So lets talk Character Blogs. I didn’t even know this was a thing until someone posted in one of the creative groups on Facebook. I have to admit, the idea of it excites me to a stupid degree. I mean, I’ve read the business side (don’t do it, you lose credibility) but, considering that my business is both entertainment and selling fiction, it sounds like excellent advertising to me. Especially since I have a lot of characters with more to say outside their books and characters who sort of need a lead up to their books. The question is, which character do I start with? Eva? One of the princesses? Skylar?
I am leaning toward Skylar. I had her book professionally edited, then let it sit for four years in my email – long story. By the time I published it, I was floundering a little with this girl, who I wanted her to be, and who she had originally appeared to be. As a result the book, while good, does not have the fire and flare I meant it to. It isn’t Skylar’s fault; she’s got wit and sarcasm, and an outlook on the whole magical princess from a fairytale world that is nothing short of hilarious. She also turned someone into a penguin. She makes me laugh when I write her because it takes a very adaptable person to forgive and accept their personal bully as their new best friend, and adding the fact that he did, at one point, try to eat her (bad wolf) makes it that much more interesting. Don’t worry, it wasn’t abusive, he’s a werewolf and she had to do a little puppy training.
There is this dry, witty side to Skylar that started to really show at the end of the book and I really wanted to strengthen her in the next one, but I also wanted her to already be there; the first book is for realizing she’s really magical and not nearly the loser she might have thought. The second is all about building a hero. I did not want to return to her initial self doubt in the second book because Skylar’s journey is about growing up and realizing that who and what she is does not have to be defined by a few titles or how others see her. She’s past the point of trying to pretend bad things aren’t going to happen and way past believing that she has to look or act a certain way. For a little backstory, in Beneath a Separate Sky, Skylar Payne starts out clumsy, an ugly duckling in a family full of swans, and utterly convinced she’s a waste of space.
This was the challenge of the book, making her both realize she has worth and stop hating herself so much. She is bigger boned, shy, very much used to being invisible. She’s also secretly a princess, but she doesn’t know that until a werewolf pops out of a magical doorway. The school bully, for some reason, saves her, but gets bit. While Skylar, her brother, and the bully are trapped in this magical world, she starts to realize that she can’t spend her life hiding under beds anymore. And, just in case you are wondering, Skylar will never be the delicate, fainting version of a princess. She will always be a bigger girl because that is how she is built. This is not a story about how she magically becomes a supermodel because I wanted to write about the other kinds of beauty with this girl. She does turn into a swan, but not the pretty, delicate kind. More like the kind that comes flapping up out of the pond hissing and threatening to eat your face off. In other words, she’ll be more like the real thing. For those of you that don’t know, swans are a lot like geese. Meaner than a guard dog, more aggressive than a Tasmanian Devil. And they mate for life and will mourn a dead mate for a lifetime. So, mean birds or not, don’t hurt swans. I’m looking at you, tourist monster in Britain that killed one for a damn photo…. lost track, where were we? Oh yeah.
Skylar’s blog will not be set in Eris. This will be the time between books – there are two more rough drafted – while she is in Chicago. This is an odd time in her life because she is breaking out of the boundries that were set for her in the first book and discovering what she is capable of. I knew things weren’t going to be exactly the way she is used to them being in the next book, but I had fussed about with the beginning because I really didn’t want her to poof, magically turn into a warrior, but she had to get there pretty fast. Which is why the blog is such a good idea; time passes so much slower in Eris that she has time to make changes while she’s living in Chicago and the blog makes it so the next book doesn’t drag through the weeds so you understand how this girl went from one way to another. Not just the bully becoming her best friend and his family taking her in (and she has a massive crush), but learning her talents aren’t as turned off in our world as they were before she went to Eris. I knew that she was a catalyst for some pretty strange stuff in our world – like Harry Potter blowing up his aunt type strange – but I didn’t want to start the next book with that. I knew that the events in the next book require her to embrace warrior princess status, but wasn’t sure how to do that while also dealing with Prince Not-So-Charming – of course he hasn’t given up, do guys like that ever give up – her parents, and her status as some kind of savior.
I’m trying to get Patreon moving and I plan on putting a tip jar up on this blog – dogs gotta eat, editors and cover artists gotta get paid – and this seems like the best way to introduce everyone to the fiction I sell and to find my readers. Plus, practice! I’m working on getting better all the time, so this cannot possibly hurt. What are the chances that a lot of my characters jump on this blog wagon? Well, considering how much they scream for attention, pretty high. One, in particular, is going to be popping up and I’m nervous about that one. We are way, way pre-book publishing with her and I don’t usually share characters before I have a book to point to and go ‘yeah, I did create her and will burn you to a cinder for stealing’. But, since the act of creating something means you have copyright and this character has about two written and dated notebooks to her legacy already, I can prove she’s mine. I’m also pretty sure the same copyright laws apply to blogs. I don’t care if you re-post it and give me credit. But don’t steal from dragons. It is just not smart.
This will not be the same stuff you’d get from pledging to Patreon. That stuff will be the super secret squirrel stuff that only the supporters get, designed and written expressly for them. Sorry, but I won’t be giving everything away. So I’ll post a link to Skylar’s blog in the next few days and we’ll have a test run. What do you all think?