Monday, February 23, 2015

What Makes a Legend?

The 'Hero's Journey' is a story method that has its roots in classic literature from ancient Greek to fairy tales, to the nineteenth century greats such as Jane Eyre and Tale of Two Cities.  A hero goes on a quest and meets terrible obstacles, tries harder, suffers unbearably, and finally triumphs over great odds.

What makes a hero?  Why do we love heroes?  A connection with our inner selves craves these stories, demands the journey that leads to the coveted 'triumph of the human spirit.'  However set upon we become in our lives, we need to feel that we can rise above, a stronger and happier and honest version of ourselves.  Life takes a lot of effort, and it doesn't always seem fair.  Experiencing the trials of others who never give up and succeed against incredible odds feeds our desire to keep hoping and wishing and getting up each day to face the world.

Yesterday I attended a WCDR Master Class taught by bestselling author, Andrew Pyper.  He led us through the hero's journey in our stories, from the hook that raises a question for the main character to the 'inciting incident' that busts apart his world and sends him or her irretrievably on his quest, and then on through the stages that turn the character from a person with a problem to a triumphant hero.

When I first sat down to write Legend of Three Crowns, I had two elements of the story.  The main character, Aramanda, and the ending of the story.  From there, I mapped out her journey, and lived that quest alongside her throughout the first draft.

Aramanda is my heroine.  All around her are the temptations to become someone less loving, less caring, darker and more ruthless.  Her father, tortured by the mysterious past of family secrets, would have her fight her own brother to become the mythic queen he envisions to immortalize his dynasty.  The lords, with their ancestral rights and military power, side with her brother to discredit Aramanda and block her path to the throne.  Her grandmother, long dead, set in motion a dangerous mystical force Aramanda must harness to triumph over the power of men.  And, perhaps most difficult of all, the man who loves her tempts her to leave her quest, and abandon her crown and the people who adore her.

From the ideals of love, to the machinations of her brother, to her desire to protect her sisters and preserve her mother's memory, Aramanda is beset with temptations to give up her quest.  But the needs of her people and an ancient calling drive her to persevere until her sacrifice is as epic as her cause. 

This is a quest most writers understand.  Our kingdom is our story.  And we will live it through, whatever the cost, until its triumphant end.  Then begin a new quest, undaunted by the sacrifice in delivering our truth.

Today, I am launching my new web portal for Legend of Three Crowns, designed by the ultra talented Amber Robinson and Brittany Leclerc of Amber Animation.  You can see excerpts of the novel, sketches of the characters, the world, the palaces, photos from my travels to Europe for research, and a book trailer crafted with Book Trailer101.  I hope you enjoy the journey!

Book Two of my Legend series is in the writing stages.  Book One is now being offered for publication by Sam Hiyate of The Rights Factory

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Versatile Has New Meaning!


Blogger and fellow WCDR member Collette Yvonne has nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award!  Cheers, Collette!  I appreciate your interest in my blog and welcome the nomination with heartfelt thanks.

This is an award you earn by nominating 15 others who enjoy your insights and observations as a blogger.  I'm tremendously pleased that Collette has added me to her list.  I never considered myself so much a 'blogger' as a 'writer', and started my web site to develop a profile of myself as a writer and communicate with the enthusiastic readers of my stories. 

In fact, the blog has become a cherished part of this process, and I soon found writing these posts a meaningful connection to my followers and fellow bloggers.  With this nomination, I now feel like a bonafide member of the blogger community.  So, in the interest of this rite of passage, here are my 15 nominations for web sites I love (in no particular order) and the people who write them, followed by 7 things you may or may not know about me, and the rules of the VBA below.

1. Cryssa Bazos: A world of adventure, love and war in 17th century England, and Highwaymen that just won't quit.  For dash and dare, and solid historical fact, Cryssa is a good one to watch.

2. Elaine Cougler: Loyalty, a Canadian twist on the American War of  Independence, and the journey of a writer.  Elaine is a feisty writer with equally plucky characters in her Loyalist series of books.

3. Gwen Tuinman: Stories, words and whispers, all inspiration for Canadian frontier enthusiasts, and seekers of intergenerational truths.

4. Amber Robinson: Illustrator, animator, artist of princesses and all things that go bump in the night!

5. Sandra Clarke: Paranormal walk into the unknown, boldly going where fear is a dream and the unknown an irresistible challenge.

6. Dale Long: Inkstroke, Author's Voice, charcoal sketches, creeps and fascinations, and all things fearward.

7. Dorothea Helms: The Writing Fairy makes it all better.  Fairy sprinkles that make the unimaginable real, and the journey a ton of fun!

8. Rich Helms: Absolutely brilliant resources for all writers on creating a book trailer video, how to and why not, and why you can't do without one! (see my Legend home page for mine, produced in Rich's BT class!)  This and skate bikes, coffee, hanging off a cliff in Costa Rica, and a whole lot more!

9. Leetah Bagalle: The hard truth.  Honesty in a writer is hard to find, but we make our own truths, and Leetah knows all about that.  Brave Blog with honest insights.

10. Lilianna Tommisini: Time for a break to sample life's greatest pleasure- food!  Lili's recipes, insights into cooking and food are the dream column of the Montreal Examiner.  My Cookbook Addiction is just the cure for winter cravings!

11. JL Madore: A writer to watch, untethered, blazing trails, paranormal,'s all here!

12. English Historical Fiction Authors: The aristocracy, English Civil War musings, research, writing, the Historical Novel Society, and more insights for HF authors and enthusiasts.

13. Ruth Walker and Gwynn Scheltema: Writing retreats that celebrate the writer, editors, story doctors, very sharp blue pencils, Ruth and Gwynn at Writescape are a writer's best friends.

14. Kevin Craig: Burned, Broken, Poets and Long Summers, Kevin is an extraordinary YA author who takes on the bravest subjects with forgiveness and style.

15. Sharon Overend: A journey prize nominated writer and editor with insights and success indicators to share, short story awards, and a novel now offered for publication.

7 Things to Share About Me:

1. I have a diploma with distinction in Commercial Communications, and once worked in high tech as an Advertising exec with a budget of $100 million. My novel, Wings of a Fly is based loosely on those days.

2. I worked in product placement in Hollywood in the nineties, and have met Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Heffner, Dom Deluise and Dyan Cannon.  Unfortunately, the closest I got to Peter Falk was his car.  You can still see the Corel balloon and products on reruns of Frasier, Seinfeld, and other shows, as well as a few movies, including Twelve Monkeys.  To this day, I am an honorary member of the Set Decorator's Society of America.

3. My Dad had an old army truck from the second world war which he owned with his Bay Hunt Club hunting buddies.  He designed a bright yellow logo for the club and painted it on the driver's door.  He and his buddies used to drive it north of Lanark to their hunting camp and drive through the Clyde River, which at times came half way up the windshield of the truck.  Years later, they sold the truck, and I found it some time later at the War Museum in Ottawa.  There is a picture of me in evening attire stepping down from the truck, the only time I was ever in it.

4. My wedding pictures were taken by a student of Karsh, and the images won photography awards.  The photographer sold the rights to my wedding photos to a CD-ROM company, who released them on a license free CD worldwide.  Somewhere in Japan, there are probably busboards with my picture on them.....

5. I moved to the GTA to take a job running environmental programmes for industry, and launched an education initiative called Building a Sustainable Future, which awarded scholarships to students at the high school, college and university levels for their innovative environmental ideas. I sat on the executive boards of several environmental organizations, including The Canadian Brownfield Network, Energy Star and Ontario Centres of Excellence. 

6. An avid supporter of films, I won a Gold Remi award from the Wordfest International Independent Film Festival as Executive Producer of A Sustainable Future: The Story of the Earth Rangers, produced by Clare Productions.  I also served on the Board of Directors for Norman Jewison's Canadian Film Centre, and was a script consultant and executive producer in the early development for A Windigo Tale, the American Indian Film Festival's Best Picture film.

7. There is a running theme of rabbits through my life that is probably too crazy for a memoir, but I have drafted some of it anyway under the working title: One Rabbit.

The Versatile Blogger Award Rules:
  • Display the Award Certificate (cut and paste it from my post)
  • Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you – that’s me!
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers
  • Inform them of their nomination via comment on their blog
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself