Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Kindle Fantasy Freebie Today! About the World of my Novels...

I am very excited to announce that Fathoms of Forgiveness will be offered for free today!

I love the opportunity to give away my work for free with KDP Select. I have been sharing my writing with the world for free since I was ten years old, and it feels more honorable than selling something so precious. I believe that time spent reading or writing is invaluable, and above the cheapening of price tags!

Fathoms of Forgiveness is the second book in my epic Sacred Breath fantasy series. As many of you know, I have chosen to work with various water mythologies, but to render them scientifically plausible-- with plenty of steamy romance to boot! My mermaids do not have tails-- they have the amphibious ability to breathe underwater! Sounds like it could come in handy, eh?

As an anthropology student, I am extremely fascinated with both human culture and physiology. You will find plenty of examination of the evolutionary differences between Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens marinus. The divergence between the two subspecies occurred rather recently: only in the tens of thousands of years. Thus, breeding between the land-dwellers and sea-dwellers is possible. (And fun!)

The undersea kingdom of Adlivun is situated in the waters of Alaska, and the mermaids migrated there almost six hundred years ago from the Nordic seas. Some of them are even old enough to vaguely remember their lives in Europe, and the Old Norse language they used to speak. Having been very close with the Alaskan Natives, the residents of Adlivun named their kingdom after the Inuit underworld, and have adopted many of the concepts of Inuit mythology. You will often hear the mermaids cursing to Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea.

While most elements of the novels are scientifically explainable, there is a touch of magic in the inua, or spirit which is in all things, including the water and the people themselves. As is expected, the mermaids have their own traditional forms of government, and sacred tenets based on their connection to the water.

These were just a few light notes on setting and basic rules of the world the characters live in-- if I got into describing the characters themselves, I would never sleep. That's the fun part! I consider characterization to be one of my strengths in writing, but everyone will have a different opinion on the matter.

I hope you will get a chance to enjoy the story! It's free, so in the timeless words of ABBA: take a chance on me. ;)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

How Writing Caused me to Lose All of my Friends

I've had a lot of crazy jobs in my lifetime, including being a professional gambler. I thought that I had the best friends in the world, because they stood by as I ruined my life over and over again, and they listened to my depressing stories, or they watched me lose $30,000 in a few hours and patted me on the back afterwards and told me it was going to be okay. They listened every time I screwed up yet another great relationship with a perfectly normal guy by being my unstable self. Surely only the best of friends would do all these things.

Then 2012 came, and I resolved to put aside every other task and focus on my writing. I spent most of my time writing in 2011, but not for money-- just for pleasure, and feedback, and for a small group of my readers. Finally, spurred on by their feedback and praise, I figured it was time to make a career out of the one thing I loved most in the world, and the one thing I have been doing for my entire life, regardless of every other obligation.

In late January, I had finished the novel that I had been working on periodically throughout 2011, Drowning Mermaids. Almost a month passed without me seeing a single person. When I finally did see my best friend, it was only because I wanted to give her a friendship ring that had arrived in the mail-- she and I had ordered matching rings for Christmas to celebrate ten years of friendship. She told me that she had been meeting with our other friends and they had considered staging an "intervention" for my writing. They also believed that I should sell my house, since I wasn't working. None of them had read my novel, and none of them had contacted me at all in all the time I had been writing. Just one month into my "career" and no one had any faith in me.

This confused me a bit. You see, when I had a serious gambling problem, no one even considered staging an intervention or getting me help. They all had faith that I would sort things out on my own, which I did. How is my writing a problem? Why do I need help? I assume that it is the popular thing to do among my friends to insult Nadia over dinner, and poke fun at her silly ambitions and passions. That's fine, but why now? Why not in the past when all of my pursuits were decidedly and admittedly lamentable and dishonorable? Why now, when I am actually pursuing something rather dear to me that I have been waiting for a chance to do for over a decade?

Anyway, I tried to put these issues behind me and continue on without anger. I began seeing my friends a bit more consistently, once a week or so. In mid-February, I was making good progress on my second novel, Fathoms of Forgiveness, when I received a horrible review. Although I tried to be tough, I took it very personally and it drained my energy-- it was from a respectable source. I was supposed to meet with my friend that day to go to the gym, and while I did want to see her and talk, I didn't have the energy for a workout. I wanted to focus all my thoughts on improving my writing. Unfortunately, she did not want to compromise and go for a drink and chat with me, and chose instead to leave and continue to the gym alone. We went our separate ways, and haven't spoken since.

Since then, every night when I need a break from my writing, I get in my car and drive to Tim Horton's for a coffee. I end up driving in circles around Toronto, and realizing that there is not a single person in this whole city that I can call up to chat with, or sit down to have a coffee with.

I suppose that's what it means to be a writer, but luckily that's a price I'm perfectly willing to pay.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A Note on Sisters

The most daunting scene for me to write in all of Fathoms of Forgiveness was Aazuria's wedding. The reason for this was that I had to create spiritual wedding traditions for the undersea kingdom. This ceremony is really important to the whole series, and to the establishing the core beliefs of underwater societies. It is the first time that the series title, Sacred Breath is actually used, and I needed for it to be perfect.

That being said, as I wrote the scene it was not the mythology which ended up being the most challenging. It was a moment when Aazuria looks at her sister for support. Elandria smiles at her, and the two share a quiet look of understanding. I won't explain it all here, because the moment will lose its power, but it brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it.

I could not help thinking that the reason I spent so much effort on establishing the bond between the sisters might be because of the complete lack of bond I have with mine. My older sister has gotten married twice without even showing me the courtesy of telling me about it, much less inviting me or allowing me to participate in the ceremony in some small manner. I cannot use words to describe how offended I felt because of her actions... first when I was eight years old, and last year when I was 23. This was the ultimate "deal-breaker" for me, and I have pretty much disowned her as my sister. What this means is that in the rare occasions that she asks for help with her computer (which I bought her) or asks for a ride somewhere, I decline.

So, what was supposed to be the crucial moment which defined the mythology of my series ended up being yet another fantasy of mine on "how sisters really should be" and I think that's just fine.

It's something special that I can offer. My bitterness, and my sadness at not having this simple and basic familial connection gives me the yearning to imagine the very best possible relationship between two sisters. I can live vicariously though Aazuria and Elandria, and I find that to be very healing and uplifting.

My connections with real human beings might be falling apart-- but the love I have for my characters only grows and grows with the more time I spend with them. They love each other too, and they will never disappoint me-- because I have complete control over the situation, and I can (more or less) predict all of their actions and choices. I know who's dependable, and who's safe; I also know who has malice brewing deep inside and intends to betray everyone.

I wish I could know that in real life. It's actually knowledge which is bliss.