Happy Friday! Out of Time Giveaway

Happy Friday! Let’s celebrate…Out of Time style. I’m giving away 20 Kindle copies to lucky random winners on Amazon. Check it out here: Out of Time Amazon Giveaway

And just in case you need more convincing, here’s one of my personal favorite excerpts from the book to whet your appetite for romance and adventure:

Out of Time Excerpt5-page0001

Oh! And the awesome book trailer by Farah Evers Designs:

What are you waiting for? Go enter! Out of Time Amazon Giveaway

The genesis of a character

It’s the awkward question every author dreads from their readers… Where do characters come from? Worse even than the very similar “Where do babies come from?” when your toddler asks it. Because while there’s a real, tangible answer to the toddler’s question, there isn’t one to the reader’s.

Obviously they come from my head. So is it like Athena springing fully formed from Zeus’s head? The very thought gives me a migraine. So, no. It takes a while to really get a hold of who a character is. But where do they come from?

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Mountain laurel from NC mountains, because why not? 🙂

I can’t answer for other writers, but my characters are formed by the plot of my story. Of course, I have to have some idea about them in order to get started on the story, but it’s really a very soft-edged, sort of fuzzy idea at first. I always start with a hero and a heroine and fill in the side characters as I go. For instance, when I started Out of Time, I knew I needed a heroine who could start out the story a little clueless and very down-to-earth, but Kaelyn became a highly adaptable leader as fantastic events unfolded around her.

As for my hero Jack, I knew he needed to be serious in the beginning. After all, his role for a hundred years has been as a self-appointed guard against danger. He starts out almost severe, but from the moment he encounters Kaelyn, there’s a spark of something else there. Over the course of the story, he developed a sense of humor I enjoyed writing. Love brought out the best in him, I suppose.

As for what they look like, I did make them sort of opposites on purpose. Kaelyn is blonde, fair, blue-eyed and (of course) beautiful. Tall enough to reach the top shelf on her own…but not too tall. Jack on the other hand is over six feet tall, gorgeous, dark hair and complexion. You can figure out for yourself what the dark complexion means…I’m not totally certain myself, but it felt right to me when Kaelyn thinks about his “dark perfection”.

But are my characters ever based on real people? Not anymore, and never on purpose. I did it by accident once with a minor character. I hadn’t even realized how I felt about the person I based the character on until the reviews started coming in, and everybody disliked the character in question, who I thought was a positive to the story…and then I started to make the connection.

I still hope the real person doesn’t realize what I did.

I’m very careful about that now. I don’t dislike anyone enough to subject them to the unforgiving permanence of the written word. (Even my written word, which is read by literally dozens of people and may not really be that permanent at all.) I try never to use any names of people I know, though I think they sneak in from time to time. And if I base the appearance of a character on anyone, it’s on someone I don’t actually know. I mean, you only have so many different natural hair and eye colors, and romance characters are almost always slim and/or well-built. It’s escapism, after all.

So, I guess in a very real way, my characters grow existentially. I pluck their little stick figures from my head, put them in a story and they take form and flesh from their surroundings, turning into real imaginary people.

It really doesn’t have anything to do with birds and bees.

Do you have any favorite fictional characters? Let me know in the comments.

 

Grand Prize Winner Is…

Wow. What a day! I told someone earlier this is the most exhausted I’ve ever been from not moving much at all.

As promised, I’ve just done the Grand Prize Drawing and the winner is… (crinkling of envelope–okay, not really, just drawing out the suspense…) …Christin! Christin, I actually know where to find you, so I’ll get your Kindle Fire to you ASAP. If you didn’t win, don’t despair, and keep checking in because I’m thinking I might just have to do another giveaway soon!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!to everyone who stopped by, who bought my book, who offered a word or two of encouragement today, whether it was here, somewhere on my tour stop or on social media. It means so much to me that so many took time out of what I know can be hectic days of summer to say hello and congratulations.

Now I’m going to sign off for a while… Love to you all, be good to each other!

And here we…go!

Oh, Good Morning! Yes, this is the place. I’m the one launching Out of Time…It’s a bit early, though. I’m eating my cereal…oh, never mind. Come on in! Let’s get the party started, huh?

Launch day! Sounds exciting, right? It is. It’s so much fun knowing the work I’ve put in is finally out there. There being the wide world of readers. But I can’t help worrying, just as everyone worries when they send something they’ve put a lot of work into out into the world. Will the world be kind?

Time will tell.

release blitzMeanwhile, I’m all over the Internet today. Literally. You can find a list of my tour stops at this page: Enchanted Book Promotions Release Blitz. However, I’ll also be posting links as I get to each one today. So stay tuned here and I’ll post a link and you can meet me over there. There being the blog hosting the tour stop. It’ll be like space travel…only on the Internet! Virtual space travel, and you can say something nice about my book, and I’ll say something nice back. It’ll be cool.

Don’t forget that any time you comment here on this blog, I’ll enter you into a random drawing for a Kindle Fire, to be awarded here on my blog at 7 p.m. tonight. You’ll either need to leave me a way to get in touch with you on the comment or check back at 7 p.m. (Eastern cause that’s the time zone I live in.) Only commenters here on my blog will be entered into the giveaway, but I hope you’ll say hello no matter where you see me today! I’ll also be giving out $5 Amazon e-gift cards throughout the day, so make sure you check for those too!

In the meantime, if you haven’t bought your copy of Out of Time, it’s available in all major ebook formats on Smashwords, kindle format on Amazon and for your Nook on Barnes & Noble. And if you prefer hard copy, paperback versions are also available on CreateSpace, soon to be on Amazon and other major online book stores. So go get your copy! What are you waiting for?

Time is not your friend.

PSM_V05_D144_Mountain_laurel

Immortality and everlasting love are two of the meanings of mountain laurel.

This morning I taught my nine-year-old how to make waffles because it’s summer, everybody’s getting up at a different time…and, well, she’s nine. It’s time to start doing some basic stuff for yourself like making your own breakfast. But as soon as I thought that, I realized something.

 

She’s nine years old. How did that happen?

Time isn’t our friend, is it? It rushes us along, always on its schedule, never paying attention to the moments we want to stand still and enjoy like our vacations and celebrations. Time only takes a breather when we’re standing in line at the DMV or going to an unpleasant doctor’s appointment. Then Time says, “Hold up there, what’s your rush?” And the seconds slowly become minutes and seem like hours.

I’ve been fascinated by the concept of time for most of my life, I think. I remember my mother telling me once how long it would take for the Jello she’d just put into the refrigerator to jell. An hour.

How long is an hour? I said.

She probably rolled her eyes and sighed, but I remember her laughing a little. “Sixty minutes.”

Sixty minutes? How could I possibly live that long? I wanted the Jello now. And yet, when I ran along and played with my Barbie dolls, all of sudden, an hour had passed. And I was enjoying a plateful of jiggly green Jello that I could poke with my fork to see it wobble and not get fussed at for playing with my food.

My obsession with time has continued through the years. Don’t rush it, people say when you’re trying your best to get through one stage of your life—high school, college, the first years of married life, the first stage of child-rearing, the lean years during your first jobs when you’re not making much money…

And they’re right. Because all of a sudden you’re teaching your nine-year-old baby who’s sprouted ridiculously long legs to make waffles. Or reaching up to give your 12-year-old a hug. Or teaching your 16-year-old to drive. All because it’s time. And you were never allowed to stand still for those moments in time that you’ll always treasure but can never go back to.

And all of this is to say that on Wednesday, my book Out of Time, which explores some of my thoughts about time, will mark another point in my timeline. And this time, I’ll be enjoying that moment with you right here on my blog. I’ll be posting throughout the day about Out of Time and what it means in my personal quest to understand the rush of time. Please stop by with any questions about my writing, thoughts about time, comments about the weather…whatever. And at high noon, the pinnacle of the hours of the day…I’ll have a special guest here. Then at 7 p.m. (Eastern), as the hours of the day draw to a close, I’ll choose one commenter from a random drawing to receive the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!

So take a few moments from your day and stop by. Help me make the most of the day…before we’re out of time.

Less than a month to Launch…and another excerpt!

It’s less than one month to the Out of Time Launch Party (June 15). Remember, we’ll be celebrating right here all day long with a special guest, door prizes and a grand prize Kindle Fire giveaway. I hope you’ll all join me. In the meantime, here’s another short excerpt from Out of Time to pique your interest…Out of Time Excerpt3-page0001

There was nothing remarkable about this space more than any other. A small clearing in the woods, tall grass brushing Aylin’s withers, starred with little blue flowers. Kaelyn turned her horse in a circle, looking around, her scalp prickling. “There’s something here.”

“What do you feel?”

“It feels like—not danger, exactly. More like…possibility. Though I can’t say of what. But it’s there.”

“Where?” Cerys hadn’t drawn her sword. Whatever it was Kaelyn sensed, it wasn’t imminent danger, anyway, or her friend would certainly have been ready to do battle.

Kaelyn closed her eyes, feeling the wind brushing the hair from her temples. Her horse whinnied in protest of some unseen hazard. Behind her eyelids, she could see it sparkling, wavering in the air before her. She opened her eyes and pointed. “There.”

“Can you see it?” Tamsin peered at the empty air where Kaelyn pointed.

She couldn’t before, but now realized she could. As if on the edge of her vision, the air was a slightly different color—or, just as likely, a slightly different scent—than the air around it. Rose-colored. Rose-scented. The smell of a promise, the color of a dream. “Yes.” She shifted her gaze to Jack, who sat quietly on his horse. “It’s the portal.” She felt certain he’d brought her this way on purpose. He wanted to find out if she could see it.

He inclined his head. Something about his look troubled her. Had he hoped she wouldn’t know? This was the thing he guarded. Did Jack worry that she would want to go through it?

Welcome to the Red Carpet

This week, I get the fun of having my first Red Carpet World Premiere of a book trailer. We can dig our toes into the plush carpet (no shoes required at this premiere) and enjoy the book trailer for Out of Time here:

Out of Time Trailer

To add to the fun, please enjoy this short excerpt from the book:

The police detective frowned at Kaelyn. She studied his face, thinking how different he looked than Jack, or even Todd and Richard. Handsome, but not overwhelmingly so. Down to earth. This man passed for a warrior in the human world, but now that she’d seen real warriors in action, she feared for humans. Nothing about this man suggested he could fight with a sword or defeat an enemy or swing acrobatically from the treetops. And yet men once had. Kaelyn wondered what had changed here on Eladi and if life for humans was different on Ayeli before they were driven to extinction by the Elves. From the few stories she’d heard, the war had been a fierce one. Were those humans really gone? A sense of loss filled her heart at the thought. At least the Meti had survived, even if they had been driven to seek shelter elsewhere.

The detective stood, startling her. She jerked out of her reverie. “What’s your name, Detective?”

“Eric.” He said it as if he knew she was asking for his first name. Then he corrected himself. “Detective Eric Shapiro, ma’am.” To her surprise, he bowed his head, much as others had bowed to her since she became a queen.

“Can I go, Eric?”

The detective opened his mouth as if to answer, then, looking uncomfortable, shut it again. He shuffled papers on the desk and mumbled something about being right back, exiting without looking at her.