Indie e-Con Scavenger Hunt 2018 – Stop #15

indie econ scavenger hunt

I’m so sorry to everyone who has been scrambling around trying to follow this scavenger hunt only to have it fall apart at stop 15. Moral of the story, don’t make commitments the week before a book release.

If you are just joining the scavenger hunt, you can find the first stop here On Kandi Wyatt’s blog as well as more instructions and a giveaway.

So without further ado, let’s welcome E. Kaiser, who will tell us a bit about herself and her writing process.


My top three most influential books may seem like A) a no-brainer, B) slightly surprising, and C) completely confoozling…. but it all makes sense, just give me a chance to explain!

A) The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings.
For any fantasy reader, or writer, especially in Christian circles, this is almost such a given that it goes without saying. But here I am, totally saying it! I was introduced to Tolkien’s delightful world at the age of 8 when I begged Mom to read aloud from the book she was reading in bed. It felt like “fairytales for adults”, all complicated and best of all, very, very long. I adored it from the first, and have ever since.

B) Robert Louis Stevenson, especially Kidnapped.
The complex but dynamic relationship of the unlikely pair who grow to be friends; the rather milk-toast David Balfour and volatile Allan Breck Stewart; it’s just the best thing ever. If you have not read this book, I am sad for you, and if you did but don’t know what I’m going on about with these characters… well, I have nothing to say. I’m literally speechless.
If you haven’t read it, I advise you do so immediately, and while you’re at it revel in the way Stevenson pits two opposites against each other, using their inherent conflicts within themselves to knit an entwined relationship that is unbreakable in spite of anything the world can throw at it.
Truly inspiring fictional people.

   And C) the King James Bible.

     Okay, don’t laugh. The lyrical language of the writing style, (or shall I say translation style, because that’s what era of language makes it so lyrical,) is simply inspiring. It can be daunting for many people to read it, they stumble and trip over the odd juxtaposition of words and the archaic phrasing.
But it is just exactly that which makes it so amazing! I’ve grown up reading it, but it wasn’t till I challenged myself to read it aloud, like a poem,  that I fell in love with the language and began to “see” the images beyond the words. Instead of just viewing it as a dry and stuffy old tome, it’s a marvelous window into the past of the English language, and for anyone who’s heard that “to get more visceral, use the Old English root-word”… well, this is a treasure trove of them.
Naturally you can’t just cut your vocabulary whole cloth from it’s pages, or you’ll confuse your readers muchly … but if you immerse yourself regularly in these words you’ll have a refreshed, and enchanting array of brilliant words to slip in where you need something with just the right amount of shine.

(As an aside, you’ll also increase familiarity with the Writ, which as a Christian should always be a good thing.)

  As for runners up, I’d go with the Prydain Chronicles, by Lloyd Alexander. They are very similar in vein to LOTR, but drawn from the flamboyant Welsh legends and infused with a poignancy that is hard to sum up. They are classic adventure literature with a band of rag-tag misfits, which always manage to be unique and interesting in spite of looking  at first glance like the stock-est of stock tropes. Perhaps it’s because Mr. Alexander was among the early users of this style, and so his works are in the pot that all the stocks get drawn from.

   Whatever it is, Taran and Eillonwy, & Co. (most especially Gurgi!) are delightful characters to follow around, and they have a lot of lessons to teach to readers, and to writers alike.

Then I’d have to say the remaining spot on the list goes to Samuel Shellabarger, and his ‘historic romances’ such as Captain from Castille, and my personal favorite, Prince of Foxes. (Love that title!) Although Prince of Foxes is set in the warring city states of Renaissance Itally, with all the rampant opulence and moral decay that era was known for, the moral of the story is strikingly forceful in it’s underhanded way… and the characters are forever unforgettable.

Swash-buckling, larger than life people in a time when life itself was largely uncertain, these books teach about pace and suspense, as well as pay off and surprising twists at the end. I recommend them to any mature writer who cares at all about history, or the telling thereof… or how to make your invented worlds feel compelling and real.

 My publication story goes like this: I was a tormented writer/child who firmly believed I’d never have a future with words, at all. (Certain negative siblings did not help!) “Writing was a waste of time and energy”, and I tried again and again to “do something more productive”. But I was miserable, plain and simple, if I didn’t release my creative energy out onto a page, and so I kept being drawn back to the imaginative realms that stormed through my dreams.

When my beloved youngest sister, best buddy, and fellow fantasy fan, was turning 16 I asked her if she’d like a book as a present, and if so what kind. She replied “I’d rather have one you wrote”. (This was a real blow to the heart, because I was a non-finisher on everything I’d ever dabbled in previously!)
I took the challenge by the horns, and in the month before show-time I wrung out over 50k of a novel, featuring Fia Brithin; as cliche-free as possible and filled with fun stuff I hoped she’d enjoy. It was the first time I’d actually finished anything of great length. (This stunt left me with major burnout, and I didn’t even want to look at the thing for years!)

  Abi-sis, however, loved it, and wanted to talk about it for months on end. She adamantly insisted “it wasn’t done yet” and plotted out what was needed, as well as cajoling me to co-plot the next… wait for , it… next four books.
Yep! Four books to go, one total rewrite to get started on. That was my “recover from burnout” strategy, courtesy of my dear sister and enthusiastic cheerleader! ( Or shall we say “slave driver”?)

    Seven years later I attended a very small writer’s event where a speaker extolled the virtues of getting one’s books online as e-books. After mulling it over long and hard, I did so, (but that was in late 2011, and the 2008 e-book boom had come and gone far away.)
Jeweler’s Apprentice didn’t achieve commercial success, but I did find some great fans, and a handful of readers were enough to convince me that Traitor’s Knife was called for, which I released in 2014.

Amid the stirrings on Fia’s book 3 I was blind-sided by a story idea that wouldn’t go away, so I told Abi-sis about it just to clear the air in my head. She loved it, eagerly pushing me to write it down. “Even as a short story! It’ll be fun!!!” she said.
I let it rip, and away it went the winter of 2014/2015; like a harpooned whale with the rope zinging through my hands. Thaw rocketed past novella stage, into novel length, split once, twice, and then again (3 novels, 1 origins novella) The ride was staggering, shocking, and sooo much fun.
I found myself blinking at the horizon spinning out with over twenty fairytale re-tellings linked together by two main royal families… and knew they were on the docket. They would be fun… and I would be busy for a long time.

I can’t recommend juggling two series at the same time, but “change is as good as a rest” and in some ways moving from the one world to the entirely different one does accomplish that. So… I’m not sure I’d be releasing Fia’s books really much faster even if I wasn’t dallying with the Fairytale Collection between times.

  Real Life keeps dragging me away, but I learn so much there that it’s worth it. A lock, stock and barrel move of the ranch from Western Nebraska to S.W Missouri inhaled a huge chunk of the years 2016 & ’17, so I’m only just now feeling steady enough on my feet to face the prospect of releasing the next book in each series.
( I did keep writing diligently through the mayhem, so I’ve got completed manuscripts, and near-completed ones; so the publishing process is the part that’s lacking.)

In between times just for fun, Abi and I hosted a Space Kitties Anthology, and it was so well received by participating writers that they called it back for an encore. Space Kitties 2; Searching the Cosmos is out in e-book, but not yet in print (because of the move.)
Space Kitties 3: The Ones They Left Behind stalled out in submission stages, (our lovely volunteer judges fell off the edge of the world! And so did we…) and I need to kickstart that project. Hopeful life has cleared up a little for folks out there, and we can re-stock our judging panel… as well as re-cast a call for submissions. (Entries were low for SpK3, which would result in a ‘not up to par’ end result. So we need more… but I’m too swamped to find them!!)  {And I don’t even have Gilder to frame for it!}

  I am motivated by really bad writing or things in books that make me mad. While truly great prose awes me into a state of intimidation; sluggish plots, dull cardboard characters, and insipid dialog are elements that make me throw that book aside and say “I could write better than that!” and then I charge off writing.

Perhaps it’s the Social Justice Warrior side of me… saving the world from truly terrible plot points.

So my themes can be summed up by what I “don’t” write.
I don’t write “practiced magick”; I’m agin’ it. You’ll not find “spells, incantations, or wands” in my books. The Fairytale Collection has many fantastical, fairytale elements, including somewhat magical things… but I make it clear they are part of the fairytale world, and not even close to edging into the “darker side” of art.

   I don’t write girls with zero agency, nor do they have to be “warrior chicks”. In fact, I enjoy the character conflict that arises when MC’s that aren’t at all equipped for this get tossed into water far over their heads. Then they learn how to swim… and we have fun watching them handle friends, choices and success along the way.

I don’t write “dumb boys” nor “brainless love triangles”. My male characters are every bit as real and individual as the many people, guys and girls, I’ve met in my life, and I like to keep them likable, a little bit conflicted, and having to work extra hard to make it through the challenges they face.

   Romance is only lightly included in most my stories, if at all. On the whole I find friendship and family to be much more underdeveloped themes, and I try to cultivate those and raise a lush crop of fun and heartwarming  elements there.
When a romance is involved (Fairytale Collection, you just can’t tell ’em without it!) it stays clean, respectful and uplifting.

Gore or gratuitous violence. While I’m a fan of some deep grit, and realistic danger, the absolutely unrealistic gore and totally un-workable mayhem tossed around out there makes me see red. Fight scenes should be realistic, to every degree possible. Damage should be commensurate with the actions that created it… and no one at all gushes blood the way R-rated films and video games portray it. (Take it from a girl who has butchered plenty of goats, chickens and bovine critters. Living creatures, even with more blood than a person has, aren’t ‘blood-filled water balloons’. They  don’t gush like writers like to portray.)

  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s important to teach real things via fiction, especially fantasy, since it can paint the truest mirrors in with to look at your own life. But I can’t stand MC’s who jump off roofs and never bust a femur or even twist an ankle; horses that never run away or misbehave; and using gold coins to pay for a drink. (Ack!!! Gold was super valuable!! That would be like throwing down a  thousand dollars for a cup of coffee…)

I really don’t care if a books’ characters eat stew every day of the week… just don’t have them pay for it with gold coins. I’m beggin’ ya.

   So what will readers find in my stories( regardless of genre)?  Deliberately crafted invented-realism that will resonate with the real world, and yet sweep you away to demonstrate an angle you may not have seen before.
Wild escapes and light filled vistas where the stone in the shoe has to be taken out, and the mountain may not need to be climbed if you can just persuade the Eagles to get you to Rohan… (“Fly, you fools!”)

   Most of all, subtle lessons of encouragement and bolstering to fight the good fight, every day,… right here, right now, right where the reader stands…

  Because that’s what really good fiction is all about.


Your clue for the scavenger hunt is: I

To learn more about me and to continue the scavenger hunt, head over to Erica Laurie’s blog.

Thanks so much for participating in the scavenger hunt! I hope you enjoy the rest of it!

 

4 thoughts on “Indie e-Con Scavenger Hunt 2018 – Stop #15

  1. Deborah O'Carroll May 19, 2018 / 5:49 pm

    Alan Breck Stewart and the Prydain Chronicles!! Also, great Princess Bride reference. XD I really enjoyed this look at the process! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tammy May 21, 2018 / 8:09 am

    Thanks for sharing your story! ❤️

    Like

  3. sarahtps May 21, 2018 / 10:38 am

    I love that you started writing because your sister wanted a book you wrote for her birthday. That’s so sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ekaiserwrites May 21, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Thanks, Deborah!!!! It’s no surprise that you approve of my book influencers!! 🙂

    And Sarah, I’d been writing for years at the time, but had Never FINISHed any long project. So that was a big first, and I made the agonizing leap to make Abi-sis happy! 🙂 ❤

    I'm glad I did. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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