Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Wattpad Expirment: The Grove

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Dear Fellows,

I know it is has been many moons (okay two moons) since I have written on my blog. The reason for this is I am working on a brand new comic which I can’t talk about yet and another project that I am in the process of beta reading so I can’t talk about that either.

However this post is about an experiment that I am doing with THE GROVE. In the hope to gain readers, I am going to post 5 to 10 pages each week on Friday to Wattpad.

Why The Grove you ask? For the simple reason that I own all the rights and it is actually complete so I don’t need to worry about how I am going to end it. The final reason is the project that I am beta reading. I have not decided how it is going to be published yet and I want to see what Wattpad can do for me.

Since the novel is not broken into traditional chapters, but sections with Individual Point of Views: I am adding a few sections at a time, however I won’t break up a section and I am trying to find good ending points so the weekly installment feels fulfilling.

So if you wanted to read one of my novels for free and are willing to read it in installments: You can find the story here: The Grove

Sunday Book Review: Untethered and Monochrome

Yep, I know its Monday, not Sunday, but last week my week ended up eaten by GeekGirlCon which is an awesome convention in Seattle. So I made the video today instead and have two books I want to share with you.

They are listed in the order that I read them. Untethered: A Magic Iphone Anthology edited  Janine A. Southard, with stories from Rhiannon HeldManny FrishbergEdd VickH.M. JonesKris MilleringJon LasserRaven Oak ,Sarina DorieJonathon BurgessJeremiah ReinmillerC.S. O’CinneideStevehen WarrenAaron Giddings, Sr.Amanda HackwithDale Cameron LowryAngela Dell’IsolaDawn VogelStephanie DjockKyle YadloskyA. MoritzJ.S. Rogers

Like all anthologies there were stories I like better than others, but all the stories had a fun cleverness that I enjoyed. If you like reading stories about modern tech with fantastic elements, you’ll enjoy this anthology. 4 stars

The second book is Monochrome by HM Jones.Though HM Jones is in the above anthology, the two books couldn’t be more different. That being said, Monochrome has so much going for it. Suffering from severe post-partum depression, Abigail flies into a rage and begins to believe that her family would be better off without her. She finds herself in Monochrome: the physical manifestation of her depressed mind where everything is blue. She finds herself with a man named Ishmael Doubois who says he is her Guide. The Guides create a path through Monochrome. Then like Dorothy in Oz, Abigail has to find her way out of Monochrome to find her way home to her husband and child. 4 1/2 stars


A regular feature to my blog, Elizabeth’s Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. Since I started adding videos, I started doing stars. I do say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week.

Who is the protagonist of The Grove?

 

The Grove Cover_blogsized

I always think its fun to see if I can create a character that the reader loves to hate. They must be sympathetic. They must be interesting. They must also have a need that must be met in the course of the story. But that isn’t necessarily what makes them a protagonist.

So how do you define protagonist.

The most common definition–especially for the lay person–is that the protagonist is the central character of a story.  And professionals agree: According to Literarydevices.com “A protagonist is the central character or leading figure in poetry,  narrative, novel or any other story.” However, then the definition goes on. Seriously its a whole page.

So lets first start with the central characters. For The Grove that’s Dayla Fisher and Jonah Leifson.

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Jonah wants to save humanity from themselves. He believes waking a few bloodthirsty ancient Gods will do it. And he doesn’t care that he might have to sacrifice a few people to do it.

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The Keeper of The Grove, Dayla will do anything to stop Jonah from waking the Gods.  She suffers over any loss of life though she eventually comes to realize she might have to take life to stop Jonah.

So who is the protagonist?

There are a couple basic elements for a protagonist:

  • The protagonist is driving the action of the story and so the narrative revolves around him/her/them.

By this definition, that means my protagonist would be Jonah as he drives the story towards its conclusion.

  • The protagonist may undergo some change within the course of the story.

Uh Oh, Jonah doesn’t go through much of a transformation, he is a true believer in what he is doing, so that might mean the protagonist is Dayla.

  • The events occurring in a story often viewed from the perspective of the protagonist.

Well that could be both characters. As well as three other people: Dayla’s husband Oliver Hayes, Dayla’s best friend Samantha Miller and her one time rival, now charge, Galeno DeAdams.

  • A well-constructed protagonist allows the audience to relate to themselves and the other characters.

This too could be either character. Do you want to save the world with Jonah? Or stop Jonah from sacrificing people with Dayla?

So who is the protagonist?

The truth is who is the protagonist is questionable. I wrote The Grove as a thriller. So in that sense, Jonah is driving the action, while Dayla is fighting for her life, her husband, her friends and lifestyle. Most people will see Dayla as the protagonist, because she isn’t using her magic to delude people into waking three ancient Gods. She is “the good-guy.”

However ultimately who is the protagonist is up to the reader!

Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a favorite book/series in which you question who is the protagonist?


About The Grove:
The Grove Cover_blogsizedGenre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
340 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Ebook: ISBN:9780980145922

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grove-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/0980145902/
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grove-elizabeth-guizzetti/1124461156?ean=2940156779864
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grove/id1153788999?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-grove-9

Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

The Grove Roadtrip

I’ve always been open about how I love to make setting so real that people wonder if it’s a real place. That it is almost a character all its own. One way I do that is through travel and experiencing the pulse of a place. So here are some of the places I visited which inspired Sitka’s Quay from north to south.

Washington:

Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island: I have been here many times before. This park has one of my favorite winter hikes. And this photo of Rosario Bay was taken on a bright winter day.

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Kalaloch Beaches, Highway 101

I actually went here twice. Once with my hiking buddy, Evan, and the dogs n October 2015 and once with just the dogs in 2016. The first time it was raining, the second time it was so misty it was easy to imagine that I was the only person on Earth. Each beach is a little different, and they are broken up by wooded headlands.

Beach 4

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Beach 3 Stone Arch

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Beach 2 Tree of Life

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Beach 1 Burl Forest

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Quinault and The World’s Largest Sitka Spruce: I drove out here on the same day I went to Beach 1-3.

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Ape Caves, Mt Saint Helens (Off I-5) I visited this a number of years ago with my sister, but I recently went again with my friend Andrea.

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Cape Disappointment State Park

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The town of Illwaco. Notice how cute these painted buildings are, but most of them were empty.

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Oregon

Ecola State Park: I had an appointment in Vancouver and figured I’d use my free time to drive to the coast.  I think Rosie knew I went to the beach without her. She was not happy.

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Cannon BeachIMG_0407.jpg

Hug Point State Park

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So there’s photos of places that inspired The Grove, I hope you like them.


About The Grove:
The Grove Cover_blogsizedGenre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
340 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Ebook: ISBN:9780980145922

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grove-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/0980145902/
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grove-elizabeth-guizzetti/1124461156?ean=2940156779864
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grove/id1153788999?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-grove-9

Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

Sunday Book Review: Famished, The Farm & The Dragon Tax

While I have posted reviews in the past as I have read books, I am going to start posting reviews of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday as a regular feature to my blog.  While on Goodreads and Amazon, I give books a star rating, I don’t do stars here. I just say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but I do mention if I received a book for free. I only read books in hardcopy.

51kxfeqvtzl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Famished: The Farm

(Adult Horror)

Great story. I enjoyed the pull between the characters. There is the ghoul who is just waking up to who/what he is. And the friction between the ghouls who live the old ways and the ghouls who want something more. There was a bit of misdirection in the plot and the ending was an action-packed blood bath.

My only negative comment is that it followed many vampire narratives that I have read before, so once the ending started I wasn’t surprised. Still it was a great fast-paced read.

If you like books where monsters take center stage with no human interpreter, this is the book for you!

(This book was given to me for free in exchange of an honest review.)

 

The Dragon Tax 

511ionaod9l-_sx311_bo1204203200_(New Adult Fantasy)
This novella is a quick  read in an epic fantasy setting. If you like Robert Bevan or Peter Beagle, you will like Madison Keller’s work.

Without spoilers, the relationship between Sybil the dragon slayer (tax collector), Riastel the dragon, and the king who wants to tax the dragon plays out at the center of this novel. There is plenty of danger and fun surprises. There is a bit of tounge in cheek attitude to the writing which adds to the light tone.

My only negative comment is why do good guys say things like “I’d rather die…” to bad guys.   I saw the set up and shook my head with the thought “DON’T SAY THAT!” But the book picked up directly afterwards and the climax was awesome.

Great fantasy romp!

(This book was also given to me for free in exchange of an honest review.)

Why I believe in diversity in science fiction: an answer to the counter-arguments.

A number of people in the science fiction community are screaming about diversity in books and films. Either they want to bring back the good ole days, or they want to see characters that look how the world looks now. It saddens me that this argument has gotten very nasty. The 2015 Hugo Award Nominations are just the visual tip of the anger iceberg.

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I saw this on PinInterst, Originally found on yahighway.tumblr.com

Anyone who follows my blog knows how much I love StarTrek. I’m going to explain why I think diversity is important for the sci-fi community, but how there is room for all of our visions. I was a young teen with TNG and in highschool, early college with DS9. I loved those show’s wide open universe with all those planets and races. The meme is getting popular now, but I remember the first time I heard Whoopie Goldberg’s story about how she and Gene Rodenberry spoke about how before the original StarTrek there were no black people in sci-fi and how Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols during 1966 to 1969, was a trailblazing role for African-Americans.

When I heard the story, it reminded me of being a kid and watching GI Joe, Thunder Cats, or almost every other show and wanting there to be more than one token girl or woman character. That’s when I realized “the girl” was a type, just like “the black guy” or whoever. And I didn’t want to write “types,” I wanted to write characters. I want to tell their stories. I still do.

StarTrek and Ms. Goldberg’s story encouraged me to always look at my “cast” and make sure that there was a fairly even split of men and women–and if there wasn’t, it needed to make sense why. That if there were “colors” of skin in my book’s universe that they are shown–and not just in the background. That sexual diversity was shown.

The cry for diversity rings loudly. Readers want characters that look like them, that they can relate to, but I don’t think anyone is really saying, “Every protagonist needs to look like me!” Though a few vocal white, cis-gender, heterosexual males are certainly coming close to that.

I believe in listening to people, which means I also believe it is also important to answer the (sometimes-bitter) counter arguments with kindness and generosity of spirit.

Counter Argument #1: So you are saying that I shouldn’t write all white or all male books? Maybe that’s my vision!

People should write what they want to write. Just don’t be surprised when the market makes the final call. I would also add no matter what type of characters you write, you may find you end up with a different market than expected.

An example of a terrific all male cast is John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing. They are twelve guys in a small science station in Antarctica so they are cut off from the world. Sexual diversity is not mentioned. However, there is some racial diversity in the cast with Keith David as Childs and T.K. Carter as Nauls. All in all the cast did a great job.

So if for whatever reason, if a non-diverse cast works, go with it. I think your collection of work shows your heart more than a single work.

Counter Argument #2 Authors are just adding this stuff so they can be edgy.

Really, you think authors care about being edgy? I don’t speak for every author, but I care about writing characters that make readers care and I care about finding readers. That’s it.

Counter Argument #3: White people shouldn’t write/explore other cultures because either white people can’t understand it or it is cultural appropriation.

For me this one is insidious, because I want to be an ally to others. To listen and tell stories. How do I get around this? First of all, I admit I’m a white American, cisgender, and heterosexual. I’m mixed European ancestry, a large chunk of that being Italian. This means I grew up with white privilege. This means there are things that happen I will simply not understand, I own up to that.

Then I figure out what I do know. While I never feared the police would racial profile me, I know what if feels like to be afraid. While I don’t know what it is like for a homosexual young man to want to kiss a boy when all your life you are told you can only kiss girls, but I can imagine what that first kiss is like. Love, pain and isolation are part of the human condition.

By admitting my ignorance of certain aspects of culture and then using my own experiences, I can research with an open mind. We all have the Internet at our disposal and we can take the time to do interviews. So, authors, no matter what your background, don’t fear writing about other cultures, but its important to research and write from a place of respect. Don’t rush the details, don’t force teachable moments, just do the work.

Counter Argument #4: What’s the point of writing diversely, the cover artist is just going to make them white?

So far, I’ve always done my own covers, so this hasn’t been a problem for me, but authors have agents and lawyers for a reason.
Authors, make sure you have some authority in your cover. And if you don’t. Guess what we all have blogs. Use them, show your character sketch. Be proactive.
Fans, if you want diverse covers, write, tweet, email publishers.

And the Counter-Counter Sad Puppy Argument to #4.
Why can’t a book with a spaceship on the cover just be about space adventure? Why does it always have to be out race or feminism or…?

Science fiction authors have a long history about putting “second stories” into their worlds. George Orwell and Margret Atwood outwardly wrote/writes social science fiction, but Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Joe Halderman also delved into issues with their stories. So I don’t know when these readers thought science fiction only focused on escapism. That being said, there are escapist stories. Just look for them. I’m sure a google search of “escapist science fiction” will give you somewhere to look. In the bookstore, ask the bookseller, don’t just look at the pretty picture on the cover, flip the book over and read the blurb. Open the book and glance at the first chapter. Online, Check out the reviews. Look at the sub genres.

Authors create worlds. Sometimes the author will delve deep into the political or sociological issues of that universe, other times, not so much. I personally love to delve into issues with my writing, but not all my writing is about how I view the world.

In closing, I think there is room for all types of science fiction and all types of science fiction fans. I don’t need to like every single book to be a fan, nor do you. We can have conviction and still be respectful. Please remember, that we’re are a community and behind every avatar is a person wanting their voice to be heard.

Draft #3 of the Grove is finished…but no, its not done.

Draft #3 of The Grove is finished, but all that means is it is ready to be sent to my first reader. This first reader is NOT my publisher. She is a friend of mine who loves fantasy–especially urban fantasy–which is why she is the one who gets to read it. She also has a good sense of humor about reading books before they go on to the next draft and then off to publisher.

When is it coming out? I have no idea. While everyone tells you to get your book out yesterday, if I try to write rushed  I write a bunch of crap. Besides even if my first reader LOVES it, I still have to sell it.

Other Systems took seven drafts before it was sold.

I tried to do less with The Light Side of the Moon, but then it went through a full rewrite. It was accepted for publication, then during editing I was told to change some more things. If I add those in, I did about seven drafts.

This is how I create a novel:

Step 1: My outline.

Now this is a loose story written in a fews day with major scenes and plot points.

Step 2: My first draft which is very rough and fast. I do about a chapter or couple scenes a day. I don’t worry about grammar. I sometimes don’t even add description or do research. There was actually a tag that said: LOOK UP HOW WICCANS CAST A CIRCLE. Another said, DESCRIBE THE SOUND OF THE SEA

Grove Inspiration CapeLookout

Cape Lookout Oregon State Park is inspiration for The Grove

Draft Two is when I do research and  add it into the manuscript. Dialogue becomes crisper. If the characters want to not cooperate with the plot this is where they will change things.

Draft Three is where I make sure the character’s motivation feels real. I also look for TELLING spots such as:Oliver visibly relaxed and change it to something like: Oliver flopped onto his velvet couch and unbottoned his fly, allowing his soft belly to fall over his waistband. (No this is not a real line in the book, but I think its funny.)

The final part of Draft Three is a self copy-edit so the reader isn’t disgusted and confused by mistakes. Now I can give it to a first reader and get some feedback.

Draft Four is where I add the feedback and change the story as needed.

Draft Five is a heavy self copy-edit. This is also where I am going to start sending it out. If I happen to get any more feedback I use it to make the manuscript even better.

And on it goes.

So that’s my process, how many drafts do you go through?

 

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