Category Archives: Audra’s World

May Magic

For May Magic, we here at the WOTI site are answering the question, “If you could have one magical ability, what would it be?”

So many possibilities, it’s difficult to choose.

Initially, I thought time travel would be fun. Experience history first hand. Change some unfortunate events. But my son informed me I can’t change history, quoting the Destiny Trap. Apparently my twelve year old understands more about time travel than I do. At any rate, given the paradox potential, it seems a futile ability.

Invisibility appealed to me. How handy would it be if I could disappear at will? Avoid annoying people, stay in my PJs all day, scare the pee-diddle out of friends and neighbors. Except if the government found out about it, I’d probably end up having to do some kind of spy work. Sounds exciting, but I really don’t want to know the ins and outs of terrorist cells and the like. I’d lose too much sleep.

But the need for sleep…that gave me the idea for my ideal magical ability. I’d like to be able to freeze time. While everyone else stands still, I could take a cat nap here and there. I’d have time to work out, to clean, to finish my novels, learn a new language, maybe even cure cancer, who knows? Limitless time would mean limitless possibilities.

The great thing about exercises like this is how it can really get the creative juices flowing. I’m taking my frozen time power and writing a short story around it. Stay tuned for more of the WOTI authors’ thoughts on magic, and if it gets your creative juices going, leave a comment and share what your magical power would be!

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Recycling

Recycling doesn‘t have to be limited to aluminum, paper, and plastic. I recycle my prose.

Case in point – a while back I had this idea for an Ugly Duckling type fantasy story. It was going to be funny and meaningful… except that it turned out to be trite. So I shelved it, frustrated that the touching story in my head did not translate to something palatable for others when I put it on paper.

Then I had this really sick idea. Instead of a happy ending, what if I threw in this warped Twilight Zone style twist? I honestly didn’t think it would work – trying to combine sick and twisted with humor. So I ignored my instincts and left the story on the shelf.

Then a friend of mine asked me for a short story for his speculative fiction anthology. I dusted off my trite Ugly Duckling story and gave the new disturbing ending a shot. As it turned out, the storyline I doubted actually worked.

The great thing about writing is, nothing is ever a total failure. Even if the end product is a bust, there’s always a chance you can salvage part of it for another project. Use one of the characters in a different storyline, steal that lovely bit of description in another setting, or try a new, out-of-the-box ending and see what happens. The possibilities are endless. I once took a goofy story I wrote in third grade and made it into a funny sci-fi story.

Being ‘green’ with my words presents a fun challenge. Sometimes the end result is a great piece – and sometimes it’s just more fodder for my recycling bin.

Check out my short story, The Witch’s Cure!

http://www.amazon.com/Return-Sandahl-compendium-Methanasia-Troubadour/dp/1493595547/

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Tinkering

I love the tinkering stage of writing. Once the entire story has been roughed out and I can go back in and add details, smooth out the rough spots. It’s enormously satisfying to enrich the story with description, catch inconsistencies, correct nits. However, somewhere in the process of perfecting my manuscript, I have a tendency to get a little manic.

I can’t believe I describe him getting up when I never had him sit down in the first place. How did I miss that? A ‘you’re’ that should be a ‘your?’ Ugh, what is wrong with me? What color were his eyes again? I know I’ve double checked this already, but I need to be sure. Again, I wish I had a binder with all of my characters’ descriptions and back stories all laid out, but by the time I did all of that I could write a whole new novel. Thank goodness for the ‘Find’ function. ‘Find: Theron’ skim, skim, skim – oh right, green eyes. I knew that. Did they have carriages in the Middle Ages? Does it matter? It’s a fantasy novel, in my world there are carriages. No, I’d better look that up.

 

I have literally found myself poring over a ten pound dictionary at midnight, trying to determine the origin of the word pants. Hmmm, not showing a Middle English or Latin origin so definitely too modern to use. Looks like it’s short for pantaloons. Pantaloons is an old fashioned word to be sure, but sounds kind of frufruish. What did Medieval people call pants?

 

It never ends. Thank goodness for deadlines or I might still be tinkering with book one.

 

BUY Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Hitchhiker-ebook/dp/B00GFW97HE/

http://www.amazon.com/Watcher-Audra-Middleton-ebook/dp/B00AXVCA0E/

 

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Love in a fantasy world

Creating a fantasy world means coming up with your own set of cultural norms. When it comes to love, what does it look like? Does age matter? Does gender matter? Does social class matter? What’s expected? Do people always meet those expectations?

For my fantasy setting, I started with a western medieval culture, and then made changes to suit my characters and my personal style.

In medieval times, people married very young. The legal age for marriage was 12 for a girl and 14 for a boy. It just didn’t sit right with me to have my characters married off while they were still practically babies, so I bumped it up closer to twenty in my world. In medieval times, marriages were arranged for political reasons based on monetary worth. So people rarely married outside of their own social class, and never really married for love. In my world, arranged marriages based on social class is the norm, but the couple would likely know each other ahead of time and would probably have a say in whom they were to wed. I wanted romantic love to have a place in my world.

One of the things I did to break free from the medieval box was to have a culture on the “other side of the mountains” that was more advanced than most of the kingdoms in my world. So one could assume that even the less advanced kingdoms have been influenced by the advanced culture. This gave me just the right amount of wiggle room to work with. For instance, if someone chose a different path than monogamy or heterosexuality, they could do so without fear of getting put to death for it.

So in the end, love in my fantasy world is very relatable and recognizable to the modern reader. It’s just that in my world, people might have to conquer evil empires, slay a dragon, or save the world from doomsday prophecies before they can be together.

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Hello, my name is Dori

I have the short-term memory of Dori. I have trouble keeping my own kids’ names straight. How on Earth did I manage to write two fantasy novels? Seriously, I’m asking.

Think about it – with a fantasy novel, you have to create a whole new world with a history, cultures, geography, government. And all this is just the setting, you also have to keep characters and story arcs straight.

I have talked to other fantasy writers, seen interviews. Many keep binders with detailed maps, character profiles, history and legend outlines. Yeah, I should do that.

In real life I’m a planner. I like to have goals. I like to make lists and cross things off as I accomplish them. I like to know what’s in store. But in my writing life – it doesn’t work that way. I can make all the plot plans I want, in the end my characters run the show. I’ve learned it’s best to go where they lead rather than try to fight them.

So how are all these characters, story arcs, history, geography, and cultures all fitting together in a cohesive story? The universal search function in Word certainly helps. Can’t remember if the soldier, Duncan, has a beard or not? Run his name & I can find his every reference in my manuscript. Best function ever.

And I do keep notes, sketch maps. They’re scribbled in chicken scratch on old envelopes and various other scraps of paper, crammed into a dilapidated journal, but they’re there if I ever need to refer to them.

But mostly I think my characters must know what they’re doing. The pictures in my head play out, the pieces fit together, and the result is an entertaining story that takes the reader to a whole new world. The magic of imagination.

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My favorite lines…

My latest novel, Hitchhiker, a humorous paranormal thriller, is now available at most ebook distributors. Here are a few of my favorite lines …

1. “Oh God, I’m going to end up naked in Pike Place Market again.” – Jack

2. There are two kinds of people in this world: those with power and those who get screwed by those with power. Jack knew he’d never be one with power, so he had always done what he could to enjoy the lay.

3. “I am Fear. I am Doubt. I am Reason. You cannot rid yourself of me, nor should you wish to.” – Clark

4. She looked like a cross between an aging hippie and an over-the-hill hooker.

5. “I’m a folder. I fold under pressure. Harris even said so. Bend me, crease me, stuff me in an envelope. I fold.” – Ainsley

Of course the best line is when Special Agent Claudia James redefines sex, but I’ll make you buy the book to see that one ;).

Buy links:

http://www.amazon.com/Hitchhiker-ebook/dp/B00GFW97HE/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid

http://burstbooks.ca/product.php?id_product=110

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Hitchhiker interview with characters #3

hitchhiker ecover

My new humorous paranormal thriller, Hitchhiker, will be available as an ebook next week! In honor of its release, I’m interviewing characters from the book here during my regular posts. Today Jack Conway is here with us. Thanks for being here, Jack!

My pleasure, pretty lady. What can I do for you?

So, you’re a charmer.

It’s what I do.

What do you do, for the FBI, I mean?

Oh, I do a little consulting for them.

So, you’re an expert of some kind? What type of consulting advice do you provide for them?

Let’s just say I know a thing or two about the criminal mind.

Don’t they have an entire department of experts in criminal behavior?

Sure, sure. But why consult with some stiff in a suit when they can work with a handsome devil like me?

Because they might rather work with professionals than a criminal. You do have a criminal record, don’t you?

Oh, I’ve had some run-ins with the law. Misunderstandings with some ex-girlfriends. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Getting swindled out of thousands of dollars would make anyone furious, Mr. Conway.

Just misunderstandings about some investments, that’s all. Now I have a question for you. Are your legs tired? Because you’ve been running through my mind this whole time.

Ugh. I think that’s all I can stand for today. I hope you’ll check out my book, Hitchhiker, and get to know the rest of the FBI freak squad.

Hitchhiker – available at Burstbooks.ca, Amazon.com, and most ebook distributors next week.

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Character Interview

In anticipation of my new book, The Hitchhiker, I will be interviewing some of its characters here during my monthly posts. Today I have invited Ainsley Benton, a former army brat who has recently been recruited by the FBI’s Department of Interagency Investigations. Thanks for joining us, Ainsley!

You do know you’re talking to yourself, right?

No, I’m speaking to a fictional character and all those who follow this blog.

If you say so.

I do. So, Ainsley, tell us about your new job.

I am a records clerk for the old files the FBI hasn’t had time to put into the computer yet. I also substitute teach for their Juvenile Training Department, otherwise known as ‘the brood of vipers.’ Really they’re just smart kids who like to torture their teachers. Oh, and I am a sketch artist for their Department of Interagency Investigations.

Yes, tell us about the DII.

I don’t think the public is really supposed to know about us.

Right, and that might be a problem if you weren’t a work of fiction.

Touché. So we’re like the backward X-Files. Instead of regular people solving bizarre cases, we’re bizarre people solving normal cases. And the only sketches I am capable of are stick figures. My DNA hitches a ride on other people’s central nervous systems, which makes me a human surveillance device. That’s my real job with the FBI.

I see, and how’s that working out for you?

Well, it’s not boring.

Do you see yourself sticking it out with the FBI then?

I can’t even commit to a cell phone plan. And are you sure ‘sticking it out’ is a good choice of words? Sounds kinda dirty.

Okay, that’s all for now, folks. Join me next month for an interview with the DII’s analyst, Dylan Miller.

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Being Evil

Some of my favorite characters to write are the evil ones. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it’s true.

Evil characters are often driven in their purpose, and so it’s pretty easy to figure out how they will handle any given situation. They will do whatever it takes to attain their goal and they don’t usually get hung up on the moral implications that might make a ‘normal’ character waver.

What really makes writing villains interesting is coming up with their back story. What makes them so evil? Nothing boring, that’s for sure. I think the best villains are the ones that have a good reason for doing what they do. Magneto tries to dominate regular humans because they have mistreated mutants for decades. Luke in the Percy Jackson series betrays the gods because his father, Hermes, abandoned him and his mentally ill mother. The evil ambassador in my fantasy series plots to take over the world because he feels his people are superior intellectually and spiritually. They’re evil, but they give you something to think about.

There’s also something cathartic about playing the villain. If I’m in a really rotten mood, I can just put on my villain suit, cackle wickedly, and behave badly (on paper, that is). I do this and diabolical dialogue and plots come easily. So do murder scenes, which is a bit unsettling.

Should I really be good at describing the sound a bat makes when it hits a person’s skull full swing? What made me think of that serial killer’s twisted M.O.? How long before the FBI comes knocking at my door for researching how car bombs are made? Sometimes I feel like I need a shower (and a lawyer) after writing in a bad guy’s point of view.

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Abomination 777 Challenge Post

Our 7, 7, 7 challenge continues here on the WOTI blog! Today I am posting 7 lines from page 7 of one of my latest works in progress, a fantasy novel called Abomination (the sequel to Watcher).

Last Hope’s king was finally going to seek vengeance against Forest End, and Eric was going to be vital in that endeavor.  King Acheron said so himself.  But Eric was not feeling quite himself since his visit with the king.  He was no longer alone inside his mind, and it was all he could do to keep from driving a spike through his own temple, just to get the other out.

“Don’t take it out on us, Eric.  It’s Acheron who’s to blame.  He’s the one who’s used us as a guinea pig.”

“Don’t say ‘us.’  There is no ‘us.’  There is only me.”

I am finishing up my final revisions on this one, and hope to submit it to my editor soon. Like my fan page on Facebook for updates!

http://www.facebook.com/AudraMiddletonAuthor/

Tag, Josh Langston, you’re it! Our 7, 7, 7 challenge is almost over. We’re hoping some of you will carry on with the challenge starting in August.

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