ELAYNE G. JAMES Q&A FROM GOODREADS

EGJ’s Answers to GoodReads Questions (updated winter 2016):

How do you deal with writer’s block?

First: I listen to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones on CD. Natalie did a tenth-anniversary version of Writing Down the Bones as an audio book, where she reads the book (the first book she ever wrote) and then comments on her own writing from the perspective of someone who has had ten more years of experience. She speaks directly to the writer in all of us, to our fears and faults, our insecurities and doubts, our soaring creative spirit and our earthbound reality issues. She is eloquent and inspiring. This book is healing for me in many ways. It never fails to bring me back to myself and back to my writing.

Second: I take a time out from the book I’m working on / having trouble with, go to iTunes and create a soundtrack for my book as if it were a movie. I focus in on orchestral pieces that embody or support the “feel” of the story arc and add a more modern tune at the beginning and end (like a credit roll song).

This helps to clear my mind–concentrating on something that is not writing but still creative– and then when I return to the book I have a fresh perspective AND a soundtrack to play while I’m writing that is wonderfully inspiring. It works every time! Try it! You’ll be amazed! Envisioning your book as a movie helps in other ways too. Thinking in the visual mode makes for great, concise descriptive passages and snappy/lively dialogue. And, of course, it is a lot of fun!

Third: I hit the road. If the first two don’t do the trick, I plan a road trip. Getting out of town, taking myself out of my daily life has never failed to get me unstuck. New surroundings and new experiences inspire me to write new thoughts. I take my laptop, but almost always end up just writing in my journal. There is something about putting pen to paper that creates that flow I’ve been missing. It’s very organic. I come home refreshed and ready to work. And now, with AirBnB.com it is easier than ever to get a place for a few days without breaking the bank. And who knows, you just might be inspired by the people you’re staying with, in addition to the beauty that surrounds you. I highly recommend it!

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The best things about being a fiction writer are:

FUN: Building whole worlds using nothing but a vivid imagination.

LOVE: You get to fall in love over and over again with each new character.

FREEDOM: Which to me means waking up in the morning and asking yourself, “What do I want to do with my time today?” and having the answer be, “I want to work on my book.” And then being able to do so!

PERSONAL GROWTH: Always learning new things, expanding your world and opening up to new and different points of view when researching for a story, is a wonderful, never-ending source of education and intrigue.

COURAGE: Having a book out in the world challenges you to push past your comfort zone and can even teach you that you are braver than you think.

TOUCHING PEOPLES LIVES: Having readers write you to say how much they love living in the worlds you have birthed, or to let you know even that your words helped them get through a difficult time in their lives, makes it all so worth it.

INSPIRATION: Being a writer means opening up to inspiration and letting things come through. Once that portal is open, it can inspire you in many other ways. It can ignite your soul.

GRATITUDE: I love my life and I am so grateful to be able to create freely (and to live in a country that allows full creative freedom).

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Aside from the usual (hone your craft etc.), my top 4 best pieces of advice (for fiction writing) are as follows:

  1. Don’t intrude upon your characters. Let them tell you what they want to say and do. Don’t force your opinions on them. Let them have their own unique point of view.
  1. Know the difference between Active and Passive Voice. Active voice draws the reader into a story, passive voice makes the reader feel like an observer. In passive voice, the subject does not do the action, the action is done to the subject. In active voice, the subject is engaged in the action. Tip: Look for the over use of the word “was” or “were.” They are red flags for passive voice.
  1. Everyone tells aspiring writers to “write what you know,” but I would change that to “write what you want to know” and do the research! When I start a novel, I spend half my time researching and half my time writing. Writing what I already know is a “safe zone” that gets boring fast.
  2. “Show Don’t Tell” sounds like good advice but as a young writer, when I was just starting out, I didn’t really understand exactly HOW to accomplish this, let alone master it. Until I heard Natalie Goldberg’s explanation of Show Don’t Tell, I didn’t truly GET IT. So for those of you who are writers and still struggle with this, here is Natalie’s very clear and easy to understand explanation:

“There’s an old adage in writing ‘Don’t tell but show.’ What does this actually mean? It means don’t tell us about anger, or any of those big words like honesty, truth, hate, love, sorrow, life, justice, etc. Show us what made you angry. We will read it and feel angry. Don’t tell readers what to feel. Show the situation, and that feeling will awaken in them. Writing is not psychology. We do not talk about feelings, instead the writer feels and threw her words, awakens those feelings in the reader. The writer takes the readers hand and guides him through the valley of sorrow and joy without ever having to mention those words.

What are you currently working on?

In addition to the final edits for The LightBridge Legacy Book II: Riddle of the Gate World, (which should be released early 2017), and my Christmas book, The Saint of Carrington, which will be released this month (Nov. 2016), I am writing a new series called THE DRAGONBOND BOOKS, about an orphaned boy who is raised in a 200 year old library in Franklin Massachusettes, and on his 9th birthday, inherits a dragon egg along with a book written in an ancient language that depicts the proud lineage of his ancestors, a people they called the Dragonbond Tribe. I am having a blast writing it. It’s basically a “boy and his dog” story but the dog is a dragon and they get into all manner of mischief together.

How do you get inspired to write?

Dreams are a huge thing for me. I write while I’m sleeping. A great many of my stories have come from dreams. And when I am steeped in the writing process, I often fall asleep working on the story and dream entire scenes that go into the book the following morning.

Also, doing research for a story or a character is a powerful way to get inspired. I do tons of research before and during the writing process. I really enjoy it because the story becomes real to me and my fictional characters come to life with real-world details.

If possible, I go and roll play my characters out in the world. I once wrote a story where the main character was handicapped, so I rented a wheelchair and spent the entire day in it. I went to the mall and learned not only how difficult it is to get around (how many places you just can’t go), but also how incredibly different people treated me. What an amazing lesson that was! And when I was ready to write that character into my story (in his POV), I had a firsthand experience to draw from that added depth to the character’s inner life/emotions.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

The LightBridge Legacy came from a reoccurring dream I had as a child where I was in possession of a magical device that could take me anywhere (or when) I wanted to go in the blink of an eye.

The Saint if Carrington came from a conversation I had while working in the theatre. We were talking about Santa Claus and I said,” my parents never told me that Santa Claus didn’t exist so I still believe.” I was in my mid-twenties at the time so everyone laughed, but I wasn’t actually joking. When I got home, I jotted down the idea in short story form, about a town that has lost its faith and a boy who has lost his father, and how they learn to believe in Christmas (and Santa Claus) again.

The Dragonbond idea came from a long-standing desire. I always wanted to write a dragon story. Then one day I wrote the line: My name is Secret.” and that is how it started. A boy named Secret and a Dragon named Zeek. After that, I was hooked. It doesn’t take much. I am a nerd through and through.

Elayne G. James is the author of the adventure/
fantasy coming-of-age series, The LightBridge 
Legacy, a new holiday novel titled The Saint of 
Carringtion, and the upcoming Dragonbond Books.
For more info visit: http://www.ElayneJames.com

The Value of Art for Art’s Sake

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Today is Tax Deadline Day (That’s right: This year’s deadline is actually April 18) where many of us are thinking about… well… money, when it comes right down to it. But as an artist, money can mean many different things. It can signify success, yes, but it can also feel like a weight, tying you down to a specific outcome, if, for instance, you have been hired to create something for someone else. It can signify a form of approval or validation–when someone buys our art it’s usually because they like it. Most of us need to feel that kind of validation once in a while. But in the case of Art for Art’s Sake, it’s a different scenario.

The idea of Art for Art’s Sake or Art for Self is something that’s been on my mind lately. I truly believe that the need of other’s approval can be an artist’s/writer’s undoing. The making of art purely for self-expression can be one of the most fulfilling ways to create. There is a vast and diverse spectrum of motivations for human creativity, and all have played a role in contributing to the world’s greatest masterpieces.

But Art for Art’s Sake seems to me one of the purest, and it has been a creed of mine since the day I proclaimed myself an artist (at age 11), but it’s tough not to stray from this path. I have found that if I do stray… if I find myself motivated by ego or money, for instance, what I’m creating ends up adversely affected. When I write for myself and put the good of the story first, what I turn out is equally affected but in a wholly positive way. The first draft is always and only for me. The last draft is often for others. Steven King said, “Write with the door shut. Edit with the door open.” That is great advice.

But does the need for monetary compensation, or the desire to share what we’ve created, and in turn, to be applauded, muddle the process? This is a question that has arisen since I have entered the world of publication and promotion. I must admit, my desire for an audience has grown stronger in the last few years, born first from the need to give back to a world that has given so much to me.

There was a time when it seemed all I did was take from the artistic world (writing and creating in a vacuum without ever sharing any of it). Several years ago I came to the decision that it was time for this love affair to be reciprocal. And perhaps my age had something to do with it as well. The knowledge that my life was nearly half over (if I’m lucky), prompted in me the desire to leave something behind. I never had children of my own. My books are my only legacy… the only proof that I have existed.

The “creative muses” have been very generous to me. So how do I return the favor? I can make sure my words teach, guide, lift spirits, open hearts, and promote a reverence for life in others the way my favorite books have done for me. I wish to be a part of the family of writers that have changed the world one heart/mind at a time. Yes, these are tall aspirations, but it is a deep desire in me that grows stronger every year I walk this beautiful earth.

And if I knew that from this day forward, no one would ever read my books? Yes, I would still write, still tell my stories, because they breathe within me and need to breathe outside me. Once a story is emerging inside, I cannot deny its existence. My innate creative nature takes over at some point and the process develops a life of its own. Art must be born.

I had a great art teacher in college. I will never forget what he said about the nature of creativity. It was in a Three-Dimensional Design class. He strolled over to the student sitting next to me who was staring at a lump of clay. When asked, she said “I don’t know what to do. I can’t do it.” He responded by saying, “You don’t think you can run out to the ocean and stop the next wave do you? Art will happen. The first thing we must learn is how NOT to stand in its way.”

I remember thinking BRAVO! All the ideas humans have about art, the list of “reasons” they create, muddy the process. Indeed, the art that has touched me through the years has usually been created by someone who was “driven” to create. These are my people and my heart recognizes them. Some have wondered if Van Gogh, who sold but a single painting during his lifetime (The Vin Rouge) ever felt the sting of his inability to find an audience. If he’s in this family of soul-driven artists I spoke of above (and I believe he is) then the answer is no, not while he was creating. During the act of creation, there is nothing but the creation…there is not even an artist, just the art. That is how it feels.

When I write, I, as the conduit, eventually disappear, transmuted into energy, a presence, like wind on water…able to influence the surface, but the depth and breadth below is a quality unto itself. For this kind of artist, the only time you think of an audience is after the fact, when you see what has come through you and want to share it (or you’re starving and have a sincere desire to eat).

Art has always been an inner path for me, and a personal driving force in my life. And although I am now pursuing a more outward path (of publication and promotion), the thought of where my art will end up never enters my creative process, and therefore is not muddled by future agendas. I suppose the question of Art for Art’s Sake is for each artist to answer for themselves. For me, the process of creation is as natural as lightning seeking ground. We all need an outlet for this amazing energy coursing through us. I choose to create… to write… songs, stories, thoughts and ideas. This is my outlet. What is yours?

 

Elayne G. James is the author of the adventure/
fantasy coming-of-age series, The LightBridge 
Legacy, a new holiday novel titled The Saint of 
Carringtion, and the upcoming Dragonbond Books.
For more info visit: http://www.ElayneJames.com

What I Learned From Starship Captains

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Welcome to Part Three of How to Be the Hero of Your Own Story. I just have to say, this is the most fun I’ve had with research in a long time! I’ve learned so much from the heroes I’ve studied… things that have changed my life (no lie).

What follows is my favorite list by far (being the fantasy/sci-fi geek that I am). Starship captains are some of the BEST heroes to learn from because of the standards they hold themselves to in everyday life and the myriad situations that put those standards to the test.

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Here is what I have learned from studying Starship Captains…
•    Never give up.
•    Never lose your sense of humor.
•    Never let unbeatable odds get you down.
•    Negative thinking is a complete waste of time (and extremely destructive).
•    Always care more about people than situations or possessions.
•    Always work for the greater good.
•    Never lose sight of the goal, but stay aware of what’s around you.

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  • Never compromise your personal vision. Know who you are and be it. Know your path and walk it.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you not to do what you know is right.
  • Never waver in your resolve, but adapt the plan when appropriate or advantageous.
  • Stay open to new points of view.
  • Put heart in everything you do.
  • Always remain positive even in the face of certain failure.

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  •    Choose your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose for you.
  •    If there’s no other way, play rough.
  •    Pick your battles carefully. Don’t make fighting your first choice. If you have to fight, win. If you   don’t have to fight, head for an exit.
  •    Never make someone feel ‘less than’ for voicing an opinion or idea.
  •    Consider all options outwardly, weigh your options inwardly, state your decision affirmatively.
  •    Listen to the council of  close friends and  brilliant colleagues, then make your own decision.

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  • Allow yourself to trust even after you’ve been hurt.
  • Never forget where you come from.
  • If you’re lost, remember there’s always a way  back, even if you can’t see it.
  • Establish your intention and choose your direction at the start of each new day.
  • Be an optimist and realist at the same time.
  • Be open to trying new things (even if they sometimes get you in trouble).

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  •    Choose a path  that can coexist with your  values and spiritual  beliefs.
  •    Embrace any chance to grow.
  •    Allow yourself to be vulnerable to your closest friends and family.
  •    Admit when you’re wrong.
  •    Stay physically fit and mentally aware.
  •    Pay attention to what people say and do.

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  • If an idea or a relationship isn’t working, give it every chance to succeed, then assess the situation fairly, and if it is still not working, abort.
  • Stretch your mind and the limits of your reality.
  • Never insist on being right, instead, always look for truth.
  • Define your mission. Recruit those who are aligned with your vision.
  • Never fear an adventure into the unknown.
  • Listen to your instincts and use your intuition.

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  •    Live in the now, but be open and ready for what lies ahead.
  •    Heal the wounds of the past. Don’t allow past pain to limit your present or your future.
  •    Study human interaction and apply the science of compassion.
  •    Be an advocate of the human spirit.
  •    Embrace ingenuity and creativity.
  •    Be passionate while maintaining control.
  •    Eyes open. Always.

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  • Be an impartial witness. Don’t take sides.
  • Use your heart along with your head.
  • Never abandon manners in a social situation. Learn the customs of foreign cultures before entering their domain.
  • Never complain about unfortunate circumstances.
  • Embrace change but respect history.
  • Don’t let your temper get the better of you. But if it does, get over it quickly.
  • Listen to people’s stories.

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  • Communicate as concisely and accurately as possible. Use clear, simple language.
  • Do not be quick to judge.
  • Develop a sixth sense about danger and who to trust.
  • Never let fear stop you. Allow it to inform you.
  • Listen to your  gut, even if your head refuses to go along.
  • Take responsibility for those under you r command. Inspire greatness. Encourage ingenuity. Cultivate loyalty.

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  •    Don’t waste time arguing or responding to criticism.
  •    Be open-minded in your approach to life and old fashion in your values.
  •    Embrace a childlike fascination with the world  and a wise man acceptance of it.
  •    When possible go slow, build a foundation.
  •    Don’t defend your ego. Defend your friends.
  •    Make forgiveness a priority because it is the only way to be free.
  •    Don’t get angry at yourself for things that are beyond your control.
  •    Wait patiently, but not passively. Always be gathering information.

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  • Believe in something greater than yourself.
  • Walk with purpose through life.
  • Always act as if what you do will make a difference.
  • Express anger at situations instead of at people.
  • Cultivate a quiet calm in the face of adversity. Don’t be quick to react or jump to conclusions, but instead, quietly assess the situation and formulate a plan based on acute observation.
  • Be in a constant state of readiness with utter calm.

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  • Never make another person feel small. Evaluate those around you and honor them for their skills, traits, and contributions… if need be, find the smallest positive attribute to praise.
  • Rid your mind and heart of expectation and enter each moment with a clean slate. With zero expectations, the mind is never disappointed or caught unawares.
  • Resist the temptation to overreact, or become upset at a difficult interlude. Always be looking for more pieces to the puzzle, and continue to gather information in an effort to see and comprehend the whole picture before making a decision to act. And then, when ready, move forward with full conviction.

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That’s the Captain’s List. See you next time when I share my own personal list of Hero Traits, in Lessons Learned from Life and Leaders.

Thanks for spending time with me!

Elayne

Elayne G. James is the author of the adventure/
fantasy coming-of-age series, The LightBridge 
Legacy, a new holiday novel titled The Saint of 
Carringtion, and the upcoming Dragonbond Books.
For more info visit: http://www.ElayneJames.com

How to be the Hero of your Own Story – Part Two

Are you the hero of your own story?

Heroes

Your life is your story. Your choices are your path. Don’t let someone else choose for you. Take the lead. Be your own hero!

As a writer and a student of human nature, I have the on-going pleasure of studying the many different aspects of life, our world, and its varied characters. One of the most fascinating of these is our culture’s archetypes, and heroes are arguably among of the most enduring and endearing of the archetypal class. Heroes in their myriad forms have been requisite to story, myth, and legend throughout the history of humankind. What follows is Part Two of my hero traits list… a collection of high caliber qualities and attributes I believe we can all aspire to:

  • Heroes don’t “chase” their dreams. They set goals, put a plan in place, gather the best team they can find (only those loyal to their cause), and then create their own destiny!
  • A hero knows that words have the ability to wound or heal, destroy or transform. A hero uses words carefully and speaks truth willingly. A hero is never threatened by the truth, nor defeated or dejected by someone else’s version of the truth.
  • Heroes do not seek the approval of others, their validation comes from within.
  • A hero knows that the best way to cope with failure is to immediately identify it as a “rerouting” on the path to success.
  • Heroes know that they are constantly evolving —that they can reinvent themselves whenever necessary—that for a personality, stagnation equals defeat. Forward movement equals success.
  • A hero knows that there are always two choices in a difficult situation. You can choose to be the victim or the victor. The hero always chooses the victor mentality. He knows that victimhood is the act of falling prey to one’s own defeated thinking and a belief in powerlessness.
  • Victims always wish they were somewhere else, doing something else, or with someone else. Heroes never wish they were somewhere else. If they wanted to be somewhere else they would just go.
  • A hero does not indulge in self-pity. Self-pity equals powerlessness.
  • Heroes aren’t afraid of change (unless it’s a change of clothes in a phone booth).
  • Heroes don’t waste time complaining. They focus on solutions.
  • A hero knows that it is human nature to question, and does not need to be excepted or encouraged by others in order to proceed with an intention.
  • Heroes always follow through on a promise whether made to someone else or to themselves.
  • Heroes never react to what they imagine someone else thinks, wants, or needs. They ask questions, gather data, assess the situation, and, once satisfied, act accordingly.
  • A hero knows that nothing of greatness, no true measure of happiness, no deeply satisfying accomplishment, is ever achieved without desire and faith, vision and imagination, effort and energy, courage and commitment, purpose and passion.
  • Heroes own their own potential and see the power in responsibility. Taking ownership is the highest form of focus, discipline, and direction known to man. Effortlessness is an insidious virus with the power to destroy lives.
  • A hero knows that absolute focus is the key to all great human achievement.
  • Heroes never let mistakes or failure stop them. They always try to make things right, but also know that it isn’t always possible, and forgive themselves when things don’t work out. They know the value of moving on.
  • Heroes don’t waste time responding to their critics. They take note, retain what is useful and discard what is not.
  • A hero sees every problem as a challenge and every challenge as an opportunity.
  • Heroes learn from every situation and grow into better human beings because of the experience.
  • Heroes do not compare themselves to others.
  • A hero uses their past experiences to meet the next challenge, not to judge themselves.
  • A hero doesn’t throw away any lesson. All lessons, pleasant or difficult, joyful or painful, brief or everlasting, can be drawn upon for support when facing a challenge.
  • Heroes keep an open mind when entering a new situation, and keep a watchful eye for that which can benefit them and others.
  • Life is a set of experiences. A hero does not judge. All experience is useful.
  • The hero never gives up.

The hero’s journey continues in Part III (What I Learned From Starship Captains). See you next time!

E.G.James

How To Be The Hero Of Your Own Story – Part One

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Want to know the BEST ADVICE I’ve ever received as a writer AND as a human being?

Here it is:

Hero Of Story 2

Be the hero of your own story! Yes! For me that means living my life by all the same principles and doctrines I hold for my protagonists like:

  • Never giving up when the going gets tough.
  • Meeting every challenge with integrity, ingenuity, and creativity.
  • Saying yes to the adventure of life and helping the people I meet along the way as much as I can.
  • It means being fiercely loyal to my true friends, being there for them no matter what, and never giving up on them when it seems all hope is lost.
  • Using my head alongside my heart and never losing site of my dreams and goals, and always remembering why I set out on this glorious journey in the first place.
  • Being open to synchronicity, serendipity and the infinite realm of possibilities.
  • Using my intuition and trusting my gut even when everyone else thinks I’m crazy.
  • It means achieving what I set out to accomplish, but also giving myself permission to alter my course and change my mind if what I thought I set out to do turns into something else.
  • Tending to the needs of my soul, in addition to the needs of mind and body.
  • Having the courage to be who I am, even if that makes me a freak, a geek, or an alien from another planet.
  • Setting my intention to wake up every morning with gratitude and a positive attitude, and look for the good in every situation.
  • It means be brave, be strong, be honest, be compassionate, be patient …not only with others but also with myself.
  • AND it means that if I fall short in my ability to achieve any of these fine attributes on any given day, that I allow myself to be human, forgive myself for my mistakes, regroup if I need to, and then say “onward!”

Getting this advice, this grand challenge—to be the hero of my own story—had such an impact on me that I spent an entire year investigating what makes a hero, determined to uncover those distinct characteristics common to all (or at least most) of our heroes today.

So I researched heroes in their myriad forms (film, books, television, comic books, and of course, some of my real life heroes as well), to chronicle the various personality traits and attributes that make up this rare breed of human.

What I found changed me. I knew if I wanted to be the hero of my own story, I had to find a way to embody these qualities and live my life in an entirely new way. The transformation is still in progress, of course, but it is a worthy adventure.

So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing what I have learned about becoming extraordinary in our everyday lives and the little changes we can render along the way that will make a big difference.

See you soon. Part Two is coming up the next week.

Elayne G. James

Author of The LightBridge Legacy Series

Ani Jasper Speaks for Herself…

An Introduction from Ani Jasper (WARNING: Spoiler Alert-Book One)

 Ani Jasper Book 1a

I asked one of my characters, Ani Jasper, from The LightBridge Legacy, to introduce herself.

Here is what she said:

“You know how sometimes when you’re asleep you can’t tell if you’re dreaming or not because everything feels so completely real? Well, that’s how it feels to be me. I never know if what I’m experiencing is real or not. But I think I’m slowly figuring out that it’s ALL real, and that is the scariest thing I can think of. See, if it’s all real, then I am in some deep dark shades of trouble with all kinds of bad mixed in.

I’m Anani Jasper. People call me Ani. Not Annie. Ahh-nee. I’m a girl, I’m almost fourteen, I’m an amateur geologist and a magical apprentice. I live in New York City, but I still consider the Mojave Desert my real home. I’m technically an only child because I lost my twin brother the day we were born, but if you want to know a secret, the truth is, I didn’t really lose him because we are still together. Two souls. One body. Weird I know. But kinda cool at the same time. It’s called Zielfah which means “double soul,” and because of it, I’m next in line for some fierce magical mojo I didn’t ask for. Oh and get this… because I am the appointed heir apparent, I have some equally fierce enemies that want me permanently deleted in the worst way. Mom and Dad don’t know. Nobody knows. No one would believe me anyway.

So I live my life as if everything is normal…whatever that is. Mom’s an anthropologist and Dad owns a rock and gem shop. I can tell you anything you want to know about all sorts of stones (including their magical properties–but don’t tell my dad that. He doesn’t believe in magic). My godfather, Kahetay is a Navajo shaman and has some pretty cool skills of his own. He’s the one who first taught me about magic. And then there’s Sophie, my um… I guess you could call her my mentor… she’s a wise-woman… a magical practitioner and a good friend. She knows about my “future memories”—these strange visions I have where I go into the future and remember things that haven’t happened yet. That’s how I found out my mom’s in trouble. She’s gone missing on expedition in the Amazon jungle and it’s up to me to save her.

Have you ever had to do the thing that scares you the most? That’s what I have to do. And in order to do it, I have to “embrace my magical destiny,” whatever that is, but that’s how Xephero puts it. Xephero is the master of the LightBridge, the most powerful magical object in the world, and he has chosen me as the next in line to be the keeper of that magic. All I know is if I do it I can save my mom because if I don’t she’s gonna die. It means doing things I never thought I’d do, wrong things, dangerous things, but you would too if it meant saving the person you loved most in the whole world. You never know what you are capable of until you are forced to face the unfathomable.

Welcome to my world.”

The Spark of New Inspiration

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Above is what I call an Imagery Character Study. Whenever I begin a new story, I put together one of these graphic “collages.” I scour the net for images that remind me of my characters and the objects that surround them. In the first glimmering sparks of inspiration and story creation, this is a wholly enjoyable task. Watching my characters and the world they live in “come to life” before my eyes is exciting. It brings their personalities into focus like nothing else can. And down the line, when I’m trying to complete a book after years of work, these images can offer some much-needed inspiration, bringing back the spark of new beginnings and the feeling of “falling in love,” for that is what it’s like to begin a new story. 

                       

Today is January 15th 2016, the first day of my new commitment to blog more. It also happens to be Annual “Appreciate a Dragon Day” (no lie) and in honor of this momentous occasion I have chosen to let a little “secret” out of its proverbial bag.
This week I took an unexpected break from my LightBridge duties—working on getting the second (revised) print edition of The LightBridge Legacy, Book One: THE SECRET HALF (formally Destiny’s Call) ready for my publisher, followed closely by the release of LightBridge Book Two: THE HIDDEN GATES which is in its final edit.
But since my laptop was in the shop this week, I had a chance to work on my notes for a shiny new story idea that’s been calling to me.  The beginning of every story for me takes the form of handwritten notes on scraps of paper, stickies, paper napkins, just about anything I can get my hands on. Next, I begin organizing these bits and pieces–which sometimes number in the hundreds–into some semblance of an order and paste them into notebooks. Yeah, I know, very low tech. I don’t switch to the computer until I start writing the story itself. This time, it was for a new story idea that has ignited my imagination, my dreams, and passion for writing.
I’m calling this new series The Dragonbond Books.
What are the Dragonbond books about? Here is the quick overview…

An infant boy is left on the steps of a 200-year-old library and raised by the head librarian who lives in a basement apartment below the stacks. On his ninth birthday, the boy learns he is the last remaining descendant of an ancient lineage called The Dragonbond Tribe and can, therefore, speak to and bond with dragons. 

Along with this new information about his family history, he receives a mysterious package said to be from his parents, left behind with the bassinet he was found in. In this ornate wooden box, he finds three items… an ancient book written in an undecipherable language, a handmade leather & feather quill, and a “rock” that, three months later… yep, you guessed it,  hatches into a baby dragon.

I’ve always wanted to write a dragon story. I’ve been waiting a very long time for the right tale (dragon tail) to emerge and finally, it has bubbled up to the surface from the depths of the creative inner well. I can’t wait to start writing! But I have promised myself I will finish The LightBridge Legacy first!
 
Onward! It’s going to be a very good year!
 
Elayne G. James