DebisZoo

Fantasy worlds. Magical inhabitants. Timeless battles between Good and Evil.

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Editing and Killing off Characters. . .

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“Summerbird’s Quest” is undergoing edit now (by me–eek!), and what an undertaking it is! I admit it’s difficult to take a knife blade to one’s own work, but every time I find something to fix, I seem to come up with another thing to fix that I think will make it better. And…you guessed it, I return still later and put it back the way it was! Has anyone come up with suggestions for developing a way to pretend that what you’re reading isn’t yours? How do you untangle yourself from your own characters and plots?

I know Faulkner is credited with saying, “In writing, you must kill your darlings,” but these guys are hitting back! I admit I’ve never brought anyone back to life (or unexpectedly killed them) after deciding their fate, but some of these characters are making me pull out my hair!

Ooh—I just told a fib! In “Dragon Rings” I went back and killed off someone after making them a minor character and had to make some major revisions for a couple of chapters to address her loss. She was a kid. It was kinda sad. Well, back to the editing grindstone.

If anyone out there wants to help—you get your name in the acknowledgments and a free e-book. And you get to make suggestions!

Summerbird Rises – Book 1 of An Act of Entreaty by Debi Ennis Binder

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“Summerbird Rises” by Debi Ennis Binder

“Summerbird Rises” begins the tale of Summerbird Asii, an inept young seer, who has spent her young life hiding her fractured magic. In a land where laws strictly prohibit magic, she has a flair for dull, common-sense and useless futures—unless her client is going to die very soon. Unless she wants is to be jailed or even executed, she is forced to let destiny continue on. When a tiny griffin appears in Summerbird’s home, needing a favor, things will never be the same for her. His request is simple—rescue several highborn Fey—the inhabitants of mystical Emythor—whose magic has been compromised. How? Perhaps by an evil mage who really doesn’t want her to interfere with his plans. Has Summerbird a choice? You don’t…but first, do you want to learn your magic? Follow the young seer as she learns who–and what–she really is, and why her Grandfather left her in a non-magical world with a well-used green-crystal ball, and the words, “This is your legacy. Forget anything you see in it.”

$2.99

Dragon Rings – Book 1 of The Ring-Witches of Nesht by Debi Ennis Binder

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Dragon Rings – Book 1 of the Ring-Witches of Nesht

Something dark and terrible is attacking the peaceable lands of Nesht, bringing death and ruin in the night and then vanishing back into the cold mists of the surrounding mountains. Two powerful Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe, join uneasy forces to investigate the ongoing—and very puzzling—destruction. How can something be formidable and vile enough to incinerate entire villages and tracts of forests, slaughter people and animals, yet leave behind massive amounts of valuable gold and jewels, and do so unseen? What do these savage invaders want? As their investigation continues, the two young warriors begin feeling, and then hearing something, seeking them out. The presence refuses to identify itself. But it is large and powerful, and capable of bringing scorching, mind-rending pain to the two Witches, and then despairingly apologizing for it. When Mayra finds a huge, bloodstained talon, she finally knows what is trying to connect with them…a Dragon. Once upon a time, Dragons were treasured allies of the Witches. But now, they are monsters, bringing death and ruin to everything they touch. Mayra and Wolfe must discover what has changed the beasts, once considered noble and altruistic. They will have to face down unknown enemies and betrayal from within to save a great black Dragon and his Clan from an ancient evil and savage enchantment. How can they stop a war the humans cannot possibly win, knowing that no matter what the outcome, the Ring-Witches have no hope of resurrecting their alliance with the mighty beasts that were once their companions. Mayra, Wolfe, and their small, fierce assembly of Witches travel far and hard to learn that there are some things worth more than a life, and causes that even Dragons will willingly die for.

$3.99

Christmas Shopping

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I’m done shopping! So happy, however, my fingers are so tired from all that Christmas shopping! Yes, I am an impersonal, lazy, online shopper. In the last few years, I have found it quite difficult to handle the crowds in stores. I get all shaky and nervous, then all sweaty and nasty. I finally have to cut it short and get out. Nothing leisurely or happy there.  Once in a while, I’ll try to sneak back into Walmart or Toys-R-Us…but this past holiday season, and the one last year, was beyond description. I won’t ever so into a large store at this time of year again.

So I discovered Amazon (among others), and everyone is happy again! Ok, some people might find that impersonal or lazy, but I spend just as much time shopping online, actually more, than the average frenzied shopper. I do more comparison shopping. I am a happier person and enjoy the holidays so much more.

Before I go, I want to let you know why I wrote this. I am a fairly honest person, and I do miss the smell of the cold and the old nip on the nose when out and about, but I don’t miss the awful crowds of loud people, no where to park, fighting over the last newest high-tech robot-killer, the endless lines at the checkouts. I miss hearing children laughing and seeing new toys, but not the ones screaming abuse at their parents and each other. I guess my point is Christmas was starting to be one long, horrible shopping trip in hell. By going online, in my jammies, with my coffee and cats, I search and pick and hunt. I think of the expressions on the faces of my loved ones when they open their weird gift, or their funny one, or the one they’ve wanted for many years. It was such a joy to finally find it.

My laptop is my new Santa.

Fantasy – Never Call it Dull

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In a recent post from Doctor MC, an author whom I follow, he says, “Lastly, fantasy means a simplified story. To explain what I mean by this, I have to tell you what a “story” is.” And he goes on to define the term story. If you follow me or my blog, you know that my books are primarily of the fantasy genre. Therefore, I felt compelled to write back to the good doctor, and gently correct some of his misconceptions.

You can find his article here: https://doctormcmadscientist.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/on-writing-fiction-and-writing-fantasy/

Here is my response.

Dear, dear Doctor,

I thought you were going to give us your thoughts about writing fiction and fantasy, but I see only your opinions on defining the two genres.

In the dry sense of defining fantasy it can mean a classification of fiction, indeed, but most who read the once-defined “swords and sorcery” kind of fantasy have a much grander of definition, where they know they will see a variety of creatures—non-familiar and not, doing magical things, fighting bad guys, triumphant good guys, all in a world that might be similar to ours, but might also be as different as orange skies and seas, blue people, and dragons soaring across the skies.

But in the sense of writing fantasy, you must first start with world-building. Your fantasy world must be developed and be a place where people can live, work, have families, and do what people do everywhere-exist. You must then create jobs, governments, laws, communities, houses, in fact, everything you would use to describe a city, town, or village anywhere in the world.

Once you have decided where and how your people will live, you must define them. Their appearance, kinds of people, their wants and dreams, what they aspire to and how they plan to get there.

In other words, fantasy must include a place where the reader can find themselves, and live the adventures alongside the characters. Because there must be adventures, that aren’t limited to our world’s rules and confines.

I don’t see a fantasy as a simplified story by any means. If anything, they are more complicated than your average work of fiction, because most of those writers are working with a civilization that already exists. They have only to decide where they will place their characters and plunk ‘em down. Half the work is already done.

You define a story quite well, but you certainly can’t be serious when you imply that fantasy doesn’t meet your definition of a story. How can you say it has no crisis, that it “goes nowhere,” that it is mundane, tedious, or relies solely on some central element that plods along (sex and violence, especially) dragging the poor reader with it.

If the writer’s story consists only of the elements you list, then no matter what the genre, it will not be an interesting story. It won’t take the reader anywhere; that reader will not get the opportunity to take a wonderful journey to a place that exists on pages and in their mind. How boring! I did note that you said ‘simplified story,’ but your sad elements could apply to any poorly written book.

I, too, would read my own books, and love the world-building and characters. Our versions of fantasies, as defined and written, are very different. But the world of books would be boring if they were the same, wouldn’t it?

Ta Da – A New Cover!

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I’m so happy to release the cover of “Summerbird’s Quest,” which will come out sometime in mid 2018. Thanks so much Adriana Musetti Dávila, for your talented, hard work! This manuscript is completed and I’m in the process of editing it so it might come out earlier (I hope!). Don’t forget, Book 1, “Summerbird’s Rise,” is available now, at it’s reduced price, only $1.99, until “Summerbird’s Quest” is released. You can find it on Amazon here:

Enjoy!

Summerbirds-Quest

The Unseelie Audience

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How many writers have ever jumped up in the middle of writing a scene and acted it out? You speak the words–if multiple parts so much the better! You go through the motions, express the emotions, use the proper facial expressions, perhaps even try out multiple ones that might better match a specific tone or words.
And then turned back to your computer to capture the moment–and four cats are standing there watching you. It’s clear from the expressions on their furry little faces that they find you quite fascinating, though not always for the right reasons. No, they are judging you…and finding you somewhat…lacking.

Don’t listen to them. They’re just upset because you weren’t using this time to feed or pet them or pay attention to them in the thousands of ways cat demand. But don’t assume for a moment that they don’t know what the Seelie or Unseelie Court is. Not for a moment…they’re still waiting for you to figure out which they belong to!

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