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Posts Tagged ‘Compton Crook Award’

Skean copy Next Saturday, the regular Owl Light blog series will resume. Today, I wanted to talk a little about my Young Adult/Cross-Over fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, and Balticon.

This weekend, I’m a guest at Balticon, the annual science-fiction and fantasy con sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Over the years, it’s been fun and a learning experience to serve as a Balticon Poetry Workshop leader, panelist, and contest judge. Plus, I’ve participated in book signings, author readings, Broad Universe rapid fire readings, publication parties, and this year for the first time, the art show. Not to mention, I love sitting in the audience enjoying other speakers and panels.

This year, I was lucky enough to have The Enchanted Skean considered for the Compton Crook Award (given for an author’s first speculative novel). To my surprise and delight, The Enchanted Skean was selected as one of 8 Finalists. Though I didn’t win, I was honored to be in the company of the 7 other wonderful Finalist books. And a quick congratulations to Chuck Gannon, author of Fire With Fire, on the win.

Now, owl-lovers, I haven’t forgotten you! For The Enchanted Skean, I created a race of owl shape-changers called featherfay who play an important part in the plot. In fact, these owls annoy, warn, and eventually save the central character, Beck. Without owls, our hero would have been captured and killed!

My idea for featherfays came from Welsh folklore. In The Mabinogion, two mages (wizards) get together and create a woman made of flowers to be the wife of a hero under a curse. The woman, Blodeuwedd, is beautiful beyond compare, but like flowers, her heart changes with the seasons. Eventually, Blodeuwedd betrays her husband – who is nearly killed by her lover. For her part in the plot, Blodeuwedd is changed into an owl. In some parts of Wales, owls are still called “flower face.”

So I just took the idea of a woman changing into an owl, and made the transformation a part of my featherfays or owl-sprites. Here’s a video some Snowy Owls who just might be able to change into a sprite if the moonlight is right and there’s a bit of magic in the air.

Intrigued by a race of shape-changing owls? Here’s a buy link for The Enchanted Skean.

Remember to visit next week for a post on Screech Owls.

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Beth-Barany_360by270-cropped Author and workshop leader, Beth Barany passed the baton to me on this blog hop. At the same time, she passed the baton to James C. Wallace II And Dan O’Brien. We’re all to answer 4 questions about our writing process. And almost every writer likes to chat about their writing process, so this is an easy post to write.

My Writing Process:
1- What are you working on now? Actually, I have several projects in the works. I know that seems like it would be confusing, but I have a short attention span, so it helps me to move from project to project until I’m nearing the end of the first draft. That said, when I work on a second draft, I focus on one book at a time. I’m currently writing the follow-up book to The Enchanted Skean (a Compton Crook Award Finalist), a YA science fiction novel, a YA urban fantasy, and a non-fiction historical book. Plus, I’m working on illustrations for a picture book.
2- How does your work differ from others in this genre? I think coming from both an illustration and writing background, I “see” the world of my books as I write them. Also, having taught creative writing, especially poetry, for over a decade, I think I bring the poetic emphasis on the senses to my prose.
box of clovers 3- Why do you write what you do? I believe the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, so it’s natural I’d include those things in my writing. I’ve been in love with myths, fables, fairy tales, and folklore since I was a child, so my writing and illustrations are filled with a sense of wonder. By the way, I found my first 4-leafed clover of 2014 today on a walk with my granddaughter – I’ve already slipped it inside the pages of a book. Once the clover is pressed flat and dried, I’ll add it to one of the jars of 4-leafed clovers I have on my shelves. Magic really is everywhere around us.
4- How does your writing process work? Something inspires me – a word, something I see or hear, an over-heard conversation, a “what if” thought about an ordinary moment. Then, I mull the idea over in my mind. Quite often, I dream parts of the story. By the time I actually begin writing, my fingers can’t keep up with my brain! Editing can be tiresome for me – but I know it’s necessary. I revise, polish, submit the manuscript to publishers, and repeat the process.

If I can wrangle a couple of writers into accepting the baton, I’ll post their bio and blog links here. Until then, keep on the look out for 4-leafed clovers! And here’s a question for you: Fellow readers (and writers), are you interested in a writer’s process?

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