Friday, November 25, 2011

The Lost Colony

I have always been fascinated by the missing Roanoke colony from the 16 th century. Where did they go?  When I decided to write about the Fey I thought it would be awesome if they were the Lost Colony. The rest was kismet.

I've spent a lot of time in Norfolk because my husband's family is from there and we go every year. So that was where Valerie was going to drive around when she went on her quest for Lucas. Coincidentally, it turned out that was where the Roanoke settlers left from. And when the English finally returned to Roanoke they found the initials CRO carved into a tree. Sure, it probably meant Croatoan (the local Indians who were nearby) but another term for the Fey is  Bunadh na Cro which means Host of the Hills. It was almost as if they were taken by the Fey. Anyway, it kind of blew my mind.

The story of the Lost Colony reminds me of the Ben Linus line from Lost -- "Fate is a fickle bitch." Boy is it true.

The English Colonists settled in Roanoke, didn't get along with the natives and by the time help arrived in terms of food and reinforcements, 3 years had passed and they had faced the biggest drought in 800 years.
 And then, three years after the Colony's leader left to tell England how awful things were, he returned to find everyone gone-- including his daughter and granddaughter (the first English child born on American soil, Virginia Dare). He arrived on his Granddaughter's 3rd birthday.

Anyway, I took all the info from Wikipedia and pasted it below if anyone is curious about the fate of the Roanoke Colony. The formatting from Wikipedia is a bit whacky and I'm technologically incompetent so it's going to stay that way. Sorry!

The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in Dare County, present-day North Carolina,United States was a late 16th-century attempt to establish a permanent English settlement in what later became the Virginia Colony. The enterprise was financed and organized by Sir Walter Raleigh and carried out by Ralph Lane and Richard Grenville, Raleigh's distant cousin. The final group of colonists disappeared during the Anglo-Spanish War, three years after the last shipment of supplies from England. The settlement is known as "The Lost Colony," and the fate of the colonists is still unknown.

In 1587, Raleigh dispatched a new group of 150 colonists to establish a colony onChesapeake Bay. They were led by John White, an artist and friend of Raleigh who had accompanied the previous expeditions to Roanoke. White was later appointed Governor and Raleigh named 12 assistants to aid in Roanoke's settlement. They were ordered to travel to Roanoke first to gather Grenville's men, but when they arrived on July 22, 1587, they found nothing except a skeleton that may have been the remains of one of the English garrison. They were counting on these men to help with the new colony, but when they could find no one, they gave up hope of ever seeing Grenville's men alive.[5]The fleet's commander, Simon Fernandez, now refused to let the colonists return to the ships, insisting they establish the new colony on Roanoke.[4]:215 His motive remains unclear.
With no choice, White re-established relations with the Croatans and tried to establish friendly relations with the tribes that Ralph Lane had battled the previous year. The hostile tribes refused to meet with him. Shortly thereafter, colonist George Howe was killed by an Indian while searching alone for crabs inAlbemarle Sound. Fearing for their lives, the colonists persuaded Governor White to return to England to explain the colony's desperate situation and ask for help.[8]:120–23 Left behind were about 115 colonists — the remaining men and women who had made the Atlantic crossing plus White's newly born granddaughter Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas.[9]:19

[edit]White returns to England

White sailed for England in late 1587. Crossing the Atlantic at that time of year was a considerable risk, as shown by Fernandez's claim that their ship barely made it back.[10] Plans for a relief fleet were delayed by the captain's refusal to return during the winter. The coming of theSpanish Armada led to every able English ship being commandeered to fight, which left White with no seaworthy vessels available to return to Roanoke. He managed to hire two small vessels considered unnecessary for England's defense and sailed for Roanoke in the spring of 1588. White's attempt to return to Roanoke was foiled by human nature and circumstance; the two vessels were small, and their captains were greedy. They attempted to capture several Spanish ships on the outward-bound voyage to improve their profits, but they were captured themselves and their cargo seized. With nothing left to deliver to the colonists, the ships returned to England.

Return to the Lost Colony

Because of the continuing war with Spain, White was not able to mount another resupply attempt for three more years. He finally gained passage on a privateering expedition that agreed to stop off at Roanoke on the way back from the Caribbean. White landed on August 18, 1590, on his granddaughter's third birthday, but found the settlement deserted. His men could not find any trace of the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children, nor was there any sign of a struggle or battle. The only clue was the word "Croatoan" carved into a post of the fort and "Cro" carved into a nearby tree. All the houses and fortifications had been dismantled, which meant their departure had not been hurried. Before he had left the colony, White had instructed them that if anything happened to them, they should carve a Maltese cross on a tree nearby, indicating that their disappearance had been forced. As there was no cross, White took this to mean they had moved to "Croatoan Island" (now known as Hatteras Island), but he was unable to conduct a search. A massive storm was brewing and his men refused to go any further. The next day, they left.[

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UC Sunnydale Class Notes-- hantonmckenzie's blog

Someone was kind enough to send me the link for this and it's so great that I wanted to share. (Sorry! i couldn't find your email to give you proper credit!!) Hopefully I can give the original blogger enough credit so they don't get pissed off at me for jacking it. But it's so great....

UC-Sunnydale Class Notes

Hello class. Can you take your seats, please?
My name is Professor Hanton and I'm filling in for Dr. Maggie Walsh who seems to still be on her extended sabbatical. I'm not sure what you all may have been covering in class, as her notes are a little unclear...and her TA, Mr. Finn, seems to have withdrawn from the university due to illness.
As best I can tell, she wanted you to start discussing "The Psychological Impact of Wish Fulfillment and Wish Denial in 20th Century Popular Culture Narrative."
Did everyone get a handout? No?
Ah. I see, They seem to have stopped there with someone in the back row. I'm sorry I don't know anyone's name yet. Let me see the chart. Um. Summers? Is that Ms. Summers? Could someone please wake her up and get her to pass these along? Thank you.
First, we are going to focus on two verbs, which describe a process of dramatically engaging your audience by delighting them and then ruthlessly breaking their hearts. The terms are Jossing and Whedoning. I'll just read from the handout here :
Jossing, v : 
Definition : To grant a much-beloved character (and by extension, the audience) a moment of transcendent happiness - usually after denying them this for months.
Please note, class, that Jossing never occurs alone. It is always followed by Whedoning.
Whedoning, v : 
Definition : To dramatically and suddenly cause catastrophic angst/harm to a much-beloved character, (and, by extension, the audience) immediately following a moment of transcendent happiness.
I'll give the first example of this. The setting is the future. Here's the Joss : a lovable space pilot completes a harrowing, well-nigh-impossible flight through a cloud of opposing space ships, declaring himself "a leaf upon the wind." Upon successfully landing, he exults "I AM a leaf upon the wind!"
Can anyone identify the Whedon in this situation? You there in the second row? Go ahead. Yes, the Whedon in this situation comes immediately following this glorious moment ... when the space pilot is brutally impaled on a massive hunk of metal, right in front of his wife.

Can anyone name other examples? Yes, the redhead in the back. You're...Ms. Rosenberg? Alright, go ahead, and I'll write it on the board. Let's start with the Joss.
Hmm. Beloved shy english librarian. Sassy funny computer teacher. Polar opposites. Awkwardly, poignantly fall in love. Go ahead... become estranged, due to betrayal. Good! That's the Whedon.
Oh, there's more? Interesting. Gradually come back together, on brink of reuniting. Yes, this feels like we are beingJossed, doesn't it? Go on. Shy librarian receives romantic note that she is waiting for him in his apartment. He arrives to see a romantic scene. Lit candles leading to bedroom.  He climbs the stairs, finds her awaiting him in bed...excellentJossing... only to discover that she has been brutally murdered by a psychotic killer. Whedon! Excellent example, excellent.
Anyone else? No? Ah, Ms. Rosenberg again. Go ahead.
An LA-based empire private detective and his employee and friend... I'm sorry. Did you say an "empire  detective?" Oh.Vampire detective. Interesting idea. Yes. Friends for years. Mm-hmm. Slowly growing appreciation for each other. Unspoken attraction, but evident to audience. Finally, decide to meet and declare their feelings. Yes, we're being Jossed.Then the woman stands him up by disappearing to a higher plane of existence without letting him know what happened...that's a good Whedon.
There's more? She returns - another Joss! - but no longer loves him - Whedon!
She betrays him by sleeping with his son? Nice! A double Whedon! You go, girl! You're on a roll!
She gets pregnant from son? Triple Whedon!
Then gives birth to an evil being that threatens to overwhelm the world? Quadruple Whedon!
She falls into a coma? Quintuple!
A long time later she awakens, returns to him clearly in love, Jossing, Jossing...only for it to be revealed that she has actually died? Incredible, Ms. Rosenberg! A SEXTUPLE WHEDON!
Wow. This IS exciting! And I'm sorry to say that we have run out of time for today. Please read the rest of the handout, where we touch on "First loves becoming psychotic after sex," and "Cancer survivor Moms finally enjoying life only to be found dead on the couch" and "Rogue demon hunter's girlfriends dying due to possession by blue elder gods."
Any last questions? Ms. Rosenberg. No, no. This is purely a fictional device. I don't think that you need to be worried about it, at all. Nice shirt, by the way.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things are moving along for me. My daughter will bring home stick insects this weekend which she is excited about and which I am not. I'm quite worried actually, b/c the odds of us keeping them alive don't seem good. We're not mean, shoot, we may not even be negligent, it's just that things come into our house and want to die. Mainly plants. Unless i'm blocking something from my mind, maybe only plants. Oh wait, there was a caterpillar once that didn't make it. that was a bummer cause I watched that sucker like a hawk.

I've been watching a bit more TV lately which is a nice change. I either write or watch tv and now that i'm editing  I'm watching tv. I can't bear to read something good when I'm editing. I'm so critical of my writing when I'm editing that reading something good makes me feel like a loser who can never compete.

Which is why I can now say I've blown through 4 episodes of Ringer in the last 24 hours. Sometimes I wonder if there are huge plot holes for books, movies and shows or if I just zone out and miss something. But I'm pretty sure Ringer is terrible. Why did she touch the pottery as Bridget? Has she been sleeping with Siobahn's husband the entire time? Why would she run away from the police the night before the trial b/c the cop told her to? Why did Bridget ignore the guy at the table who said he'd slept with her and called her a witch? If someone said to me, 'now i get it, you crazy witch, you've been banging me on the side and now it's over' i might have a question or two.

Anyway, they just brought Jason Dohring on the show who was Logan Echolls from Veronica Mars-- good actor and v. funny. He was also some dude in Moonlight which was a terrible vampire show that got cancelled one episode after it became interesting. I keep thinking of that super hot shower scene. In Ringer he's a teacher being hit on by his student. It's so wrong it's right. That's why I love the CW. You don't see that crap on CSI. Or maybe you do, I don't know, I don't watch it.

As for's bigger than LID. LID came in at 81k. LIF is going to be 95k it looks like. Some stuff has been cut but not nearly as much as I wacked out of LID. For the first 6 months LID started in Italy with Jack's parents being murdered. That scene is hanging around still and it might turn up somewhere, somehow. It went from 60 pages, to 30, to a 2 page dream.

There was also a scene where Jack first meets Rachel, which was in his POV and which I liked, she was feeding him info. on Lucas after all. And also the scene where Marion met Rachel was initially in Marion's POV. That got chopped. Which was a shame b/c I love Marion. I love writing her and how screwed up she is and she had some really amusing thoughts on Lucas that I had to cut out since he couldn't think them about himself. Then there was Lucas and his damned prologue. It also got changed so many times it's insane. The scene used to be 2 or 3 times longer and was probably pretty boring.

All that's been taken out of LIF so far is a sex scene. I am not sure where that will wind up. Moved into a later book or given away as an extra. Oh, the painfulness of options. I assumed this would be 3 books and now I don't know. I've got some plotting to do to work out just how much needs to happen for the end and then I'll be able to say with more certainty. I suspect it will be 4, it's possible it will be 5. If these people would sort out their shit, it would make things go a lot faster!

Do you have any bit plot hole examples that bug you? I'd love to hear them. Like that book Shiver. I read part of it and I just kept thinking, 'why the heck don't these fools move to Hawaii?' Did that get answered? Was it just me?

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm baa-aack! Plus Conferencing and Why I went Indie

And I am back! It's good to be back. My kids stumbled in to say hello at 5 am and I've got a tennis match this morning, which I am going to lose at like nobody's business. Unless eating three pounds of chocolate cake in a four day period and not exercising for several weeks is actually good for me, then today's outcome is a foregone conclusion. If someone finds my competitive spirit, please return it.

The conference was very interesting. Every day my brain hurt. If you are a writer and are thinking about conferences, let me tell you, I've been to a fair amount in the last year and there are some stinkers out there. My opinion is that RWA and your local chapter is a great jumping off point for info and contacts. A big conference like RT or RWA National is good too, but if you want craft, it's better to go to an all day course from someone like Bell, Vogler, Dixon, Hague or Maass. The Hero's Journey and story arcs, all that stuff is fascinating and can not be covered in a two hour time period.

I've been asked why I independently published and if I tried to go traditional before Independently Publishing. And to a certain extent I did. I finished LID at the beginning of 2011 and went to a pitch conference. I was told by an agent who is very prominent in Paranormal/Urban Fantasy circles that vampires were dead-dead. And that the odds of me getting it published were very low (she said this without reading a single word I had written). I cried. She was really mean. And although writers are told to expect mean agents, it still sucks when it happens.

Then I sent out half a dozen query letters and got rejections back so quickly it made my head spin. Rejections are supposed to take awhile, like weeks, so how come I was getting a 12 hour turn around? Was my query that bad? No. I will say my query was good. It was a variation of the book blurb and had been seriously worked on. Yes, six queries is nothing. Maybe I should have continued but I really didn't want to.

The last rejection letter I received said 'I have no idea if your story is any good but we are not acquiring that genre right now.' My first thought was 'Oh.' My second thought was 'Oh, shit!'

I had finished a book for a genre that agents and editors were saying was dead. But I loved Valerie, Jack and Lucas. Truthfully, I loved Marion too. She cracked me up. And I didn't want to put it aside, start on another book and hope that the vampire 'trend' would come back around in ten years and some publisher might be willing to publish the book. Perhaps I could have gone small press or an e publisher but I didn't see the point.

I also toyed with making them not vampires. If you've read a dragon book you might ask yourself if it was originially a shifter/ vampire book that got changed.  It probably was. Cause who really wants to bone a dragon? No one. But it was different enough two years ago that it might have been published.

After more revising and revising I published LID in August and I think it's turned out pretty damned well. Additionally, the industry is in a state of change. Like DVD's and music, book sales and the way books are consumed is changing faster than the industry would like. Everywhere I go, when I meet someone who is an 'insider' I always ask, 'where do you think the industry will be in five years?' and the answer I get is that one of the big six probably won't make it but they might survive on non-fiction (which is super profitable), and that with the collapse of book stores and lack of shelf space, publisher's time and money will go to big authors.

Mid list and new authors are screwed.

I have also heard murmurings that the industry is waiting to see what will happen with Amanda Hocking. If she sells well and makes the jump to traditional with a lot of sales, then I believe (and others who actually know something seem to agree with me) that most new authors will be forced to build up a following independently and prove that they can promote themselves.

If they make enough sales and get enough followers then the big six might make some effort to scoop them up. In my opinion, that's better for everyone. Right now authors don't get a lot of money and their book can drop into obscurity and there is nothing they can do-- the rights are gone.

Also, the industry doesn't want to give a lot of money to an author who can't perform. So if an author is making a lot of money independently, a traditional publisher will have to make it worth their while to give up that profit, which makes them more invested in a book and less likely to give it a low print run and have it disappear. Everyone becomes invested.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love is Darkness is #1

Whoot! LID is #1 in contemporary fantasy. And you know what? It happened on Halloween. I feel like I should thank the Earth Mother or Satan or something. Going out of town tomorrow and I need to read to kill a mockingbird. (My daughter is very concerned as to why I would want to read a book on how to kill birds.)