Mini Muses: Behind the Mystery

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head” (both newly available for preorder on Kindle, here and here!), were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Allyn-a-Dale, minstrel to Robin Hood’s Merry Men

As Featured In…: “The Story’s End” (The Wilderhark Tales, Book 7), The Outlaws of Avalon

“Inspired” Counterpart: Yves / Avelaine, the boy who dances with death*

*(Which is… not actually how I’ve ever described him, but Allyn just slipped that in there on his own reconnaissance, and I mean, sure, that works)

Mini Muses_Allyn and Yves

How Do You Feel You and Avelaine Are Most Similar?: Allyn stares aesthetically into the distance. “I, too, dance with death… Rather, death’s shadow has loomed large over my life since before my first breath, so I’ve developed some psychoses around it. Additionally, Avelaine and I are both greatly withdrawn and artistically gifted, thanks in part to our childhoods, which were hell. And we’re both small, which may not be hell’s fault, and speak with charming accents.”

Most Different?: “Avelaine dances, and harbors a fear of heights. I, canonically, am almost never seen dancing, and I mostly fear social situations, or my dearest loved ones dying violently before my eyes.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “Literarily speaking, I best like the ‘Manta and the Mask’ short story embedded in Book 1. Otherwise, it’s this snippet from Book 2.”

“Dur-hur,” said Uri. “I suppose next you’ll tell me how when you were sixteen, you had to run a mile in full armor to meet the lances of your enemies, uphill both ways in the snow.”

Wilbur’s voice hinted at laughter. “Not ‘til I entered the knighthood at twenty, no. The uphill runs in the snow at sixteen were to chase down wayward sheep.”

“I was suffering child abuse,” Avelaine put in from a step behind them. “Uphill. Both ways.”

“’Twould seem Avelaine and I share a similar sense of humor.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “First off, I dislike choosing favorites, so how dare you. Second, I suppose I’ll say Wilbur, because he’s the nearest thing Avelaine has to his own personal Will Scarlet – in the ‘band brother’ sense, not the ‘high-key maniac’ one. You’ve developed another character for that…”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Allyn! And readers, stay tuned – both for the continuation of this questionnaire series, and the release of the “Inspired” novels!

Got any more questions for Allyn-a-Dale or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

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Lightbulb Moments: Art Doesn’t Need a Box

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs lately announced, I have crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three to be released on March 13th (just one month from now, holy moo!).

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” will definitely be – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Out of My Head”:

“I’m magic!” Mach howls happily. “And that’s what had Luc in a bother. The man’s allergic to wonder and whimsy. He wants art kept neat and tidy between the lines. […] Our story drew its own lines. Some people can’t handle anything outside their little box. But that’s okay! ‘Cause why? ‘Cause art doesn’t need a box to be fantastic!

 

S6_Doesn't Need a Box, travel mug

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Doesn't Need a Box

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning!), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

“But wait!” you may cry. “What if I’m a slower reader who needs a little extra time to get through and review a book?” Good news: Advance review PDFs of the “Inspired” novels ARE available! Ask in good faith, and ye shall receive.

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Stick around throughout the next weeks leading up to Release Day, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Mini Muses: Behind the Knight

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head”, were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Edgwyn Wyle, tailor*

*(Tailored service, while you wait; the wait’s well worth Wyle)

As Featured In…: The Wilderhark Tales (Books 2 – 7)

“Inspired” Counterpart: Sir Wilbur Lamb, knight of The Order of the Dove

Mini Muses_Edg and Wilbur

How Do You Feel You and Wilbur Are Most Similar?: “Oh, in many ways. Our personalities are basically twins. We love people, and live to care for them. And ‘people’,” he laughs, “very much includes our horses. We’ve also both borne the dubious honor of being our author’s crush. …though I believe he handled it better.”

Most Different?: “He’s much more physically inclined than I am. Not that I haven’t been known to carry an enchanted princess down a beanstalk, when circumstances call for it. But he sees stuffed dummies as a faux opponent for battle exercises; I see them as a place to pin a ball gown in the making. I appear to also be the more outgoing, of the two of us. A bashful sheep, dear Wilbur can often be.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “Can it be from Book 2? Oh, good. I like the chapter wherein Wilbur attends a service at Annabelle’s church. It’s a little emotionally trying, in its way, but so very sweet and sincere. Refreshing, too, to see a story where religion isn’t the focus still take a few pages to establish the characters’ spiritual side. I don’t recall having seen that done particularly often, in fiction.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “High goodness, that’s difficult. Ask me to pick among my friends, why don’t you! But perhaps I would say Uri, because … well, this bit says it well.”

“Wait,” said Wilbur, rising after her and – to much face-making on Uri’s part – pulling her into a hug. “How whole you are,” he murmured. “And how much fuller you’ve become since first I knew you.”

“Thanks, man. You’re nice and full-figured, too. Can we not hug?”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Wyle! And readers, stay tuned – both for the continuation of this questionnaire series, and the release of the “Inspired” novels!

Got any more questions for Edgwyn or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

Lightbulb Moments: You’ve Got to Start Somewhere

What I hope you know = My re-release of “Inspired” and first-time release of its sequel, “Out of My Head” are coming in – *checks calendar* – ohmygosh, just 6 more weeks!

What you may not know (given that I believe this is my first time officially announcing it) = Along with the novels, I’ll be releasing one more special treat. Presenting, the cover of…

Lightbulb Moments: An Inspired Journal

Inspired Journal Cover 12, front

That’s right, readers o’ mine. I have crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal. Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” will definitely be – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Inspired”:

“Well, there’s always an alternate universe! A happier one,” I say firmly. “And after that … or before that? … ugh, who even knows? There are too many stories out there! And I do mean that in the best way possible.”

“Well,” says a smiling, shrugging Wilbur, “you’ve got to start somewhere.”

“Phew. Okay. Priorities. Into the huddle, Guys,” I say. “We’ve got some brainstorming to do.”

S6_Start Somewhere 01 - Copy

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Start Somewhere

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on – *re-checks calendar* – April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning!), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

“But wait!” you may cry. “What if I’m a slower reader who needs a little extra time to get through and review a book?” Good news: Advance review PDFs of the “Inspired” novels ARE available! Ask in good faith, and ye shall receive.

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Stick around throughout the next weeks leading up to Release Day, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Mini Muses: Behind the Light

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head”, were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Gant-o’-the-Lute, minstrel extraordinaire

As Featured In…: The Wilderhark Tales (Books 3, 4, 6.5, and 7), The Outlaws of Avalon

“Inspired” Counterpart: Lucianíel, light elemental muse

Mini Muses_Lute and Luc

How Do You Feel You and Luc Are Most Similar?: “Well, most obviously,” says Lute, “there are the shortened forms of our names. You didn’t stretch yourself terribly far on that one. Then there are his superhuman qualities – the speed, the brightness, the distinctively musical voice… I, in some measure, possess all of these. Furthermore, he’s deeply dedicated to his craft, a very much goal-driven protagonist, and not nearly appreciated enough by his author or fellow characters for all he contributes to the world.”

Most Different?: “The fellow cares entirely too much about books, and deems it necessary to collaborate with inferior creatures to create them, whereas my passions are music and adventure, and I much prefer to pursue them alone.” Lute’s gaze slides unhappily sideways. “I suppose I must also admit that he has proven himself, by far, the better father figure.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “I don’t know about ‘favorite’, but I would be remiss as your imaginary friend not to highlight this particular passage from ‘Inspired’…”

Annabelle gave a ragged laugh. “You don’t have any time to waste, Lucianíel! You are not real! You are a piece of my imagination that is running amok, and who needs to get his ego in line before I start thinking this cute, delusional relationship of ours has gone past its expiration date and needs tossing out! I can’t believe I’m sitting here yelling about this! Go away. I’m reading. Come back when you want to be worth something again.”

Lucianíel’s eyes blazed. “You want to speak of delusions?” he hissed, leaning down until, on the same plane, their noses would have touched. “Here’s one you’d do best to rid yourself of, little girl, before I start forming thoughts of my own – of which I am more than capable, Annabelle Almighty, let there be no mistake about that!

“You and the abishan are under a similar misconception. You think that because you are our author, we should all bow at your feet in unquestioning adoration. But you are not our goddess. You are not our queen. We are gods and heroes, angels and elementals – and you are merely our annoying scribe.”

“I forget, now, what you’d done to set me off like that, but some of Luc’s dialogue there was almost word for word what I once spoke to you. I’m glad to see the moment made an impression on one of us.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “Avelaine,” he says fondly. “Let us simply say he’s based upon a character of great importance to me.”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Lute! And readers, stay tuned – both for the continuation of this questionnaire series, and the release of the “Inspired” novels!

Got any more questions for Gant-o’-the-Lute or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

New Year, New Book Reveal

(And new look for the Ever On Word blog! Dunno how long this particular makeover will stick around, but it’s definitely a step in the fresh direction I’m hankering for. What do y’all think? ^o^)

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, tease banner

Happy 2018, everyone! I’m back from my blogging break and busier than ever. There’s the Yosemite job, which I’ll go into in a later post. And my March publications to prepare for – the re-release of Inspired and its all-new sequel, Out of My Head. (Much more to come on that, as well.) And let’s not forget the short story I want ready for submission to the “Sword and Sonnet” anthology (because, come on. Bards! Like my minstrels would stand for me not at least trying to get inside the collection).

But today, what say we kick off my return to the blog with a first look at the Deshipley novel slated for September? Let’s start with the book’s summary:

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

Fun, right? 😀 I raced through the first draft in NaNoWriMo of 2012. Now, just a few years later, I’ve got a much-closer-to-pub-ready draft and a shiny cover to go with it. Behold the face of … “So Super Dead”!

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

“Holy luna verde, Batman!” you may exclaim. “Who put that cool visual together??”

That would be me.

“Get out!”

No lie! I nabbed a photo from Unsplash.com (great resource for free-to-use images, y’all!) and manipulated the moon green (because in-story reasons). Then it was over to QuotesCover.com for the title’s typography, and to Photofunia.com for the dazzling light effect, and the rest was just a matter of fiddling in MS Paint and MS Publisher. Easy-peasy (she said, like this sort of project isn’t the painstaking work of hours).

I’ll have “So Super Dead” on Goodreads shortly, for your TBR-adding pleasure. And I’m looking forward to sharing more about the story with you as its release date draws closer. …sometime after the “Inspired”-palooza – coming soon!

Got first impressions of “So Super Dead”s cover and blurb? Share in the comments! (And feel free to rave about the novel to your book-(and/or superhero)(and/or death)-loving friends; I certainly plan to. X) Furthermore, what have you guys got planned for 2018?!

In Which Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids

GRTTWaK logo*points to the title* Were you aware there’s a podcast wherein the premise is just that? I was not, because when it comes to podcasts, I am generally unaware.

But Canada-based GRTTWaK came to my attention via that occasionally-useful-albeit-mostly-irritating pillar of social media, Facebook. More specifically, via this post on the Chicago Writers Association page.

GRTTWaK FB Invite

An open mic night for diary entries, angsty teenage poetry, short stories, etc.? I have a whole fireproof box FULL of that stuff, and absolutely NOBODY who wants to hear a word of it!

Nobody, that is… until now.

I e-mailed Dan Misener for further info on how to participate, then dug into my archive of journals to pick out the perfect 5-minute excerpt.

…Wow, was it hard to find. I, uh, may have spent most of my youth complaining about family, swooning over the Backstreet Boys, and fetishizing characters in an unrelenting slurry of fanfic. It was retrospectively terrible, and I began to despair.

But then! My saving grace: ~ Song lyrics ~

GRTTWaK, Stage and Me

Before Gant-o’-the-Lute and Allyn-a-Dale, there was… a long list of other characters you may or may not ever meet, and for whatever reasons, they all felt compelled to try their hand at song composition. From the pile, I selected two love songs penned by teenaged boys who liked girls (because what else would a then-teenaged girl who liked boys write?). And with these time-capsule treasures in pocket, I sallied forth to the appointed Top-Secret Underground Location.

(You think I’m joking, but legit – the location was and is secret, and that’s all you’re getting out of me.)

Dan, his wife Jenna, and the sound guy (also named Dan; as a Dan[ielle], I felt right at home) were all delighted and copiously relieved that I’d shown up – because, they explained, it’s kind of hard to do the show when none of the readers show up. Happily, a nice full roster of readers did in fact show up for that night’s event – plus a pretty full house of a crowd – and in due time, the reading commenced.

GRTTWaK, Dan Reads
Dan himself opening the show with a lil something penned in an old school notebook.

I ended up being number three in the lineup, all a-jitter, because not only was I going to read a song… I was going to sing one.

Song #1’s melody eluded me, and thus was only recited; but to this day, I’ve found myself from time to time singing Song #2. So hang the fact that my voice is always the first part of me at risk when I’m nervous (or angry, or otherwise flooded with fight-or-flight chemicals). I love singing, and I love attention, and darned if I wasn’t going to combine the twain when given the chance.

Happy news: My performance was well-received! Produced more audience laughter than the ballad’s fictional writer intended (sorry, Michael old boy; sometimes our pain is funny), but also got plenty of applause and compliments during intermission. (My voice did me proud after all. ^_^)

GRTTWaK, Miseners and Me
Post-show pics with Jenna and Dan.

And meanwhile, there were a good dozen other performances – including journal entries, letters to friends at summer camp’s end, 3rd-grader short stories, love songs written by actual teen boys (turns out my efforts weren’t far off the mark!), obituaries for dearly departed grandparents, transcriptions of dreams, and more. Fun times for all – and, as I informed the creators afterward, a good and important opportunity for those of us with a lifetime of words in want of willing ears.

So if podcasts are your thing, totally check out “Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids”. No guarantees, but you might just get an earful me crooning to imaginary girls. And if you catch word of the show coming to a stop near you, consider signing up to share your scribbles of yore! Turns out there’s an audience for it after all.