Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mythical

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When you look up the word “mythical” in the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, this is what you’ll find:

Mythical, adjective, mythical beasts: legendary, mythological, fabled, fabulous, folkloric, fairytale, storybook; fantastical, imaginary, imagined, fictitious, storied.

What a great group of words when summing up the intent of Theo’s Mythic. I loved being taken away to “fabled, fabulous and fantastical” worlds as a child; I still do as an adult (ew, that sounds so old!)

There are a lot of themes weaved throughout my book. The importance of clarity is one, and another is getting the reader to figure out what is real and what isn’t. (Real, at least, as real gets in a piece of fiction.) I wanted kids to wonder and then debate at the end of the book as to what they think happened.

I liked playing around with the idea of allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. The reason being, I wanted kids to feel as though the book was theirs; that the words were laid out for them, but their imagination could take over at any point to define what was going on. They can think one thing is happening the whole time, or think another way. Unfortunately, I can’t be more specific right now without giving “it” away, but I can’t wait to discuss this point with the readers! And for those younger readers who don’t care and just want to read an awesome book, all they have to do is look closely – the answer is right there – within their own little wonderful minds.

The picture above is the map of Mythic. This is the last illustration I’ll be sharing before the book is published. It is the world I’ve willingly escaped to for the past few years. An imaginary place that just might be fictitous on more than one level. Regardless, I hope it inspires, delights and intrigues both young and old, and convinces thesaurus’s everywhere to add “magical” to their list of synonyms for mythical.


Almost There, Dad

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We are almost there! The book cover is a wrap! (ha ha ha) The preliminary interior proof has been approved as well. The only thing left to approve is a bonafide hard copy proof I will be able to hold in my hands.

The idea of holding a final copy is overwhelming. The culmination of years of hard work manifested into a 3D rectangle I can flip through and feel the wind of the pages on my face. Something that will take a place of honor on my bookshelf; something my kids can take to bed with them for some late night reading; something that has been known only to myself and a few others, that I can now share with the world. 

Why did I start writing Theo’s Mythic in the first place? There are many reasons, but two stand out. The first is for my father. He was one of the most brilliant artists I have ever known – so creative; yet he opted to support his family with a solid job as an accountant. God bless him for that. When he died in 2007, all I could think of was that he never followed his dreams. I was with him when he passed, holding his frail hand, crying in agony for not just what I was losing, but also for what my children, his grandchildren, were losing. Theodore was gone, but I vowed for him to never be forgotten.

The second reason is because, as a mom to three children, I wanted to write something for children that challenged them intellectually through sentence structure, vocabulary choices and a non-linear structure. My father never dumbed down the language he used with me and my sister. Rather, if we didn’t know a word, he kept a dictionary on the kitchen counter and would simply say, “Look it up.” And we did. I love him for that phrase. So I wanted to write something that would inspire kids to “look up” a word or two and be excited by a story that weaved its way around, like their complex imaginations, to an end.

My two reasons have a common thread – my dad. So my book dedication reads as follows:

To my Dad, Theodore, who taught me the meaning of countless words. 
The most important of which was, love.

We’re almost there, dad.


Meet Nahve and Holla!

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Hello fans!  Today I’d like to introduce you to Nahve and Holla via the excerpt below.  We are getting close to publication of Theo’s Mythic.  Enjoy!

To the average eye, there would be no way this little fellow would be able to ring such a large bell. Undaunted however, Nahve pulled a tiny handful of treats out of his pocket and yelled, “Holla! Holla, come here boy!”

Back from within the cave there was a large dog-like yawn, complete with a trademark doggy squeak at the end.

“Come on, Holla! We gotta ring da bell bell! Da BELL BELL!”

Out of the darkness, bounding forth on gigantic paws, was an enormous shaggy dog. Holla was proportioned about five times the size of Nahve, equal to that of the bell. His giant pink tongue contrasted against his snow white fur. A pelt that was unusually dotted throughout with feathers. You could barely see his eyes, but one knew they conveyed a simple warmth and loving devotion. His demeanor echoed this in the way he bounced about. All the while he was completely focused on what his master was asking of him.

“Ok Holla, you know whatta do. You gimme one itty bitty wittle licky. Dat otay. But don’t get me super yucky wet. Otay boy?”

Holla sat in front of Nahve. He was hovering over him with his head tilted to the side, listening intently. His tail wagging dutifully. Holla let out a little whimper and then extended his huge tongue, licked Nahve from foot to head, thereby flipping him up in the air as he completed his doggy kiss. Nahve let out a huge laugh as he spiraled upward. Holla strategically positioned himself under Nahve as he descended so Nahve could land softly on his back. It was a well choreographed aerial act they had done many times before. Nahve patted his fur and snuggled in with a big hug.

“Me love you, Holla. Now you gotta ring da bell bell. Evhan’s awaitin’.”

Along with this command he tossed Holla the treats.

Holla swallowed them in one gulp and turned toward the bell. With a big sweeping gallop, Holla jumped onto the golden songstress and swung her into singing motion. He began chewing on the top, mirroring the many dent marks placed there during prior ringing sessions. He acted as if he was wrestling the bell to a victory. Based on the amount of dried slobber caked on the bell, most would say Holla was the winner, paws down. It tolled a strong, impressive bong that reverberated throughout the valley.

All twelve Eldors immediately raised their heads.


The Characters

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This is a Ward; he is part of Mythic’s army ruled by a Queen that was born of cold stone and searing fire.  He is but one in the cast of characters brought to life within the pages of Theo’s Mythic.

My favorite part of writing is coming up with these fantastical characters, seeing how they develop and how they interact.  What if I mixed this animal with that one?  What if I created one that didn’t exist at all?  What are their personalities?  How do they act and speak?

It is great fun to imagine a creature based on what my target audience, children, would be able to relate to; then take that creature to another level by fusing the ordinary with the extraordinary.  Many elements go into a good book, and many more into a great book.  But nothing surpasses the importance of the characters.  They need to be identifiable, fun, cool, good, wicked, sad, happy, committed, distraught, pensive, ominous and so much more.

I often describe my characters in great detail throughout the book.  Some readers enjoy that form of writing, some don’t.  As a writer, you have to weigh the pros and cons of crafting a distinct image of a character in someone else’s mind with letting the reader form the visual for themselves. I prefer the former approach as I’ve been to one too many movie book adaptations and said to myself, “This isn’t how I envisioned it at all.”

There is nothing more magical to me than when I’m reading a book and am transported into the world in which the author has created, and oftentimes don’t want to come back out!  I know that sounds so cliché, but it truly determines the power of a book.  “Transitioning” plays a big role in Theo’s Mythic and for my characters.  Whether physically, emotionally or a little bit of both, my character “peeps” (how funny is that?) were meant to be dynamic in so many ways.  Pushing them to be well rounded individuals is exciting.  Like raising children on a condensed schedule.  And as I’ve often written, I firmly believe that if I push hard enough, my characters just might break through to reality.  After all, Santa Claus DOES exist, to me.

Who are some of your favorite literary characters?  Tops on my list right now are:

1. Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia – you can’t beat exploring Jesus as an alternative form.

2. Paul Edgecomb and John Coffey from The Green Mile – the way they interact is priceless. What should be an extremely adversarial relationship becomes the inmate teaching the jailer to look closer within for the truth.

3. Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings – he has enough pluck balanced with doubt to keep you wondering if he is going to take down a mountain or hide in a cave indefinitely.

4. ANY character from Dr. Suess! – illustration, rhyme, whimsy and moral married to perfection.