WW Photo Challenge: Necklace

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter N. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Necklace for the N.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

The elf girl on the cover is by the incredibly talented Pat Ann.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

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Illness led to writing

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
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OPTIONAL QUESTION: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

MY ANSWER: One major event in my life not only affected my writing. It inspired me to start writing.

I became a writer pretty late in life. By education, I’m a computer programmer. I worked with computers for almost three decades. I’ve also always been a daydreamer. Since I remember myself, I’ve made up stories and played them out in my head, like a one-woman theater, but I never told anyone about my daydreams. They were my secret. I didn’t write anything down.

To tell the truth, I was a bit embarrassed, afraid of ridicule. I was a professional woman, a single mom with two children. I never thought I could be a writer, never confided in anyone about my daydreams, but I couldn’t get rid of the imaginary characters residing in my head, even if I wanted to. I didn’t. They always helped me through rough patches. I escaped into my daydreams and felt happy there, often happier than in my real life.

In 2002, I got seriously ill – cancer. During my long recovery, my daydreams became more persistent. Besides, I had a lot of free time on my hands and not much energy for anything but sitting on a sofa, reading. I always liked to read. Sadly, I couldn’t find many books I liked. Disgusted with the majority of published works that came my way, I decided I could do better than most books. It was incredibly naïve, of course, just proving my complete ignorance, but I guess, cancer made me brave. I decided to turn one of my daydreams into a written story.

From my first paycheck after I returned to work – I know the exact month, Feb 2003 – I bought a dedicated laptop, off limit to my kids, and started writing my first story. I never stopped writing since then, but I had discovered pretty soon after I started that I didn’t know squat about writing. So the learning process had commenced. It’s still going on.

As for how writing affected me – immeasurably. I learned so much since that fateful month, Feb 2003, I can’t even list everything. My writing brought me close to many fascinating people, other writers, and it made me, I hope, a better and wiser person. It aided my perception and deepened my compassion. I like myself much better now than before I started writing. Maybe my heroes’ courage and kindness rubbed off on me… at least a little. I always liked my heroes more than I ever liked myself.

What about you? How did life affect your writing?

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Posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Writing | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Mask

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter M. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Mask for the M.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Library

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter L. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Library for the L.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Jaguar

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter J. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Jaguar for the J. The girl is a princess, of course. Who else would be hunting with her tame jaguar.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Backstory

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
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For the first time in over six months, I want to write. I hope my writing block is finally over. But I still haven’t started yet. I have a story, almost complete in my head – the plot, the characters, and the milieu – but one question bugs me: backstory.

One of my favorite writers, Jennifer Crusie, is loudly opposed to any backstory in her books. She thinks it is not relevant to the story you’re telling here and now. According to Crusie, any backstory you include in your narrative – a long flashback, a prologue, a memory dream, or small chunks of explanations sprinkled through the texts – always slows down the pace and takes away from the immediacy of what is happening to the protagonist at the moment. The past is already done and gone and can’t be changed.

I happen to agree with her… almost. In rare cases though, I think backstory is necessary. Sometimes, backstory becomes almost a character in itself. Without it, the choices the protagonist makes are incomprehensible to the reader. The protagonist’s decisions might seem cruel or idiotic, unless the reader knows what events in the past prompted them in the present. To make my character sympathetic, I must explain why she acts the way she does.

Or do I?

Some past, if it was traumatic enough, never leaves you. It poisons every thought, affects every action and every relationship. All the revenge stories are like that. To let the pain go, to forget and forgive, might be much more restful. It would also make you a better person, erase the bitterness and the fears that gnaw at your soul, but it is so infernally hard. What if you can’t forgive? In the case of my story, I’m talking about this kind of backstory, although my story isn’t about revenge.

I’m still debating with myself what I should do. Should I include the backstory in one flashback? Should it be a prologue or come out at the appropriate time in the middle of the story? Should I pepper the text with small nuggets of information about the past? Should I leave it out completely and let the reader guess?

What do you think? Do you consider backstory necessary? If yes, how do you deal with it in your fiction? Are there certain types of storytelling or genres that lend themselves to backstory more than others? Tell me in the comments.

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Posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Writing | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Ice Queen

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter I. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Ice for the I.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Harbor

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo with a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter H. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Harbor for the H.

The background of this cover, with the ships in harbor, is a classical painting by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853). He was a famous Danish painter who laid the foundation for the Golden Age of Danish Painting. He painted portraits and landscapes, ships and historical scenes. Sometimes, he is referred to as the Father of Danish painting.

My book covers are mostly made from images I found on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

The basic font I use is as much a placeholder as the text. If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. I’ll make one for you with different fonts, suitable for your title and the author’s name.

 

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WW Photo Challenge: Gargoyle

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo with a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter G. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Gargoyle for the G.

I made 3 more covers with the same young sorceress and her side-kick gargoyle, as they travel around the world in search of new adventures. Here they are:

Gargoyle in a Museum
Gargoyle in Greece
Gargoyle in Peru

My book covers are mostly made from images I found on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

The basic font I use is as much a placeholder as the text. If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. I’ll make one for you with different fonts, suitable for your title and the author’s name.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

WEP: Change of Heart

This WEP entry is the Chapter 4 of my fanfiction novella Magic Senegalese. The story is set in Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. Please check out the other WEP challenge participants here. To remind you what has gone before in my story, you could read:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
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Naomi woke up the next morning, still wondering. Last night, during dinner, she and Dina had come to an understanding. She would help the girl run the shop part-time, at least until Dina’s mother came back, in exchange for staying in their guest room, and they would share the costs of food and utilities. It seemed a reasonable arrangement, and the amazing tapestries decorating her room added to Naomi’s contentment.

“What do you want me to do today?” she asked Dina over breakfast. “Stay in the shop?”

“No. I need to lay out food for the next month. I’m out of most dry stuff—pasta, rice, sugar. We usually buy ten- or twenty-pound bags, but Mom took our car to Earth, and I only have my bike. I can’t load much on it. I haven’t bought anything but fresh local produce for the past two months. Could you drive to the supermarket in your car? I’ll give you a list.”

“Sure. Why such big bags? There are only two of you, right? Two of us now.”

“Because it all comes from Earth. A couple weeks from now, all the dry grocery would be gone from every store until the next Shutdown.”

“Oh,” Naomi said in surprise. “I guess you have a different life here.”

Dina smiled. “I guess. I’m going food shopping too: eggs, milk, veggies. Everybody shops right after Startup, so nobody will come for our yarn. I’ll keep the boutique closed today.”

“I meant to ask—what’s wrong with your mom? Could you tell me?” Naomi probed.

“She has a bad heart.” Dina sighed and looked away. “She’s having a heart transplant. That’s why it’s taking so long. I hoped for a letter this Shutdown, but none came. That’s why I was there, near the Rim.”

“You know the guy who attacked you last night?”

Dina shook her head, her big blue eyes shadowed. “I heard,” she said slowly, “that half-elf kids have been disappearing.”

“Are there many half-elf kids like you? What about the fathers?”

“The elves come here as tourists from the Easternlands. They look around, play with the exotic native women, and go back home. It’s too wild for them here, too barbaric. They’re not interested in half-breed children.” Dina sounded bitter but resigned. “There were a few half-breed children in my school, mostly younger than me, and it was the same story. No elven parent was ever interested. Not even the sekasha, who are supposed to be holy. Holy, my ass. There was that boy, Blue Sky. His father was a sekasha, but he lives with his older half-brother, a full human.”

Naomi mouthed an expletive. Her elven mother probably wasn’t interested either.

“Although that boy’s father is dead,” Dina mused aloud. “Maybe that’s why.”

“I thought elves are immortal.”

Dina shrugged. “They are, but they can be killed. His dad was killed by a saurus.”

“A saurus? It’s like a dinosaur. I saw one on TV, but it was in a zoo.”

“It was in the zoo here too. It’s a mean monster. It escaped and ate that poor elf.”

Naomi gulped. They had mean, man-eating dinosaurs on the loose here? Her father had never told her that. She needed a guide to the dangerous local fauna to stay away from monsters.

“Do they live inside the city?” she asked faintly.

“They’re not supposed to. Elven rangers patrol the surrounding woods and get rid of any carnivorous beasts and plants, but you have to be careful.”

Carnivorous plants, Naomi thought in dismay. She needed a guide to the local flora too.

Oblivious to her distress, Dina continued her recital. “Sometimes, a stray warg gets into the streets, or a strangle vine sets roots in someone’s backyard. They show how to deal with them on one of our TV programs, Pittsburgh Backyard and Garden. You should watch it: very educational. The other day, they showed a nest of steel spinners in an abandoned warehouse in Windgap. Flamethrower is the only thing that helps against those. I should get one. You should get a real gun too if you’re ever planning to be outside after dark.”

“I have Mace in my purse,” Naomi said weakly. “I forgot about it yesterday, when that dickhead assaulted you. My dad only gave it to me the day before.”

“Pepper spray?” Dina scrunched her nose doubtfully. “I don’t think it could be much help against a saurus. Oh, and don’t get too close to the river edge. Some jump fish could jump ten meters.”

“Fish…” Naomi trailed off. Fish too? Maybe she shouldn’t have come here at all. Maybe this place wasn’t a safe haven her father imagined. It sounded much more perilous, in a wacky sort of way, than Bob and his mundane knife.

Dina smiled. “Don’t worry. This is Elfhome, not Earth, but you’ll learn. Come outside. I want to show you my hover bike. Mom bought it for me as a birthday gift, when I turned twenty. The best gift in my life. I wish I could’ve ridden it to the Rim yesterday. Then no one could’ve touched me.”

“Why do you call it a ‘hover bike’?” Naomi inspected the weird motorcycle sitting in a shed behind the shop.

“It has a lift. It moves in 3D.”

“You mean it flies?” Naomi almost screeched.

“Not flies, exactly, but it could move above ground, yes. But only when we are on Elfhome. It uses a magic spell for its lift drive. That’s why I couldn’t ride it yesterday, on Shutdown. No magic on Earth.”

Cold prickles ran down Naomi’s spine. “Obviously, I’m not in Kansas anymore.”

“You said you lived in New York.” Dina led the bike out of the shed.

Naomi didn’t reply. If the girl didn’t get the reference, any Wizard-of-Oz explanation would sound as absurd to Dina as Dina’s talk of saurus and flying bikes sounded to Naomi. “I think I’m getting a culture shock,” she said instead.

Dina grinned evilly. “If you wish, I can teach you to ride a hover bike.”

“No, thank you,” Naomi snapped. “I’ll stick to my car.”

Posted in Olga Godim, WEP | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments