(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Lisa was written by Lisa Wooley.)
“And let me guess…” Kelly pinched the bridge of her nose. “You stabbed him in the hand.” Still pinching her nose, she lifted her gaze to Vixen who paced the clearing in the garden, and Vixen whipped back around.
“Of course! He insulted my skill with the blade, so I showed him otherwise!”
Kelly sighed as she lowered her hand from her face and folded her arms over her chest. She wasn’t surprised by this. After all, that was Vixen. ‘Vixen’ was just a synonym for ‘stab’, ‘blade’, ‘knife’, and ‘you’re in so much trouble’. She wagged her head. “Well, did Erita heal him at least?”
“Most certainly! I wouldn’t have stabbed him otherwise.” Vixen continued her terse pacing back and forth across the clearing, and Kelly raised her brows.
“Yes you’d kill him instead.”
At this, Vixen halted but then cast Kelly a smirk, and Kelly knew she was right.
However, before either of them could say another word, a portal opened in the clearing, and Vixen halted her pacing and frowned, crossing her arms. This was interrupting her rant, and she didn’t like being interrupted.
Kelly nodded at Vixen. “Go—I don’t need or want you to stab my visitor. Ask Theran if he’ll spar with you.”
Vixen shot Kelly a glare but knew those who passed through the portal were off limits to her, so she stalked away.
Letting out a relieved sigh, Kelly turned to face the portal as it rippled and her guest stepped through. She smiled immediately. “Lisa, fantastic to meet you! Welcome to Cuskelom.” She gestured to their lush surroundings in a wooded part of the palace garden where a stream ran through at a lazy, soothing pace. She then looked back at her visitor—smile warm. “I hope you’re doing well today.”
“Thank you Kelly, I am glad to be here,” Lisa looked around with interest, and smiled at the lovely surroundings. “Water is one of my favorite things, being a water sign,” she smiled at Kelly.
“So…usually I don’t give people this choice, but would you like to see the castle ruins or the waterfall?” Kelly pointed in the different directions then raised her brows as she looked back at Lisa.
“Definitely the waterfall.”
“Great! This way!” Kelly beamed as she motioned for Lisa to follow her down the beaten path along the gentle stream. “As we walk, we can talk, so tell me, what is it that you do in the Real World, and how does it tie into your life as a writer?”
Lisa followed Kelly, cautiously as she was well known for being a klutz to her friends. “I’m actually waiting on a call from the contracting company I work with. They give me work in the Health Insurance field, this is a claims job they are wanting to possibly send me on. I get sent on the road usually, to train. But then I get sent home to do the work. So it does give me a mini vacation from home, and I can get more done. Then I’m not watched like I would be in an office setting, and I’m free to write things down during my work day.”
“Oh, that’s always nice.” Kelly smiled as she nodded. She halted for a second and tilted her head, listening. “Can you hear it? The waterfall?” A smile played on her lips and then she gestured for Lisa to follow. “We’re almost there. Anyway, so when did you begin writing?”
“Yes, I love the sound of water. I actually have not written solidly for relatively long. About 15 years solidly. Before then, I would write poetry on occasion, but I loved to read as a kid, and was encouraged greatly by my 6th grade Teacher to do so (will not tell you how long ago that was).” Lisa Laughed. “But solidly, since about 2003 ish. A former friend encouraged me to read Natalie Goldbergs ‘Writing Down the Bones’ which gave me the inspiration to write.”
“That’s fantastic!” Kelly grinned, but before she could say more, she brushed aside a tree limb and stepped into a clearing. They were still in the wood, but directly in front of them was a massive but elegant, tall waterfall cascading down into a pool in the clearing of the woods. “Come on. I don’t know about you, but I want to stick my feet in that water. You can to it too if you’d like!” Kelly beamed then led the way through the clearing to the edge of the water and sat down on one of the big stones near the water’s edge then began to remove her shoes.
Once she eased her feet into the cool water, she let out a sigh then grinned at Lisa. “So, 2003—is that around the time you began doing NaNoWriMo then?”
Lisa followed Kelly to the edge of the water, she sat on one of the other stones and took her shoes off. “Thank you. Oh this feels so great. My feet were so sore from walking the three dogs,” she laughed. “In response to your question, I started NaNo in about 2005, that first year I made it to 35 thousand. I didn’t do NaNo for another 4 years, in 2009. My father passed away in August of 2009 and was buried exactly a month after he and my mother’s 50th wedding anniversary. I dedicated my NaNo that year to him, and was the first year I ‘won.'” Lisa splashed her feet a little. “Since then I’ve made the 50 thousand words every year since.”
“I’m glad your father was able to help you win NaNo that year even though he wasn’t around. I know he’d be very proud of you.” Kelly smiled softly then looked down at her own rippling reflection. She knew what it was like to lose someone close, but she glimpsed up at Lisa with eyes bright with questions. “And what do you find yourself writing? Short stories? Novels? You mentioned you wrote poetry before.”
“Thank you. It was very tough losing him. But I think he would be proud of me. Writing wise, basically what I feel like writing at the time. Or what I’ve gotten myself into. I have participated in short story contests, and I like that medium. But I find that I do have hurdles that I erect in my path, that makes it harder to achieve my goals… but once I’ve passed those, it’s easier to work towards them. I’ve been in a couple of anthologies in the last year, and done my blog on writing. I though am working on the last hurdle of writing for me, the novel. Stormraevyn will hopefully be done in another few months especially now that I have the beautiful cover that Dominique Goodall made for me,” Lisa’s face went through expressions of self deprecation to animated excitement. “Do you want to see it?”
“Of course!! Need you ask?”
Lisa grinned. “Well, I didn’t want to impose, but here it is.” She pulled out her package which magically appeared. It was small and didn’t look like it would fit much of anything. She reached in, rummaging around the bag. Pulled out a set of keys, a coffee mug, and a sweater. “In case I get cold.” She then had a look of triumph on her face. “Aha.”
“Oh wow! Very nice!” Kelly leaned forward for a better look. “And I’m guessing there’s some kind of symbolism with the raven and the wolf?” She raised her brows as she looked up at Lisa.
“The book’s main character is a shapeshifter, she is the Raven, and the Wolf is her twin brother–he shifts into the wolf. “The book is urban fantasy. The wolf twin is based on a friend in one of my writing groups on Facebook.”
“I see!” Kelly nodded, talking a look at the cover again. “That’s wonderful. So, tell me more about this story. Who are these characters? What are they facing and such?” Then she looked back at her feet in the water, splashing about a little as she listened closely to Lisa’s tale.
Lisa settled into the telling. “The idea came from a Homework assignment that I assigned my Writers Night Event in the group Writers Night Quills. The prompt came from Writers Night event. Basically the prompt gave you a drink, then as you drink your metamorphose into having a couple of limbs. But the prompt encouraged you to continue drinking, and we were supposed to write what else happened. I got such a kick and a great idea for a story. And as all speculative fiction ideas start, it began with ‘What if?’,” Lisa took a breath before continuing. “So the drink basically turned on a gene in my main character, one that had not been activated before. It turns her into the raven. She then discovers the truth about her family, that she had always dismissed as fables.”
Kelly cast Lisa a quizzical look “And…? This truth is her family are shapeshifters or something? Also, did her twin drink the stuff too or what?”
“Miranda is a Navajo indian, and she had basically tried to dismiss her heritage, been denying the whole time. She went to an anglo school, and college, she works in the white world. Wolfen her twin, he had been born able to shift. In her it was a recessive gene. The potion turned it on, and was from the antagonist. He needed to have her change. She had always thought the legends/fables were fantasy. But she’s finding out that of course they are real. Real bit of a shock to her. The potion was given to her by the antagonist, I meant, sorry,” Lisa looked sheepish. “My mouth got faster than my head.”
“Well yeah!” Kelly bobbed her head. “Just a ‘bit’ of a shock. So, the antagonist gave her the potion…why?” She furrowed her brows. “Tell me about this guy. Why is he the bad guy?”
“The head or leader is a malevolent god type, who is imprisoned in a parallel universe to our own. And he needs her to get him out. He cannot leave the parallel universe, but he sends a henchman to pass on the potion that he made. This man was from our universe originally, but he is basically forced into doing what the “master” bids.”
“Very interesting.” Kelly mulled over this, set her elbow on her knee and planted her chin in her palm. “So what more can you tell me about the story without spoiling it? It sounds intriguing.” She smiled over at Lisa. Spoilers were always a risk, and Kelly respected them.
“Well,” Lisa pondered, staring at the water contemplating how much detail to give out. “I think I should leave the story for a moment, and mention that it is always something that comes up as a surprise to me. Something I hadn’t planned or expected. Which of course is harder to work with, makes my job harder to show this new tidbit. Though I always say, ‘Whatever makes the story stronger/better.'” She reached down to sniff a fragrant flower which poofed into existence. “Wonderful place you have here by the way,” Lisa smiled. “Before I flesh out a story, I don’t normally outline, but just write down vague ideas, characters and plot. But I don’t do an outline until after first draft is done, because…it never follows it anyhow. One NaNo, I had a BEAUTIFUL outline, I was loving it, it had the story how I wanted it to go…then NaNo.” Lisa shifted a bit so that she could get more comfortable. “So then NaNo…and the story did not follow the outline at all, refused to, so I just pushed through, and did finish the draft, it’s just very very different from what I had planned. For Stormraevyn, the two revelations that came out during first draft, was Wolfen being her twin, and the next was that Miranda was terrified of heights. Bit hard to fly as a raven that way.”
Kelly chuckled. “Yeah, outlines can be like that. They’re not suited for everyone, and that’s fine. I do both outlining and not outlining—just depends on the story.” Then she thought of what Lisa said about Miranda being afraid of height as well as being a raven, and she had to laugh. “So, how does Miranda cope with THAT?”
“Basically, she has to be pushed by extreme circumstances to do so. If she can, she flies low to the ground though, and the raven itself is basically a separate…ummm how do I explain?” Lisa tilted her head, and crinkled her nose thinking of what term she was looking for. Finally, she straightened her head, and smiled, “Personality, like a split personality in a way. So it’s a struggle as it wants to fly high, and she does not.”
Kelly tilted her head to a side. “And how is this supposed to help the antagonist? Right now I’m imagining him doing a ‘palmface’ and saying something like, ‘You just HAD to get the one who’s totally hates the shape she shifts into!!!'” This made Kelly laugh again, and she kicked her feet in the water.
Lisa leaned back watching the water fly. She scratched her nose as a fly seemed to want to land there. Watching it fly away, she continued. “He doesn’t really know all that about her. She’s been hidden from him for a long time, Miranda is 28, and works as an Assistant District Attorney in Phoenix. So he doesn’t really know any of that. He really doesn’t find out either, though he henchman Rockland Moore does. You want to hear something funny?” Lisa leaned forward, with a crooked grin.
“Of course.” Kelly grinned, leaning close too.
“Whenever I type the name Rockland Moore, I can’t do just the one, I have to put both names. Tried many times to, it’s just too good a name to say. I just love it so much. And it refuses to be typed any other way. Has that ever happened to you?” Lisa leaned back, and looked at Kelly quizzically.
“No, not more than one name, but I’ve had characters with very long names. But the name has to be typed out completely—no nicknames allowed.” Kelly wagged her head but then smirked at Lisa. “Characters are funny like that, but that’s what makes them awesome.” Then she lifted her gaze to the sky and could sense how much time had passed. She sighed. “Well, we need to get heading back. Our time’s up—quite unfortunately.” With another sigh, she pulled her feet out of the water, slipped on her shoes and rose to her feet.
Soon the two were on their way back to the clearing where they had met, and Kelly took the opportunity to ask another question. “So when is this book of yours getting published again? You did say it’s soon, right?” She raised her brows as she pushed aside a tree limb.
Lisa followed Kelly into the clearing. “I’m still in edits right now, the chapters are getting Beta read as I get them done, so I can tweak as needed, while the other part is being read. Hopefully by the end of this year.”
“That’s great! And you’ll let me know when it’s going to be released?” Kelly raised her brows as she looked over her shoulder at Lisa briefly before glancing ahead. They were back in the clearing, and the portal was open again, waiting to take each one home.
“I surely will, and thank you so much for letting talk about my pride and joy!” Lisa smiled at Kelly.
“It was my pleasure!” Kelly beamed and then she motioned to the portal. “And unfortunately, it’s back to the Real World. Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting.”
“Not a problem, I really enjoyed it,” as Lisa waved to Kelly, she headed out the portal.
The release date for Lisa Wooley’s ‘Stormraevyn’ is not yet set, but follow her Facebook and on Twitter for more updates! Also check out her blog.
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