Hey all, My apologies for not posting, but work has had me bogged down before we went out of town. This article may fall in line with a topic I listed before, sources for making stories, but I've dealt with this particular method more this week while working on my newest series, The Trident Trilogy. I've gone to several websites(epilogue.net, deviantart.com, google images, elfwood.com, fantasyart.toplisted.net to name a few) loaded with great artwork to download samples for some examples of my characters in all of my books. 

As I was perusing the various pics, I spotted some that captured my interest. Whether it was the character, the background, or the color, I kept thinking, "Hmmm, this could be a story." Despite the fact I already had a decent grasp of my current characters, downloading some pics allowed me to study them a bit closer. During my inspection, characteristics began formulating as I sat in observation. The color of the artwork, the facial expression, the armor/clothing being worn all came into play in feeding more detailed ideas into my mind. 

One thing I learned in high school and college was a unique study format that allowed me to comprehend things very quickly. I would read my notes/text and formulate my own test questions. On an index card, I would number them and write 4-5 questions on one side with the numbered answers on the back. As I wrote the questions, I used as many of my senses in the process: reading, hearing, seeing, writing. Doing so allowed things to sink in quicker. The same principle applies in using a pic with other mediums. For example, have appropriate music in the background, or have a related movie playing nearby. Even "mood" lighting can come into play. Utilizing all these factors, along with your imagination, can enhance your ability in creating that special character for your next success story. 

In relation to the pics, you can also create files specific for a particular novel you are working on, or gather pics under a specific type: villain, knight, cleric, detective, priest, etc. 
Good luck! Take care, Nick G. Giannaras
 
 

Hey all! Join us today to meet Andrea Graham, an Christian author and freelance editor whose books I'm sure you'll enjoy!
- How long have you been writing?  
Since I was eight, almost nine years old. Before the San Francisco Earthquake, I was writing Batman-Superman Fanfiction.

- Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Everywhere: Sermons at church, out of the blue. Sometimes, I’ll get ideas from TV shows, particularly one where I don’t enjoy the episode and I imagine how it really should be told.

- What are your thoughts on critique groups?
It’s a mixed bag. On one hand, if you get a knowledgeable, supportive critique partner, it can be a blessing. On the other hand, there are bad critique groups, arrogant critiquers, etc. So proceed with caution.

- Have you dealt with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yes. I’ve generally tried not to sit there and stare at blank screens. At some point, to quote the great Kenny Rogers, you have to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. And sometimes, the best thing to do is to do something else, rest your mind, and come back.

- Do you find a part of your personality sneaking into any of your characters?
Here and there, probably the clown and sarcastic tendencies are the ones most likely to appear.

- Were there any scenes you found difficult to write? Made you angry or made you cry?
I’m working on a Short Story that’s trying to become a novelette and the final confrontation scene was very tough. The story deals with child abuse and I kept wanting to handle the whole thing more clinically. What we finally ended up writing after much coaxing from my wife, was something that packs more of a punch, and did make me cry writing it.

- Do you use outlines or let the story develop on its own?
Mostly on its own. I know where I’m starting and I have a general idea where I’m going. I let the story happen as it goes.

- What do you want your readers to take from your book(s)?
Depends on the book. I hope they just take something away from it and whatever God has for them.

- Can you share any upcoming projects with us?
Upcoming. I’ve three big ideas that I have to struggle to get to:

1) The Return of the Dim Knight. This is going to be a challenging book to write. My challenge is going to be to grow my characters personally, emotionally, and spiritually from the last book without going too far. We’re still going to have some comedy, but it will be a slightly different tone.  It’s the Superhero sequel that I hope readers will be waiting for.

2) Case Files of the Selfish Detective: Not really a speculative story, but will feature a character from Tales of the Dim Knight, Neil Worthington. Worthington is a genius detective who tries to model his life off of the combined efforts of Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, and Hercule Poirot. He lives alone mostly, irritating household staff, and driving them away. Then one day, Worthington is on the sidewalk and a car almost runs him over but a young woman saves him, but is hit herself and gets amnesia. Worthington pays her medical bills and brings her onboard. Her mission is to remember who she is and to get Worthington to use his powers for good.

3) The Graham works: Podcast-Yes, I want to start recording podcast of my works, both published and unpublished, so that people can enjoy them and I can grow my audience. But not something I’ve been able to find time to do yet.

- Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your temperament, etc.?
I love old time radio and radio drama in general. Spend a lot of time listening to that and producing podcasts on old time radio.

- With a full schedule, how do you find time to write?
I’ve invented something called a caffeine IV. Sadly, don’t find enough.

- When creating a character, where do you begin? Do you give them a background even if it may never be mentioned in the storyline?
I really try to get to know the character organically, through telling the story and listening to them. I tried once writing down all the details and I never got through all the details and never wrote the story.

- Can you share one or two nuggets of wisdom to those wanting to travel down the writing road?
In modern writing, there are two types of rules: 1) rules that are absolute and hard and fast and 2) things that are a matter of opinion and style but get stated as rules. A good writer has to be able to tell the difference.

- Where can readers find your books and contact information?
http://www.dimknight.com

- Do you spend time in prayer before you write or begin a project?
Not as much as I should.

- What is your writing routine? Do you need peace and quiet, soft music, or does it matter?
If I get into one of those “inspired modes,” I can have a spell and turn out a few thousand word short story in a day. What Ideally I need is good classical or instrumental music playing in the background with Facebook and email closed. 

Thanks for joining us today!

 
 

Today I have another author in our little "promote our friends idea", and it has gone over well. Here is Kimberli R. Campbell, and if you read on, you'll see why she would be a neat person to meet. Don't forget, check out her books!
- How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for over 10 years. However, I still have a lot to learn.

- When did you feel called to write?
I can't say I remember a specific time when the Lord put the desire in my heart. All I know now is I have a deep need to write the stories he gives me.

- Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Boy, the ideas come from everywhere. The series I'm writing now came from a dream. I have a romance/suspense story from watching an old blue pickup truck stopped in front of me at a stoplight. It's fun watching people in hopes the images will produce a story.

- What are your thoughts on critique groups?
I think they are extremely important if there is a mixture of experience levels. Unfortunately, as people get busy with life, it's difficult to stay consistent with critiques. You also need to be able to receive constructive criticism. It's painful, but needed.

- Was it hard to develop a writing style?
If I developed a style, it probably came from the type of books I like to read. Down-to-earth and relaxed.

- Who is your favorite author?
I enjoy reading books by Donita K. Paul, Terri Blackstock, and Ted Dekker...just to name a few.

- Have you dealt with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I don't think I've had to deal with writer's block. However, I have let things keep me from writing. After a full day, instead of writing, I spend my time doing mindless things - surf the web, playing games on the iPad. Although there are times when a person does need to take some downtime, I tend to play longer than I should. When I do notice myself doing this, I force myself to get back to writing.

- Do you find a part of your personality sneaking into any of your characters?
Yes. I think it gives the characters more depth...not that I'm a complex person. :)

- Were there any scenes you found difficult to write? Made you angry or made you cry?
One of the issues the main character and his friends deal with is bullying. Bullying makes me angry. As for crying, in the third book of the series, there is a part where I teared up. I didn't have to breakout the tissues, but it was close.

- Do you use outlines or let the story develop on its own?
I'm an outline kind of gal. I need structure. Hats off to those that let the story develop on its own. If I wrote that way, the story would probably start with the ending.

- What do you want your readers to take from your book(s)?
I would love for the readers to come away with a spirit of victory and that they've been on an awesome adventure. Learning the importance of a relationship with the Lord, family, and friends is also something I'd like them to walk away with. And, let's not forget the desire to read the next book.

- Can you share any upcoming projects with us?
I would love to share. My book, Redemption: Shayia's Adventures - Book Two, will prayerfully be out this year.  I am currently working on book three of the series. I have no title at this time. I am not sure if the Lord has a book four, so I'll have to see what he has next.

- What makes Redemption: Shayia's Adventures - Book Two a must read for young readers?
Aside from the back to back action and suspense, this book touches on issues like bullying, feeling alone, and sharing the Good News. It would be great to see the book used in a classroom setting to help children dealing with any of these issues.

- How do you respond when someone comments that certain elements (magic, vampires, zombies, etc.) in your story does not fit in what they consider to be Christian?
Hm...I do have sorcery in my books, but it's clearly stated that it's wrong. As for what they consider magic, I don't see it as magic. Shayia's sword glows and the Word appears on it. I believe those to be the manifestation of God's awesome power. He used the staff of Moses, caused a donkey to speak, and so much more. I think this is a topic that people will always see differently, which is all right. I must write what I feel the Lord has asked me to write. I do so to bring him glory and to draw his children closer to him.

- Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your temperament, etc.?
I'm a quiet person. However, if you were to see me acting on stage, you would disagree. I would be content sitting quietly in a room (not padded) with a book and/or my iPad. I drive the speed limit and obey the rules of the road to the point that it gets on people's nerves. I HATE emotional mind games. In other words, if you have something to say, please say it...in love. :) Going for walks in nice weather is something I enjoy when not writing. There is more, but that's a good start.

- With a full schedule, how do you find time to write?
I've been blessed to be at home. Although the time may broken up into little sessions, I'm able to get writing done between regular housework and family time. When my little one goes to school full-time, I will be able to get more writing time.

- When creating a character, where do you begin? Do you give them a background even if it may never be mentioned in the storyline?
I think dreaming is a writer's best friend. When I create characters, I like to dream about them, so I can picture how they look and act. I don't normally write a background on the characters. I do note the memories they have in case something comes up later.

- Can you share one or two nuggets of wisdom to those wanting to travel down the writing road?
I encourage writers to get connected with other writers - critique groups, forums, etc. They are a great place to get encouragement and be challenged. Also, continue to write and sharpen your craft. No excuses. :)

- Where can readers find your books and contact information?
The best place is www.theswordoflight.com. The book is also available on Amazon. You can visit my blog at www.hiswriter.blogspot.com. I would love to connect with other writers and readers.

- Do you spend time in prayer before you write or begin a project?
My relationship with the Lord is most important. I don't feel that I can really write to my fullest potential unless the Lord and I communicate. We are a team.

- What is your writing routine? Do you need peace and quiet, soft music, or does it matter?
I don't have a writing routine....anymore. Now I write when I can. Having it nice and quiet would be my first choice, but the only quiet time we have in our house is when everyone is sleeping. I have learned to adjust to the noise.

Thank you for visiting with us today.
Thanks for allowing me to visit with you.
 
 
      Hey all, Today, I figured on posting a bit about my newest project. It's a YA fantasy taking place in my world of Nanthara. For now, it is being called The Trident Trilogy. The first book is entitled "The Sons of the Trident"; Book 2 is "Revenge of the Darkwitch"; Book 3 is named "Vindication". These are WIP's and I am currently on Chapter 29 of the first draft of book 1. 

      The stories take place years before the Great War of the Relics, my first trilogy. A Darkwitch seeking revenge and power sets a trap against the realm she resides in by having three sons. Her plans are, once matured, to bring them into power before raising war and claiming what she desires. Instead, a paladin escapes her keep to report the birth of her offspring, and dies in the process. As her initial plans are thwarted, she escapes and sends her sons to be raised by darkhearted rulers within the realm in secrecy. Only two reach their destination; the third is found along the road by Ganethin's ruling family, his riders having been killed, and is raised as one of their own. Upon reaching the age of 18, things happen to Naltharion. Frightful dreams and haunting visions bombard the prince, causing him to question the strange events. Once the truth of his identity is revealed, a struggle for his soul between the forces of light and dark rages as his kingdom is cast into a bloody war. Will Naltharion remain true to his beliefs, or will he be tainted by evil and become the wicked ruler the Darkwitch was promised.

      The triology follows the prince's plight through this harrowing experience alongside his trustworthy companions: a witty and wise bard, and a beautiful Weaponsmaster, so far. There are other characters involved, but this is still a rough draft. Regardless, it is panning out into a neat story. Like all my fantasy based stories so far, they take place along the timeline in Nanthara with the Great War of the Relics serving as the focal point of reference. I plan on beginning a website on this, but not quite yet. I still have some work to do.
While I wait for my edits of Book 3, Dawn of the Apocalypse and book 1 of a sci-fi series: The Chronicles of Nuclear Fist-Darksoul, I will be working on finishing this trilogy while two other ideas, one already started, sits simmering on the back burner. That's all for now.Remember, feel free to contact me with any questions. (chiro49nct@hotmail.com).

Take care, Nick
 
 
Hey all!  I am going speak a little on writing a series by using my trilogy as an example. Book 1, Secrets Revealed, was a task to write and Book 2, Sacrifice of Heroes, was an even greater task. I wonder what my third install, Dawn of the Apocalypse will entail? Hopefully, not as much work, but my editors haven’t placed their hands on it yet.

When I wrote The Relics of Nanthara, I knew right away it would be a big undertaking. Originally, I figured on it being around five books. Thank God it wasn’t. But I already had much of the story laid out in my head. Getting it to paper was the task. In beginning the story, I had everything worked out up to the end of the second book. Afterwards, only a blank existed.

Most of the time, authors have a plan, and stick to it. Regardless of your writing style, your voice, or how you conjure the writing juices to flow, your successive novels should carry on like the chapters contained within each individual book. That is, you should have a great read and end it with readers biting at the bit to get the next book. One thing I learned is not to leave too many things, if any, unanswered in a novel. To think folks will get the next book and discover answers to their questions is a big mistake. Who is to say the reader who purchased the first novel will buy the second? There are no promises. There must be closure to many key questions and facts as if you are writing only one book.

In reading the previous paragraph, you may be thinking “I can’t do that. I want to keep people guessing. You know, build drama!” You can build plenty of drama with your writing and the characters you create. Bringing them to life by their dialogue and actions will help draw readers in and keep them pasted onto the pages effortlessly.

The Relics of Nanthara grew, believe it or not, out of an old Dungeons & Dragons game I ran years ago. When the game was finished, right around the Book 2 point, I always thought it would make a good book. Then one day…ta-da!

In relation to the game, I never “got” to Book 3. I did freak out in trying to write the third novel, but the characters and the previous books brought out the story. It had a natural flow to it. Your writing and the storyline should carry a natural, smooth flow also. Bogging it down with useless facts is like speeding along until you hit a mud pit—same effect.

I have submitted a fourth novel as part of a sci-fi series where I plan on adding future installments. How? The first story opened a myriad of ideas on where I could go. So, I jot down notes and make plans for later novels.

Currently, I am writing my fifth fantasy novel as part of another Nantharan trilogy. Yeah, I know. I didn’t figure on writing another trilogy. But as I stated before, the storyline guides me in thought, thought and imagination transfers to paper/screen, transferred thoughts equals book. I can already see a fair amount of the second book in my head and have a few ideas for book 3. As I’ve stated before, everything should flow. Sit back, let the story and its characters carry you, and prepare to enjoy the ride.

            Take care,
            Nick