Swapping for Writers, a creative experiment, Carmilla's characters, Merri Prudich Halma, What&#3

NATIONAL SWAP IDEAS DAY is observed on September 10th. It encourages us to share a creative or helpful idea with someone and trade it for ideas in return. Swapping ideas does not have to be done on a one-on-one basis. It would be fun for a group of people to get together and share ideas.

Groups of people benefit from the skills of others, and the energy of brainstorming compounds the efforts of the entire team. Often an idea shared by one person generates two or even three new concepts within the group creating opportunities for everyone.

HOW TO OBSERVE Throughout the day, make sure to swap your ideas with others. Use #NationalSwapIdeasDay to post on social media.

Speaking of social media...there's a wonderful way to swap Ideas and improve writing too! I first met Mark McQuillen at an online Book Convention about three years ago. He introduced me to an online friend of his, a lady from Canada named Mara Reitsma who was an artist and a writer. They had each indie published books before they met. He wrote of a villainous Valkyrie named Malice. She wrote about Devil's Daughters. In Mark's words : "the first two were Malice and Marena. They met in Villain Wars almost 4 years ago in February. Mara and I started the Black Rose after writing the first three Legends books and Queen of Winter. We wrote those right here on Facebook Messenger." Here are examples of the first two characters from different worlds. Malice (Mark's) and Marena (Mara's)

My own adventure in this writing began in May of 2017 or a bit earlier. I decided to join and make a story that would happen AFTER Marai's Children of Stone adventures were over. It wasn't a brand new idea. My friends Annette, Mary Caton, Cathy Plunkett, Ernie Mac and also Buddy and Michael (RIP) had always planned for dozens of stories in different eras. Now I saw a chance to run with a few more. With the addition of writer Davina Purnell, Mark and I began to write Healings and later Mirrors of the Mind (both WIPs) What's so remarkable to me is how seamlessly the two characters Malice and now Marai fit together. Here's how it starts. Far in the Future, Marai wakens from another stasis. He's at home in his cave in the Sinai but it's terraformed with crops and rolling prairie. In the distance skyscrapers can be seen rising closer. Earth

Space, Low earth orbit... Malice was cursing under her breath as she piloted a Valkyrie Cyclone in one of the most furious dogfights she had been engaged in a long while. She had been intercepted by an enemy force, race unknown but they had good fighters and excellent pilots. The pulse cannon and missile fire was thick enough to walk on. It was becoming increasingly difficult to survive. As she lined up another shot there was a brilliant flash of light and the fighter shuddered like it was being shaken by a wolf. Then every warning light in the cockpit came on as the fighter spun out of control. "Mayday, Mayday Mayday, This is Silver one! I'm hit, and I’m going down! Exact coordinates unknown I tell you if I survive the sudden stop." She repeated the message she was having a problem reaching the ejection handle because of the gee force. When she finally ejected she was too low to deploy her wings and she impacted not far from the remains of the fighter leaving a second crater in the ground. The big man stood for several moments scanning the horizon, employing distance vision; his own combination of physical sight, telescopic vision and a mental variant of astral projection. Turning away, he shook his silver head, dismayed. There, he regarded the shattered and smoldering heap scattered in bits across the wilderness sand. Saw it come down. Brought some memories back of a long time ago when I sang to my goddess and they came. It’s been too long--another lifetime. I’ve been back here only a few days, but it seems like years. A lot has changed, but some things never do.

He rubbed his temples and scanned the wreckage one more time. Someone survived. A female, human-like, but not: a warrior. The vessel she was driving opened a portal in front, and it slipped through. Dimensional travel tech. There was a battle. I sense that. Oh, she has were-wings.

He frowned, more intrigued. She has transforming power for those, and armor. She’s hurt though. Unable to fix herself. Perhaps I should go see if she needs some help. He thought of everything in that instant of decision. It was too easy to recall the past and the way he had struggled to divorce himself from all the bitter memory. Most of it represented loss, death, betrayal and hurt. Coming back to his roots, to what was once Wadi-Ahu, he thought, could help.

Last week's interview was Carmilla Voiez.

This week I am posting renderings of some of her characters and cover designs. Last picture is Carmilla herself!

Waiting in the Wings for our next interview is Merri Prudich Halma

Do you remember the first book you read?

I remember reading Dr. Seuss ABC book, Red Fish, Blue Fish and many others by him and other picture books.

What book are you reading now?

Clockwork Alchemist by Sara Roethle, and a few others. I’ve started several in the last month or two that I will eventually finish.

How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?

My main character is called the Indigo Traveler. The first book was re-titled last year, The Indigo Travelers and the Dragon’s Blood Sword because he uses it to remind the antagonist what the dragon sacrificed so his race could survive. (probably gave away the main plot of the book).

Which character do you identify with most in your novel?

I identify with my character, Xander, at first, because he feels out of place and really wants to meet the creator of all worlds. He doesn’t feel like he belongs to his family (which I mention in the book but don’t revisit in the first book. I will have to pick that up again). Most of my Indigo Travelers characters feel misunderstood and like they were just dropped in their families of origin. I will be going into more detail with this in other books in the series with different characters.

How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I would say about 10 to 15% is based on experiences or feelings I have felt. One person described my first book to me about own spiritual journey. There is part of me in all my characters and I am seeking healing as I write about the fantasy stories.

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

I don’t physically travel to write my books. I travel in my imagination both before and during the process.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

I like quiet or a TV Show on that I can tune out because I’ve seen the episodes so many times. Right now, Star Trek Next Generation is on. I love that show, but it is easy to tune out because I know the episodes so well.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

Water. I drink a lot of water. Food wise, I’m flexible.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

Editing and formatting. I’m learning to format my own manuscripts and will be getting better at it.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? If it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.

It is okay for me to follow what I want to say and not just blindly follow an editor’s or reader’s suggestions.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

I turn into my higher power through meditation. Few people I know will give me the kind of support and encouragement I need. A handful of my friends will want to do it for me, because if I am seeking outside encouragement, they will take it that I need help because I can’t do it myself. I’m not a wounded dog. I can boost myself up when I need to. I usually take a break for a few days and then go back to it. I may also go to my husband or son. They appear to understand me better than I think they do.

How do you market your book?

My marketing isn’t where it needs to be. I post links on Facebook, but all the time. I don’t have character sketches yet and I need better ways to meet my goals. Mostly I go to local festivals with my print books, hand out business cards and sell books there. I hope to get more speaking engagements.

Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.

I’ve had several readers contact me saying they love my books each with a new insight on what my story brought to them. One mother said her daughter calls me her favorite author. Another said my characters were a breath of fresh air and she love the minotaur character who became his own person ( bard and wizard) instead of being forced into a stereotype role as a monster.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

I never know who will be the first to read it. The first person to read my third book was a woman who helped me with it during the last six months of fine editing. The next person was the mother whose daughter is a big fan.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

I’ve never had a fancy book launch party for my book releases. My third book that came out we had a release part of a kind at local coffee shop. I think I sold one book and few people came. Maybe one day I will have large book release parties with a lot of guests and people lining up to purchase signed copies of my new book as well as other books that I have.

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?

It is okay to be yourself and go within yourself to hear your own guiding voice. There is only one creative spirit and it doesn’t matter what that spirit is called. Love, forgive, admit your shortcomings and forgive yourself as well as those who upset you.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I don’t know. I will cross that road when I come to it.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

JK Rowling, and many others. Because she has been through so much, speaks her mind and is very creative. I haven’t read her books for adults, but I love her Hogwarts World.

Do you have any hobbies?

Going on walks with my friend, Jeanette or alone, window shopping, going to movies and

attending comic cons. I love seeing the cosplayers who spend hours designing and creating

their costumes, props and many other aspects of what they wear. I love talking with fans and many other things.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I love Doctor Who, I like dramas, NCIS (original series), Star Trek, fantasy movies and some

comedies. I also enjoy WWE because I get to watch it with my husband. Though, they use a

lot of the same story ideas, but with different players. I wish they would come up with some fresh ideas.

Favorite foods

Chicken, seafood, veggies and some breads/grains. I also love cake and ice cream. I have to

watch what I eat, though.

What’s your sign, lucky number.

I’m a Leo. I love even numbers, 8, 18, and so on.

What’s your favorite color.

Red and black. I could live in red. All shades of red.

What music do you hear in your latest book.

Hotel California by the Eagles (because the Haunting of Powell Hall is a ghost story and not

in my Indigo Traveler Series).

Do you have hobbies other than writing?

Going on walks, day dreaming, going to movies with my son or alone. And daydreaming.

Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

That is a future I don’t want to face. Writing gives me energy, freedom and allows me to be myself.

You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

I’d get the money, buy a passport and go to England to see the Doctor Who museum and

take my husband and son with me. I’d spend it exploring the English country side and see how wonderful an English Sunset is.

What do you want written on your head stone?

You can’t control me. I am free to be myself.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?

I made a lot of mistakes with my first book. I trusted the wrong editors, ignored my own judgment and allowed others to tell me what is right. I know now that I speak up and discuss editing decisions with the editors and others.

What kind of advice can you give to aspiring authors?

I tell them to continue writing, to find supportive writing groups and a good editor or join a critique group to help improve their manuscript. Also to remember they don’t have to agree with the editor who wants something cut.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?

It depends on what the doubt or problem is. Sometimes it is my husband and son, sometimes it is someone else.

Tell us how we may get a copy of your book.(Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback


Amazon and Kindle for those who order online. https://www.amazon.com/Indigo-Travelers-Dragons-Blood-Sword/dp/0692425578/ref=sr_1_1?s



I also

have my books at the Rubaiyat, Gifts, Books and Games in Caldwell, Idaho http://rubaiyatcaldwell.com/

And at the Adventures Underground in Richland, Washington


I am originally from Washington State, so I wanted my books to be available locally.

Social media links and websites?





My website is still being developed NEXT WEEK, HER CHARACTER SARAH

Here's the lineup for the next 4 issues, so spread the word!

September 17

National Apple Dumpling Day Merri character or excerpt

+ A H. Johnstone Interview. What am I writing Now? - An excerpt from "Raemkai's Stairs"

September 24

National Punctuation Day

A H. Johnstone character

+ D. C. Fergerson Interview

October 1

National Homemade Cookies Day

D. C. Fergerson

+ Geoffrey Porter Interview

October 8


Geoffrey Porter Character

+ Michael Parker Interview


Vampire Queen

Raven Williams 8-30


Darkblade Savior

Andy Peloquin 9-4


Heart of the Lotus Children of Stone Book 4

Mary R. Woldering 9-9


Souls of the Dark Sea

A. F Stewart 9-13

So that's all for this week...

see you next Monday!

Featured Posts