Why I love Owls So Much

Peruvian Pygmy Owl

Peruvian Pygmy Owl

I have often been asked why I include owls in my books. It is because I have loved them since I can remember and had, at one time, a picture of me with my first owl. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find this picture though three of us worked frantically to find it in all the pictures we had.

The picture is me at 3 years old standing in front of the old console televisions. On top of it stood my prized owl; an electric alarm clock made from ivory colored plastic and stood 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide. The clock was in its belly and I couldn’t wait to be able to put it in my bedroom. Mom said I needed to be a little older and at the age of 10 I was allowed my treasure. The clock was used through high school when it decided it had ran its course.

eurasian eagle owl

My grandfather was always tinkering and I though he would be able to fix it for me. When I gave it to him I asked him to not throw it away if he couldn’t. He just looked at me as said he’d see what he could do. If he couldn’t get it working again I planned on taking the clock works out and putting artificial flowers in it and keep it forever. Grandpa threw it away as he never believed in keeping anything if it didn’t work. When I got home from school I was ready to go through the trash but it had already been collected.

I scoured the internet hoping to at least find a picture of it but had not.

That’s how I became infatuated with this marvelous birds.

Since then I’ve collected over 100 owls in statute and picture and some jewelry. I even still have a pencil holder and letter holder I received in 1970, and use to this day.

great horned owl

great horned owl

My first book, “The Angler and the Owl” features my favorite of all the owls, the barn owl, which has a heart-shaped face plate. After researching which owls were indigenous to South America I was delighted to find the barn owl was amongst them. The only difference in my story owl and the real barn owl is that my story owl has a light blue heart-shaped ring around its face that has an eerie glow in the dark.

My husband had purchased a book “Owls of the World” for me for my birthday two years ago and I spent the whole week reading about all the different owls. There are 254 species and 53 sub-species with some being considered to be added to the species list.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

I was amazed to find the size differences, also. From the smallest, 5 inches (the pygmy owl) to the largest, 33 inches (the Eurasian eagle owl) fascinated me. The book also goes into detail about how each species is designated but I won’t bore you with that.

In my second book, “The Owl of the Sipan Lord” I chose the Peruvian pygmy owl as it is indigenous to the Peru and used in the pottery of the Moche people. The Moche lived 200 CE to 600 CE and were the focus of the archaeologists in my story.

My WIP, “The Midnight Owl”, is graced with the great horned owl, or as most know it the hoot owl. I plan to have that book finished this year.

The magnificent birds will always be part of my stories whether they be harbingers of bad news or rescuers in a perilous situation, or anythin in between.

That’s the story of my obsession with owls. I have them in every room in my home. Though my husband teases me if I bring another one in he’s leaving, he’s still here.

Viv Drewa aka The Owl Lady

You can connect with The Owl Lady via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vivdrewa.author

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Guest Post: ‘The Best Inspiration To Write A Fantasy Novel Comes From…’ by Andy Peloquin

A guest post by Andy Peloquin

The Best Inspiration To Write A Fantasy Novel Comes From…

Real life!

The inspiration for everything comes from life around you. That fantasy character that you love, he/she came from someone or someones that the author knew. Characters tend to be an amalgamation of all the people that an author knows or has met in their lives, or a collection of the traits that authors consider to be appropriate for the character in mind.

But where does this collection of traits come from? Real life, of course!

The reason I started writing fantasy is simple: it frees us from the limitations imposed upon us by the world of today.

Think about what you realistically can and can’t do in your life. There are certain rules, strictures, and regulations that you have to follow. If you step out of line, there are always things to slap you back in place–you end up getting fired, divorced, dumped, or arrested.

But in the world of fantasy, there are few of the limitations that exist in the world today. If you want to turn every character of your book into purple fairies, by the Seelie you turn them purple! If every character in your book  is going to have their sexual organs reversed so that the men have female parts and vice versa, you can go ahead and write it!

That doesn’t mean that fantasy works can exist without a structure or some semblance of real life threaded throughout. Books that are so alien as to be nearly unrecognizable tend to flop in terms of sales and readership, as it’s the humanity in a book that helps a reader to connect to the book.  Without that touch of humanity, it would be as abstract as an academic textbook.

And yet that blend of humanity with the fantastic is what makes fantasy the genre that continues to draw me back in time and again. No matter how many times I try to read something else, I’m always yanked back to fantasy simply because it’s a combination of the mundane and the supernatural that I can’t help but love.

Why did I choose to write fantasy? Simple: it frees me from the limitations that other genres impose upon my writing.

Were I to choose to write, say, a mystery novel set in Los Angeles, I would be bound by the laws of Los Angeles–traffic, time between destinations, locations, restaurants, etc. But by writing in fantasy, I can create my own laws, my own world.

World building is something that is complex and yet so simple at the same time. The world you build has to resemble real life, but you–as the author–have the freedom to thumb your nose at reality and say, “I want to make everyone an Orc that rides green-tailed lizards.” Those orcs will still suffer the same crap that we humans tend to suffer, but in a very Orc-like manner. The differences will intrigue readers, but the similarities will allow them to identify with a character that is so much like them.

If you can dream of it, you can write it in a fantasy (or sci-fi) setting. Your mind is free to roam the boundaries of your imagination, and you can go as totally crazy or as sane as you want.

Fantasy ranges from the nearly mundane (books with almost no fantasy elements, save for the fact that they’re set in a different world) to the completely fantastical (with magic, sorcery, gods, faeries, monsters, and all the rest). The only limitation is your imagination!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Andy! I believe the other fantasy writers could relate to your thoughts. 

If you are reading this and you find this post interesting, do comment and send your feedback. Don’t forget to reblog and share this post around! If you’d like your post to be featured next, please contact us and we’ll let you know what you should do next. 

Fantasy Guest Author: Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

                                                                                                   Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin is the guest poster for the month of December. He has contributed a post under the topic ‘The Best Inspiration To Write A Fantasy Novel Comes From…’. The post will be published tomorrow on IBP’s website under guest posts page. Be sure to check it out. Now, read on to know a few things about Andy before you catch up with his post tomorrow.

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

He can also be found on his social media pages, such as:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin

Guest Post Invitation to Fantasy Writers

We are accepting GUEST POSTS again!

Guest Post Invitation for Fantasy Authors

We would like to invite all Fantasy authors to also take part as guest posters.

The topic is “The Best Inspiration To Write A Fantasy Novel Comes From…”. Write a post within 700 words expressing your thoughts and views on this topic. Send a short bio of yours with an author picture and one book-related link (Amazon/website link) to us via email .

“How Much of a Memoir Should Be True?” by D.G. Kaye

It was a pleasure having Linda Gray Sexton writing a guest post for us under the topic “How Much of a Memoir Should Be True?”

Today, you are getting an opportunity to read the guest post from D.G. Kaye on “How Much of a Memoir Should Be True?”. We hope you enjoy reading her guest post and we welcome you to share your opinions below.

D.G. Kaye

 

Writing in memoir is recognized as a factual accounting of a story, people and places. Memoirs are personal recollections of memories based on a theme, constructed into a story, as experienced by the author. The author is required to tell the story to the best of his/her recollection; as he/she remembers the incidents. This doesn’t negate the fact that there are memoirs written as fiction, but a true nonfiction memoir as stated, should always be factual.

If any of the elements in a nonfiction memoir are altered or expanded, for the purpose of adding drama to spice up the story, then it is no longer truth and should be classified as fiction, or at least noted in the Afterword of a book.

There is also the matter of a grey area, an issue about some authors changing names or professions of characters to maintain anonymity for those people in their books for their characters whom don’t wish to be exploited publicly. Some will say that if names are changed the story is not true. I don’t agree with that belief. I feel that if we keep a story true and concise to actual events, changing the names of characters to protect their identity does not take away from the truth of the story.

Another common question asked about memoirs is, what constitutes truth? One person’s recollection of memory is often perceived differently than a close family member’s own recollection. The impact that situations have on each individual person are often interpreted differently according to each character’s personal experience concerning the story. This doesn’t negate the truth. The author recants a story as they remember it, and tells about how it has affected him or her personally. It is still a memoir from the author’s point of view of his/her own personal perspective.

OXFORD DICTIONARY DEFINITION:  A historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources.

MERRIAM WEBSTER DEFINITION:  A written account of someone or something that is usually based on personal knowledge of the subject.

There has been controversy in the past, where writers had been accused of sensationalizing stories and calling them memoirs. The repercussions can invite public humiliation when they are condemned for fraudulent writing. The bottom line is that the whole story—events, people, locations, should be true.

I will emphasize again that by changing a character’s name to protect his or her privacy, doesn’t take away the truth of the story, nor does it alter the storyline. Other than the author extending the courtesy of privacy protection, I believe everything else in a memoir should be authentic.

 

D.G. Kaye

Memoir/Biography: Guest Author Post

International Book Promotion is publishing the interview series for the Memoir/Biography genre throughout October. We are honoured to have two Memoirists; author Debby Gies and Linda Gray Sexton participating in the interview. Additionally, we have also asked them to write an author guest post each to be published under the Memoir/Biography genre.

We would like to invite all Memoir/Biography authors to also take part as guest posters.

The topic is “How Much Of A Memoir Should be True?”. Write a post within 700 words expressing your thoughts and views on this topic. Send a short bio of yours with an author picture and one book-related link (Amazon/website link) to us via email .

“How Much of a Memoir Should Be True?” by Linda Gray Sexton

Hello readers! We have decided to introduce authors via guest posts. Writers are good in expressing themselves and it’s worth reading their thoughts and views on issues related to the writing world. We are posting interviews from the Memoirs/Biography genre this month and we have Linda Gray Sexton, the daughter of Anne Sexton sharing her thoughts on “How Much of a Memoir Should Be True?”. We hope you enjoy reading her guest post and we welcome you to share your opinions below.

Linda Gray Sexton

Linda Gray Sexton, author of Bespotted: My Family’s Love Affair with Thirty-Eight Dalmatians

I have no doubt that every part of a memoir should be true.  That is what differentiates it from fiction, a genre in which every word is drawn from the author’s imagination.  And perhaps we also distinguish memoir from autobiography because, as we experience this form of literature today, it is not a simple accounting of facts, but rather a story drawn from one’s emotions and the life they reflect, susceptible to wanderings and flashbacks and other thematic intertwinings.

 

How does a writer determine what is “true?”  Truth is subjective for us all and we can only tell our own stories with the best sense of integrity we have.  Sometimes the truth can be softened by grace and gratitude and a sense of compassion for all those involved.  Nothing is so hard on family and friends as the personal exposure a memoir can bring when it is published.

 

In my second memoir, Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide, a person central to the story took exception to a small detail and asked that I change it in a minor way.  Because I didn’t really “need” it in order to portray that part of my life, I did delete it while the book was still a manuscript.  I didn’t reinvent anything, I just removed one small part of what was, in fact, a tiny bit of my truth.  I felt the compromise was actually no compromise at all.  I also used a pseudonym for this person, as requested, because again I did not feel it mattered in any intrinsic way to my candor or honesty.  I have never changed a place or a date, or consolidated scenes and events.

 

On the other hand, there was one person who was very dear to me, who did object to many of the aspects of the memoir, feeling misunderstood and angry.  Because I saw no way to soften this without compromising the facts and emotions with which the memoir dealt, I suggested that there are many perspectives from which a story can be told: just as two people can enter the same room from different doors and see that room in entirely different ways, so can two people disagree about what actually occurred.  It was my story and I felt entitled to tell it my way.  I left everything intact and simply dealt with the anger aroused.  Sometimes memoir hurts those involved, but because I believed the book would reach out in an important way to others beyond family and friends, I felt certain enough to continue.

 

My sons and sister were also extremely affected by Half in Love.  I did something I believe is unusual in the genre: I invited them to come sit with me and talk about how my depression and suicide attempts had made them feel.  I tape-recorded these conversations so that later on, while writing the memoir, I would be able to refer back to them and, if necessary, quote accurately from them.  I did end up quoting verbatim from these sessions, and I also gave them galleys of the book early on, so that they could perhaps be better prepared for what they, or others, would read.  I changed nothing in galley, even after they offered their comments.

 

With Searching for Mercy Street the situation was also intense.  My mother’s sister and her daughters violently objected to what I had written, in particular with my portrait of their father, believing that what I had written was biased and false. On the op-ed page of the New York Times, they accused me of lying in order to bring myself a wider audience and acquire a warped sort of fame.  I refused to respond either in person or in print.

 

Because it does not deal with painful family secrets in any profound manner, Bespotted: My Family’s Love Affair with Thirty-Eight Dalmatians aroused no animosity from anyone.  For this, I am grateful.  It was hard enough to cope with the first two times around.

 

In the end, a memoir is your own story, written from your own perspective, and ultimately is nothing more than that.  When family members or friends contest what I have created, I simply suggest to them that they write a book from their viewpoint. Ultimately, I believe everyone is entitled to his own truths, including the author, whether others like it—or not.