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!

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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!

Of Cats and Other Godlike Entities (INSPIRED Days)

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It’s Week One 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 first guest post of the party, brought to you by the one and only everycat, Abishan! *applause, bows, cans of salmon offered in tribute*

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I come from a world of many gods. In my jungle alone, there’s at least one for just about every kind of creature. Of these, naturally, I am the greatest, because I am cats. Not a cat. All cats. Every kind, large and small, their shapes mine to take at my whim. And as everyone familiar with the Internet surely knows, it is the cats, not the humans, who not-so-subtly run the world.

My most human form, as digitally painted by that Danielle person.
My most human form, as digitally painted by that Danielle person.

Accustomed as I am to being at the top of the food chain – literally and otherwise – it came as something of a shock to learn that there are, in fact, powers higher than me. Rulers of worlds that encompass my own. Mighty creators. Masters of fate.

Your Internet knows of them, too. We call them authors.

You might expect a creature of my divinity to resent finding myself thus outranked. And I’ll admit, there are moments when it rubs me wrong; specifically, when my author, Annabelle, shows signs of not having the first clue about what she’s doing. But it’s not all inconvenience. On the contrary, it can be quite pleasant to have someone with the charge of looking after you.

I am equipped to deal with the sort of threats that come with claws and talons, teeth and beaks, muscle, even venom, but worlds of imagination can come teeming with far stranger dangers than that. As my author, it’s Annabelle’s job to see I’m kept safe.

And fed. That’s very important.

Comfort and contentment, likewise important, and Annabelle’s made it her business to provide it all the best she can.

Is “the best she can” always perfect? Not nearly. But I try to be lenient with her. She may be something like a god, but she’s still little enough like a cat.

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Thanks, Shan! Reader types who’d love to nab the novel featuring this divine kitty, 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 inspired little personality quiz… ;D