I didn’t forget to post…

Hi all. I haven’t forgotten to post today. But the huge amounts of singing that I’ve been doing recently has been leaving me drained. So, because I’ll have three more of these singing marathons in the next week, I think I might take a few days off from blogging.

Whether or not I come back to post for the rest of the week, GPF will continue.

Love,

Misha

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Once more. With Feeling.

I’ve been tagged yet again. Not once. Not twice, but thrice. But because I’m seriously getting karmic brownie points for answering every single question, I’m breaking the rules again. I’m going to ask that you pick one of the questions and answer it in the comments. Easy, right?

Yikici
 
1. Where did the inspiration for writing your WIP come from?
For the first time in a very long time, I was rereading a book (actually seven): Chronicles of Narnia. About two or three months before that, I’d physically gone and burnt notes to my previous WiP and wiped the draft off my laptop. So there I was, in a self-imposed exile from writing, waiting for a very VERY good idea what would blow my socks off.

But I digress. I was reading one of the Chronicles (not sure which one any more, although I suspect that it was The Horse and His Boy) and there he was: moody, full of shit, ruthless, dark and… interestingly, charming. But definitely NOT of Narnian breeding (even though I foolishly tried to force him to be something similar once).

The rest was history.

2. Any interesting tales about your muse?

Well, she sort of takes a holiday now, when I write Doorways, Darrion takes over from her and keeps me focused. He also does some really dark and twisted things to my internal editor and internal critic when they speak out of turn.

3. Your muse; fab/frustrating/inbetweener?
Oh… to see what Darrion’s like, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out. As for the other one, she’s a bitch. Always shows up when I can’t write and leaves when I can.

4. Why do you write?
Because I go nuts when I don’t.

5. If you could enhance one of your senses, which would it be?
Hmm… not sure. Because I sort of have perfect sight, smell (when my sinuses are clear. damn you fruit farmers), hearing (which I’m paranoid about) and taste. So I guess that leaves touch, but that sounds painful.

6. When you are not creating what do you do?
Uh… what do you mean, when I’m not creating? I’m creating even when I’m… not… creating.  

7. Ask yourself a question –now answer it.

Is that a question? … No. ;-P

8. How long is a piece of string?

This long.

9. What was the last dream you saw?

Not sure, actually. I’ve been trying to remember all day. I remember it was interesting.

10. In a film about your life, which actor would play you?

Uhm… possibly Kiera Knightly. She could be made to resemble me if we really worked at it.

11. What’s your motto in life and also your work ethics?

Don’t give other people too much say in your choices. It’s all right to ask for advice, but trust nothing without thought.
 
Sylvia:

1. Someone is holding your book in their arms and are gushing about it to you. What do they say?

“OMG OMG OMG I can’t believe I’m talking to my favorite author!!!! *SQUEEEEEEE!!!*”

A girl can dream, right?

2. Which children’s/young adult book did you only read and LOVE as an adult?

Does The Hobbit, count?

3. What makes your favorite writer so special? What in their writing do you love?

Don’t really have a favorite writer. I have favorite stories. And those are made with complex characters, great plots and fresh voices.

4. Which advice would you have loved to have when you started out writing?

Actually, I’m really lucky to have a published author (my gran) living with me. So I knew what I needed to know when I started. I guess one thing I would have liked to be more aware of would be the amount of commitment a novel takes, but no one can tell you that. You only find that out by writing a full length novel.

5. Where do you go in your daydreams?

Everywhere and nowhere.

6. Where do you love to write?

Very noisy places, or quiet places where I can listen to music without sounds clashing.

7. Did you pick certain actors or tv-personalities for your writing? If so, who?

Only if there’s a photo of them with the exact right look and feel.

8. Did you ever write a character who then never left your mind?

Yep. That would be Darrion and company. 🙂

9. Pick one fictional character. Describe how it would be to meet them.

D’Artagnan. I’d ask him for swordsmanship tips. ^_^

10. What do you have around your writing space to inspire you?

Music.

11. Do you make writing soundtracks? Name the first three songs on it!

Yep. I actually have ten for the Doorways series. One for each of the five main characters and one supporting character. One for each of the four books that I have in mind. So I hope you don’t mind if I skip on naming songs.

D.M.:

1. What was your favorite novel growing up?

Hmm… Three Musketeers and Sherlock Holmes tied.

2. Tell me about somewhere you went that was better than you expected it to be, (store, vacation, party, etc)

Whenever I go somewhere or do something without expectations, I’m pleasantly surprised. Like watching Despicable Me.

3. If you could be anyone fictional who would you be and why?

Hmm… this is like that historical personality question that I got the first time. I actually like not being the person in the book. Still, if I could be someone fictional, I’d be Callan from Doorways. I’m thinking Mike knows why.

4. Name a movie that had a serious impact on you.

Ooh there are way too many to count.

5. What made you start a blog, or get a social network page if you don’t have a blog?

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And one day, after I decided to knuckle down and finish what would become Doorways, I closed my eyes and started blogging to keep myself accountable.

6. Who’s the best villain you’ve ever read or seen?

That’s like picking my favorite child. :-/

7. What your favorite creative outlet?

Uhm. Writing?

8. Name one way you deal with stress.

Writing.

9. Name someone you admire, and why.

My mom and gran…. because they’re my mom and gran. 😉

10. Which is better waffles or pancakes?

Depends on my mood. Last week I had waffles, so now pancakes are better.

Last, but not least….
11. What is your favorite quote?

Sorry. Really don’t have one. What about…. no… no that’s not the one I remember.

Great Relationships

Hi all! Welcome to another edition of Guest Post Friday. But before we start, I want to beg, plead and ask with awesome sprinkles on top. See in a few weeks, I have no GPF guests. And it would be terrible if that happened. You’d have to read stuff my ME on a Friday. And that would be wrong (unless it’s April).

So… please please check out this post on how GPF works and e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

OK… Now onwards!

Great Relationships
Great stories have great characters and great characters have great relationships. Now, by great I don’t necessarily mean warm and loving relationships (though they may be). I mean dynamic, complex, interesting and fun relationships. Think of some of the great relationships in literature. Here are some I love:

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy
Frodo and Sam
Denethor and Faramir
Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

See? Many different types of relationships and all of them great! I love stories with deep and complex relationships. (Okay, Wile E. and Road Runner don’t have a complex relationship, but still…)

In any story your characters will likely be interacting with other characters, and therefore will have relationships. Those relationships are worth thinking about. All sorts of things influence our interactions with others. Appearance, first impressions, background, prejudices, shared experiences, cultural expectations… The list could go on. Relationships are rarely static, either. They evolve over time for better or for worse as each person changes and grows.

My best advice for creating great relationships is to first know your characters. Know them well. If they are real people to you, then they will interact with each other in real and interesting ways. If they’re just cardboard cutouts and their relationships exist only to push the plot along…well, that’s not usually very engaging. Make sure character interactions aren’t based strictly on stereotypes, either.

I always say that great characters are the most important part of any story, but if you look a little deeper, you realize that the characters’ relationships with each other can take your story from ordinary to something special!
P1020639.JPGAngie Lofthouse has published a dozen sci-fi and fantasy short stories in a variety of print and online magazines. Her debut novel, Defenders of the Covenant, will be available this March. You can read her short fiction and learn more about her novel at her website or visit her blog for more writing advice and other fun posts.

So… which are your favorite relationships in books?

First Campaigner Challenge

I know I left this a little late, but the prompt had me intrigued, so I decided to write something for the First Campaigner Challenge.

This is the challenge:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)
  • include the word “orange” in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

So, since I hardly ever go for the easy way, I:

  • Started and ended the piece as suggested.
  • included the word orange
  • actually wrote a scene that will be a variation of what happens in Book 3 of the Doorways series.
  • made my piece exactly 200 words long.

Hope you enjoy it!


Shadows crept across the wall, but Ward didn’t move to welcome them or fend them off. How could he, when an infernal fire licked his body? 
“Ward,” Rhiannon whispered as her small weight settled on his mattress. “You need to eat.” 

Eat? No. He wanted to die. 

“Don’t close your eyes, Ward,” the cat-sized dragon commanded, nudging the spot on his cheek that didn’t burn. 

“Leave me alone.” He lifted his hand to push her away, shooting lava through his veins. An agonized scream fled out of him. 

Water rushed through his throat and he choked. He turned his head aside and found Rhiannon with a glass in her mouth. Her big orange eyes blinked slowly, as if she was surprised at his reaction.  

“Sorry,” she mumbled past the obstruction and crept closer. “Drink.”

 Damn it. Why couldn’t she understand?

“No.” 

“Drink!” The glass tipped precariously above him as Rhiannon loomed near. How much would the water scald if it fell on his ravaged face?

 “I’ll drink!” He took a deep breath. “I’ll drink.”

It took every ounce of his willpower to lift his head. Agony coiled out, threatening to choke him. Still he drank.

He drank until everything faded.

Key-Word Cavalry: How Keywords Work

This isn’t, strictly speaking, something that came up among the key-words that brought searches to my blog. Instead, one of my better blogging friends, Wendy, asked on the very first Key-Word Cavalry post if I could do a post about the key-words themselves.
So here goes:

Google employs a few thousand Internet gremlins, you see. And every time you write something into the search engine, they send you to the web pages that they best think suit your search.

That’s what I used to think. In fact, I still like to think about it that way. Because a lot of what I do just comes naturally.

But, there are supposedly method to the madness, but since I’ll cling to the gremlin theory with my dying breath, I thought I’d refer you to someone else’s blog post that gives some great tips, much better than I could do it.

25 Reasons Why Google Hates Your Blog

So… what is your theory on how keywords work?

Tagged again.

Hey. Over the weekend, I’ve been tagged a multitude of times. Four, to be exact.

So I will be answering more questions, but I will be breaking a rule and ask that you pick a few questions and answer them. 

So first up are questions from C.M. Brown:

1. How do the stories you write about come into fruition?

I’m not really sure what you mean, but if you’re referring to where the stories come from, they differ. My main WiPs, however, both come from characters walking into my head while I was reading.

2. Do you think you are the type of person who plans for every eventuality, or do you prefer to live life how it comes, without any organisation?

I used to plan for every eventuality, but found out the hard day that a too rigid structure can be a bad thing. On the other hand, having no structure at all isn’t a good thing either. So, now I set myself goals, but without any set plan as to how to achieve it. Might sound weird, but it’s a system that works.

3. What is your favourite song?

Well… it changes, but right now, it’s this. Because it reminds me of the Doorways series.



4. Do you sing it loudly to yourself?

Oh yeah. Come on. It’s a ballad.

5. Are you still friends with anyone you went to secondary school with?

Yep, with one girl in my A-Level year.

6. What would be your dream job?

Well, performing. Working on it.

7. How often do you speak to your siblings?

Can’t avoid the ass. We live together.

8. If you were an animal, what creature would you like to be? Use your imagination.

Uhm… probably a wolf. Which is also the animal I’d probably be if I were an animal.

9. I love eating boiled eggs for breakfast, what is your favourite food?

Does chocolate count?

10. What piece of technology could you not live without?

My computer. I shudder to think what it would have been like to edit without a word processor.

11. Do you have a favourite piece of furniture?

Yes. A Victorian washing table.

Next, it’s time to face Jacob Adams’s questions. He very sneakily tagged me back, and since I don’t run from challenges, here are my answers:

1. What is one author you can’t refuse?

Hmm… I actually work according to genre instead of author, so there are few authors that I could resist.

2. Do you listen to music while writing or prefer silence?

Music. Otherwise a restaurant that’s so busy that noise and movement fade into the background.

3. To you, what is the hardest thing about writing?

Staying patient when the doldrums come.

4.  What is something that happened in your childhood that influenced your writing today?

Actually, it was more my Gran. She influenced me by telling me that I should write. 🙂

5. Movie night: Comedy, Sci-Fi, Romance, or Horror?

Almost anything BUT: no horror. no slapstick. no lame scenarios to throw people together that shouldn’t have.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I have two: Arrogance and hypocrisy.

7. Favorite season?

In the summer it’s winter, in the winter it’s summer. Go figure.

8. What was the first book you simply could not put down?

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

9. If you could time travel (without the ability to influence the past), what time period would you visit?

Oh… any time in European history. Or American. Or… South Africa, after colonization. Yeah… I’m sort of nuts about history.

10. Would you live on the moon or Mars if ever given a chance? Why or why not?

The moon. Why? The view.



 

11. What is the biggest thing that scares you?

If you’re talking about phobias: Water (yes. I row), needles (will never become a junkie), escalators (only got onto them without issues at the age of 13) and heights. However, I do make a point to deal with my fears, because I won’t let them rule my life.

Other fears: That I’ll be stuck in a soul-killing occupation because I’ll settle for second best when it comes to living my dream.

Then there are questions from fellow South African, Rossandra White.

1. What book have you always wanted to read, but still haven’t gotten around to it?

Well. I’ve always wanted to read the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes. I’m about 90% through. But for some reason, I always lose His Last Bow. :-/

2. What classic book do you feel is overrated? Why?

Hmmm… Actually, none of them that I’ve read. Oliver Twist was good, but not as good as I’d thought it would be from the movies. See… a lot of it, and some characters, get cut out in adaptions…

3. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book? Least favorite?

Favorite: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Least: Actually, I very rarely like adaptions of books I’ve read, so I’m struggling to single out one.

4. Where is your favorite place to write?

In my room, on my bed. Or in a busy cafe/restaurant.

5. Pen, pencil or computer?

Pen when drafting. Computer for edits. Never a pencil unless drawing.

6. What was your favorite toy as a child?

Hmm… probably my Star Castles, but most of my playtime was taken by play-acting with my cousin. So I guess that would make our dress-up clothes my favorite.

7. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Hmm. From other people’s perspective: Finishing my degree. From mine: digging myself out from rock bottom and finding where I want to go in my life.

8. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?

Still can’t decide between time control or telekinesis.

9. What are five songs you hate to admit you love?

Hmm. Nope. I’m much too sure of myself to be shy about my personal taste. 😉

10. Where is your dream destination, (or place you’ve always wanted to go)?

Europe.

11. What are the top five things on your bucket list?

In no order:
1) Tour Europe
2) Tour North America
3) Speak eight languages fluently
4) Publish.
5) Perform on stage.

Finally (if you made it all the way to here, wow) there are questions from C. Lee McKenzie.

1. What’s the best part of reading a book you love?

That bittersweet sense at the end that I wished that the story would continue.

2. What book(s) have stayed in your head?

Actually, at least one aspect of any book that I’ve ever read sticks with me when I read. No matter how good or bad. Sometimes I can look at a cover of a book I read when I was ten and tell you the story, the main characters, the main conflicts and the end. It’s… apparently very weird.

3. If you could write one book only, what would the main character be like?

Like the ones in Doorways.

4. What book(s) do you love to read to your kids?

Don’t have kids, but one day I will let them pick. Then I’ll read once or twice, and let them read it on their own. That’s how my massive love of reading started.

5. Do you ever read books aloud to others?

Portions of books.

6. Do you like discussing books with others?

Love it.

7. If you hate a book, do keep reading anyway or put it away?

I keep reading. At first because of obsession, but now because there are awesome writing lessons to be learnt.

8. What kind of books do you like best? Sci-fi, Realistic, Historical Fiction, Biography, other.

Any. I like good stories.

9. Are you transitioning into the digital age with a Kindle or a Nook or a I-Pad? Or are you sticking with those hard copies? Do you mix it up?

I love hard copies, but since I started blogging, I’m so jealous of all the books I’m missing because I have to read on my laptop (which I don’t enjoy).

10. How much do covers influence your buying a book?

Actually, not much. I pick by feel. Another weird thing for you to work out what I mean. 😉

11. Any new books you’d recommend?

Oooh… I’m still trying to catch up on my TBR pile. Right now I’m on Jane Austen, so new books aren’t that high on my priority list. But I do recommend Persuasion.

So these are my answers. What are yours?

Against All Odds – Finding the Romance

Hello, everyone! Misha asked me to talk about relationships, especially since I recently published my space fantasy romance novelette Defying Gravity.


First off, Defying Gravity isn’t your typical romance. In fact, it has a very big problem. The main characters only catch a glimpse each other before they are captured and divided by a rock wall with just a small crack to hear each other’s voices. Like the ill-fated and wall-divided lovers Pyramus and Thisbe from Roman mythology, I had to discover a way for the characters to fall in love without sight.

Alezandros is a Medusan. Linia is a Persean. They live on two very different planets, since Medusa is a post-apocalyptic planet and Persea is in its prime. Their peoples hate each other. Everything is stacked up against them, so how do they fall in love?

Well, not to give everything away, I focused on the characters, their relationships. I used glimpses of their family, their lives to show how similar they were. To find that common bond between them that could grow into so much more.

When writing romance, I believe it helps to find that connection between the characters. The writer must think about all the aspects in the characters’ lives. Lust can turn into love, but a strong foundation will make the love all that more realistic. Opposites may attract, but I think it’s the similarities, the bonds that deepen the romance and love.

I hope that’s what I managed to portray in Defying Gravity.

A question for writers: How do you build relationships in your works?

Thank you, Misha, for having me on your lovely blog!

Defying Gravity by Cherie Reich

Book Description:
Homesick upon the SS Perseid, Linia, a young linguist, thinks she signed up for a mission of peace, but her crew members have another plan: attack the planet Medusa.

Bored with his dying planet, Alezandros, a space cruiser pilot, joins the Medusan Army in his quest for adventure.

When the SS Perseid clashes with the Medusans’ space cruisers, Alezandros and Linia’s lives intertwine. Sucked through a wormhole, they crash upon a post-apocalyptic Earth and are captured by cannibals. In adjacent cells, Alezandros and Linia cast their differences aside for a common bond: escape. But when romantic feelings emerge between them, they might do the unthinkable because for a Medusan and a Persean to fall in love, it would defy gravity.

Book Links:
Surrounded by Books Publishing

Goodreads

Amazon
 
Author Bio:

Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor and library assistant. She enjoys writing horror, fantasy, and mysteries, but she doesn’t let that stop her from trying other genres. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her e-books include Once Upon a December Nightmare, The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, and Defying Gravity. She is a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Valley Writers and placed third in Roanoke Valley’s BIG READ writing contest.

Author Links:
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