Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.
But before we get started today I wanted to announce that as of April 20th the Ranch is now a .com site! That’s right, I finally purchased my domain name so if you noticed the ‘wordpress’ part missing in my URL, only http://calisarhose.com, that’s why!! Now back to business.
Please show Lyndi some real Ranch love!
Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.
I’m so pleased to be here! In my day job, I’m a family law attorney (not nearly as glamorous as it looks on TV), and at night I’m a wife, and a mother to two children on the autism spectrum and a Japanese exchange student. I’ve lived all around the country, in Montana, in tropical Florida and now in Pennsylvania. I wrote my first novel at age 14, worked as a journalist for several years before law school, and finally, I’ve been fortunate enough to have nine of my novels published.
You sound like a very busy, hands-on mom. It’s great you work in time to write though! Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones.
My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room. What does your writing space look like?
Because my kids required therapy/services for their younger years, I’ve had my law office in the house for the benefit of the therapists. I write there at the same desk, wishing I could let the phone go to voicemail sometimes, but I just can’t! It’s like an obsession. If the phone rings I’m compelled to answer.
So writing is sometimes a hit-and-miss session. After several of my novels were published, though, I got the idea to have the covers made into posters, like movie promos. They’re all framed up on the wall next to the desk, so they provoke me to keep on writing. Or else.
I. LOVE. These! How awesome! It’s something I do, but on a smaller scale. *thinking I need to go BIGGER!*
For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?
Character names are a breeze for me. I love looking through baby name books, discovering names just a little off the beaten path, especially in the foreign derivations.
Titles, though, I have a harder time with. I usually search through quotations to see if I can find something that fits. The title for this book I found there. But I try not to get too attached to titles, because almost always I get the request from an editor for something different anyway.
What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?
No, really, that’s it.
Like I said, I wrote my first novel when I was 14, and I got a contract for my first published novel when I was 53. I wrote all through that time, for a newspaper, for the law school paper, as a blogger, wrote tv reviews for an online company, published short stories and submitted every chance I got. At the same time, I took writing classes every year, at conferences or online, continuing to build my repertoire of writing skills. Since 2009, I’ve received 18 contracts for novels. Sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on.
The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?
Continuing to produce work, no matter what’s shifting in the industry. The question of who’s going to publish it may constantly be up in the air, and it may be that, like many of the pros now, after a writer builds a following he or she can begin to self-publish and actually make a living at this. I’m thinking of authors like C.J. Lyons, who’s been on the bestseller lists for both her traditionally published and self published books. The other thing I believe is that authors should appreciate the readers, and interact with them in a positive way. Without our audience, we couldn’t share our stories.
That’s very good and true advice, Lyndi. Something I’m sure a lot of writers learned early on, and new writers will too. With that said, who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?
I’d love to have met Anne McCaffrey, who wrote such wonderful science fiction/fantasy with strong women characters. We shared a birthday—April 1– which is a whole category of wacky in itself. But she really had a gift for drawing characters, and I would love to have learned from her about it.
How cool to share a birthday with someone you look up to!
It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆
Favorite animal? Giraffe
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Spring!
Favorite food? So hard! Um… veal marsala?
Giraffes and veal…interesting! Well done! 🙂
Okay, Flash four. Ready?
What are you working on now?
I’ve got several books in various stages of production, so I’m going back and forth between making a first draft, editing the final copy, and doing promotion. Some days my head spins a bit. 🙂
My head spins most days! 😆 What are you sharing today?
A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is science fiction romance, coming out June 3 from Lyrical Press.
Here’s the story: Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.
Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.
When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?
As Kylie took another drink, she noticed a man at a table near the door stared at her, dissecting her in a way that felt not like he was undressing her, but more like he looked past her skin, into her psyche, or perhaps her soul. Kylie stared back, putting a forbidding expression on her face. Usually, that was enough to scare off a would-be masher. But it didn’t seem to faze this one.
The man’s persistence triggered a defensive response, and she lost interest in the alcohol. She left half a dozen plat coins on the counter, enough to cover her tab and something for Lin, and then headed for the door.
As she approached the man’s table, he stood up. “Please join me,” he said.
“No, thanks, I’m on my way out.”
“Please,” he said firmly. She stopped to look at him. That glance froze her steps. His eyes were the exact yellow tone of the dead woman’s. Exact.
She surveyed the room, but no one seemed to be paying attention. One gesture from her would have garnered assistance, but those eyes compelled her to wait. “Why should I?”
His voice softened. “I have information that could be of use to you.”
“Then perhaps you should come to the Cendiary. That’s where SIRT’s camped while this investigation is going on.” Her mind clicked along frantically trying to reject the half bottle of alcohol she’d consumed. There was something about this man, something about him. His eyes, but more than that. Taller than most men, and broad-shouldered. Hair, perfectly combed, his skin, without a blemish. Not even the hint of an old scar. Clothing, unremarkable. Hands, not quite perfectly proportioned, his fingers a little long, the nails even but lengthy for a man.
“No. I need to talk to you now.” His gaze continued to dance with hers.
She blinked and looked away. “This isn’t a good time, friend.”
He cocked his head, a, thin eyebrow raised. “You consider me your friend?”
His hesitation made her miss a beat, too. “No, I don’t consider you my friend.” She frowned. “Come to the Cendiary in the morning.” She turned to go, but her wrist was suddenly caught in an iron grip.
Tugging on her captured hand, she looked over her shoulder. He held no apology in his eyes, and his expression was grim. He nodded to the empty chair beside his. “I need to talk with you, Investigator Kylie Sanderson. Please hear what I have to say before any more females are damaged or killed.”
* * *
Where can we find you and your books?
http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/a-small-degree-of-hope-coming-soon/ is the page for this specific book, and we’ll have more detailed information next month, but my other science fiction and fantasy books, many of which have romantic storylines as well, are also listed there.
Where will you be next?
I’m currently teaching a local fiction-writing class, but in July, I’ll be teaching a fiction seminar at the Ligonier Valley Writers Conference in southwestern Pennsylvania (http://www.lvwonline.org/lvwCon2013.html).
Thanks so much for having me, Calisa. The Ranch is certainly beautiful this time of year.
Thanks for the kind words about my ranch. It’s about time for some spring décor. Don’t you agree? I thought the blue diamond theme suited April, but it is awfully busy so I hope you like the new background in honor of the Ranch’s new status. 😀
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As a bonus for your readers, I’ll give away an ARC of my fantasy novel THE ELF QUEEN to one lucky commenter. We’ll choose from those who answer this question:
Do you believe that true love can overcome any obstacle, even if your potential match is of a different faith, race, or in this case, alien species?
That’s a great question you ask. I think I’ll sit back and see what others say. A free book? Who doesn’t love that?!
Thank you so much for playing along, Lyndi! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
It gives me such pleasure to introduce you all to fellow Wild Rose Press author, and my friend, Lyndi Alexander!
Making the Connection: Where am I? What do I hear/smell/see/feel?
By Lyndi Alexander
Whenever I hear locusts keening, I am immediately transported to summer afternoons visiting my grandmother’s Indiana farm. Once I’m on that voyage, I can feel the humidity on my skin, hear the creak of the porch swing, see the beautiful rich green of the corn fields, and experience the feeling of that vacation freedom once again. That single sound can create a whole escape for me wherever and whenever I hear it.
This is what we’re shooting for as writers; that ability to trip a trigger that takes a reader beyond just the description of words into a complete experience. Sense-memory is a great vehicle to get in touch with the human experience, so many of them that we share. Half the work’s done for you if you can hit the right trigger.
Imagine the smell of ginger cookies baking. What does that bring up for you? I’m sure it’s not the same for everyone, but it may trigger memories, rolling over into a complete experience that your reader will take along into your story. Is it grandmother’s kitchen, a feeling of safety, that childhood sense of expectation? Is that what you’re going for in your scene? Maybe that’s enough. Your character is nervous about living in a new apartment building, but stops outside the neighbor’s apartment to inhale the spicy aroma of fresh-baking cookies, allowing his senses—and the reader’s—to cuddle him into that safe, warm place.
Maybe that’s not where you’re going.
Depending on the groundwork you’ve laid, it could be possible that your character connects fresh-baked cookies with something very different, perhaps something much darker. What if your character’s mother only baked after psychotic breaks when she viciously abused her children? Obviously his reaction will be very different. That probably plays against your reader’s comfort zone, which generates a new stream of thinking that helps them relate with your individual story.
That moment of connection often happens when we hear a particular song. Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” debuted during my first month of law school. All I need to hear are those first notes and I “reappear” on the U of Miami campus, a single mom beginning classes after six years out of school, unsure what the heck I’m doing with myself. What about the songs they played at your wedding? At the reception, when you had your first dance? While you can’t print a song’s entire lyrics without proper permissions, titles are fair game, and can set a mood.
How about “Pomp and Circumstance”? Can’t you feel the pageantry of a graduation? Or any one of a number of athletic fight songs? Plop you down right in the middle of a sports event. “Here Comes the Bride?” Blessing or nightmare, depending on the marital status of your character and if she’s the one in the horrible orange bridesmaid dress!
All the senses apply—don’t forget the chill of an unheated basement, shadows dark in the corners, maybe damp walls with green mold growing on them, or a desert heat so hot the dry air sucks your breath away. Good description of place and setting, using all the senses, increase the chances that you will reach right into a reader’s heart and background and create that full, rounded picture of a place and time.
In Lyndi Alexander’s latest urban fantasy book, THE ELF MAGE, she uses her setting, the Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana, to help create both blessings and obstacles for her characters as they deal with the environment and the frozen winter months, both humans and elves. Find out more at her blog http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/ THE ELF MAGE is available in ebook and print at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and other resources—find them all here: http://www.dragonflypubs.com/dfp/elfmage.html
An unknown time later, Daven’s attention wandered back into present focus when someone called his name.
Daven….where are you? I need to find you.
The voice was female, soft, whispery, like a lover. His thoughts wrapped around the voice, just a mental touch. Whoever called was not with him in the cave. He knew it, even without opening his eyes. But she was persistent.
Who could be calling? Linnea’s spirit? Veraena? Djana? Who would seek him out? I am here.
I’m coming. The voice was tentative, unsure. I need you.
Daven considered the flavor of the voice, the tendrils of personality that attached to it. His earlier thoughts of Veraena didn’t fit with the tone of the request. Even in her younger days, she’d been a force to reckon with. This contact seemed much less sure of herself. Not Djana, either, then.
He sensed a soul traveling through the woods, feet heavy in thick-soled boots, leaning on a heavy stick to help her through the deep snow over the rough parts. Where was she? He couldn’t see through her eyes, but he could feel her feelings. She was afraid, sure she was lost, far from home, and determined to find him. Then he knew.
and buy her book; http://www.dragonflypubs.com/dfp/elfmage.html
Thank you for coming to the ranch, Lyndi! This is a great post. Don’t ya’ll agree? Care to share your inspirations with us?