Archive for the ‘#bookpromotion’ Tag

Spark That Lights the Fire   4 comments

Feb. 19, 2018 – Tell us a story about a time when a piece of inspiration hit you. We’ve all had them.

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I get inspiration from a lot of different places. My apocalyptic series Transformation Project comes from news media interacting with my college studies of political science and all the lovely conspiracy theories available out there.

The Willow Branch (The Daermad Cycle Book 1) by [Markham, Lela]But I can’t point to just one point of inspiration. It’s more like a lot of bits of information that finally got together to propel me toward a story.

Now, Daermad Cycle started with an inspirational moment. It was close to 25 years ago. Our daughter was a baby. It was a hot summer day and a rainstorm rolled in. My husband and I were sitting in our one-room cabin, watching the kid try to catch her toes and listening to the raindrops pattering on the roof. Brad turned on one of Enya’s albums.

I remember the dog and the baby were snoring in unison and the music and the rain took my imagination to a new world. It was a rainy green meadow that stretched from high mountains to distant forests. A man was riding a sorrel mare along a trail between tilled fields and intermittent copses of trees. I could see water around the foots of bushes and trees and see young shoots pushing their way into the spring air. And, then, ahead, was a stone wall and a rough gate in it.

And that was my image of Celdrya and the character of Padraig who forms the central ensemble of Daermad Cycle. The scene appeared in The Willow Branch. I wanted to get to know that character and actually, the first several scenes for the book wrote extremely easily. Of course, things have changed as I worked on the early drafts, but that scene had to make it into the published book because … well, it is the spark that lit the fire.

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#Book #Sale #99cents   Leave a comment

Hullabaloo Tugawar Front CoverHullabaloo on Main Street, a political #satire, is on #99-cent sale Monday, February 12-19, 2018.

Posted February 10, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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Last Sale Day   Leave a comment

mirklinwoodToday is the last day Mirklin Wood will be on 99-cent sale.

Get a great #fantasy at an awesome price. And since this is the second book in a #series, pick up The Willow Branch too. Amazon has 2-book sets.

And, by the way, I just had an awesome weekend in book sales. Thanks for all who have made that possible.

Posted January 8, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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Found in the Stacks   Leave a comment

December 18, 2017 – Research. Post an interesting fact or facts you’ve come across researching a book.

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One of the things I like best about being a writer is researching interesting topics that I wouldn’t ordinarily find the time to research.

Image result for image of libraryMy mother was a farm girl, but except for being forced to weed her garden when I was a kid, I didn’t know much about farming until I started writing books that involved farmers. Most of the population of Celdrya are farmers eking out a living with crude plows drawn by oxen. The town of Emmaus is surrounded by corn fields. I knew nothing about Medieval farming when I started Daermad Cycle and I knew nothing about corn farming when started Transformation Project. Now I know arcane knowledge like farmers try to save money by allowing corn to dry on the cob before harvesting. This will save some lives in the series.

In researching how the town would survive the apocalypse, I learned about silos and why so many of them are being converted to other uses today – my son tells me of an awesome bouldering club in a grain silo. I worked that into the story – what do you do with all that corn you’ve been sending to the mega silos for the last 30 years now that it is in your best interest to keep it local? You can’t just dig a hole in the ground and bury it because the damp of the ground will turn the corn into hominy. But there are silos that are built into the ground – they’re called bunker silos. You see a couple in the hillside during the opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. So there is a way to do it right.

In Daermad Cycle, a king is poisoned and dies. I spent a fair amount of time studying up on poisons. Padraig, the central figure in an ensemble cast, is an herbman so I had to learn about herbal treatments. My main race are the descendants of Celts who stumbled into an alternative universe a thousand years ago (in their time line). They call things by familiar names, but these items are not necessarily exactly what exists in our world. The Kin are indigenous to the world of Daermad and they have some very different items because they have never lived in the world we know. I’ve spent a lot of time researching swords, knives, Medieval clothing and horses for Daermad Cycle.

In Transformation Project both my main character, Shane, and his grandfather Jacob are pilots. I grew up on the edge of the flying community – 80% of Alaskan communities cannot be reached by roads, so we fly a lot. I have even taken flight training. I could keep a single-engine plane in the air and theoretically know how to land one, though I have never gotten to practice that part. I thoroughly enjoyed studying about the planes that work their way into the story.

There are so many different things to learn, but I thought I’d go into detail on just one. Martial law plays a big part in Transformation Project. I wanted to have my facts straight before I played with them so I googled “martial law in the United States.” and learned about President Obama signing Executive Order 13603, titled “National Defense Resources Preparedness.” To be totally fair, President Obama was merely tweaking an existing Executive Order that goes back all the way to the Truman administration. So, it’s been about 60 years since the government gave itself the authority to seize all US resources and persons, including during peacetime, for self-declared “national defense”. The president is authorized to delegate authority to various federal departments and agencies identify, confiscate and reallocate food, gasoline, machinery, medicine, water, and even people.

A Threatening Fragility Front CoverOf course, no US president has actually done this, though it ought to make us nervous that they think they have such authority. Let’s hope it never comes to that. In Transformation Project, it’s a key big bad, because the people in charge weren’t elected by anyone and yet they feel they have the authority to take food, medicine, and crops and conscript people into a workforce to make this happen.

What do you do when what you need to survive conflicts with official policy?

The people of Emmaus think they know the answer, but are they willing to pay the price?

Are actual Americans willing to put themselves in that position? No, it can’t happen here … until maybe it does and then maybe it’s too late. Since I’m planning more books in the series, you can surmise that at least some of the people in Emmaus survive … but how well they survive depends on how much of their resources they were able to hang onto.

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Announcing: Unbound (Clarion Call Vol 3)   Leave a comment

The latest anthology project from Agorist Writers Workshop, of which I am a contributor, is live — just in time for holiday gift-buying season.

Parallel Realities   Leave a comment

December 11, 2017 – Writing parallels – parallels between events and your writing, topic or genre.

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Willow Branch Blue White Recreation CoverI’m sure there probably are some parallels between Daermad Cycle and real life, but it’s very much hidden in the fantasy genre. Unless you want to be really preachy, it’s best to keep theme connections to the real world pretty light. For the record, really preachy tends to put off some people. By some, I mean a lot. You can certainly comment on historical events in fantasy, but you hurt yourself a lot and the book as well if you try to comment on modern society.

So, Daermad Cycle (The Willow Branch, Mirklin Wood and the upcoming Fount of Wraiths) draws parallels from feudal society and the discussion of racism and slavery, but it holds back from more modern topics simply because fantasy readers aren’t generally looking to be preached at.

There is a hiking scene in Mirklin Wood that is based upon a trail Brad and I take to get our salmon every summer. If you want a gander at what my world looks like, it’s a pretty good rendition of it.

But parallels do exist in Transformation Project because it’s an apocalyptic and that sort of preachiness is acceptable in that genre. My character live in a time that could be tomorrow. They’ve lived through the presidencies and events most of us remember. Their history is our history … except theirs took a sharp turn the day after tomorrow and they’re living in the aftermath.

Two Cover Montage

Transformation Project was born of Barack and Michelle Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” For the record, while I think they dealt a major blow to the culture of liberty in America, I don’t think they accomplished their goal. Of course, they’ve not been out of the White House for a year, so it’s hard to be sure. I suspect the current upheaval in the political realm is a rejection reaction to the transformation they tried to start … or really accelerate. Maybe the people who voted for Donald Trump are T-cells attacking a virus. Sometimes perfectly normal immune responses go too far. Maybe the Trump presidency is the psoriasis that develops after the body attacks some life-threatening plague before it can kill us. The good news is that psoriasis can get better when you remove what set it off in the first place.

A Threatening Fragility Front CoverBut let’s not chase that rabbit. The Obamas promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” and my daughter and I spent a long, Alaska car trip discussing how that might happen, creating a story that had elements of Transformation Project in it, but ultimately would have written itself into a corner had I pursued it.

Then I looked around our world and saw all sorts of economic and political woes. “Mirastan” in the books could be Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya … I combine elements of all of them because I didn’t want to have to research another country so that Shane’s statements about it would be correct, but also so I could say things about it that might be true of any of them. My readers can form their own conclusions.

Economically, I created a United States that is heavily in debt and beginning to face the consequences of that. I only really deal with the riots, rising prices and union difficulties  in Life As We Knew It because in subsequent books, I’ve blown up the cities and my small town is struggling to form its own disaster plan. You will find my characters in Emmaus still care about liberty — which they define as the ability to do what is necessary to survive. They will say what’s on their minds and do what they need to do. Not to let too many cats out of the bag, but the next book (Thanatosis) deals in part with what happens when the middle-sized cities begin to empty in search of resources that are no longer flowing in from the country side.

The characters who are outside of the town face the realities of martial law, because I’m aware of Executive Order 12919 (National Defense Resources Preparedness) which Obama signed in 2012.  This was by no means the first Executive Order signed by a president that could be used to grant him (or her) marital law in time of crisis, but that it exists at all in the form that it does created the premise for the third book of Transformation Project, A Threatening Fragility.

I hang out with people who pray for the end of government as we know it in the near-future because they believe it would give people the opportunity to fix a lot of what is wrong with American society, so naturally, I am drawn to exploring what would happen when/if the federal government collapses. I don’t think it will all be okay — that enough guns, faith and individualism would automatically result in functional local government to replace the overbearing federal government. As I move deeper into the series, I show local government struggling to adapt and sometimes failing miserably. The negligence of the City of Emmaus killed almost a hundred people in the second book, Objects in View.

Hullabaloo Tugawar Front CoverBy total contrast, the novelette Hullabaloo on Main Street is set in this world, November 9, 2016. In this political satire, libertarian Conor wakes up the day after the Presidential election to discover his small Midwestern town embroiled in controversy over the outcome of the election. The book was based on a Politico article “What If A Red State Moves to You?” which focused on a Wisconsin county that had voted Democratic for more than a half-century, but swung hard for President Trump in 2016. I added a twist to get away from the Politico writer’s clear bias in favor of Democrats. Conor is a libertarian anarchist who doesn’t vote. He doesn’t really care who won the election because he considers all elections just processes of picking our slavers for the next four years. That neutrality allows him to infiltrate both political bubbles during this highly charged times and hear what people have to say. It’s meant to make you laugh, but it’s also meant to wake you up and get you asking questions about why Donald Trump won and what is going on in our country that we have formed up in bubbles that have nothing to do with each other. Conor even muses that he sees a potential solution to the divide … not that anyone will listen because he’s not a member of any of the bubbles.

Conor is me on November 9, 2016, wondering why everybody is upset or ecstatic about a deeply flawed candidate winning an election when he was running against an equally deeply-flawed candidate when in reality, we the people were going to be stuck with whatever ludicrous policies either of these two dictators were going to put forward. I wanted to see liberty increase and more power flow to the people rather than government, but that’s not what I got. As I listened to my friends on both sides of the political spectrum freak out, Conor was born as a character who could explain my view of it. Laugh because it’s better than crying, but it’s still a crappy outcome for a great country that keeps, time and time again, selecting bad outcomes.

Parallels are all about finding that passion within ourselves to talk about what is important to us. As writers, we’re supposed to say what others cannot. The parallels in my fantasy are ones I discovered after I wrote them. The parallels in the apocalyptic are cautionary tales suggesting maybe we should try different things. Conor is my critique of the current political landscape. But I made him fun. He doesn’t hate anyone. He’s not angry. His wry (largely internal) comments are not meant to be hurtful. He just sees things from a different perspective because he’s outside of the bubbles … like I am.

 

Coming Soon!   Leave a comment

I am a contributing author to the Agorist Writers Workshop 2017 anthology:

 

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I should be announcing its launch date in the next week or so.

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