Interview with Author Elizabeth Lavender

Introducing Elizabeth Lavender, author of The Spinning of Deception and Deception’s Hold, who has been kind enough to be interviewed by a interviewing amateur like me. Do Elizabeth a mitzvah and look at her books on Amazon, her Twitter and Facebook, and her web page/blog— all linked below.

ME: How, specifically, did you get the idea for the book series?

ELIZABETH: I would have to say I was inspired by a lot of different places.  I have always been a big sci-fi fan, leaning towards the Star Wars world and also Star Trek.  I love fantasy though, especially the Narnia and the Lord of the Rings series.  I also enjoy the supernatural/thriller element and so I really enjoy reading anything by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.  So the universe of my books, the world very much has the Star Wars feel to it.  The physical battles have the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings combination to them.  There is a much deeper battle that runs through the series though. That has the Narnia and the Peretti/Dekker element.  The storyline is all of these together.

ME: Describe the books, please.

ELIZABETH: The books are a combination of sci-fi/fantasy, but it certainly has the suspense/thriller element as well.  Running through all of the storylines are Christian themes/elements.   The series begins with a Dark Lord and the Black Dragon Commander that are using their forces to attack the galaxy and are planning something much bigger to use on the colonies.  We are introduced to the group that is trying to stop them, led by a “select few” called sunspearbearers.  One is a young man named Dante and the other is a young girl.  She is his same age, but she has been trained in secret all this time.  A truth from the past is revealed and it sets up a task for Dante.  While they try to figure out what the Dark Lord is planning and stop it, Dante gets closer to this battlefield he must face seemingly alone. He’ll be faced with the full Darkness and deception of the Dark Lord. The two sunspearbearers’ worlds must find a way to come together before they lose everything they hold dear to the Dark Lord’s deception.

ME: What were some of the challenges you experienced during the writing process?

ELIZABETH: The writing part thus far has come easy because the story is just flowing.  The part that is not so much fun is revising and the publishing/marketing part.  With revising, it is difficult because after a while when you have read through your own writing so many times it’s hard to know if you really need to change something or if it’s good to go.  You can’t tell if you are improving it anymore. The publishing and marketing part uses a whole other part of the brain that is so different from the writing part that it feels like you are stumbling around lost half the time!

ME: What was the greatest joy you experienced during the writing process (if any)?

ELIZABETH: The writing itself is a joy.  I have scenes in my head, dialogue there already waiting to be written for future books in the series.  It is awesome when you to get to that part in the series, type it, read through the scene, and realize it came alive on paper just like you pictured it.  You want the reader to feel the laugher in that scene, or the Darkness in that scene, or the hope that could still be found, or the emotional weight of that scene, or the spark of romance starting between two characters…  You smile because you know you nailed it.

ME: Describe how your Christian faith helped you get through the writing process.

ELIZABETH: My faith is extremely important to who I am.  I am a Christian, my faith is in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  My faith has guided my writing.  Yet, the books will not come out and say Jesus or God in any of the series because I want the writing to reach a broad audience.  I want readers to ask questions.  I had to have a storyline that draws the reader in first, and I hope that has been done.

ME: What can we look for in the series? Is there anything else that runs though it to be prepared for?

ELIZABETH: The series is about the physical battlefield with blasters/sunspears. Yet it is much more about the deeper battle that marks the first two books. Deception and Darkness and everything they bring with them will continue to create battlefields that the characters must struggle with.  Those battles can be harder for them than ones with sunspears and far more costly.  It may also get them into some awful situations because their enemy is cruel.  It seems bleak, and their struggle seems to break them at times. Even as they face such Darkness, I believe you will find another thread throughout the series.  I will let you read for yourselves and figure that one out.

ELIZABETH LAVENDER AUTHOR BIO:

Elizabeth Lavender is the author of the Sunspear series.  Originally from the Alabama coast, she currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Jeff, and her two children.  She has a Master’s in counseling from Dallas Baptist University and has studied psychology and English as well.  She enjoys science fiction and fantasy and hopes to bring some of that same enjoyment to others. 

THE LINKS!!!

Come on! Click on the links to Elizabeth’s stuff! You know you want to!

Here are the Amazon links for The Spinning of Deception (Book 1)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZLS4HL1   (e-book/kindle) 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1951741013 (paperback)

Here is the Amazon links for Deception’s Hold (Book 2)

eBook link : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085PV3GQP

Paper back : https://www.amazon.com/dp/1951741048

Fixing Your Pathetic Facebook Author Page

Do you have a Facebook author page? Is it totally pathetic like mine? Facebook pages used to be a fun thing and easy enough to gain followers on, for free. I used to ‘like’ as my page a few dozen other pages on the same or similar topics, and I’d interact with those pages as my page and share cool posts from them that were related to the topic of my page and life was good.

Then Facebook changed pages and there was no longer a feed of stuff you liked as your page so you had to relike it as you and since Facebook no longer showed your page posts to most of the people who’d liked your page unless you spent advertising money with them life was not so good.

I had planned to delete my author page. But then I found out that my WordPress . com blog would no longer syndicate my blog posts to a Facebook personal page, nor to a Facebook group (which is probably good.) The only way was to keep syndicating to my author page.

Facebook author pages, like other pages, now suck, but there are ways to make them suck less. They won’t be as popular as they were back in the day, but without spending a dime there are things you can do, right now, today, to make your Facebook author page better.

  1. Post something on your page today. Something personal, posted directly on Facebook and not through Buffer or WordPress. Preferably something relatively on topic, or something about your cat. (All authors have cats, right?) And post something tomorrow, and the day after, and so on for the next 7 to 14 days.
  2. Syndicate your blog posts to your FB author page. WordPress lets you do that right when you post. With Blogger, you have to do it by hand (which FB likes better, anyway) or do it through your Buffer account. That means your author page will have new content every day you blog. Continue doing this with every blog post you write for the next 7-14 days.
  3. Find the author blog list and “like” other author blogs. Share some of the nicer posts to your own FB author page. Try to find a fresh author FB page to “like” every day for the next 7-14 days. Extra credit: Find this blog’s ‘Contact Me’ page and use the email form to let me know the URL of your FB author page so I can add you to the list. Let me know your genre(s) as well— I am going to be adding that to the list in future.
  4. Make a FB author page list for your own blog. OK, if you don’t have a blog (yet,) you might make a ‘note’ on your FB author page itself that includes your list. Or some other online place. NOTE: I tried to add FB author pages to a Blogger blogroll and Blogger could not detect a feed for that page, so that’s one idea that won’t work.
  5. Do ‘Housecleaning’ on your author page. Is your profile pic for your author page an actual picture of you? People relate to actual people pictures. A relatively current photo is nice unless you are as old and decrepit as me. I use older photos. I had thought of commissioning an artist to do an anime-style me, but haven’t got around to that yet. But make sure you take down any stuff on your author page that no longer belongs there. I have an old picture of a kitten in a boot (cover picture) that needs to be replaced by a new ‘kitten in boot’ picture, but alas I didn’t take one when my current three kittens (Jon-with-Rice, Moira and Declanna) were small enough to fit in boots.

Do these things, or some of these things, right now, today, and for the next 7-14 days. At the end of that time, your author page may not be as epic as FB pages used to be, but it will be better. And more useful to your writing career (or future writing career.)

My Facebook author page: (Please visit & ‘like!’) https://www.facebook.com/nissalovescats

My Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy FB group (author networking) https://www.facebook.com/groups/366357776755069/

Readers Group for Christian SF & Fantasy FB group (book promos allowed if in genre) https://www.facebook.com/groups/620983407928009/

Conservative Hispanic Writer Jon Del Arroz banned from Worldcon Sci-Fi convention

I just found out one of my favorite authors, Jon Del Arroz, has been discriminated against by ‘Worldcon’, an alleged science fiction convention. I have interacted with Jon online and he’s a decent human being and kind to weird people like me. But someone doesn’t like the fact that he’s conservative. Or Hispanic. Or Christian. Or that he wears a USA ball cap sometimes. Or that his name means ‘Jon with rice’ in Spanish.

According to Megan Fox of PJ Media, Jon Del Arroz has been banned from Worldcon 76 even though he is the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction, and that he bought a ticket. They are not even refunding his money.

Their reason is that they are mind-readers and somehow know that he is planning to ‘engender a hostile environment.’ Actually, they are engendering hostility when they ban probably the only Hispanic conservative sci-fi author that had paid to attend.

Read more here: https://pjmedia.com/trending/sjws-bar-conservative-hispanic-writer-worldcon-claiming-racist-bully/

I have recently read Jon Del Arroz’s book, For Steam and Country. It is a steampunk novel with a female main character and other characters who are females in powerful positions. I could well imagine a good liberal teacher reading the book, noting the Hispanic author and strong female characters, recommending the book to students. The book can be enjoyed by various political points of view. Here is the link to the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071JNR9HB

I’m asking all the readers of this: if you like science fiction, or even if you just like not discriminating against the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction just because he is conservative, or Christian, or allegedly planning a thoughtcrime, PLEASE do something to help. Spread this blog post at Megan Fox’s article over all your social media.

You can also get in contact with Jon Del Arroz.

Web Page/Blog: http://delarroz.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jondelarroz

GAB (a free-speech alternative to Twitter): https://gab.ai/otomo

NOTE: Jon Del Arroz is a nice guy who is nice to me even though I have Asperger Syndrome. So if you go online to bully him, I’m getting out the big guns: I’m calling out the SAINTS on you. So if you bully, expect to become a Catholic.

Interview with Moira Greyland, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley

I am excited and pleased to have an interview with Moira Greyland, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and author of the new book The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon, which tells the story of Marion Zimmer Bradley and her husband, Walter Breen. I am a very former Marion Zimmer Bradley fan, since learning about MZB’s misdeeds made me aware of all the questionable content in her books. In case you are unaware of Marion Zimmer Bradley, she was the author of the Darkover series, which I liked, and the Mists of Avalon, an Arthurian legend I didn’t much care for. And now, here is the interview. My questions are in bold.
Please tell a little of what your new book is about.

My book is a biography of my famous gay parents, Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of The Mists of Avalon, and Walter Breen, coin expert and convicted pedophile.  It is about how being raised by gay people who have a sex-positive philosophy affected my life, and that of the other children in their orbit.

It seems like other people knew about your father’s sexual attraction to kids but figured that it wasn’t proven to have really harmed the kids. Do you feel they are guilty/responsible for protecting your father?
Anyone who did not stop my father when they had direct knowledge of his crimes will have to answer to a higher court than any of us here.  I do understand how hard it is to swim against the tide.  The usual social consequence is ostracism, and worse, not being believed.

 

Do you feel legalized gay marriage is harmful or helpful to the children of such marriages?

Gay marriage puts children into a situation where normalizing non-mainstream forms of sex is the basis for the relationship.  It denies children a normal model of male-female relationships, and puts undue pressure on them to imitate their parents.  Even if the pressure is tacit, it can be nearly impossible to avoid.  The children of gays I have spoken with have almost invariably been molested, and have tried to become either gay or trans themselves.  Even in the best case, where a child is not molested or openly pressured, children imitate their parents, since our parents are our models for humanity.  Also, since our parents will have openly rejected either a male or a female, we can struggle with the rejection either of our sex or the other sex.

Do you feel that the ‘Free Amazon’ storylines in your mother’s books were intended to wean women away from traditional ideas about marriage?

Yes, of course they were.  Between that and a host of other feminist books, women were meant to abandon husband and family in favor of “meaningful work” and “self-actualization.”  This has led to a lot of unhappy women living alone, and unable to find a husband.  Many will struggle, as I did, between wanting the husband and kids and wanting the career.  We are supposed to be able to have both, but it is exhausting.  Women should not be shamed for wanting a family.

I have heard that you have PTSD. Did that make it harder to write this book?

Yes.  My Complex PTSD symptoms made writing this book nearly impossible at times.  Between flashbacks, panic attacks, and periods of incapacitating depression, it is certain that the book would have been finished much sooner if I had had no symptoms.

In your book you tell you became a Christian. Has your faith made it easier to come to terms with your past?
Yes, I am a Christian.  I am not certain what coming to terms with my past means though.  I am focused on the present and on the future.  The past mostly intrudes in my life through symptoms, and I try not to dwell on it, the book notwithstanding.  My faith in God is the core of strength in my life, and His love for me reminds me that I have things to do, places to be, and most importantly, people to love.

 

Do you have a favorite poet, author, composer, book? Please share.

Too many to name.  Poets?  My taste runs to song lyrics for the songs of Debussy and Richard Strauss.  Ordinary poets I love include Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Gorey, and Ogden Nash, to name a very few.  Authors I love include C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engel, Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Georgette Heyer, Tom Clancy, and Brad Thor. Composers I love include Puccini, Verdi, Brahms, Mozart, Mahler, Beethoven and Howard Shore.  My favorite book is the Bible.  Other books on that list would make it too long of a list.

Moira Greyland

End of Interview.

I might mention that I have read Moira Greyland’s book. It deals with a very adult subject, the sexual abuse of children. But I feel Moira Greyland did a good job of tackling this subject without dwelling too much on sexual details that many readers might not like being exposed to. I think it is a good book that can make the reader more aware of sexual child abuse and the problems in some Gay households. And it also tells us a bit of the history of science fiction and fandom in the era when her mother was active it it. I hope many who read this blog post will buy a copy. Just don’t let your nine-year-old read it.

How to write like uber-popular author Louis L’Amour

Louis L’Amour was born in 1908 and died in 1988. The heyday of his writing career was in the 1950s and 1960s. But— a few weeks ago I went into WalMart in the book section to find a Louis L’Amour book still available.

What is the secret of Louis L’Amour’s fiction-writing power? Why is he, a writer known for writing Westerns, not the most popular genre today, still on the WalMart buyer’s mind as someone to keep in stock? It may be in the nature of the very first book Louis L’Amour published.  A book of his poetry called Smoke from this Altar.

You see, here is the difference between writing a novel and writing poetry. In a novel there are thousands of words, and a writer who worries overmuch about whether word 27322 is exactly the most powerful and best word for that position doesn’t finish many novels. Words and sentences in a novel can be bland or dull, so long as the action in the novel keeps coming and you find ways to make readers identify with the characters.

In a poem, every word counts. A novel can have unnecessary words, sentences and even paragraphs so long as they don’t interfere with the flow of the story. A poem must not have a single word that does not serve the poetic purpose. The words in a poem must be powerful and evocative. Even the sounds and rhythms of words must be considered in a poem.

So what happens when a poet, or someone who loves and reads poetry, writes a novel? The language gifts of the poet may find their way into the prose, making it more powerful. Here is an example taken from L’Amour’s ‘The Sackett Brand.’

“The trouble was, when I walked out on that point my mind went a-rambling like wild geese down a western sky.

What I looked upon was a sight of lovely country. Right at my feet was the river, a-churning and a-thrashing at least six hundred feet below me, with here and there a deep blue pool. Across the river, and clean to the horizon to the north and east of me, was the finest stand of pine timber this side of the Smokies.

Knobs of craggy rock thrust up, with occasional ridges showing bare spines to the westward where the timber thinned out and the country finally became desert. In front of me, but miles away, a gigantic wall reared up. That wall was at least a thousand feet higher than where I now stood, though this was high ground.”

Lest you think the above example was too descriptive, rest assured that someone gets shot by the end of the page. It still is an action-packed western. It’s just that L’Amour knew how to use language very well, as a result of his work as a poet. So he could through in a good bit of description that could bring the West to life.

If you are curious about the poems of L’Mour, his book ‘Smoke on the Water’ is available and so you can see for yourself. But until you get so far, here is an example poem that tells a Western story.

I have three friends, three faithful friends,
more faithful could not be-
and every night, by the dim firelight,
they come to sit with me.

the first of these is tall and thin
with hollow cheeks, and a toothless grin,
a ghastly tare, and scraggly hair,
and an ugly lump for a chin.

the second of these is short and fat
with beady eyes, like a starving rat-
he was soaked in sin to his oily skin,
and verminous, at that

the crouching one is of ape-like plan,
formed like a beast that resembled man:
a freakish thing, with arms a-swing,
and he was the third of that gruesome clan.

the first I stabbed with a Chinese knife,
and left on the white beach sand,
with his ghastly stare, and blood-soaked hair,
and an out-flung, claw-like hand;

the fat one stole a crumbling crust,
that he wolfed in his swinish way-
so i left him there, with eyes a-glare,
and his head cut of half-way.

we fought to kill, the brute and i,
that the one that lived might eat,
so i killed him too, and made a stew,
and dined on human meat.

and so these three come to visit me,
when without the night winds howl-
the one with the leer, the one with a sneer,
and and one with a brutish scowl;

their lips are dumb, but the three dead come
and cough by the hollow great-
the man that i stabbed, the man that i cut,
and the gruesome thing that i ate.

their lips are sealed, with blood congealed,
but they will not let me be,
and so they haunt, grim, ghastly, and gaunt,
till death shall set me free.

i have three friends, three faithful friends,
more faithful could not be-
and every night, by the dim firelight,
they come to sit with me.

Banning ‘white’ male heterosexual authors from publishing

neganlucilleRecently I’ve read about the scheme to stop ‘white’, male, and/or heterosexual authors from publishing for a year. Also there are special snowflakes out there who are personally boycotting such authors and encouraging others to go thou and do likewise.

Now, I know there are folks out there who think there is nothing more important that judging authors and other people by their sex, skin color or sexual behavior. But, really, is this proposed ban really necessary? Or possible?

Since the major publishing houses are run by left-of-center people exclusively, I’m sure many would participate in such a ban. Except for the fact that anti-discrimination laws on the books make it illegal. But what would happen if the laws were changed to make the ban possible?

The first thing banned authors like James Patterson would do would be self-publish. If the major self-publishing firms were participating in the ban, any web site that lets people download files in exchange for cash would do. And some struggling authors would publish e-books for free if that was the only way to get their work before the public for a year.

But what about the authors that stood to gain from the ban— the female, queer and/or person-of-color authors? Established authors in these categories might sell more books without being tainted, but for the young, up-and-coming authors, the ban might only get them noticed as ‘second-rate’ writers that needed special help to get their work published, in the form of a ban on competing, more popular authors. Some of these authors actually are second-rate, but only because they are young writers who haven’t yet grown as writers the way older, more established authors have. But if they gain their first writing contracts because of then ban, much of the public will see them as permanently second-rate.

What about the authors who, for whatever reason, keep their true sex, race or sexual behavior private? Will they be included in the ban unless they give up their privacy? If they are not, what is to keep the dreaded ‘white male heterosexual’ author from creating a minority female pen name to publish under? There was once a famous Gothic romance novelist who was, years later, revealed to be a male author. So readers can’t necessarily tell.

Finally, what if the publishing world, left-leaning as it is, decides to extend the ban— perhaps only in the case of certain authors who aroused ire by complaining about the ban or by self-publishing in spite of the ban. Or authors suspected of having conservative views which the left loves to characterize as being ‘racist.’ I would think an author under a five year publishing ban might find his career might never come back from it.

We haven’t yet got to the point where a publishing ban has gone through. But there are signs out there that a lot of influential people believe that such a ban, for the sake of ‘diversity,’ might be the only right thing to do.

Fighting Censorship: CTRL ALT Revolt.

 

66e97ea9f8371e1ba7fb1f7470515d72-bpfullhttp://www.amazon.com/CTRL-ALT-Revolt-Nick-Cole-ebook/dp/B01BKWKBCS/

Once upon a time, science fiction was the genre for the thinking man. Now, some thoughts are forbidden— thoughtcrimes— at least as far as megapublisher Harper Collins is concerned. In ONE CHAPTER of Nick Cole’s book, a Thinking Machine decides that if humans abort their own young, they might react to the advent of Thinking Machines the same way. It wasn’t a major theme of the book. Just a moment. But it had to be censored. Read more about the story here: http://www.nickcolebooks.com/2016/02/09/banned-by-the-publisher/

But there are some things to Celebrate about this sad situation. Nick Cole turned to self-publishing, and his book is now available to the public both in Kindle and in paperback version. As Stephen King, a left-wing writer once said, if you find that they are banning a certain book, READ THAT BOOK. As trad-publishing becomes more and more centralized in just a handful of companies, we need to become indie readers, and not just suck off the politically correct publishing teat.

Another thing to Celebrate is that it is SO easy to fight back against censorship these days. Even if you are a ‘nobody’ as far as the world is concerned. You can just start Tweeting Nick Cole’s blog post (link above) and sharing it on Facebook and blogging about it. For that matter you can Tweet/share THIS blog post. You don’t need to leave your house or even get dressed. Just do it!

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. You can find the blog hop here: http://lexacain.blogspot.com/2015/01/celebrate-small-things.html

Do you have a Facebook author page? I have one, here: https://www.facebook.com/nissalovescats/        Please visit sometime! There are kitten pictures. And you can share a link to your author blog and I will like it if possible.