Meet my Character – Okira

I had so much fun participating in the “Meet my Character Bloghop”. Maya Goode invited me, and I just couldn’t resist. It was a great opporunity to really define who Okira is.

1) What is the name of your character?
Okira is the offspring of a merman, and a witch. A magical, and very rare crossbreed.

2) When and where is the story set?
The story is set in the islands of The Sea of Tears on the world of Peyllen. It is a rich fantasy world where the inhabitants were birthed from the various elements, and their magic and make up reflect those elements. The Sea of Tears has been cut off from the rest of the world by a cult who control a kraken, and the kraken sees to it that no ship may enter or exit the Sea of Tears without the acolytes permission.

3) What should we know about him/her?
Okira is doubly cursed. Because of her heritage she can not enter the sea without the kraken feeling her magical essence and killing her. She was also cursed soon after her birth to die the moment she finds love.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
The acolytes have hunted witches to the brink of extinction, and once they learn of Okira they seek her out to use her latent magical essence in a ritual that will change the entire Sea of Tears.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Okira wants to return to the sea, her mermaid blood calls out for her to do so, but she can only do so if the kraken is dead.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Mermaid’s Curse. You can find blurbs from the book here, here, here and here.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?
I am working on the final chapters, and once finished will send it out to be edited and get a good cover. Once that is done it will be published. It should be by the end of October.

My Bio
I live in the cloudy state of Washington near Seattle with my three children, and a cat. Manager of a little store by day, writer by night, I’ve published 20+ short stories and three novellas. Mermaid’s Curse will be the first full length novel. I do all of my own cover art, but have learned that you (almost) always need a good editor. I started publishing in earnest in April of 2013.

To find me, my work, and a newsletter where you can sign up for a free book go to
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Maya Goode 1Maya Goode is a short story author, novelist, and poet. Raised by an amazing mercurial woman who shared neither blood nor race, she lives on the edge of identities and writes deeply honest stories about the human journey. She is an alumna of Dominican University of California and resides somewhere between mountains and the ocean. Her first novel, Remigium Rising, will be published in Spring 2015. You can visit her at


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~Meet Next Week’s Author – Scott Richards~ 

20140618_202924Scott is a California-based author where he is forced to live with all of the characters in his head. Despite what you may hear shrieked into the night air, he is a sad, crazy little man.

He is maintained by those familiar few for the rare nugget he spouts on occasion. These mad ramblings are recorded, then dictated back to old shoe-cobbling elves that have retired, but still like to “keep themselves busy” as stipulated per their Retired Original Union Group Home (R.O.U.G.H.) contract agreements.

Show your support for this noble cause.

Think of the children.

-Scott Richards
Author of the Darlicci’s Shroud series


Writing Backwards

I had an unusual solution to an old problem today. I’m probably not the first person to come up with this, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

I was working on a chapter for “Forgotten Ones” in which the two fates, Maylin and Jadina, are walking down a tunnel in search of a particular creature that will hopefully lead them to the big bad guy. I knew how it began, and how I wanted it to end, but the middle… not so much.

So, I started writing it backwards. I read the last paragraph and thought “how do they get to this spot”, and add a paragraph describing that. Then write the paragraph, or mini scene right before that.

For example….

June is walking down a path, and knows that the monster under the bed is at the end of the path. She’s going to walk down the path, see some interesting things on the sidelines, and eventually end up at the monsters den. She goes in the den, there is a little fight, and June ends up sitting on top of the monster with the monsters feet tied up.

So, that is my beat. I write the first section with June walking through the woods, and entering the den, no problem. I am really good at that part. I write the ending with June sitting on the monster, and a little quip about the monster having too many hands and not enough brains. But in the center I just have “battle”.

Battle scenes are the hardest scenes for me to write, which is annoying since a lot of my books have them. But what are you going to do… unless I try and find myself a co-author I’m stuck for it.

So, with this particular story that I am just making up on the spur of the moment, if I try writing it backwards as I just did with “Forgotten Ones” I would think… How did she get on top of the monster? Well clearly she had to have all his hand already captured so the paragraph before would be her locking up the last hand, then swinging her leg over the beast and having a seat.

Then what happened just before that? Well, it has a lot of hands, so she is going to have to dodge them as she is tangling them up in a long ribbon. (This is where I just realize she has a ribbon to tie up the hands.)

Before that, there needs to be some tension. Maybe the monster grabs her ankle and drags her down, and she manages to get herself loose by tickling him.

And just keep going backwards until I have a full story. (On a side note, this sounds like a fun story to write as a children’s book with pictures. Maybe some day.)

In other news…..

I now have nine books available on Kobo. I have two more in queue to be on Kobo, but they are coming.

“Forgotten One” is now 25,000 words long, and I am a little half way through the final edits. Plus the two chapters with battle scenes that I have to finish… sigh.

“Potion Shop” is almost done, also. I really need to just get that out there. Perhaps this weekend.

Character Creation

I wrote this tutorial on character creation a LONG time ago. (2001 I think). It’s been up on Elfwood ever since, so I thought I should share it here. Periodically I get comments from others about how it helped them flesh out their characters.

A person is not only a personality. They are experiences, hopes, joys, passions, and foibles all rolled into one little package. For a writer, you must not only create these in yourself, but for several, if not hundreds of other people as well. Those with the fullest detail, I have found, are actually far easier to write about then those who I know nothing about.

This list helped me keep significant details about certain characters strait when I was working on very long pieces. It also helped when I first started writing to really grasp character development in general.

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How to See

Sometimes stories don’t need words to be poignant. Like this short animation.

The imagery evokes the imagination. We can see the world unfold around her through sound, touch, and smell. We know that her world is completely in her mind, so she can be wearing a wizards outfit if she likes. The airplanes can be big whales swimming through the clouds. It’s all in our perceptions.

It also shows that she is a happy and cheerful little girl. If she had been scared the imagery would have been darker. The colors pale, brown, or black. Instead we see bright waves of color, and fantastic creatures.

In this little film, with only one word ever spoken, we get a glimpse of her personality, her imagination, and her faith in her little dog. It truly is good story telling.

This actually touches on a lesson I learned in high school. One of my english teachers took out a lot of pictures and lined them up around the room. She then had us write something about one of the pictures using everything except sight.

I think I wrote about a picture of a canyon. The mottled colors of red, orange, and brown, the blue sky peeking out between them still seems fresh in my mind. I remember thinking of whistling winds, and textures of rock. The cool smoothness of the walls, and rough ground cracking beneath your feet.

“How does a blind man see color?” she asked us. “How do you describe chocolate to a person who has never tasted it?”

Many writers take for granted that those reading our stories know where we are coming from. And this convention actually keeps the stories going. If you had to stop every ten words and explain to your reader exactly what you were talking about you probably wouldn’t get very far. Being able to say “She walked up to the door in her red pumps and knocked,” knowing that your audience will know what red, pumps, and a wooden door is, allows you to concern yourself with the story, and not the technicalities of language.

However, it is always good practice to describe a scene without using sight. If you can add the smells, sounds, textures, and feelings of a place, then you are reaching a little farther, drawing your reader in a little deeper, and truly making something we can lose ourselves in.

YA to the Rescue

Young Adult (YA) books have been inspiring a lot of movies lately. Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Twilight to name a few. These stories, though classified as young adult, actually have some hefty themes to them. Love, life, death, war, power, and laced with a little magic.

I happen to love the Harry Potter movies. They were imaginative, and beautiful, with a captivating story. Perhaps they were “young adult” when first written, but I, along with thousands of fans, watched as Harry, Hermione, and Ron grew into wizards capable of defeating even the largest army.

I suppose YA gives you a very simple way to add growth to a character. They simply grow up. However, the way in which they grow up, and the reaction of the characters to growing up can make a huge difference on the story.

We have Hermione, Katniss, and Bell. In these three stories you have two very different types of character. The first two are strong, independent women who fight for their lives, and the lives of those they love. They go to the ends of the earth to do what they think is right. Then you have an angsty teen who lays down and cries herself to sleep.

It is my opinion that Twilight did well for two reasons. First, young teen girls almost always go through the “Omg, he broke up with me, the world is ending” phase. I admit it. I did it. I am glad I grew out of it. Second… Vampires.

Almost all stories will see the growth of the characters. They will have obstacles to overcome, and their attitudes and beliefs will be tested. How they react to those situations… Well, as the writer it is ultimately up to you to decide that.