A Giveaway—and I’d Love to Hear from You!

A Giveaway—and I’d Love to Hear from You!

Hello Everyone!

I appreciate all the kind remarks and comments I’ve received over the past few months since the launch of my weekly blog. Thank you all, very much.

I’ve been doing all the talking lately, so this week—and into the future if you feel the notion—I would love to hear more from you. Tell me what you think about hummingbirds being so trusting when they are trapped that they’ll let a person hold them and carry them to safety. Do you have any stories about wild birds or animals who trusted you? Tame ones, too.

What about people who inspired you? I had people in my life who encouraged me, made me believe I could, when I thought I probably couldn’t. Do you, or did you, have a friend, a teacher, a mentor, anyone to show you the way, so you wouldn’t have to carve a new path on your own? Those people are blessings in our life we might not even recognize or appreciate at the time. If they are still available to you, now might be a good time to thank them. I mean this sincerely, don’t wait until it’s too late. I have learned never to let words of appreciation go unsaid.

Speaking of teamwork, have you learned it’s better to cooperate with others of like mind rather than struggle alone to re-invent the wheel? That one takes some doing if you like to work on your own, but trust me, brainstorming opened new avenues of possibilities I couldn’t imagine before. Plus, you get the added bonus of friendships. I would love to hear how you accomplished something greater by working in partnership with someone else.

Do you have a favorite story or legend that captured your imagination? I loved the stories of Merlin and King Arthur when I was growing up. How about you?

My favorite musical instrument to play is the banjo. Love bluegrass. I also like to play Irish fiddle music. What’s your favorite instrument (whether you can play it or not!)?

Last month, I wrote about my favorite pet names. I forgot that it was two generations ago (yikes!) that I saw the movie A Streetcar Named Desire. It’s the one where Marlon Brando yelled “Stella!” I thought it was a pretty good name for calling a dog to come back to me, but I realized that many of you probably never heard of the author, Tennessee Williams, or the 1950s movie. Time does fly!

So, these are my thoughts for this week’s posting. I hope you enjoyed spending this time with me, and I would very much like to hear what you have to say.

As a Special Giveaway to you for sharing your views and your interests, I would like to offer the following:

Add your comments and input below, and I will be happy to email the first two chapters of my first book, A Shadow Away, to you for free. Plus, I offer you early access to purchase the 6 books of my series “Alex Cort Action Adventures” before they’re available to the public! Once you add your comment, you will hear from me shortly with your freebie!

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Action adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Action Adventures series, a series of classic adventure books, with an added touch of magic, filled with archaeology, mystery and intrigue. Titles include A Shadow Away (Book 1), All Under Heaven (Book 2), and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Writing About Metaphysics and the Supernatural

Writing About Metaphysics and the Supernatural

Hello again. I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day Weekend Holiday!

I included a video this week where I talk about my life in metaphysics, and why I like to write about the supernatural.

If you’ve read A Shadow Away, my mission statement, or my weekly blogs, you will notice I have a very positive outlook on life. Things happen to us, of course, but if we dig deeply enough into the underlying causes of most accidents, coincidences, or unhappy events — happy ones, too — an explanation will usually present itself.

“They” say, “Nothing happens in life without a reason.” I’ve also been told, and found out for myself, that “Every problem that comes to you, comes with a gift in its hands.” Which means, we always learn something from what life hands us. I believe it was Richard Bach, in his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, who wrote this piece of wisdom. I’ve turned to that thought often in my life.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I was brought up with a metaphysical outlook on life, and it gives me a great deal of comfort to know that things usually turn out for the good, or how they were meant to be, even though it doesn’t look that way to me at the time.

Our world is experiencing a great deal of tumult on many levels in this new Age of Aquarius. We no longer live in the safe world I knew growing up, and I don’t envy young people the problems they are facing today. But the interesting thing is that the young people of today give me a great deal of encouragement. They are stronger, smarter, more gifted than the kids I knew growing up. We had different problems to deal with, and we handled them the best way we could. Kids today seem ready to face their challenges and rise to them with intelligence and grace. I do believe what was said about the idea that we are not given more to bear than we can handle.

There are exceptions to that idea, of course. But even perceived failures or losses can, with some introspection, become learning experiences for us.

Anyway, that’s why I like to write about other dimensions, science, and magic, and the supernatural, because I want to share the idea that there is no end to life. Forms change, but life goes on. Science is even proving that energy and matter are the same thing at the quantum level. Nothing is lost. That gives me comfort when I think of loved ones who have moved on.

I like to write positive stories that take you, and me too, on adventures with exciting action, a touch of magic, and a bit of romance as adventurer Alex Cort joins eccentric archaeologist Andrew Seaton and Angel, a young woman with her own kind of magic.

Join me on adventures to explore lost cities of legends like El Dorado and Atlantis. It’s a lot of fun!

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Action adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Action Adventures series, a series of classic adventure books, with an added touch of magic, filled with archaeology, mystery and intrigue. Titles include A Shadow Away (Book 1), All Under Heaven (Book 2), and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Fascinating Logos, Palindromes, and Words with Double Meanings

Fascinating Logos, Palindromes, and Words with Double Meanings

Hello Everyone!

This week I’ve been thinking about fascinating logos. They are everywhere around us, and some are so recognizable we don’t even need to read the company name to know exactly who they are.

My all-time favorite has got to be the opening scene of almost any Disney movie. The one with Sleeping Beauty’s castle — with a cascade of stars streaming overhead in a magical arc at a touch of Tinkerbell’s wand. When I see that image, I know I’m going to be going on a magical adventure.

I also love the Disney scene with an old-fashioned steam engine train chugging through a mystical countryside where sometimes I wish I could live. Speaking of fantasy places I wish I could live, I often get that feeling when I see Thomas Kincade’s paintings of a house or cottage nestled by a stream with the windows ablaze with that special light he creates. But I digress!

Another of my favorite logos is the NBC peacock. I’ve watched it morph from a simply drawn colorful image in the beginning, many years ago, to more evolved and updated images through the years. But we always know that peacock means NBC.

I appreciate graphic artists and designers who can take the initials of a company’s name and make a clever logo out of them. I admire their imagination and creativity!

The San Diego Zoo publishes a magazine called ZOONOOZ. I like it because I love the zoo, but also because the name reads the same from front to back. A word like that is called a Palindrome. Radar, toot, and refer, are other palindromes. How many can you think of?

I’m also a fan of words with double meanings. The Alazo Press logo has a double meaning that I appreciate very much. The word “alazo” occurs in two different languages, and I find that fascinating. I first discovered alazo, in Greek, means “to change.” Like changing your life for the better. The second alazo is Spanish, and it means “a stroke of the wing,” like a bird in flight. Alazo Press’s logo is a hummingbird. How interesting is that!

How many creative and interesting logos have you noticed? It’s kind of like cars on the freeway, once you start noticing one you’ll see it everywhere. When you find some that appeal to you, let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

As always, you can reach me at joan@joanklacy.com or visit my website at www.joanklacy.com to learn about all six stories of my “Alex Cort Action Adventures” series. Starting with A Shadow Away, each book is an action adventure connected with a myth or legend, with a touch of magic, and a bit of romance.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Joan K. Lacy, author
A Shadow Away, first book of the
“Alex Cort Action Adventures” series
joan@joanklacy.com
www.joanklacy.com

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Action adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Action Adventures series, a series of classic adventure books, with an added touch of magic, filled with archaeology, mystery and intrigue. Titles include A Shadow Away (Book 1), All Under Heaven (Book 2), and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Favorite Pet Names–What Are Yours?

Favorite Pet Names–What Are Yours?

It’s time for my weekly blog again, and I’ve been thinking about pets I’ve known. We give them unusual names, or funny ones, or names that mean something to us. Before I go any further, I have to share the best dog name I ever heard. She’s so cute, I included her picture here, so you can see my favorite breed of all time. They are called Goldendoodles, and this is one combination that really stole my heart. They are smart, and inherited that from both sides of their doggie lineage: the Golden Retriever and the Standard Poodle. Goldendoodles are also sweet and gentle—which is what I look for in people as well as puppies!

I went on a bit about this wonderful “new” breed, but I wanted to introduce you before I told you how this puppy gets called for breakfast: “STELLA!” I laugh every time I think of that one.

I’ve had favorite names for my pets, and each one has a special meaning for me. A dog named Pal, who will always stay in my heart. A parakeet named “Babette,” who liked to sit on my head and play with my hair. A terrier my sister named Tammy, after the Debbie Reynolds movie that was made long before most of you were born. So many other names and pets through the years. I’m older now, so I have had the pleasure of being a Pet Parent to a wonderful series of animals of every type, and I remember them all fondly. Their memories still bring me joy.

We think we “own” them, but really, we are only given custody of animals who mostly give us unconditional love. I wish I had not taken so many of them for granted. That’s the benefit of hind-sight, which I am passing on to you.

My family’s first pets, a dog and a cat, were given Chinese names because my dad studied about that country and always loved it. And then later, a white cat named “Snowball” of course. So many animals to give me love. I was lucky to have known them all.

My greatest sadness is that our pets don’t live as long as we do. I didn’t think about that much when I was young. My pets were just there, and they followed me everywhere or sat on my lap in the evenings and purred, and I never took the time then to appreciate them as I do now.

If you would like to write me about pets you love, or have loved, please feel free to contact me at joan@joanklacy.com. I would be very happy to talk with you about your stories and the names of your favorite pets.

If any of you reading this are allowed to have pets, can take care of your pet, and have the proper space and lifestyle for a pet, I highly recommend bringing a loving animal into your life. So many shelters are filled with possible pets of all kinds. Rescue one of them!

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Action adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Action Adventures series, a series of classic adventure books, with an added touch of magic, filled with archaeology, mystery and intrigue. Titles include A Shadow Away (Book 1), All Under Heaven (Book 2), and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Compromise: The Key to Successful Relationships

Compromise: The Key to Successful Relationships

I’ve been learning about compromise nearly all my life, as most of us have. A long time ago, I heard the phrase: “You must give a little to get a little.” It’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes, to give as well as take.

I’ve had some interesting teachers along the way, and most of them were animals. I learned about unconditional love from a small dog who was mistreated by the person who was supposed to be caring for it. That person made me mad, and I wanted to retaliate for the hurt he caused. And then I watched the little dog make friends with that person a few days later, as though all was forgiven. How could the little dog still be loving to that terrible person? It’s a compromise I still have trouble with when I see injustice.

I learned another lesson in compromise when I introduced a female cocatiel, “Sweet Cheeks,” to the male, “Peaches,” which was my pet first. The male was pretty nasty to her, and I watched how she handled him. It was really very interesting, and taught me a big lesson in “getting along” with others. He started out by claiming his territory, instead of making friends with his new mate. I thought that was pretty selfish of him, as I watched him peck at her, and force her off their perch.

She didn’t fight back, as I would have done at the time. Instead of retaliating, she turned her back to him and stayed put when he acted belligerent. It took a week or two, but finally Peaches figured out she wasn’t a threat, and calmed down. When he became less hostile, Sweet Cheeks made an effort to be friendly. She would sidle over to him, closer, and a little closer, as time went on. When he still pecked at her, I talked to her sternly: “How can you be so forgiving when he treats you like that?!”

After another long while, I saw them sitting close together on the perch. He allowed her to groom his neck feathers, and before I knew it they were starting a family! Her non-reaction to his behavior showed me a lot about compromise and how to get along with others who are being difficult. I admit it has taken me longer than it took her to be forgiving in unforgiveable circumstances. It’s good to remember, though, that it might not always work, and the person being mistreated may have to pull away in truly difficult circumstances.

That being said, I’m still working on the valuable lessons a bird and a little dog taught me a long time ago! From them I learned that in a successful relationship, one person must be willing to change their mind about the difficult situation between them. If the relationship is worth keeping, choose compromise over retaliation, or avoidance—either of the subject or the other person involved.

We can learn a lot from the animals in our lives. For the most part, they love us unconditionally, forgive us when they need to, and trust us with their lives. If you have a pet, or there are animals in your life, watch them. Learn from them. They give back much more than they receive.

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Book Cover Photo Shoot: Creating an Action-Oriented Cover

Book Cover Photo Shoot: Creating an Action-Oriented Cover

I had an interesting experience last week at my first book cover photo shoot!

The publishing team for A Shadow Away, the first book of my Alex Cort Adventures series, decided we should create a new, more action-oriented image for the cover. A Shadow Away was written as an action adventure with a touch of magic, but I was told the cover looked more Young Adult and Fantasy. I wanted to appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, from a romance for women, to adventure for men, to something appealing to young readers, as well. Kind of like Indiana Jones, who everyone likes!

Anyway, the team experimented with new, more exciting backgrounds depicting action and the excitement of a chase through the jungles of Brazil, when a jeweled statue linked to the legend of El Dorado disappears under mysterious circumstances. It has been a long process, with suggestions analyzed, and portions accepted while other parts rejected.

Finding the right character to portray “Alex” took a while, too. Many long hours were spent searching for just the right model, who resembled most closely my imagined image of the hero of the series. And guess what—we found him!

Of course, my ideal image won’t match every girl’s or woman’s hero image, so that’s why you won’t see exactly what “Alex” looks like. You can imagine him for yourself!

Several days before the scheduled book cover photo shoot, I had to decide what I wanted “Alex” to be wearing on the expedition to find the lost city of El Dorado, as depicted in A Shadow Away (Book 1). I had a lot of fun choosing the right clothing—from shirt to jeans, to jacket/no jacket, to the right type of boot. I had no idea there would be so much involved. Lists of costumes were made, lists of possible action shot poses, lists of lists. It was all rather exciting.

The day of the shoot was actually pretty much all fun. The team works well together, and we all had brilliant ideas about what our action hero could be doing. Many, many photos were taken of multiple jumping, standing, crouching, leaping, climbing poses and actions. The best will be selected, then fit into the action sequence on the new cover.

The team was pretty tired after a full day of running and jumping by all of us, not just our hero. I give him credit though, because he was willing to wear a twenty-pound pea coat with a scarf wrapped around his neck in 90-degree weather, for a possible image I was thinking of for the fourth book, set in Ireland, The Black Horseman.

So much goes into the actual publishing of the stories we writers try so hard to bring to life. I’ve been very lucky to receive many positive and enthusiastic responses from the people who have read A Shadow Away. I am so happy that those of you who have read my book love it and can’t wait for the launch of All Under Heaven, the second book of the series. It’s coming!

I hope you enjoyed the images I wanted to create in your minds of all the work and the fun of publishing!

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
LiDAR and New Archaeological Discoveries

LiDAR and New Archaeological Discoveries

Because I am fascinated by ancient civilizations, science and archaeology, and as research for my magical, archaeological adventure book series, the Alex Cort Adventures, I subscribe to several archaeology and science magazines. In school, everyone considered “History” dull and boring. I have to say, the way history was taught to us was dull and mostly boring. Memorizing dates, to me at least, isn’t the way to remember history. It’s the battles themselves, or the tragedy and the intrigue about those battles, that captures my imagination. The more we learn about the history of the people who lived before us, the more we can appreciate the rich cultures and complicated lives those people led.

In case you aren’t familiar with LiDAR technology, here is a brief description: LiDAR is an acronym of light imaging, detection, and ranging. Drones use this surveying method to measure distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target.

LiDAR drones are capable of peering through jungle canopies, forests, desert sands, and even under the oceans in locations around the world. For example, LiDAR surveys of areas like Guatemala and Peru are disclosing the remains of vast areas of interconnected cities, with residential areas, temples, irrigation systems, reservoirs, and tracts of land worked to provide food for large populations. More than just thousands — up to several million people lived in these extended communities. We are now able to see much more sophisticated civilizations than scientists previous to our generation believed possible. This news is very exciting!

Talking about new archaeological discoveries: new finds are validating theories of scientists from many disciplines that this world was more populated, earlier peoples were more sophisticated, and they traveled wider than ever given credit for in years past. Though this new information is controversial, it is now believed that Neanderthals, far from being the ignorant brutes they’ve been pictured to be, are to be credited with ancient cave paintings in Spain, and possibly also some of the earliest cave paintings in France. These paintings have been dated to a time before the race of modern humans, called “homo sapiens,” arrived in Europe!

Of course, there is controversy, because other scientists question the validity of these earlier dates, but that is what often happens. Whenever new ideas are presented, there will nearly always be resistance on the part of those unwilling to accept a change of their world-view. The funny thing is, though, after a while that new idea meets less resistance. Doubters are won over, or become more willing to be convinced. They start to believe this not-so-new-now idea might be possible after all, and the jeers turn into cheers. That’s why it’s always good to keep an open mind about any new discovery that might threaten your established views about how any subject “should be.” As a caution, though, use your good sense and don’t be too eager to leap into anything without careful consideration!

Learning about the history of our world can be exciting and challenging. Enjoy the exploration!

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
YA Classic Adventures: Not All Teens are Depressed, You Know

YA Classic Adventures: Not All Teens are Depressed, You Know

A lot of readers ask me why I choose to write what some call a return to the “classic adventure” for my series: the Alex Cort Adventures. Beginning with A Shadow Away, I decided early on that I wanted to provide an alternative to the many books written today with emphasis on chaotic, scary worlds. Instead of fictional depressed or stressed characters dealing with what is already happening too much in real life, I wanted to write about people I’d like to spend time with. Adult friends who come together to solve supernatural mysteries linked with legends from around the world.

In researching magical adventure books, I found virtually no adventure stories with positive adult role models in the bookstores I visited. I did discover most teen and young adult books are dark stories set in dystopian worlds, preoccupied with death and suicide. This might be a sign of our times, but I thought it interesting that Hyperion editor Stephanie Lurie said she was told by a young girl, “We are not all depressed you know.”

In that same bookstore, I heard a father refuse to buy his young sons the books they wanted because the stories “gave them bad dreams.” A lot of movies and books give me bad dreams, too. I don’t need more stress in my life! And I feel there are many teens who are looking for stories that capture the imagination, without the negativity that darkens so many novels today.

I like mysteries and being completely involved in an adventure with a good plot. And because of that, I want to take you on an adventure. Draw pictures with words so you can be swept away into magical worlds of your own imagination. I’d like you to come to love the characters and be sorry when the story is over. I wanted to write adventure stories with positive adult role models for the younger readers who may need some in their lives, and enjoy a good adventure, too. Most of all, I want to offer entertaining stories with a positive approach, and a chance for everyone to learn something interesting about this world, its people, and their myths and legends.

If you like the legends of Merlin and King Arthur, I highly recommend Mary Stewart’s trilogy. Merlin’s story begins with The Crystal Cave, then The Hollow Hills, ending with The Last Enchantment. If you go online and check out her list of books, you will see many, many that capture your imagination.

James Herriot is another author whose books I treasure. His first book is called All Creatures Great and Small. He is a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales of Northern England, and the way he tells his stories is fabulous. You will love his veterinary “family” in Darrowby. I envy you for being able to read it for the first time.

If you like stories with horses, Dick Francis used to be the Queen of England’s own jockey. He has a knack for telling a good story, too!

Just know there are many books you can sink into for such enjoyable adventures that you will want to read them again.

Happy Reading!

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Developing Your Story Idea

Developing Your Story Idea

This week I’d like to share with you the convoluted and not always easy process of developing your story idea — the one that’s been rattling around in your head, waiting to be written. Ideas are pretty easy to come up with, but organizing the storyline, the characters, the conflict, and the action take a lot more doing! Your brilliant idea must now evolve to create situations to introduce your characters. Where is this great story idea going?

It’s not as easy as just letting your imagination flow and letting it go where it takes you. From the introduction, to the drama, to the conflicts, and their final resolutions, a finished product must follow a set of rules for your story to be the great success you’d like it to be. I’ve talked about those rules in previous blogs, so today I’d like to tell you how my “brilliant idea” became the finished book I hope you will all read someday!

I like to write adventure stories with a touch of magic. Myths that are part of our world’s culture and legends have always intrigued me, so that is what I choose to write about. It’s important for you to write about what interests you, whether it’s science fiction, romance, or a thinly disguised autobiography. If your story idea intrigues you, write about that. Be yourself, because that is what will shine through. It’s not a good idea to write something just because you think it might sell. That story won’t have your full involvement, and it will show.

I’m just starting research on the fourth book in my Alex Cort Adventures series. I have a title, and an idea of where the story is going, but I don’t have all the characters “imagined” yet that I will need to tell my story. This is another step for you to think about in developing your story. Who is going to “tell” the story? I use that word with caution, because it is very important to show what happens in a scene while the action is commencing, not just tell about what happened after the fact.

Secrets of the Crystal Skulls, my third story in the series, takes place just after Atlantis is destroyed by a sorcerer. I have an ensemble of characters I like to include in every story, so I already know that adventurer Alex Cort, archaeologist Andrew Seaton, and a young woman named Angel, who calls herself a witch, are going to be involved. My stories wrap around these characters, and each of them contribute to the action of the story with their own points of view. If you only have one book planned, even if you plan a series, it is important to create “character arcs” that show how your character(s) evolve and grow. How will they be different, better, wiser, than they were in the beginning of your story? Conflict and Character Arcs are two subjects your editors will mention to you often. Be sure to include both!

The other characters you will need are those who bring conflict: How do they connect to your main character? How to best introduce a romantic partner? It’s hard not to give too much away in the beginning. It’s important to sprinkle “backstory” bits of information about your characters throughout, not just dump in a paragraph or two at the beginning. Weave this personal information you created for your characters into the storyline. It isn’t always simple, but it is important to lead your readers into becoming involved with, and care about, your characters.

When writing is a joy, you’ll never have writer’s block!

Video: Alex Cort Adventures, Book 3: Secrets of the Crystal Skulls

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Character Development Tips for Your Novel

Character Development Tips for Your Novel

Readers often ask me how I come up with my characters. So, here are some character development tips based on how I do it. It’s pretty interesting how it happens!

My story, like A Shadow Away, starts with a myth or legend that interests me. That legend determines what country (real or imagined) the story will take place in. I’m also interested in archaeology, science, magic and metaphysics, so I weave those elements into my stories as well. Those decisions lead me to outline events, actions, mysteries, problems — and the people who will be needed to experience the “drama.”

Character Development Examples

My characters evolve from the story I want to tell. My three favorite characters appear in each story of my “Alex Cort Adventures” series, starting with A Shadow Away.

First is Alex. He loves adventure, has a curiosity about this world, and isn’t afraid of danger. Magic is a mystery to him (not to me), and he finds himself attracted to a woman who mystifies and unsettles him. It’s up to Alex to get Andrew out of trouble when he gets over-enthusiastic.

Dr. Andrew Seaton is an eccentric British archaeologist who’s always getting himself into trouble. He gives me the chance to take us all on expeditions and searches for long-lost treasures. With him, I can share what I’ve learned over the years with my long-time interest in archaeology. Andrew’s approach is scientific, but he loves legends and superstitions, so he adjusts to magic pretty easily. With him I can write about everything from science to superstition.

Last, but certainly not least, is Angel. She calls herself a witch and has her own kind of magic. With Angel I can write about magic, fantasy, and the supernatural.

As for how they got their names, they named themselves. And each has their own point of view to add to the scenes of the story. When I have to come up with answers to a glitch in the plot, the most amazing thing happens when I am stumped for a solution. Time and again, it’s one of the characters who comes up with the answer. I can’t give them all the credit, though! Another solution for a glitch in the plot is to reverse the scene, or characters, or give the problem to a different character. Seeing it from a different perspective sometimes provides the clue I need for a solution to keep the story moving.

Creating a Villain

The villains vary, depending on the location and plot of the individual stories. In A Shadow Away, Andrew’s corrupt colleague and a black-market art thief want the jeweled statue linked with the lost city of El Dorado for themselves. The second book, All Under Heaven, for another example, has a sorcerer, a magician, mythical elemental dragons, and a ghost. They are all fun to write about, and I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I did writing them!

I hope you have a happy summer. Whether you travel, or stay home with some time for yourself — take A Shadow Away with you for an adventure in your imagination!

Video: How Do You Go About Writing a Book?

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.

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