well, until I get more questions out, here is the last author interview with Lisa Godfrees, coauthor of No Revelation is Too Big and Colony Zero. Enjoy!
(Author Lisa Godfrees)

Q: What is your favorite thing to write about?
A: God. My favorite posts are the ones where I can share His truth. My favorite stories have a good measure of allegory/metaphor. Whether overt or not, I find everything ultimately comes back to Him.

Q: What kinds of things did you read when you were younger? Have they influenced the way you write?
A: The first thing I remember reading on my own were horse stories. You know, a girl and her horse overcome X. But it was when I found fantasy novels that my reading really took off. I remember Lloyd Alexander Prydian series (Black Cauldron, Book of Three, etc.) Piers Anthony's Xanth and Apprentice Adept series, Anne McCaffery and Pern, Narnia, Tolkien, and my first and most loved book, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I've probably read it at least 20 times and am overdue for a reread.
So far, most of what I have written has been sci-fi. It's easy for me to write because of my scientific background. Genetics practically drip off me. (LOL) However, I'd like to do a series of fantasy adaptions of Bible stories. I love fairy tale retellings (Robin McKinley, again) and thought, why not try to respin Bible stories for today's youth?

Q: Huh. That's actually a pretty interesting idea. Esther: A New Tale. Delilah, the Dragon-Lady. Everyone's writing process is different. How do you prepare to write a novel/short story/etc.?
A: Generally, I have a rough outline of where I think the story will go and then I write to fill in the blanks. It's in the process of writing where ideas present themselves. I'll write myself into a corner and brainstorm my way out of it. Usually, my brain works on autopilot and an idea will shoot out to me when it's finished -like when I'm drifting off to sleep or when I'm in the shower.

Q: Hah! Been there. There's the first thread of sleep... and there's a plot twist that could possibly make this the best story EVAH! A lot of people had different ways of getting into character or getting into the story. For me, because I write fantasy, I just love thinking about the world my story takes place in, the little quirks, the religious groups from different corners of that world. Travis Perry really enjoys the scientific aspect of it all, so he works out the very technical details that ultimately make his world flourish. What about you? Is there a certain aspect of a world/character/story that you really have to mull over before you start writing?
A: With fantasy, you have to know the rules of your world. Who lives there? What is the society like? What do people value? What do they need? I really enjoy studying other cultures (I have a BA in Anthropology), so I tend to create a culture and work from that framework.

Q: If you had to rewrite one of your stories, how would you do it?
A: I'm actually about to do just that. When I finish the project I'm working on now, I'm going to go back to my first manuscript and rewrite the second half. I've learned so much through my year of writing short stories and now it's time to put that practice into use. More characters, more conflict, more STORY. :-)

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I co-wrote a futuristic sci-fi book with Mike Lynch. It was his premise; he just invited me along for the ride. Working with another write (or six like we did on Colony Zero) is a challenge, but I've learned so much doing it. It forces you to sit down and write. Anyway, we're hoping to finish the edits on our book this month and then it's off to publishers. Yay. :-)

Q: With the demands of being a write and managing real life, how well do you manage social media? I know I'm terrible at it. I'll have spurts of energy that go straight to social media, and they'll last for, like, a week, and then the next week I completely lax off the marketing, retweeting, etc. Do you find any of that difficult?
A: Social media is a nebulous thing. I enjoy blogging and Facebook because they seem like a natural way to connect with people. I try to stick to a schedule for writing posts and I've mostly been successful. I use Pinterest as a place to store ideas, books I've read, and articles on writing. I've been playing around with Twitter for about a year. I find it hard to connect to people there -it's too much like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. If anyone has Twitter tips, I'd love to hear them (hint, hint).

Q: Do you still make time to read?
A: Absolutely! I can't go to sleep without reading something. I read every spare moment I can find. I read more than 80 books in 2014. :-)

Q: What is your caffeinated beverage of choice?
A: Pibb Zero. No, really, there is such a thing.

Q: Finally, where can we find you on social media?
A: My blog:
Group Blog:

Thank you so much for talking with me, Lisa. It was great.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Interview with Travis Perry

Enjoy this interview with Travis Perry, author of The Crystal Portal and coauthor of Colony Zero.
(Travis Perry)

Q: I understand you're starting a new series called Medieval Mars. Tell me about that. It sounds really interesting.
A: Medieval Mars is a story world based on a fairly simple concept. Imagine a future Mars that has been terraformed so it is inhabitable at some point in the future, but at a time in the more distant future, roughly 1,000 years from now civilization has collapsed and people live in a way that parallels medieval times on Earth, with some very interesting differences. There are knights in armor (though they are called "riders"), noble lords and ladies, suffering peasants (usually called "hands), with an outlook on life simultaneously more religious and more warlike than our world. But there are leftover items from what they call the "Age of Magic" (the era of technology) which work even though they are not fully understood, genetically engineered dragons, and regions where lower gravity and atmospheric pressure allows human beings to ride giant birds.
I created a novella in Medieval Mars and realized this world is so large and full of potential that I wanted to invite other authors to submit stories for an anthology. I publicized a request for help and 9 other authors have stepped up and submitted stories. We're in the editing process now and I'm hoping the story collection comes out February (God willing). I have ideas for follow-on stories in the future.

Q: I can only imagine how nerve-wracking that must have been, sending out a request, essentially inviting people into this world you've created, not knowing what they'll think of it. But then to have so many interested in that, it must have been a relief knowing there were people waning to go on this journey, to enter this world with you. Fantastic. If you could have a discussion with any of your characters, who would it be? What  would you talk about?
A: That's kind of a tough question. I suppose I'd want to talk to Agata, who's featured in my book The Crystal Portal. I'd want to talk to her not just because I'd find her an interesting person, but because she has a crystalline exoskeleton and I'd be fascinated to see what that really looks like. Since she's a princess and a natural leader, I suppose I'd ask her about her thoughts on leadership.

Q: If you could have a discussion with any character from any book, who would it be?
A: Wow, that's another tough question. It's hard to narrow it down to just one. I think though I'd enjoy a conversation with Reepicheep from the Chronicles of Narnia more than any other character. I'd just ask him to tell be about his battles.

Q: Who is your favorite kind of villain to portray? The outright evil type with the complicated backstory, like Darth Vader? The suit-clad salesman, master of the subtle evils?
A: The villain I enjoyed the most was a character named Ernsto Mons in the Avenir Eclectia story world. What I enjoyed about him was I started him out unrepentantly bad and walked him through circumstances that are making him better -sort of a Breaking Bad in reverse.

Q: I've talked with other writers about the demands of social media, writing, and life in general. What's your secret to balancing it all?
A: I don't think I balance things very well at all. I tend to throw myself into one thing and neglect other things. The only way I get a semblance of balance is from switching off into different things I'm wholly engaged in on a regular basis. :)

Q: That's exactly how I am! One week I'll be devoted to promoting and retweeting on Twitter, the next it'll be Pinterest, and by the third week I'm exhausted. Okay, enough of the writing questions. What was the last book you read?
A: The last book I read was a history book on the Middle Ages called The Distant Mirror. It happens to be the case that I get a lot of inspiration for fantasy and science fiction story ideas from reading a combination of history and science.

Q: I've heard of The Distant Mirror, and I really love that time period, so I'll have to look that one up. What's on your list to read?
A: More historical stuff mostly. I'm currently reading a number of things at the same time. Some Josephus, some Marcus Aurelius, some Alexander Sozhenitsyn, some apocryphal Bible books, some Isaac Asimov, and Mike Duran's Christian Speculative work, The Ghost Box. Finishing all of these will take me a while. I'm not a speed reader.

Q: What movies or TV shows (if any) do you like to kick back with?
A: I'm a fan of The Walking Dead, even though I think the message is far from uplifting. And I watch Dr. Who. I also watch reruns of Star Trek (DS9 is my favorite), Farscape, and I like watching Nova on PBS and a wide variety of Nat Geo and History Channel shows.

Q: Your caffeinated beverage of choice would be...?
A: Diet Dr. Pepper. :)

Q: Where can we find you on social media?
A: My story ideas blog is found at:
And I retweet things I find interesting on a daily basis at:

Thanks for talking with me, Travis.
Also be sure to check out Travis's novella Medieval Mars, available on Amazon for only $.99. Can't beat it!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Blog Interview with Tracy Krauss

Morning! Today I'm happy to share a lovely interview I had with author Tracy Krauss, whose had quite a busy 2014. Read on and enjoy!

(Author Tracy Krauss)

Q: So besides being a writer, you're also a drama teacher. That's awesome! How did you get into that?
A: I did my first degree in Fine Art Education and interned as an Art teacher. During that time I also volunteered in the Drama department and joined the Drama teacher's association. I had always loved drama when I was in high school, and my love for theater just continued to grow over the years as I got involved in various amateur theater and church theater projects. I took a sabbatical from teaching to raise my family, but in 2001 I got hired as an Art teacher at a local Secondary school. Since it was a small school, I was also asked to teach a Drama class. I was hooked. I threw myself into the role and teaching drama has become my primary focus.

Q: Was drama something you wanted to pursue before writing or did the two just follow each other seamlessly?
A: As I said, I always enjoyed getting involved in local theatrical projects, but I really came to writing plays by default. I started writing way back in the eighties when my eldest child was just a baby and I needed a creative outlet that wouldn't be too much hassle. (I had previously focused on my visual art, but our first tiny home was not conductive to an artist's mess.) I started clacking away on an old typewriter and have been compulsively writing ever since. (Mostly novels.) As far as plays go, other than a couple of church Christmas plays, I started writing plays for my students back in 2001 when I couldn't seem to find the right fit. Most were met with very positive audience response and good reviews in local media. In 2010 I decided to start pitching a few to various play publishing houses. To date I have seven plays in print (out of dozens I have written and produced).

Q: Wow! That's amazing. Although you really are an incredible writer, so it doesn't strike me at all that you would fit into any other writer's category such as playwright as well as you have. :-) So what are you working on now?
A: I am taking a bit of a breath and considering my options at this time. Last year (2014) was crazy for me in terms of releases. Counting all the installments in the various series I was involved in, as well as plays, a children's book, devotional book, and a novella, I had twenty new releases last year. Of course I do have a couple of works in progress, but no contracts at this time.

Q: What is your next work to be released? Tell us about it.
A: The next two volumes in the COLONY ZERO Series should be releasing soon. My story DUPLICITY comes after your NEW EARTH. It follows the story of the colonists after the natural disaster that has devastated the colony and is part of the second series. After that, I believe the backstories should be releasing. (Book III of the Series.) My [back]story is called LEGACY and focuses on Renata, the spiritual leader.

Q: Sometimes I feel like I'm writing for 20 different kinds of people. My audience, my publisher, my friends, my family, myself. Especially when you incorporate all the social media we have to keep up with, it can sometimes make it difficult to see where the center point is and what you're trying to say. How do you manage it all?
A: I have struggled with this dilemma, myself. Of course it is important to stick to a publisher's guidelines, and it is essential to know your audience, but if I'm not writing for myself then the whole endeavor is pointless. Perhaps it is my background in the visual arts that makes me more egocentric than I should be, but I'm just being honest. Artists approach their art from a place of inner inspirations -a quirky need to express themselves in a unique way. Of course there are a lot of painters selling lovely landscapes to hang over the sofas of the masses, too. I've had to ask myself about my motivation. Is it to sell a few books or to express a message? Writing, and all the other demands that go with it, is too much work for me to do for any other reason than the latter.

Q: Can I get that on a plaque? Those are words to live by. Wonderful answer. But onto some more light-hearted stuff....Which books are on your list to read?
A: I read a lot of mid-list authors -people I've come to meet online, etc. I have several by [Helping Hands Press] authors, Astraea authors (on of my other publishers), and others. I also plan to finish a Ted Dekker series I started a few years ago, and a few by Sigmund Brouwer that have been languishing on my shelf for a while. Oh, and Dana Pratola's latest offering in the Descended Series is coming soon and I've been looking forward to that.

Q: Do you have any book recommendations?
A: My top three fiction books from last year are: Descended Sebastian by Dana Pratola (a supernatural fallen angel-esque series); God's Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert (a Viking historical. She's an HHP author); and Tattered Innocence by Ann Lee Miller (she has become one of my favorite authors -very realistic but with a Christian message).

Q: What movies or TV shows (if any) do you like to kick back with?
A: A rather eclectic mix... I'm an HGTV addict. I'm a long-time Sci-Fi nerd as well. Last year I was following a show called Continuum, but it has gone off the air. I also really enjoyed Downton Abbey and am looking forward to the 5th season.

Q: Your caffeinated beverage of choice would be...?
A: Coffee straight up.

Q: Where can we find you on social media?
A: My website has links to everywhere:

Thanks so much for talking with me, Tracy. :-)
And to visit Tracy's Amazon author page for a list of her books on amazon, here's the link: