In Which I Achieve Web Wizardry

Once upon a time, there was an author who suffered from a terrible curse.

To wit, her dread archfoe, the Technology Fiend, despised her with all passion. He got his kicks by tainting anything she touched requiring a battery, plug, or modem, and was particularly tickled by thwarting her attempts to become computer savvy.

Our poor author grew understandably fearful of treading in enemy territory. Every click of a button authorizing yet another account or threatening one more upgrade sent spasms of anticipatory horror through her heart. But much as she would have liked to stay far, far away from all terrors technological, she was, as I said, an author – and a self-publishing author, at that. In this day and age, an author is expected to blog, have a website, show her face on social media. And a mostly self-pubbing author with no other employment doesn’t have enough cash to hire someone else to do all the scary Internet stuff for her.

So when the day came that our author – who also happened to be something of a perfectionist – looked upon the “My Books” page of her website and thought, “I suppose this serves its purpose well enough, but it’s not all that I want it to be,” she had no recourse but to suck up her anxiety and figure out how to work a little web sorcery.

And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.

Time to put on my big girl wizard robe and get ‘er done.

Time to put on my big girl wizard robe and get ‘er done.

Opinions will vary on what’s needed to make a website look “professional” (which I feel is a kind of snotty term, in general, since when you’re good at what you do, you can do it your own way and make it amazing, never mind some arbitrary standard clung to by the masses. But I digress into artistic anarchy…). My personal minimum requirements/preferences are that it be clean (because I don’t deal well with clutter) and simple to navigate (because isn’t the whole point that visitors be able to find the information they’re looking for?).

What nagged at me about my site’s original “My Books” page is that it wasn’t immediate enough. You started at the top with the cover and info for my first published book (“The Swan Prince”), then scrolled down to get to my next book, and the next, and so on chronologically, through the whole of my Wilderhark Tales (to date), my first professional anthology (“One More Day”), and my debut novel (“Inspired”), until you reached the current position on my publishing road and the page’s end simultaneously. All very well, but why couldn’t I have that deal where the covers of all the available books are presented at once in a neat little gallery, and clicking on one will take you to another page dedicated to that one book (or perchance the whole of its series) only?

Because I didn’t know how to make it happen, that’s why. And I was scared to try to learn. But if being scared were enough to stop me from doing things, I wouldn’t have any published books to show off on a website in the first place.

So I went to my site’s dashboard thing. And I stared at it, looking for some kind of hint or guidepost. I’d seen other Weebly-powered sites pull the trick I wanted, so there had to be a way…

Website Dashboard

What am I even looking at, right now?…

Aha! Down there, what’d that say? “Tip: Drag pages up/down to reorder and left/right to create subpages.

Subpages! That sounded like exactly what I wanted!

Now came the true test of courage: Sacrificing the sure thing I had in order to reach for what I knew, if gained, would be better.

There’s a great, honking life metaphor, for you.

After much stressful experimentation, uploading pics, copy/pasting text, fiddling with format, and careful linkage, I had a brand new at-a-glance “My Books” page, complete with subpages for each and every title. Like. A. Boss.

It’s… *sniff* …beautiful.

It’s… *sniff* …beautiful.

Sure, I screwed up a bunch of times. Yes, I crashed the browser once. Never mind how many hours later it pushed my already ridiculously late breakfast. I got my heart set on a goal, put my mind to the task and came out with one more tally mark next to my name on the Danielle vs. Tech Fiend scoreboard.

And oh, hey, would you look at that: My new page’s gallery of covers includes the face of “Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions” – the Xchyler Publishing paranormal collection set to release on Wednesday (party over here!). If I do say so myself, it does look mighty fine. ^_^

A Taste of “Two Spoons”

Those of you who frequent my Facebook author page or follow me on Twitter have likely gotten an eyeful of the following image already. But for any readers here who’ve yet to have the pleasure, consider this Ever On Word’s cover reveal day for Xchyler Publishing’s upcoming paranormal anthology, “Legends and Lore”!

Legends and Lore

Boy oh boy, I’m itching to get my hands on my own personal paperback of this baby! And I’m so impatient to share my anthology contribution with you guys that – to heck with it – you’re getting a sneak peek at the first 500 words of my story, “Two Spoons”!

This once happened to a friend of mine.

That’s how these urban legends always start, right? You never say you, you say a friend, or a friend of a friend, and you either mean yourself or no one who ever lived outside of a cheesy campfire story. And if you say it happened once, you either mean upon some never-mind-exactly-when time or just plain never.

So, you know if I say a friend and once, I mean something else. I mean us. And twenty years later, it’s still too soon to forget.

It started out perfectly real, stupidly normal. Two kids in high school who felt grown-up enough to do grown-up things, until they recognized the just-beginning-to-grow-inside-of-her thing they’d created between them, and it struck them a little too late just how young and far from ready they were.

She didn’t have much of a family to turn to. He had two or three times a normal family to help make up the difference. When his parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins heard there was another one of them on the way, they absorbed the budding mother into their number, and the baby along with her.

That’s what the family always did: feed and grow, feed and grow. They grew a restaurant and fed their community—straight from their hearts to the mouths of their neighbors. Their niche was soul food, and food was the family’s soul.

The new little one, to whom the family gave a proper name only to generally ignore it in favor of calling her Tidbit, practically lived in the restaurant. She sat in a highchair or was passed from arms to arms, lap to lap, while her father scrubbed dishes and her mother scrubbed countertops. With all the kitchen noises around her—banging pots and pans, clattering plates and cutlery, sizzling, whipping, blending, splashing, and orders shouted back and forth—she grew to find less and less reason to add to the chaos.

Past her first birthday, she never screamed or cried. By her second, the family was still unsure whether she’d learned how to talk. By her third, they knew she could, though she didn’t do it often; didn’t open her mouth much at all, except to take in food or drink or her thumb. Having watched the disorganized dance of the kitchen her whole life, she’d figured out walking and staying out from underfoot at about the same time. With her general lack of sound, size, and nuisance, Tidbit was forgotten about as often as she was remembered.

The late spring evening the Black Man came, the girl was four years old and out of the kitchen, watching the less chaotic show of the diners on the floor.

He wasn’t black in the way Tidbit’s family was black. His narrow eyes were black, the sleek hair swept back from his forehead was black, his shoes, pants, and jacket over his black shirt were black, but black wasn’t what he wore, and it wasn’t what he was. It was who.

And?” you cry. “AND?

Aaand that’s it for the appetizer, kids. The full meal gets served on October 22nd, release day for “Legends and Lore”. We can help make the wait more bearable by keeping each other company in the comments section. Share your impressions of the cover and/or story snippet? ^^

Fly or Perish (INSPIRED Days)

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This is it, gang: My final post for “INSPIRED Days” – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel which has lately passed its 6-month semi-anniversary of publication. Without further ado, enjoy this excerpt from INSPIRED, retold from Yves’s point of view!

<<<>>>

Where is he?

Even amidst all the noise outside – the crowds talking, laughing, cheering, jeering, the ceaseless music – his father’s voice cut through. The boy huddled in the dark, too petrified to shiver. Don’t find me. Don’t make me. Please, just this once…

But why should this time be any different? Nothing changed in this place. He was caught in the sickening loop of undiscovered backstory, a merry-go-round of day in, day out sameness which would never still until anchored by the narrative’s starting point.

He wished his author would begin his tale. He wished just as hard that she wouldn’t. For to begin was to invite an ending, and he knew this story too well to believe its ending would be a happy one.

The boy buried his head in the arms crossed over his drawn-up knees. That end might be days or years in coming. Or his author might leave him to languish where he was forever, never finding the time or motivation to find his story’s details. Such things, he knew, happened with terrifying frequency, in the world of words.

How did he know? He wasn’t sure. No one around him gave any hint that they, too, were aware their lives were an unwritten fiction. For reasons beyond the boy’s understanding, the others in his backstory were not like him. It was as if he were the dreamer, and all else nothing more real than part of his dream – his nightmare from which, if his author never wrote him, he would never wake…

The boy’s ears were a moment in telling him something was wrong, but there it was – or rather, there it wasn’t. The crowds had silenced.

He raised his head, disoriented. Not a murmur or rustle did he hear. Nothing but the music, suddenly eerie in the absence of all other sound. Uncertain, the boy rose to standing, crossed the shadowy space on silent feet, and looked out into the evening dim. Nobody there.

His lurching heart propelled him forward a step. Something vital had changed in his world, but was it for good or ill?

A prickle dancing up his spine caused the boy to cast a look behind him, and what he saw there stilled the breath in his throat. Wide as the horizon and high as the sky, a wall of blackness edged forward, devouring all in its path.

From his creation onward, the boy had known only fear, but it was nothing next to his terror now. He moved as he never had before, thoughts of grace and elegance thrown aside by the need for speed. Even so, there was no way to gauge how swiftly he moved, for his surroundings changed from stride to stride, the nightmare he knew shifting through dreams unexplored. The wall of oblivion remained the only constant, not yet managing to catch him, nor yet falling behind.

At length, too exhausted to race any further, the boy flung himself at the closest thing to an illusion of safety – a wheatstack in a pastel field full of such mounds – and burrowed inside. If it could provide no protection, at least it would prevent him having to see it when the wall overtook him.

Huddled in darkness again, lungs battling for breath, the boy realized of a sudden he recognized this place. Wheatstacks, he thought. End of Summer. He’d glimpsed its like in his author’s mind before. He was in a mental copy of Monet painting.

Wheatstacks, End of Summer

“Yes,” a voice rang from out in the open, clear as the music of a bell. “She was much taken with Monet.”

She. Did the voice speak of his author?

Peeking out through the wheat, the boy caught sight of the speaker – now speaking again – a tall, slender man, glowing like lamplight, hovering in the air in the midst of three others: One big, one medium, one crouched low on the ground and brandishing the black tail of a cat. “An angel?” he answered a question the boy had not heard. “No, Uri, not I. Yes,” – his ringing voice bore a trace of amusement – “I know who you are. I know who all of you are. And you must be made to know it, too, if you wish your survival.”

The boy did not know who all of the people were, but he could guess. They must have been like him – his author’s characters, from stories beyond his own. But not the glowing one, the boy sensed. He was something more.

Though the voices of the other characters did not carry as the bell voice did, the boy could see them startle as Lucianíel (for this was the name the glowing man gave) informed them of the situation. That his existence was fictional was, of course, not the news to the boy that it seemed to be to the others, but at the stated cause of the oblivion wall, he gasped.

Dead?, he thought, dizzy with dismay. His author was dead? His only chance to have his story written, dead? Had he been standing, the pain of the thought would have sent him to his knees. It was over. He was doomed. Finished before he had ever begun.

“You needn’t be,” Lucianíel’s voice chimed, once more seeming to address the three strangers and the boy’s thoughts, both at once. “To exist outside of the author’s mind, the character requires the belief of someone outside of their world. Such is the advantage of having one’s story scribed. So long as the book exists to be read, the character is immortal.”

And what good is immortality if you live forever in a nightmare?, the boy wondered. Was it any better than ceasing to exist at all? He watched, indecisive, as Lucianíel and the others prepared to go – go how or go where, he did not know. If he revealed himself, would they take him with them? Did he even want them to?

Of a sudden, one of the characters – the big one Lucianíel had called Wilbur – turned toward the boy’s general direction, looking all around. Searching for something. Or for someone. Surely not for me? The faintest hope fluttered in the boy’s breast.

Wilbur’s fevered search among the wheatstacks brought him closer. Closer. So close, the boy could have stretched out and touched him. Then, “Come, Wilbur,” Lucianíel called him back.

“But—” Wilbur began, voice choked with grief.

Come.”

No, the boy thought as Wilbur turned away. Fear sucked his mouth dry of words, but his mind strained forward. Don’t go. Don’t leave me. Please.

And Wilbur’s gaze turned back. Catching sight of the boy, he jerked to a stop. “Wait,” he said. “It’s a person.”

The bell rang sharply. “What?”

“A person. In the haystack!”

In the space of a heartbeat, Lucianíel appeared at Wilbur’s side, both men crouching down nearer to the boy’s level. “Ah, so it’s you,” said Lucianíel, relief evident in his incandescent face. “I’d wondered at your absence. The choice is yours, child. Fly or perish?”

Fly or perish. The choice of story’s end, faced far sooner than expected. Too soon. The boy was not ready.

“Please come,” Wilbur softly implored. “You’re strong enough to have lasted this long; don’t you disappear now.” He held out a hand in pleading invitation. “It’s all right,” he promised. “You’ll be all right, if you just stay with us. I’ll look after you.”

You can’t protect me from everything, the boy thought. But looking into the pairs of eyes before him, shining gold and warmest gray, he felt sure both of these caring strangers would try.

Gathering what little courage he had, the boy placed his hand in Wilbur’s, placing his trust there, as well, and in Lucianíel. His ill-fated end was coming, but not today. Not to oblivion. His voice a hoarse whisper, he said, “I will fly.”

<<<>>>

And that, my friends, is that. If you’d love to nab the novel featuring this dear lad’s full story, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Thanks to everyone who’s joined me for the fun of “INSPIRED Days”! Regular, miscellaneous Ever On Word blogging will resume on Thursday. ‘Til then, farewell!

Creation Within Creation (INSPIRED Days)

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Welcome to the continuation of “INSPIRED Days”! – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel which has just this last Sunday reached its 6-month semi-anniversary of publication. ^o^

INSPIRED being a book absolutely all about the characters, I thought it only fitting that its main cast get in on the fun. So here’s our third guest post of the party, brought to you by the novel’s resident dude[ette] with a ‘tude, Uri!

<<<>>>

I wonder if Noah felt like this. “Yeah, hi,” says God, “clock’s running down on your world. You and this handful of others may want to get in the lifeboat.

Thanks, but… Dang.

Seriously. That’s like exactly how it happened. What the ever-burning heck?

Yeah, Danielle digi-painted me. She’s into that.

Yeah, Danielle digi-painted me. She’s into that.

It’s not like I was attached to my world, or anything – which totally sounds like sarcasm, but no, for real. Maybe it’s because the place wasn’t fully realized yet. Maybe it’s because I was still in the earliest stages of my character development. I dunno. But I can’t say I miss anything that got swallowed up in the flood of destruction.

Probably the weirdest thing was finding out there’s at least one more layer of reality out there than I figured. I mean, I’ve read books; even read books where, ohmigosh, this whole world’s nothing but a dream / somebody’s computer program / an ant farm / whatever. You see that kind of thing all the time. You don’t expect it will happen to you.

A person of weaker faith could have had her whole religion rocked by what I’ve gone through. But I didn’t see the need for a full-on theology crisis. I’m pretty open-minded. Or almost totally closed-minded, but willing to entertain new ideas so long as they don’t flatly contradict what I believe to be gospel truth. One of those. In any case, I don’t see how having Annabelle and her predecessor as author over my life precludes the existence and omnipotence of an Author, capital “A”.

To quote from a book ranked somewhere below Scripture:

There is creation within creation, and creators can keep creating new things because it is a part of them because they were themselves created. Like a story about a writer who writes a story about a writer a writer who writes a story about a writer, and so on forever, from that single starting place. That first writer. The first creator. And to be the first means he—or she, or something that defies a pronoun—is the only one so great, he didn’t need to be created to be. That’s why he’s worthy to be the God.

The Book of Inspired, chapter twenty-four, verse… Yeah, okay, our novel doesn’t have verses. Regardless, Scripture backs it up.

So God created mankind in his own image.

Genesis 1:27.

Ask a writer. They can tell you: Little pieces of themselves end up reflected in the fictional people they make. Among whatever else, it seems some of us got a mega share of our Author’s creativity, to the point where they, too, can say, “Let there be light,” “Let there be life,” “Let there be this person and this plot point in this crazy story arc,” and whole worlds will appear in the pages for the writer to look over and see that it was good.

So I’m not about to worship Annabelle. (In fact, excuse me while I bust a gut laughing at the thought.) But if the God I serve placed this girl in authority over me, then I’ll do all I’m able to serve her also, and serve her well.

Heaven help us all.

<<<>>>

Thanks, Uri! Reader types who’d love to nab the novel featuring this yin-yang chick of light and snark, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Inspired Sale, Kindle and BN

 

**Coming up Monday**: An introductory scene from INSPIRED, retold from Yves’s point of view!

Character Casting Call (INSPIRED Days)

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It’s Week Three of “INSPIRED Days”! – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel, of which yesterday marked its 6-month semi-anniversary of publication! *huzzahs, hurrahs, sings a round or two of “For He’s It’s a Jolly Good Fellow Novel”*

In honor of the occasion, here’s a piece of flash fiction I whipped up a couple months back, all about one of the many ways a muse may assist his author in finding inspiration. Enjoy!

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“Next,” the voice like bells rang out from the doorway. O was on his feet in an instant. This is it, he thought, smoothing a hand over his hair and down his shirtfront. Don’t screw it up.

O walked in with all the confidence he could scrape together, then uneasily wondered whether they were looking for confidence. What if they wanted someone shy? The posting, written in lights in the ether, hadn’t specified. Confidence seemed the safest bet for first impressions, though, so he kept committed to that.

Inspired Mock Cover

My early vision for an INSPIRED cover, as created by me.

The dark girl seated at the desk smiled, and the glowing-bright man seated in the air beside her beckoned O further in. The door closed behind him – from all appearances, on its own power. “Hi-hi!” the girl chirped. “I’m Annabelle. This is my co-executive, Lucianíel. And you are?”

“O,” said O, shaking the girl’s hand. “Or, something with an ‘O’. Possibly multiple ‘O’s. That’s all I’ve got for sure.”

“Fair enough,” she said. She turned to her floating, glowing co-exec. “How do we feel about Orlando?”

“Donovan, I think,” Lucianíel’s voice rang again.

“Orlando Donovan, then. We’ll hold onto it for later.” Scribbling the name on a notepad with one hand and gesturing for O to sit with the other, Annabelle said, “So, O. Let’s chat. What do you know about yourself?”

“Well, I’m a guy.”

“A good starting point,” said Annabelle, her curly cloud of hair bobbing with her encouraging nod.

“And I’m a killer.”

Her brows rose. “Oh?”

He nodded. “I have to be. I mean, I have to kill. It’s a psychological need. If I don’t, I’ll, I dunno. Get sick. Go crazy. It’s in my twisted nature. Also, I have really arresting eyes.”

“I noticed,” she said. “What are they, blue?”

“I think so, yeah. Kinda flickers between that and gray, but I’m leaning toward blue. Or… do you think I could have eyes like a raven?” he asked hopefully.

Lucianíel tipped his head. “Are you a raven? Descended of ravens or tied to them in any way?”

“Shape-shifting raven?” Annabelle inquired.

O shook his head. “I didn’t mean literal raven’s eyes. Just their color. Y’know how the feathers are just so black they shimmer, like, purple and green and blue? It would be incredible to have eyes like that!”

“Hmm.” Annabelle chewed on the cap of her pen. “Amazing eyes do not in themselves an amazing character make. The psychological need to kill is something, I suppose, but even that on its own is a little… so-so.”

Why do you need to kill?” Lucianíel probed, his own incredible eyes on O intent. “Whence came this vital need?”

O shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I’m really not sure. It’s something in my makeup. In my blood.”

“So this is not unique to you? There are more of your kind?”

“Sure. Or there were.” O shrugged. “I dunno. I might be the last, or separated from them. I feel separated,” he realized, of a sudden. “Isolated. I might not even know what I am, and that there are more like me. I feel like the only one.”

“Aww,” Annabelle said, absently sympathetic. A good half of her attention was on the fat little paperback in her hands, its pages well-worn and flipping with familiar ease beneath her fingers. “Dominic… Donahue… Here we are: Donovan. Celtic, Irish. Strong fighter, dark chieftain.” She turned wide, eager eyes on Lucianíel. “That could apply to a race of raven people quite well! A noble family name. Maybe he’s a long-lost prince!”

“Perhaps crows instead of ravens,” Lucianíel suggested. “Murder, and all.”

“A murder of crows – brilliant!” Annabelle cried. “Yes, yes, yes! You, young Donovan,” she said, stabbing a finger across the desk, “are a prince among crows! There was a conspiracy—”

That would be the ravens,” said Lucianíel.

“Say what?”

“A conspiracy of ravens.” He smiled. “Or an unkindness.”

“Ah, I see. Well, shoot, we’re rolling in awesome titling options, aren’t we?”

“Less awesome than obvious. But they’re as good a starting place as any.”

“In any case,” Annabelle continued, returning to O. “Conspiracy. Somebody wanted you gone, probably so they could cut ahead in line to the throne. That they didn’t just kill you shows it was one of the ravens.” She steepled her fingers, eyes gleaming in the glow of a plot unfolding. “A crow would have murdered you, but for one of the Unkindness, death would be too kind. They snatched you from your people and left you to grow up alone in a world not your own, desperate for the death of others without knowing why; a freak and a monster; friendless.”

O chewed down on his cheeks’ insides, trying to stem the flood of painful heat rising behind his eyes. As she said it, it was true. He wanted friends – of course he did – but how could he ask friendship, ask trust, of someone when he might kill them, or someone they cared about? It was bad enough that he cared. Each and every time. A crow prince raised with the morals of a gentler race. Every day was a battle of nature versus conscience, and he could not let conscience win. It would destroy him.

A tissue appeared before him. “It’s okay,” said Annabelle, gently. “Let it out.”

Taking the proffered tissue, he wept freely, embarrassed but unafraid. He sensed their compassion, the girl and the glowing man. Whatever happened today, however this ended, he had their understanding.

“I think we can work with you,” she said, when O’s sobs had softened to sniffles. “More than that: I would like to work with you, O. How would you feel about getting a story?”

“Please,” he said, a smile braving its way back onto his face. “I’ve been trying to apply for one for ages. You’re the first author who’s seemed to notice I exist.”

“And the last author you’ll ever need to petition,” said Annabelle, smiling wide in return. “You’re mine. Feel free to go hang out, for now. If you need anything, there’ll be other characters to show you around. Luc and I will be in touch when we’ve got more of a game plan for you. Sound good?”

“Excellent. Thanks,” said O, going in for the closing handshake. “I appreciate it.”

“The pleasure is ours,” Lucianíel said warmly. “Next,” he called, the first door swinging open in tandem with a second – the door through which O made his way out into the vastness of his new author’s mind.

“Hi,” he heard her greet the applicant behind him. “Sorry we kept you waiting. People were crying. So. A dragon master, huh? Tell me what that’s like.”

<<<>>>

Thanks for reading! If you’d love to nab the novel chronicling the start of Luc and Annabelle’s partnership, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Inspired Sale, Kindle and BN

 

**Coming up Thursday**: A guest post from INSPIRED’s Uri on reconciling her worldview with the surprise revelation that she’s fictional.

The Few, the Humble, the Favorites (INSPIRED Days)

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It’s Week Two of “INSPIRED Days”! – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel as it nears its 6-month semi-anniversary.

INSPIRED being a book absolutely all about the characters, I thought it only fitting that its main cast get in on the fun. So here’s our second guest post of the party, brought to you by the novel’s sweetheart of a knight, Sir Wilbur Lamb!

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Being your author’s favorite character can be complicated.

I would like to firstly state that I in no way think I deserve to be Annabelle’s favorite. I— Pardon? Pray excuse me, readers; Uri’s saying something at me… Who do I think should be the favorite, if not me? Good gracious, Uri, I don’t know. Luc, perhaps, if a muse qualifies. He certainly puts in the most work, with her.

A piece of fan art created by my author’s author, Danielle.

A piece of fan art created by my author’s author, Danielle.

Which brings me back around to what I was going to say, which is how a favorite character has a double load of responsibilities. On the one side, you’ve got your story world to think about – your family and friends from home, and whatever portion of the plot you’ve got to hold up. And on the other side, you’ve got your secondary life, the one outside your book, in the free-for-all of your author’s mind, where – if the author’s anything like Annabelle – she calls you out to converse and— I’m sorry, now Abishan’s speaking. Is this urgent, Shan? I’m supposed to be providing a blog post… You should be Annabelle’s favorite? Um, certainly. I’ll be sure to tell her you said so. Pet you now? All right, if you’ll kindly stay quiet while I finish my assigned task.

Where was I? Conversing with the author. That can be awkward, for the favorite. Or perhaps it wouldn’t be so in every favorite’s case, but Annabelle is… well, less than circumspect about her feelings for me. Not that I wouldn’t have been able to see how she felt anyway, since we do share a brainspace. Even could we not read each other’s thoughts, though, it would be frightfully obvious that our affections are, erm, unevenly matched. But of course one doesn’t wish to offend or hurt anyone – (yes, thank you, Uri, I do speak for myself) – especially not one’s author, who does so very much for her characters. I mean, mercy, Annabelle gives us… virtually everything! Everything we ever had before we knew her (or even knew that everything we had was fiction), and far more, for she labors to finish the stories our late author began, that they may endure forever in the minds and hearts of the readers she’ll touch. And what can we provide to even begin to repay her?

Wait, Yves, say that again. …Yes, that is what is ours to offer. We give her purpose. Entertainment. Encouragement. Companionship. Love. Perhaps not always the exact same sort of love she has for us, but I, for one, do love her. And yes, Shan, you for two. And Luc and Uri and Yves for three through five, whether or not any of them will ever tell her in so many words.

And whether or not I remain Annabelle’s favorite in the years to come, she has been my favorite author I’ve ever known. For love and for duty, I will strive in both lives she’s given me to be worthy of her adoration for me.

Pardon, Luc?

“I said, you’re doing fine, child.”

<<<>>>

Thanks, Wilbur! A question for the writer types: Have any of your characters stolen your heart as the favorite? As for the reader types who’d love to nab the novel featuring this model of gallantry, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Inspired Sale, Kindle and BN

 

**Coming up Monday**: An all-new piece of flash fiction, featuring that most illustrious team of creativity, Luc and Annabelle!

Which INSPIRED Character Are YOU? (INSPIRED Days)

Who doesn’t love a personality quiz? ^o^

A) Boo to quizzes!

B) Yay, quiz!

If you chose A, this blog post isn’t for you, and I recommend you browse the Ever On Word archives for something better suited to your tastes. But if you chose B, then you are in luck, because some muse put it in my head to create a quiz based on my nearly-six-month-old novel and share it during “INSPIRED Days”!

Inspired Days Button

You can take the quiz via playbuzz.com, and/or right here on the blog. Which of the book’s main cast do you most resemble? Let’s find out!

1) The world is ending. What do you do?

- Run for my life

- Try to save everyone

- Hide

- Make smart-aleck remarks

- Activate my emergency escape plan

- Over-dramatize the whole affair

2) Suppose I told you you’re more powerful than you know?

Inspired, Luc

- I know exactly how powerful I am

- Suppose I told you you’re the one who has no idea?

- I would strive to use all my power for good

- Ah, but do I have the strength to use the power I have?

- Hahaha, well, that’s not dangerous at all…

- Um, could I get some specifics, Captain Cryptic?

Yves, cropped

3) Preferred mode of transportation?

- On foot

- On wheels

- Flying

- Anything but flying

- Horseback

- I have to leave the house? Uh, could somebody drive me?

4) Pick an animal:

- Puppy

- Bird

- Cat

- Sheep

- Firefly

- Gryphon, dragon, something epic like that

Abishan, cropped

5) Pick a leisure time activity:

- Reading

- Skating

- Eating

- Dancing

- Meaningful conversation

- Whatever my friends want to do is fine

Wilbur, cropped

6) How social are you?

- I love being with people

- I want people when I want them. Otherwise, leave me alone

- People? Ugh

- I like to be on the fringes

- I enjoy spending time with a special few

- Imaginary friends preferred

7) Someone’s done you grievously wrong. What do you do?

- Abandon them to their fate

- Put the fear of God in their hearts

- Try to understand the situation from their point of view

- Suffer in silence

- Express my anguish through my art

- Kill them

Uri, cropped

8) Who’s the boss of you?

- I’ll follow any worthy leader

- Boss all you like, but don’t expect me to listen

- I call the shots, whether you know it or not

- God

- My parents

- The voices in my head

 

9) Who are you hoping this quiz will say you are?

- Abishan. He’s obviously superior

- Lucianíel. What the muse wants, he gets

Inspired, Annabelle

- Wilbur would be nice, but there are so many other wonderful people to choose from…

- Well, it would be pretty lame if I picked all the Uri-est answers and didn’t get Uri, so… let’s not be lame

- Whichever is truest

- Truth, schmuth, give me one of the cool ones!

 

If you answered mostly gold = You are Lucianíel! A commanding muse with a love of creation, and an inspiration to us all. You not only have all the bright ideas, you’ve got the finesse to steer everyone toward the fulfillment of your goals. To work with you is a rewarding privilege. To work against you is… unadvisable.

If you answered mostly black = You are Abishan! A god among cats and a cat among mortals, everyone loves you, or they’re wrong. No one needs to remind you of your worth, though you’ll favor them if they do. Bonus points if they feed you.

If you answered mostly green = You are Wilbur! Everybody loves you because you love everybody. You’re caring, compassionate, and stand up for others. Just make sure you don’t forget to stand up for yourself sometimes, too, eh?

If you answered mostly red = You are Uri! Let people say whatever they want about you; whatever you say in reply is bound to be a better zinger. You’ve got plenty of ‘tude and the awesome points to back it up. Like it or leave it, world. Or, y’know what? Leave regardless.

If you answered mostly blue = You are Yves! Your quietness makes you easy to overlook, but anyone who truly sees you knows what a masterpiece you are. Stay on the outside if that’s where you feel most at home. Just don’t let it be because of fear. You’re stronger than that.

If you answered mostly purple = You are Annabelle! You can be a bit of a loony loose cannon, but aren’t all the best artists? You pour your whole self into your passion, perhaps to the neglect of things like, y’know, everyday life stuff. But hey, you can eat breakfast any time; right now, there are adventures to dream!

So, who’d you get? ^^ Share in the comments!

(Also, y’know, Goodreads giveaway, e-book sale for Kindle and Nook, more goodies coming on Thursday, yadda-yadda-yadda. Now tell me who you got!)