Acknowledgements (aka My Book is Out)

lindormkingdom_smallerThe book is out in the world. (Here, too, if you prefer Kobo over Amazon.)

It would be really encouraging if you bought a copy, or shared it with a friend, or left a review.

With that out of the way, I wanted to share my thank-yous on my blog, since I already know the book isn’t for everyone (seriously, if you don’t like magic, or dragons or if any kind of violence makes you uncomfortable, this probably isn’t the book for you), and I want to say this “out loud” for anyone to hear.

From the back of my book:

Lindorm Kingdom began in 2006 as my first NaNoWriMo novel. At the time my daughters were two and three, and I achieved a decent one-handed typing speed from all the time at the keyboard while I held my six-month-old son (those midnight wakings were put to literary use).

To all the people over the years who asked, “How do you do it?” the answer is Time. The story – more specifically the themes – wouldn’t let me go. I chipped away for years, learning as I went, and eventually it was sculpted into its current shape.

In eight-plus years, a variety of people have read my pages, encouraging me to stick with it, making me feel heard and valued:

Jay (my husband, best friend, protector, provider), Becky (world-champion encourager, endurance reader and editor), and David (the second engineer to read my work and the only reader to catalog all the places that made him laugh), along with Tori, Mitzi, Kim, Bluestocking (Brooke), Katie, Carolyn, Crystal, Tiffany, Corinna, Kati, Annie, Sarah, (another) Tiffany, Bekki, Lara and Daniel.

Special mentions for Lindorm Kingdom include Jerry Smith (who is one of the reasons this novel didn’t end before it was really started), and the delightful Irene who was born after the stepmother’s name was set, and is nothing like the Irene in this story.

Finally, to my friends that share this writing path and the delight of discovery: Becky (again), Jennifer, Kit, Roy, Janet, Beth, Jen, Kati, and Tiana (my precious Watson), I am so glad to be doing life with you.

With fewer years between books, maybe the next Acknowledgements section will be shorter, but I can’t express with fewer words how tremendously blessed I feel to be surrounded by such honorable people and incredibly live-giving love.

from The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti

But wounds can fester. They can become infected, and then they infect others.

And then they can  change you because you haven’t merely cut your finger or bruised your knee. You’ve been wounded in your spirit, and that wound pierces deeply, painfully, sometimes permanently. As Proverbs 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?” When tough times or injuries come, we must be able to draw upon a reservoir of hope, faith, and self-confidence that God has stored up inside us through the love and encouragement of friends and family. If enemies, through cunning and cruelty, have plundered that reservoir, what will sustain us then?

Won’t God sustain us? Won’t He give us the grace we need? Don’t we find our hope and strength in Him? Won’t He get us through?

Absolutely. I wouldn’t be here today if God’s presence and grace were not ultimately provable.

But that’s the rub: To prove anything ultimately takes time and experience. You have to live it out for a while, sometimes a long while. A process is involved. Even now, in so many of our lives, there are issues to be resolved and wounds that have to be faced squarely, forgiven, and healed. Many of us adults have been carrying unhealed wounds since we were children.

Things that made me grin, or think.

Sorry if I’ve posted these before (and maybe they’re not so funny out of the context of the novel).  I was re-reading some of my novel today (man there’s always something more to fix, isn’t there) and wanted to share a couple spots that still make me laugh.

From Chapter 19 – Appeal to the Prince (My discovery of condonation was for this chapter.)

“So it was as we hoped!” The prince’s voice was eager. “The tales have come true and the right woman has all that power, has she?” He flushed then, darting a glance at his bride, but the princess never looked up from her horse’s mane.

“Sire,” said Tykone uncomfortably, “it is closer to the stories then you may perhaps like. “I informed the Frej Kennett that he is your twin, and possibly the elder son of your house.” Tykone ducked only just in time. Rickard’s gauntleted fist swished above his head, knocking off his leather cap.

Tykone rolled easily under the prince’s horse and popped to his feet before leaning around the front of the horse to look at Rickard’s enraged expression. “That was very nearly the answer I got from him, but he was quicker. I wouldn’t want to be stuck between you.”

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“O Love That Will Not Let Me Go…”

There is a song I’ve always loved called “Rise up O Men of God.”  Any readers here familiar with this?

Rise up O men of God

Have done with lesser things.

Give heart and soul and mind and strength

To serve the King of Kings.

I hear it in my head song by a men’s chorus, and nearly gives me goosebumps.

Actually, there is a line that always makes me shiver (even just sitting here thinking of it), and because of that reaction I’ve always wanted to find a moment I could write with that same emotional intensity.

And tonight I finished a book that did what I want to do (Impossible.  Definitely a 16+ book).  It’s in the last two lines of the following verse.

Rise up O men of God

The Church for you doth wait.

Her strength unequal to the task

Rise up and make her great.

In so many stories what moves me is not the triumphant victory, the hero conquering against all odds.  It is the moment the hero/ine realizes he or she is inadequate alone, and then doesn’t have to do it alone.

While I was writing my second or third Lindorm draft, I came across a blog that was quoting from the book Pain and Pretending.  This summed so well for me the other half of my heart, and you can see now (if you couldn’t before) why relationship and respect are such major elements of what I value in any story.

…I don’t think the deepest hunger of the human heart is to have love for one’s self. Rather, it is to be loved. My goal is not to sit in a room or on a hillside and tell myself how much I love myself. My goal is to mean something to the people who mean the most to me. My hunger is to have somebody big and powerful and important in my life say, “I love you,” and then I will have the confidence that I am loved.

The not-being-alone, the being helped is that confidence.  I think that may be why I hang so continually on the word provision. I make lists of things sometimes (I need to do it more often), that show how perfectly God is helping me.  Or I marvel at the precisely suited way He allows me to help someone else.

And my heart *rankles* at the imposed story lines that would refuse that to anyone, or pretend commitment isn’t an essential part of security and happiness.

(I’ll name names if you don’t know what I’m referring to and actually care.)

God makes Himself known to any who have eyes to see, and I love seeing the reflection of his love in stories of selflessness and (even) stubbornness.

O Love that will not let me go…

Laughing at Myself

I used to be embarrassed when my writing pleased me (toe-curling, laugh-out-loud delight seems rather presumptuous– sort of like describing your children’s wonderfulness).

“Isn’t it amazing,” my mom gushed last summer, “We have only beautiful and brilliant people in this family.”

My dad placidly observed, “I’m sure the warthog says the same thing.”

Today I fixed something in Linnea’s Journey, re-read it and laughed aloud, clapping my hands.  At once I cringed, even in the privacy of my writing nook.  Then I remembered something my one editor-encounter left me with: “Your writing should move you.  If it doesn’t excite or entertain you who are this close, how can you expect it to move anyone else?”

So I enjoyed the feeling.

Here’s something from my story that made me laugh (possibly in an inside-joke way), though not the passage I described above– that was a chunk that makes no sense out of context.  This one has at least a chance.

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Hero as Mother?

What a fascinating thought!  LitLove at Tales from the Reading Room analyzed Twilight with this view I’d never seen before; basically that the ideal romantic partner is as all-powerful, all-providing, all-protective, and all-loving as a good mother is to her young child.

So naturally I had to return to my story and see if that is in my “ideal” world as well, because, however well it worked for Twilight and vampire romance it’s not something I want to promote.

Even so, my main trouble with the idea of calling these romantic notions “maternal” is finding (or defining) the line between the healthy mutual dependence and the unhealthy.  I completely reject the idea of hubris and total autonomy (it’s actually one of my novel’s themes).

~ ~ ~

A quick mental review of my story does show a bit more give-and-take than I would imagine for the maternal model:  Yes, the husband rescues the wife, but she’s already saved his life too, so I see it as a reciprocal relationship.

At one point early in the relationship he actually scolds her for depending too wholly on his (underprepared) judgment.

“Tykone didn’t want us to go,” said Kennett.“He thought the king and queen would come up with some solution for a useless crown prince.”

“He didn’t call you useless, and you said you wanted to go.”Linnea was shivering and angry, wishing the sun would hurry up and rise so she wouldn’t be so cold.They had moved away from the warmth of their fire and shelter so they wouldn’t waken Hale, but the ground of the barren clearing was completely frozen where they stood and Linnea could feel the cold seeping up through the soles of her simple boots.

You said you would go where I go.That’s all you said.You’ve been human longer than me.You knew you’d be cold out here without the proper gear.Why didn’t you say so?”

Linnea closed her eyes, pinching out tears of cold.“It’s that— I thought you knew what you were doing?”

She looked over her shoulder and saw Kennett staring at her, open mouthed.“You can’t be serious,” he said, finally.She looked away.

Now it was Kennett’s turn to sound angry.“As soon as Tykone was gone I told you I have no idea what I’m doing.You’re the one with all the experience being human!”

In contrast it’s the fellow she’s forced to depend on while in hiding who takes the (more controlling) role that might be labeled maternal.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of relationships in general, my limited education/experience leads me to mistrust such one-sided power/surrender in a relationship.   Not because I believe men and women are the same (I believe there are distinct roles), but because I see that one-sided relationship as half a step from a controlling, then abusive, relationship.

And either could look the same from the outside.

But for all that I still see couples for whom the “total dependance” model seems to be working for.  Whether or not that stems from elements missing from her childhood could be irrelevant.  After all, “compatible neuroses” seems to be an utterly sufficient alternative to two “healthy” people when looking at the levels of peace and happiness in a marriage.

Another 24-inch Stack from the Library

I considered taking a picture, or listing titles, but then I figured I’d rather be reading than promoting.   So here I am, emerging for a breath of air before I decide how (or where) to dive back in.

I’ve been revisiting my how of homeschooling (never the why or whether to) and that is what prompted my latest stack of acquisitions (never mind that more than half were actually storytelling books I want to explore and see about connecting them to my children…)

But the last day and a half I’ve been feeling a bit as I did when I was 19 and listened to Jane Eyre for the first time.  I remember thinking, I really like this story then freezing mentally and wondering, Is that okay?  Who do I ask?  Who do I go to? (Today I’s probably ask whom…)

That led to an interesting time of introspection where I realized my main survival mechanism through high school was to filter everything I was learning through outside sources, because I didn’t particularly trust my teachers.  Which meant I also didn’t trust myself.

You see, if I trusted myself I would have been running everything through my own filters.  But I had learned very well that teaching most teenagers seem to miss, and that is Your perceptions are not the final word on reality.  And I’m not knocking this, much, but it did leave me with some catching up to do.

~ ~ ~

That said, I have been taking notes as I read, and I’m finding myself falling into a student mindset that is only vaguely familiar and teasingly enticing.  I appreciate the organization of thought I’m seeing in these books, and while I’m waiting to embrace even the things I like, I have certainly gleaned a bucket of new things to think on.

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POV Comparison

I (currently) have only one 1st-person POV scene.  And that’s just not right.  So I’ve been considering my options.

  1. Change it to a close 3rd (to match the rest)
  2. Change Tyko’s close-3rd POV to 1st person (bearing in mind he is… well, the short description is he’s an “unreliable narrator” as well as inarticulate.  He’s a good observer but he acts on what he observes rather than thinking on it.  Not a useful narrator, either.)

So I lean toward #1, but in rewriting the scene it seems to lose something.

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The Solution

Another excerpt from where I’ve been working lately.

This one takes place in the fitting room, where Linnea, the Lindorm‘s Bride-to-be has been fussed over for hours.  She, of course, has to wonder if her wedding dress will also be her shroud, until a mysterious old woman comes to her while she (Linnea) is alone.

When the queen and Prince Torbjorn return to the room, the king and Hjalmar (special forces) captains are with them.   The captain Tykone is a friend of Linnea’s from childhood and tried to protect her from being offered to the monster.  Rickard, the other captain, has reasons to think less of Linnea.

As mentioned before, Sarsé is this kingdom’s female title of respect and/or rank.  The prince has just told Linnea to say exactly what she means, despite his mother’s objection.

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