Archive for July 2015

Stay Tuned for … Writing Wednesday … on Thursday?   Leave a comment

dad3b-l114087125281280x9602529Okay, something came up yesterday that prevented my posting my interview with Lynn Whyte-Heath, but I will do it today.

Some days are like that, ya know?

Posted July 23, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Traffic Stops – Where We Have Rights We Can’t Exercise   Leave a comment

People might think I’m all over the map on this subject, but that’s because I don’t care about the skin color of the people involved. I care about the constitutional issues and the attitude of the people involved.

Michael Brown had just come from a strong-arm robbery. The officer didn’t know that fact, but his training told him he was dealing with a dangerous individual acting in an aggressive manner. Witnesses confirm those details.

Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes. He showed (minimal) “attitude” to the cops. That shouldn’t have resulted in a half-dozen of them kneeling on him and killing him. Witnesses and video evidence confirm those details.

The kids at the pool party were trespassing on private property and giving (lots of) “attitude” to the rightful owners of that property and the police. Witnesses and video evidence confirm those details.

Sandra Bland was stopped for failure to signal, the cop had given her a warning but not told her she was free to go, and the cop escalated the “voluntary” investigation into resisting arrest. Sandra Bland was rude to the officer, but the officer was clearly trying to escalate her.

Unlike the race-baiters I believe this could and does happen to all races. These stories made the news because they involved blacks, but it happens to white people too, perhaps less often.

Why less often? Some of it may be racism by police, but I think the larger issue is attitude. If the trespassing black kids had just run away from the pool like the trespassing white kids did, they’d not have ended up being “abused” by the cops. Had Michael Brown gotten back on the sidewalk, the cop would have had no reason to follow up, although Brown should have been arrested for robbery.

The Bland case is more complicated, however. Yes, she showed attitude and these articles above advise us not to do that. Don’t, they say, fight for your rights when the officer is violating them. Say “yes, sir”, take the tyranny, and go to court to make it right.

Uh-huh. With all due respect to these commentators, cops should not have this authority. I don’t care what the Supreme Court says, cops should treat the public with the respect owed their employer … because we ARE their employer. But more than that, a citizen doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any sort of justice in today’s courts. The judge will rule with the cop because the judge and the cop draw their paycheck from the same source — the very citizens they are abusing. The Founders fought a revolution because of such usurpation of rights.

Why do we allow it? Because the Supreme Court says we must? Maybe it’s time to rethink that. Once our rights have been violated, all the post-facto court rulings in the world saying the cop violated our rights will not heal our damaged rights. It’s kind of like closing the barn door after the escaped cow has been eaten by lions. If we cannot exercise our rights at a traffic stop when interacting with our employee, then we really don’t have rights. We just have a fiction of rights.

But let’s bring it down to the very narrow focus of the traffic stop. Don’t give the cop any ammunition. Pull over, shut off the car, roll down the window, turn on the dome light at night and keep your hands in view. While you’re taking a deep breath to calm yourself down, hit your phone’s record feature, set it on the dash and let the cop know when he comes to the window that you are recording the encounter for your own protection. When he asks “Do you know why I pulled you over today?” you say, politely, “I don’t answer questions, officer. Why don’t you tell me why you pulled me over today? In the meantime, would you like me to get my license and registration for you?” Trust me, you asking the questions and refusing to directly answer his will fluster most of them, but it will also establish that you may know your rights. Cops like the one in the Bland case are hoping you don’t know your rights. An officer is authorized during a routine traffic stop only to ask for license and registration and to issue a citation or warning. EXCEPTION: If pot smoke or the smell of alcohol wafts from your car when you roll down the window, I have no advice for you. However, if you’ve just been pulled over for having snow on your license plate during a blizzard (I have been), you are well within the rights I’m describing. The same for failure to signal, brake light, seatbelt, etc. My daughter used this technique when she was briefly detained for being parked after curfew so she could text me to tell me that she was running late.

When I was pulled over for snow on my license plate during a snowstorm, when he told me why he was pulling me over, I laughed and said “Seriously? I just drove from Delta (100 miles) in this and you expect my license plate to be snow free?” That violated the rule of minimal communication. He then asked me where I was headed. I wanted to say “You’re making me late to work”, but I don’t answer questions, so I repeated that. “I don’t answer questions, officer. If it’s really against the law to have snow on my license plate during a snow storm, I would be glad to wipe it off rather than be cited.” He asked me to stay in the car, which I did. He issued me a warning, which has no dollar value or points off your license in Alaska. If a cop saw me with snow on my license plate a week later, he could cite me for that and failure to obey a prior warning. The humiliation of being pulled over on my way to work peeved me, but fighting with him was just going to make me later to work.

As the above  articles indicate, once the citation or warning has been issued, the encounter is over, but don’t just drive away because cops have shot people for that. You are within your rights, but you will be dead, so …. The cop may ask you a question at this point — mine chose “May I look in your car?”

STOP! The citation has been issued and he’s now fishing for something to escalate into an arrest. Stay cool, polite. You don’t answer questions, so you aren’t going to answer “Yes.” Instead, you’re going to ask a question of your own. “Am I free to go now, officer?” By law, cops are supposed to say “Yes”, but some don’t, which is where your phone recorder, now forgotten on the dash, comes in. You don’t answer questions. You don’t give personal information. You have been stopped for failure to signal or a broken tail light and the encounter was legally concluded when he gave you a warning or citation. “Am I free to go now?” is the only thing you should need to say from this point, but my daughter had rather good luck with saying “I do not choose to submit to a Terry search, officer” when he asked the question the second time. She was a 17-year-old kid driving her mom’s car past curfew, but she had not been stopped for a moving violation (she was pulled over in a parking zone texting me when the cop pulled in behind her).  Establishing that she knew her rights was a good thing to do. Because it was after curfew the cop pushed it a little further, asking again, and she said “You know, officer, this is my mom’s car, so if you want to call her, we can see what she thinks.” I said she had my permission to come home now and that he did NOT have permission to search the vehicle.

In both of these cases, I called the officer’s superiors and objected to their behavior AFTER the encounter. I recorded the snow-plate incident and had my daughter write out a transcript of her encounter and I have these on file for a future court case. I’m not pursuing one, but I’ve prepared the ground work should it ever be necessary … like if the next cop just transferred in from the Texas Rangers.

By the way, my husband used this same technique with an animal control officer in our driveway while the dog the officer was investigating was, uh, nose raping the man. It worked great. They can’t claim you were giving them attitude because it is perfectly legal not to answer questions. You have a 5th amendment right not to incriminate yourself and to remain silent. Because my husband refused to answer questions like “Was your dog loose this morning?” the officer couldn’t make a case and had to move onto harassing someone else.

I do not answer questions! Am I free to go now? I am recording this conversation for my own protection. I do not choose to submit to a Terry search. And keep saying “officer” or “sir” a lot, because your phone will pick up that you were polite even if the officer’s deranged paranoia prevents him from hearing that.

Posted July 23, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

How to Have Stronger Character Beginnings   Leave a comment

A Writer's Path


What’s the best way to initiate a solid protagonist character?

View original post 1,050 more words

Posted July 22, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   Leave a comment

This week’s interview will be with Lynn Whyte-Heath.

Posted July 22, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

A Land of Characters – A Blog Hop Article   2 comments

10499395_10202912675492953_3236575078886050148_oDo you like to read? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.’

Hi, welcome to the blog.

This week’s topic:  What is special, unique and fun about where you live?

Okay, I live in Alaska. I probably don’t have to say much more than that. Pretty much everyone who does not live in Alaska thinks there is something exciting about the very idea. Imagine, however, if you grew up here and it was just home?

We’re the largest state with the fewest highways and almost the smallest population. 80% of our communities are not accessible by highway. We have the largest number of private pilots among the states. We have the largest percentage of gun owners. It is a felony offense to attempt to pet a polar bear in Alaska. We lead the nation in per capita ice cream consumption. The Territory of Alaska banned racial discrimination 10 years before Congress got around to it.

Interior Alaska, which is the part of Alaska I call home, is a place of extremes. Most winters it reaches minus 45 – 50 degrees for a couple of days with an average of 50 inches of snow. Some winters are warmer with 12 – 14 feet of snow. Others are colder with just a couple of inches of snow. It’s hard to predict which sort of winter it might be. Summers are hot and dry. This summer has had plenty of 80-95 degree days and the forest fires that come with it. You see, Fairbanks (my town) is surrounded by millions of acres of taiga — a stunted forest of black spruce and black spruce are just oil lanterns awaiting a spark to burst into flame. They need fire to create more black spruce, in fact. Hot summers mean lightning storms and that’s the spark black spruce is waiting for. Then again, last summer, it rained 80 days out the 90 days of summer. The sun shone so little that our gardens (yes, we garden) didn’t produce anything but yellow leaves. Again, you just never can predict other than that it will snow sometime in October and that snow will probably still be here six months later.

The extremes of weather isn’t what attracts most people to Alaska and it certainly isn’t why we stay. What is unique and different about Alaska is our culture. Non-Alaska Natives come from … well, everywhere. We rank in the top five states for diversity of races, but also 71% of adult residents moved to Alaska from another state, while only 28% of adults born in Alaska still live here when they’re 30.

That diversity has led to a unique culture in Alaska because we bring our culture with us from wherever we come from. In most cases, migrants adapt their culture to the culture they join because they are outnumbered. In Alaska the is always in flux as residents don’t just come from nearby states, but from all states and many foreign countries. During the construction of the TransAlaska Pipeline, our home-grown always-slightly-in flux culture was nearly overwhelmed by Texans and Oklahomans who were very proud of where they were from and not shy to assert their superiority. The Alaskan culture asserted itself by boldly confronting this tsunami of immigration and from that confrontation, we defined Alaska culture for future generations. The overriding characteristic of long-time Alaskans is a live-and-let-live attitude that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s okay to say when people are full of baloney … which tends to be frowned on by Southerners … except for those who found the honesty refreshing and decided to stay and thereby become Alaskans. Generally, Alaskans say what we mean and mean what we say and we don’t care if others don’t like it, but we are perfectly willing for those who don’t like what we have to say to state their own opinion. We’ll feel free to not like it and argue against it … or to mull it over for a while and change our minds … maybe, if you make a good argument.

Because you don’t have to be born here (or even grow up here) to call yourself an Alaskan, we don’t have a state accent. Sarah Palin’s accent is her parents’ Idahoan accent. I have kept people guessing on my accent for hours because my parents were from different regions. My neighbor sounds like a Texan, but she’s been an Alaskan for longer than I’ve been alive. A friend of mine is an Alaskan, though he clearly grew up speaking Korean before he learned English.

We are a very outdoorsy kind of state and our state sport is dog mushing. Yes, that’s a sport and not just for the dogs. An Iditarod or Quest musher runs a good bit of those 1000-mile races. It’s one of the few professional racing sports where women win about in proportion to the percentage of their participation. The meme here is “Alaska — Where Men are Men and Women Win the Iditarod.” Men are men, by the way, but we have a strong streak of hardy practicality that sees women changing their own tires and chopping their own wood as perfectly normal.

Currently, we’re in food harvest mode as my husband Brad just returned from Chitina on the Copper River with 45 sockeye salmon. Chitina means standing on the shores of a powerful glacial river holding a landing net on a 12-16′ pole in the current and hopping 10-15 pound fish will swim into it. Sometimes this takes hours, sometimes it takes days … and sometimes you don’t get much. Most years I would have gone with him and caught some of them, but I had to work for money this week. . Sometimes he takes the kids (who are now 22 and 16, so can pull their own weight … are at least a salmon’s weight). This year, he went alone. There is no fresher salmon in the world than Copper River reds. After driving 350 miles, he caught 45 fish in about 10 years, put them on ice and drove another 350 miles to come home. We filet these beauties, wrap them in freezer paper and store them in the freezer. We’ll eat salmon at least once a week until spring. We keep the heads because there’s some delicious cheek meat in them and we even retain the spines (what’s left after filet) because the “waste” meat makes salmon burgers.

Blueberry season will start in a couple of weeks. Alaskan blueberries are very tart compared to Lower 48 blueberries, but if blueberries are a superfood, Alaskan blueberries are a megafood with three times the antioxidants of standard blueberries. We freeze ours on aluminum trays and then store them in jars to eat all winter, mixed with honey on toast (creating a very healthy jam) or sprinkled on our cereal and in baked goods. We also pick cranberries closer to fall and freeze-dry them to make craisans.

About 12% of the homes in our community use woodstoves as their primary heat source. We’re no different. We have a diesel furnace as backup, but we use wood most of the time. It’s affordable and a great exercise program, as well as a more even heat. And you can cook on top of the woodstove if the power goes out. When we finish processing the fish, Brad and Kyle will be returning to my brother’s place where the electric utility cut down a small forest of birch trees along the right of way last year. Some years fire wood is more work, but this year, we get to harvest wood while catching up with my brother.

Of course all this outdoor activity in the summer is made possible by the midnight sun — which in Fairbanks is really the 22-hour sun. Although the sun does dip below the horizon, it never really gets dark from April through August. It’s not unusual to see people out at 11 pm, playing Ultimate Frisbee in the park, walking their dogs or sitting on the deck reading by the lingering sunlight. Boats run up and down the Chena River at all hours and there’s an irrepressible hot-air ballooning community. We even have a city-wide festival that goes until midnight and a baseball game played without the benefit of artificial lights, both on the summer solstice. Our family hikes at all hours and get to see some lovely vistas because Brad’s nickname is “Ridgewalker”.  There is something special about “sun dip” at 4,000 feet.

There are many more unique aspects to Alaska than I could possibly fit into one blog post. Some of my regular readers are familiar with some of those unique aspects from prior posts. You can check out the category “Alaska” for more articles.

Now that you’ve heard about the thoroughly wild place I live, you might want to hear about my colleagues’ cool hometowns. Just follow the link below and it will connect you to other blogs where this topic is being discussed.

Author Alexis Donkin tells the true account of one woman’s suffering which she transformed into opportunities for empowerment. Check it out.

****Follow the link to join the blog hop.

To join our Open Book Blog Hop :








Posted July 22, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Feudalism in Fantasy   Leave a comment

I’ve been giving some thought about feudalism lately, namely because The Daermad Cycle takes place in a feudal world. It’s a feudal world where the throne has been empty for 100 years, but society has not broken down into utter chaos. Some of the rigs (lords) fight among themselves and two in particular vie for the throne, but the day to day life of farmers and artisans is doing just fine.

I really didn’t know much about feudalism when I started writing the book. It is the defacto government system of most fantasy worlds, but as I am researching it, I began to realize that I have volunteryist leanings. So how does a volunterist view feudalism? While it’s not absolutely necessary to agree with the political system in my book, I wondered how I might write it believably?

I’ve discovered that feudalism is not exactly what I thought it was. It wasn’t a strong, top-down totalitarian system, but something more local and organic. The kings were actually pretty weak and often the vassals were highly dependent upon the serfs. This is actually influencing the end of Daermad Cycle for the better.

So here’s one of the articles I’ve been reading to change my mind on this subject.

Posted July 21, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

God Uses Government Overreach to Spread the Gospel   2 comments

The New Testament, particularly Acts, makes it clear that that Jesus’ followers did not blindly obey the governments under which they found themselves. Faithfulness to God was primary for them. History records that the 16th-century anabaptists were faithful to God first and the state second. Jesus knew that His followers would be in tension with the authorities. He instructed them (and us):

You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit (Mark 13:9b-11 NIV).

These are hardly the instructions of a leader expecting His followers to obey every authority instituted among men. For the sake of the gospel, followers of Jesus will refuse to obey men when the governments of men violate the laws of God. But, also for the Lord’s sake, the followers of Jesus will submit to every authority instituted among men, and by so doing will bear witness to those authorities as Paul did in Rome. For those who don’t know Biblical history, the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles were both penned by Luke as a defense of Christianity in Paul’s trial before Caesar. Paul was released, perhaps in part because of Luke’s writings, and served several more years as a missionary before he was re-arrested and beheaded at the order of a subsequent, and apparently less reasonable, emperor.

Why did God allow that? John Howard Yoder explained: “We subject ourselves to government because it was in so doing that Jesus revealed and achieved God’s victory.” At least one Caesar and his court heard the gospel and we ended up with two wonderful histories of the early Christian era.

So we desire both to be faithful to God and submit to government. What do Christians do when we believe the government is asking us to behave contrary to God’s will for us? D. Edmond Hiebert offers some initial guidance:

Peter’s condensed instructions [1 Peter 2:13] did not deal with the believer’s response whenever government demands that which is contrary to the Christian faith. In Acts 4:19 and 5:29 we have the example of Peter himself concerning the Christian response under such conditions. For the Christian the state is not the highest authority, and whenever government demands that which is in conflict with the dictates of the conscience enlightened by the Holy Spirit and the Word, then the Christian must obey the Word of God and suffer the results. ‘The Church soon learned by bitter experience that there are some things which the state has no right to do, and that therefore the counsel of submission has its limitations: But under ordinary circumstances, believers should actively support civil government in its promotion of law and order.

The key here is “a conscience enlightened by the Holy Spirit and the Word”. Since anabaptists and congregationalists also believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through the body of believers another test is revealed. The Word and the Spirit speaking in concert with the body of believers will tell us when the state has overstepped its bounds and when a Christian must say “no” to the state.

Which brings the question – What shape does that holy “no” take?

How the GOP could Trump the Left’s Rhetoric and Win in 2016   2 comments

I have no plans to vote for Donald Trump. Currently, I have no plans to vote for any candidate of a major political party and Donald Trump will not get my vote in any case.

But he is getting my attention and the temporary support of many conservatives in the nation. He’s bombastic, rude, politically incorrect and I’d likely need to restrain myself from shooting him if he were my neighbor. I think that’s what most people think of him. He’s also a former registered Democrat who gives liberally to both parties, has expressed support for single-payer health care and abortion … in other words, the antithesis of what most conservatives want in a president. So why is he a leading contender in the Republican presidential race?

I don’t think it has much to do with Donald Trump actually. He is getting a lot of attention because of his style, not his substance (of which there doesn’t appear to be much). I suspect he’s pursuing this election not because he particularly wants to be president, but because he sees it — and rightfully so — as a huge advertising campaign that will build his monetary empire. But really, why do conservatives like him at the moment?

Why do I, despite being absolutely certain that I will not vote for him, like his advertising campaign?

Trump is running like he has nothing to lose, which is true enough. I don’t think he expects to become the nominee. That’s not the goal for him. His goal is to get attention and he’s doing that by branding himself in a certain way. It is that certain way I think the candidates who want to be president ought to buy a clue from.

Trump unabashedly champions America and her citizens. The Democratic Party has branded conservatives and libertarians as racists, sexists, Islamophobes, homophobes and bigots and fairly effectively tongue-tied most reasonable voices in our end of the wading pool. Shouting “I am not!” doesn’t appear to be working, so instead, they dissemble and apologize and backtrack while the left is now using the full force of government to force compliance with a whole range of activities that conservatives and particularly Christians find abhorrent. Many Americans are fed up with having our tax dollars stolen from us to pay for an agenda that turns us into the enemy and seeks to teach our children that they live in an evil country and that their parents worship a racist, homophobic god. Worse, no amount of reasonable debate is allowed. We just are what we’ve been deemed unless and until we agree to violate our beliefs to be allowed to have a voice … except then we’ll have nothing to say. Along comes Trump and instead of saying “I am not a racist, homophobe, sexist and let me beg for the opportunity to show you that is true by agreeing with you”, he shouts “I don’t care what you think” and conservatives think “YEAH!” When Trump says “Stop making Americans the enemy”, Americans take notice. It is a message that resonates with us. Yes, it resonates with me, even though I will not be voting for Trump.

But, oh, my, the GOP could woe my vote back if they’d only learn from Trump’s advertising campaign. If a GOP candidate or three would learn to not care about the left’s agenda, to be unapologetic in the left’s attacks, to stand on facts and refuse to cave to PC intimidation tactics … yeah, I could be convinced to vote Republican again.

When Trump’s outrageous comments about Mexico and illegal immigrants — predictably — made folks mad , he faced a media storm and even lost business partners, but he refused to apologize because …. well, he’s mostly right. It’s a verifiable fact that 71% of non-citizens in the United States federal prison system are from Mexico. Mexican citizens make up 16% of our federal prison system population. And if you live in a state with a large illegal immigrant population, you know someone — often a teenager or young person fresh out of school — who has tried to find work and can’t while the primary language in the businesses they apply to is Sonoran Spanish. His facts are right, so why should he apologize?

Trump is a verbal pugilist who says what he means (or at least what he’s decided his campaign means) and means what he says and he has the courage to stick by it. He points out what most of us already know — that while the professional political class works to retain its ruling power, America is eroding faster than a beach during a hurricane. Trump isn’t the only American who believes that the 2016 election is the last chance to wrest the country’s political system from the jaws of statism. The Donald gives voice to that fear and frustration and the anger that comes with it. He’s willing to fight back when so many of us feel like we might end up in the statists’ prison if we do.

Trump doesn’t sound like a politician. He makes statements that are true, but not couched in weasel phrases. We haven’t heard that sort of honesty from the governing class for a very long time. From Trump we hear “China is eating our lunch” and “Mexico … is killing us at the border and on trade”.

Trump also speaks to a growing anti-establishment ethos among conservative voters who feel deeply betrayed by a GOP establishment who has relentless marginalized them. When Reince Priebus asked Trump to “tone it down”, we feel the ancillary pressure for conservative voters to be quiet as well.

Just let the governing class take care of everything and don’t worry your dumb little heads about $18 trillion in debt and a 23% long-term unemployment rate that hasn’t budged in six years. Just let the GOP rule and all will be well. Well, we tried that and got eight years of George Bush, $10 trillion in debt, two wars that appear never ending, a gigantic pre-takeover of health insurance (Medicare drug expansion) and a federal takeover of local schools (No Child Left Behind). That is got worse under the Obama administration does not mean we have forgotten what happens when the GOP is allowed to follow a “centrist” agenda.

When Trump’s fellow GOP candidates criticize him for these stances, it makes them look “establishment”, conciliatory, weak, ignorant, and downright sympathetic to the left. They SAY they’re on our side, but they act like they might not be.

I’m standing back and saying they’re all statists and I’m not going to vote for any of them (Ben Carson, I think may be the only non-statist in the entire race including Trump), but for those conservative voters who still believe in the party system — the GOP mainstream looked lukewarm on issues conservatives care about BEFORE Trump started making these outrageous statements that so agree with the conservative experience.

Donald Trump doesn’t need the presidency. Being really rich means he has liberty to say and do things that lack nuance, subtly and grace, but that resonate strongly with an electorate that is exhausted by being lied to by the political class.

I’m currently not voting for anyone with a major party affiliation, and I would not vote for Trump in any case, but the other candidates in the GOP race might want to take note of what he’s doing and why it’s working. He’s running as if he has nothing to lose. Either voters will like what he has to say and vote for him or they won’t. And right now he’s leading the Republican pack.

Maybe voters are looking for some truth and some honesty about the situation we’re in and Trump is the only candidate out there telling the truth.

The other candidates should take note: Running as if you have nothing to lose may, in fact, be the way to win.

Posted July 20, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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DISARM USA Vehicle UN Aims to Trace the Transfer of All Guns and Ammo   Leave a comment

Interesting article that suggests why we might be less concerned with what the US government might do against citizen ownership of guns and be more concerned about what the UN might do through the US government.

I can see the statement now — “We have no choice because the UN has spoken. Turn over your guns or be shot.”

Posted July 18, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Celebrating a Milestone   Leave a comment

I took on a challenge this summer to write a short story for an anthology by my publisher Breakwater Harbor Books.

Why is that a challenge for someone who has published two books in the last year?

I hadn’t written a short story that was not an excerpt from a larger work in more than 20 years. I’m glad to say that I finished the first draft this last week and am now in full-on re-write mode.

And the rewrite is going well.

It’s a neglected set of skills, writing a stand-alone short story related to Daermad Cycle somewhere between 4500 and 30,000 words. There’s no way, given that I’m also writing Mirklin Wood, that I can write a 30,000-word short story. Maybe I’ll tackle something that big for the next anthology. Still keeping it at 5-10,000 words feels unnatural for an epic fantasy novelist. I wanted the story to be related, but a stand-alone. The story needed a definitive beginning and end, some sort of conclusion that would satisfy a reader while also tempting them to read the series.

The first priority for this writer is a character who wants to tell me a story. This project has had three characters present themselves. A short story is, in my opinion, best if it centers on one character’s POV without a lot of side characters. Deciding which character to use required drafting their stories and estimating how many words it would take to tell the story. Two of them had too much to say. I could write a novella for the first character — she will actually show up in the Daermad Cycle in the future. The second character is Ryanna, who had a wonderful story to tell. The problem for me is that Ryanna has an elven perspective and a dark view of Celdrya. I wanted a lighter, more humorous tone and an utterly Celtic perspective. I found the character and then I just had to give him his voice.

Once decided, the story flowed. I look forward to introducing readers to a minor character in The Willow Branch who will play a brief starring role in the short story.

Watch for it in September.

Posted July 18, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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