Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Sandy Lender

This week's winner is Jerry B - Jerry gets an autographed copy of WHAT CHOICES WE MADE!!! Congrats! Please send me your full name and address to AuthorIsland at Yahoo.com and Sandy will get you out your prize!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Tiki Hut to keep Sandy company!


Today's guest at the Tiki Hut is fantasy romance author Sandy Lender.

Sandy Lender began writing stories as soon as she learned to string words together on the page. As a child she entertained the folks in her great grandmother's apartment building in Southern Illinois with tales of squeaky spiders and mice picking berries, and then won awards with writing projects as she moved through the elementary and high school systems in the St. Louis area. It was apparent that a career in journalism was her calling, and she found herself proofreading, editing, and (finally) writing for trade publications after she graduated from Truman State University in Missouri. Those publications may have honed her skills in editing and writing about cattle husbandry, road construction, community management, and zealous forms of religious oppression, as well as developing her skills in public relations and marketing, but her desire to write fiction stayed with her throughout the career-building day jobs.

From her early memories of junior high, Sandy harbored the story of Amanda Chariss and the struggles of the continent of Onweald. It wasn't until the year 2000 that Sandy sat down at the computer and started typing out the words that would form her first fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods. By June of 2003 she had the creation that no literary agent had any interest in. But Sandy is pro-active and doesn't give up easily. She got Publisher Bob Gelinas to show interest in the story in January 2006, and the dream has since become reality.

Sandy now writes in Southwest Florida where her love of sea turtles and all things related to the Gulf waters keeps her imagination growing. Her epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods is now available as is her recent release What Choices We Made. She shares a home with a demanding but lovable sun conure, a 19-year-old water turtle who dances to the songs in her extensive Duran Duran collection, and a muse who often misplaces the key to the shackles at the computer desk. You can get information about grammar and writing from her 15-year-journalism and PR career at her main blog Today The Dragon Wins.
Leave Sandy a comment or question today and get your name in the hat for an autographed copy of WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.

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Sneaky Writers
By Sandy Lender

Terry Brooks says of writers in his book SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS: “Much of what happens around us goes into a storage bin in our minds for future consideration and possible use in a book down the line. What we observe is as important to us in determining what we write as what we know.”

You’ve got to watch out for writers. We’re sneaky. We use everyday stuff that you might not think is intriguing and turn it into a plot device or bit of dialogue. That’s right—if it happens in front of us, it’s fair game. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the presence of a non-fiction memoir-writer or a sci-fi/fantasy geek like me who makes up worlds that you could never envision a simple grocery store conversation ending up in. Oh, yes. Imagine my poor mom’s surprise to learn that a certain embarrassing moment from the early ’80s ended up in print in my latest release, WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.

Here’s how it happened. I was probably 12 or 13. Innocent. Na├»ve. We were in the check-out lane at the grocery store and I stared mindlessly at the tabloids. The headline on one about discussing a sensitive topic with your teens struck me as odd, so I turned to Mom at the other end of the buggy and asked, loudly, “Mom, what’s virginity?” Of course I mispronounced it. Long “I” on the “jine.” Virjinety.

Some people around us snickered, hiding their faces from my blushing mother. She leaned forward and said, lowly, “I’ll tell you in the car.”

Okay.

Years later, that recalled scene struck me as funny, and I knew the young, precocious version of Amanda Chariss, the heroine in the CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS trilogy, had to pull some such stunt on her wizard guardian Hrazon. (I figured Hrazon would forgive me for it.) But the scene would have to be a flashback because my lovely Chariss is 20 years old when we meet her in CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS. She knows what virginity is. And that’s not really the right word to embarrass Hrazon with. I needed something else. Something less contrived, perhaps. So I wrote a scene from their travels laced with a little danger due to Chariss’s age and the condition of Onweald’s social system, but it just didn’t fit in the novel. There wasn’t a place to put it. Yet it was so charming that I wasn’t content to delete and forget it. I wanted to share it with the readers who had fallen in love with Chariss. I pulled it into a short story called “Joveran Border Crossing” for WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.

That’s how an embarrassing moment for my mom ended up in print in a fantasy story more than two decades later. Seems so easy, doesn’t it? These situations happen daily for writers. We see something that may seem ordinary or mundane to everybody else, but it’s story fodder for us. When you see one of us whip out a notepad and start scribbling like mad, you know something’s going in the storage bin for a future book.


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Here's a trailer for Sandy's latest WHAT CHOICES WE MADE



16 comments:

  1. Morning Sandy!!!

    And welcome to the Tiki Hut! So good to have you here and I have to say I laughed when I read your article... because it is sooo true.

    I was at a workshop with Max Allan Collins who wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition and he said he was in a car accident and as it was happening he remember thinking, "well, if I survive I'll know exactly how to write a car accident."

    Great trailer for the new book, btw! Loved it.

    Thanks for being our guest and enjoy your day here at the hut!

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  2. Criminy, DeNita, you've got me laughing, too. You just can't describe that air bag going off in your face and the feel of it slamming into your nose until it's actually happened to you. And then you sit there in a stupor with a throbbing nose thinking your engine's on fire because of all the powder they pack into the thing. One of my first thoughts was, "How long do I have before this thing blows up?"

    Funny point: the most severe car accident I've ever been in was the day after my wedding, on the way to the honeymoon.
    A harbinger of doom, perhaps??? Bwuahahahahaha.
    (I should have been listening to the Universe, eh?)

    I look forward to hearing from everybody today!
    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  3. Hi Sandy.

    You're a new to me author. It sounds like your novel is a romantic fantasy - whats the balance? Is it a romance with fantasy or a fantasy with some romance?

    I'm always very interested in how fantasy authors come up with their worlds - how did yours come about?

    Jerry B

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  4. Hi Sandy, I loved 'Choices Meant For Gods'. I want to get this book, 'What Choices We Made'. I know it is going to be just as good if not better. Will there be a book following 'Choices Meant For Gods'? If so I will be one of the first to be in line for it.

    Tammy G.
    tamjeang1@msn.com

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  5. Hey Sandy!
    I knew even back in High School in Science class that you had an imaginative, creative streak in you and I'm so glad that you have been able to pursue your dreams of publishing your stories for the masses to enjoy!

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  6. Jerry B, I'm a fantasy author with some romance thrown in...but I've been told that's just my opinion. There are those who focus on the sweet romance between Nigel and Chariss like it's the only plotline that matters. (And maybe it is...mwuahaahahahaha.) You can check out Nigel's blog at http://sandylender.blogspot.com to hear him rave about Chariss at times (and make fun of me at other times).

    And I'll tell you, this world came about because it was filling my head to capacity!

    So glad you stopped by today!
    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  7. Tammy G, I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed the first book!! Woo-hoo!! Yes, there will be more in the series. The second novel, Choices Meant for Kings, is due out from ArcheBooks Publishing as soon as the publishing schedule stops giving us fits. That could be next month...or the month after. I should have a contest to see who can guess the release date!

    What Choices We Made has more romantic bits in it, which surprised me - and there's a deleted scene from Choices Meant for Gods between Nigel and Chariss that just wouldn't work for the first novel. If you like seeing those two together...well...

    :)
    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  8. Dave, is that a polite way of saying I've always been "off"? :)
    Thank you!
    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  9. Margaret PoffenbergerMay 12, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    Sandy -
    I love what you said about Sneaky Writers, because it's so true. So many things stick with us and end up in our stories. It's a part of who we are as much as the characters we write about. Thanks for sharing that tidbit.

    Hope you're well, and I look forward to reading The Choices We Made.

    Blessings,
    Mags

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  10. Great Trailer!

    Glad to hear a new book in your series is due out any time, How many books do you see for this series?

    Jenny

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  11. Jenny, There are three books to tell the main story in the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy. Then there is a prequel (already working on it) and a "sequel" that Nigel is writing. Then there are a couple stand-alone books that take place in the land of Onweald that will include characters from the novels because, as Mags will tell you, these characters force their stories on us sometimes. The chapbooks will be stocked with short stories, recipes, poems, riddles, deleted scenes, and whatever else I can throw in them from the novels. So far, there's only one chapbook available: What Choices We Made (vol. 1), but another one is in the works right now.

    Thanks for stopping in here today, Jenny!
    And it's good to see you here, Mags!
    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  12. Nice trailer. I have not read your work, but am looking forward to doing so.

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  13. Sandy - I enjoyed the article. And I'd love to see that dancing turtle!

    Jane Kennedy Sutton
    http://janekennedysutton.blogspot.com/

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  14. Hi there, Estella, Thank you for your kind words. Jamieson Wolf of Night Wolf Productions made that trailer for me.

    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  15. Jane, the turtle will totally dance! I scratch her shell and she dances back and forth, twisting. Of course, there are certain times of the year when this is more dramatic than others...you know...during scute-shedding times...when they itch. He he he.
    Sandy Lender
    "Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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  16. Sandy,

    I've had the opportunity to read your book, Choices Meant For Gods. Normally I read murder/ mystery but a friend told me that your book was hard to put down. So...I bought it. My friend was right. I couldn't read it fast enough. I can't wait to buy the next book in the trilogy.

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