Research today and yesterday


In today’s world of the internet if we want to learn something most often we go right to Google and pull up links on whatever topic we are interested in. There is a lot of crap out there and a lot of wrong info but if you dig deep enough you find gems.

You hear constantly that research was better and more accurate in the days before the web. Take it from me that is not true. There were tons of books, written with a slant that was that of the ruling attitude of the times. But there were also a lot of interesting books to be read.

When I was a kid I was really interested in the stories of before times. Of how other cultures thought of how the world began, would end and of other creatures. In seventh grade I had one of the most amazingly dry history teachers of all time. His delivery of information was almost ponderous up till he started telling us about Egypt. Then he came alive with burning eyes. It was like being taught by a mummy that had come unwrapped to tell us all about the legends of his people. It was then I decided I wanted to be an Archaeologist.  This was long before I learned the difference between archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, archivists, etc. I believed until I was in my senior year of high school if I wanted to study the tales of other long gone cultures I would have to be an archaeologist. But in my senior year I was disabused of the dream of becoming one. First by teachers and counselors who pushed me into business classes and then by my mom telling me that college was too expensive and that I needed to make a living.

Now I know that there were a lot of scholarships, grants and loan systems out there that would have helped me go to school but no one at the time mentioned them to me. Now I know it was because I was both from the projects and a girl. They didn’t think I was right for the college world and that it was best I go to work right away. Or if I was to take classes it should be data entry (yes that was a field of study back then) or bookkeeping courses. I worked for years as a bookkeeper and did data entry but I continued to pick up books on whatever subject interested me.

For the types of books I was interested in going to the local library was really useless. As wonderful as the Nashua Public library was, it was lacking seriously in books on ancient cultures belief systems and the fiction I liked to read. So I turned to places like the new age book store that I found in western Mass when I was visiting friends. I got a lot of books that would be considered white light nut job stuff by some of the people I know back then. They told thing from a nontraditional slant which is just what I was looking for at the time.

Thankfully now we have many more ways to do research and cultures to research. Any of you who have actually read the stories and books I have put out will see the basis in ancient stories of my work. Everything from Celtic to Japanese to some of the native cultures of the North American continent.

Now what started this rambling blog post is I was sitting down reading a novel I downloaded from Amazon on a free offer.  Like my Death Walks Through stories this had a different take on the incarnation of Death. You don’t realize it through most of the novel because it is written richly with lots of understanding of the Navajo culture to it.

I was drawn into the take by the detail and the feel of the story. Unlike many other Urban Fantasies written in the 21st century this one was gentle in pacing and very respectful of both the Navajo and the white people in the story. While there was a pair of MIBs trying to get the mysterious item in the story, they were really the only cliche in the entire novel.

Research and an open mind gave this writer a novel that was quietly amazing. I plan on reviewing it up on Amazon later today. If you are interested in reading my reviews of books over there just look for Lisa Williamson. Though that can be confusing as there are two of us with that name who are publishing. I am NOT the one who wrote the book about a young woman, The Art of Being Normal. That is NOT mine. I write fantasy, etc.

 

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Bits and pieces of Letters to the Dead


Under another name I putp  ua letter to my birth father after he died. It was my way of dealing with the empty piece of loss inside my chest. After I wrote that one I realized that I have lost a number of people in my life but I never got to say what I felt and what I thought about their effect on me. Since I wrote that piece I have been working on letters to others of the dead who I wanted to finish my thoughts of.While these may never see print I felt I needed to put them somewhere. So here is part of the letter I started to my Nana.

***

As I have reached the second half of my life I have started to lose those who were pillars in the development of who I became. Fifteen years ago I was lost inside myself, wondering why I was here and then I got the call that you were gone. That call devasted me but it also brought me more into focus.

The years since then have been filled with highs and lows as I tried to be as strong as I believed you had been.

Looking back I realize that my earliest memories are not of my mother or father but of you, my nana. You taught me to sew by making outfits for my teddy bear. That ragged blue and white friend looked both silly and so fine to my childish eyes. You taught me to like flavor in my food and to find the absurd in the printed word.

One of my fondest memories was sitting and cutting out stories from the trash rags about spacemen and monsters. I believe you helped me discover what I would find as a life long interesting in all things not mundane. You were a writer in your own right. Everyday you would sit down and write something and being published in the paper was so cool to me.

Before you passed I thought you had told me all your stories but in the past few year I have learned things that saddened me, shocked me and yet convinced me that while some things made you seem selfish you were and are still my idea of a strong woman.

Though for a long time we weren’t sure exactly how old you were it amazed me that you were in your nineties when you left us. Now I wish I truly knew your full story. From raising you son alone in the depression to losing a child to having my mother too early, life was hard.

And it is how you and my mother were together that confuses me. She was your only daughter. A delicate child who should not have survived yet she did. Doggedly fighting to thrive even though she had so many issue. Was it her outwardly timid personality that bothered you? Was it the physical weaknesses or her desire to be what other wanted? Was it her constant babble or was it that she didn’t stand up for herself that kept you from getting close?

I know now that inside you had to have been lost. You were so beautiful that men flocked to you but I think that didn’t help you. Did you ever find yourself for yourself or just through the eyes of the men you dated or married? You came from a different time but women have always had ways of being themselves.

I miss you, missed you even before you left us. I tried to stay in contact with you but in the months and years before you passed you had gone away. Dementia is a horrible thing. It takes away the person you were and leaves in place a different face. You forgot you had a daughter some days and other days thought I was that daughter. The saddest moment was when I last visited and you told me how much you disliked the woman who married your son. You had thought that Al was your son and that mom was the woman who took him from you. The only daughter you had and you forgot her. It broke my heart.

The day I stood at the funeral home and listened to people talk abut you I realized I didn’t know you at all and sadly I never would really know the true story of you. I miss you Nana, every day and every way I miss the woman who had time to teach me little things. I miss simpler times we spent together and I miss you.

 

 

Been a while and look what happens


Hey you few brave and loyal blog readers. Yeah it has been a while. Life threw me a number of curveballs since last summer. The details are too many to go into but I apologize for not being a good little blogger/writer and keeping the world up to date.

Today I have seen one real sign of what happens when a writer drops out of sight for a while. When I googled myself I found that another Lisa Williamson who is a writer has taken over. Now what bugs me is a writer with just one book with the same name is a big name. Okay I am sure her book is a good one but really it is just a book about the current hot topic of transgender people.

First off, NOT ME. Those who have contacted me thinking I was her, sorry. I am a writer of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, novels and so much more. I write fantasy, science fiction, horror and paranormal romance. I try not to grab onto something that is the hot topic and write a tale. My stories are filled with wonder, magic and other worldliness along with real issues. My characters are diverse but I haven’t and dont plan on making a character who is focused on their sexuality. I write about issues that are old yet always new.

So if you read this thinking I was the Lisa Williamson who wrote, The Art of Being Normal, I’m sorry. You can find her other places. If you are on the other hand a fan of things like elves, dragons, guardians, wizards, witches and more? Well I am the author you are looking for.

I took off time after my last novel, A Fragile Peace, at first because I was burned out, but then for technical and yes health reasons. Now I am back to putting out work and I have released six collections of short stories and flash fictions, some that have bee seen before and some that have not. I am back to writing things both as Lisa Williamson and as LA Mason.  Hopefully totally new work with spark a resurgence of people reading my work.

Culture, research and how important it is to see more


Lately there is a huge debate about white and black, about male and female and about who has culture and who doesn’t. As a writer of fantasy and science fiction I couldn’t honestly care less about the distinctions that are so popular between peoples. No that is not so true. It is the important for so many and can be dealt with in many ways but the culture I am referring to is more culture in small letters, versus CULTURE.

Each and every one of us has things that we spend our time on. Be it an overwhelming need to see a sports team reach the top or to follow a band or a tv show, we all have it. In today’s world we find lots of way to come together and out of those ways we develop cultures.

As a writer of fantasy I have been a part of the fantasy culture for a while. I read all kinds, I listen to music based on fantasy, watch tv shows and movies that are fantasy based (okay I also do SF), I write fantasy, I draw and sculpt dragons and I talk to all those who do the same.

When we learn to set words to the page was are all told to write what we know. and as writers we need to realize that by telling a story we need to include a lot more than man versus man or man versus world. We need to put in things that make them tick.

Recently I have been taking a little break from working while I try and figure out a cover for my next book and I have picked up reading books from my favorite authors. Now Charles de Lint is one of the authors who tells stories that made me want to tell my own. When it comes to culture, he has tons of it in every book he writes.

In Medicine Road he mixed Bluegrass musicians with native spirit creatures. We get to see walking and talking mysths, magic and music. Without most of us realizing it deLint uses his words to teach us about beliefs from the deep southwest and the backwoods of the mountains.  He writes with an understanding of how mucic binds people together, how beautiful the so called badlands are and how important it is for us to understand that meddling with peoples hearts and minds, no matter how well intentioned, will effect others.

I have done my due diligence in my novels by researching things. I have written characters who have more than a taste of other cultures. From Asian to African to Native, I try to give honest tellings of the cultures that I use. I put in music and magic and art if I can.

Writing about how people react to things is the hardest part because we want our characters to act and react like we expect but we need to include what we can for background. Making our characters real comes from adding things like are they a part of fandom or even something as simple as a book club.

In the Mystery of Grace, deLint has a character who is latina at her base but she is so much more. She is a mechanic, a woman who has a real love of old classic cars, something she learned from her grandfather. She rebuilds classic cars into something beautiful. she puts her heart and soul into them. We see that she is a part of the tattoo subculture. Thankfully she is not portrayed as some nut but as a woman who has a reason for her tats and is looking for balance after the death of her beloved grandfather.

de Lint commonly deals with matters of the spirit and matters of the soul. In this book he deals with the the world that comes after death and how it is different for each culture and sub culture. Did you as a writer realize that  a persons cultural beliefs effect how they see the after life? I am not talking so much the religion they have but those things that are important to them? In The Mystery of Grace our heroine has those things that were important to her in her afterlife. I won’t go into the story but it is definitely something to think about when you write.

While our racial heritage can form our beliefs, it doesn’t totally make us who we are. And our characters need to have more to them than a two dimensional cutout of what we, as author, believe a person who be. We need to research, add in those things the would be passionate about and more.

Some drabbles while I work


Yes i have been behind. Not putting out work like I should. So this week I will put up some of my drabbles for your reading pleasure.

Green Magic morning

by Lisa Williamson

The glow in the sky matches that underneath the water at my feet. Rich in greens and golds the lady Earth has pulled back her skirts to show the magic below and above us. Only one this day and this place can a simple man see what she hides inside. Long have I searched for the meaning of life, of the wonders that make life worth living but today she showed me. A simple thing really, that we are all part of the life that surrounds and makes us. Bodies, minds and spirits are bound with the world around us.

***

The Painted Sky
By Lisa Williamson

The sun sets painting the sky in umber and lavender as I sit on the rocks and watch the birds. My coracle rests at waters edge and I wonder just why I came here. I should be home watching the day dance into night but instead I sit here and wonder why the sky is the color it is. When did the blue of the morning sky become the way it is now? When did the world change from day to night? Did it slip past my wandering mind on kitten feet? Or did I simply lose track of time?

***

Listen to the Flowers
by Lisa Williamson

Shhhh, listen to the song of the flowers. The wind lifts it to your ears if you stop your chatter. See the colors of life, hear the soft laughter and find yourself. Remember what it was like to be a child, finding wonder in to smallest things. Before time aged you and took away your joy.

Listen my parent, listen my child, remember the days when things as small as a flower brought a smile to your face, laughter to your heart. So please be quiet, please stop talking, just this once, listen to the flowers, listen to the wind.

***

Path through the Dark Forest

The path twists its way through the dark trees. To each side you hear the rustling and slithering of beasts unseen. Stay on the path, young one. For it is only on the path that you will make it out of this place. Keep walking slow and steady; do not be tempted to leave the path toward the light if you want to see the day again. Keep your eyes ahead and your step firm. Ignore what you hear, no matter who calls you. Nothing in this place is what it seems and I beg you to keep going. Reach safety, young questor and you will be the first to do so.

***

A prison of my own
By Lisa Williamson

Eight by eight, that is all the space I have. I have a bed, a shelf and a window, with no room to pace. I lie staring out that window at the rain as it slides down the window. The room is small, yet I feel safer here. This prison of my own making, filled with things that only I find comforting. Others wonder why I stay in this place, how I can live in a room so small, but they don’t wee what I see out the window of my room. It is not a prison but a haven.

***

There..a bunch of fun and different drabbles.

Writing unsure


As a writer I get to put a lot on the page. Emotions, beliefs, imaginings and so much more. At the moment as you know I am working on the next in the Saga of Loralil Greyfox boos. A Fragile Peace: Found picks up after the ending of Revenge is a more emotional book than the first two. Writing the journey Loralil needs to go through to become an adventurer is something I didn’t expect to be quite so difficult.

When writing the inner emotions of a character you actually have to delve into your our beliefs and understanding of the emotions. Not that I understand truly how this character feels. She has been cut off entirely from any family due to death. Lots of death and that is always a fun topic.

Working on the traveling sequence I realize that you can’t have a fantasy quest type story without a lot of creatures dropping in to visit, fight and probably die. So I am currently trying to deal with those sequences.

One of the important things is to make your creatures recognizable without having them be too cliche. I was going to use bugbears for a monster attack and realized that they are both cliche and not what I remembered them to be. One of the things in fantasy writing is that the monster creatures evolve. Bugbears have been around for a very long time. In fact they are based off of old Germanic boogymen tales. Centuries ago mothers would tell their children to behave or the bugbear would get them. Just a wee bit too cliche don’t you think?

So instead I have turned to a different monster. Still a bear but one that thanks to a twisted mage in the past is actually a cross between a bear and an owl. I am sure you can see the potential of such a monster.

The fact that these are truly monsters means that not everyone who goes up against them will survive. Sad but true but you can’t keep everyone in the party alive till the end of the book. Currently I am working on the aftermath of that encounter. Coming up with funeral rites for two different cultures is a little confusing but I can’t wait to see where it goes.

While I admit that working on this part is coming slowly but once I do finish up the writing part it actually reads really well. Here is hoping I can get more done and move into the Spine mountains. I all ready have a plan for the traveling through the mountains to Tal’shin.

Happy Victoria Day Everyone!


Well started out the morning working on A Fragile Peace Found. Managed to put in three pages of new text before going out for a walk. I do plan on a lot more typing today but I wanted to get out into the sunlight and enjoy the day before the rain moves in.

Today I will be adding in those fun tertiary characters that happen in any quest type fiction. You know what I mean right? Those people that the hero meets along the way that make an impact but are not around for more than a chapter or three. These are not random villains but basically NPCs who are there for background information and exposition. Also you can think of them as guides to your reader exploring new environments your characters are walking into.

As I have Loralil and her companions riding through the Forest of Calyn I have of course dealt with the random bandit/slavers all ready. Those low lives who think that random travelers are, to put it in a modern vernacular, ATMs. They have been fought and dealt with. Now it is time to bring in those others who live in the Forest.

See I have of course a number of small settlements in the large forest. Those that are along the King’s road are generally a mix of humans and other races running inns for the travelers. But as my companions are no longer on the King’s road they will run into those who don’t like travelers in their part of the woods.

Just how difficult they will be is yet to be seen of course. Yes, they are wood Elves, and yes Loralil is part Wood Elf, but the three tribes of elves rarely work together. The fact that Loralil if half wood elf, half High elf and all Grey Elf should make things interesting. Will they be intrigued? Will they be disgusted? We shall see.

And that is the fun of writing. We get to decide just how the races in our world interact. This is a fantasy world with filled with many different races. The morality of the different peoples will of course be a mix of some modern ideals and more medieval ideals. As I am not at the moment tossing in a heavy religious overtone to this tale, don’t expect to have that impact much…or maybe I will? You never know.

I have a lot of heavy slogging to go to get to the ending that I have all ready written. So we shall see what happens.

Getting back into the saddle


As a lot of you know I have been blocked lately. Having trouble writing is nothing new. Everything author goes through times like that. I have gone from writing pages and pages a day down to years between. This time it was not so much life and kids blocking me but a lack of drive for a lot of things. Yesterday I sat down and I am happy to say Loralil has finally started talking to me again.

As my oldest character there are so many tales that she has to tell but she gets a wee bit stubborn from time to time about the details of these tales. Well yesterday I managed to get almost up to 11K words in her newest tale.

This picks up just months after the end of Revenge and as I have said before it is not as action heavy (so far) as it was before. I am at the moment trying to decide if I will stop this story when she reaches the Grey elven city or if I will just keep going. I have two parts. A Fragile Peace is the story and the first part is Found…the second is Broken and it takes place fifteen years later. So most likely this will be two stories, either novella length or novel, we will see.

Now one of the things that is helping is I finally did a rough map of Loralil’s world. Okay really just of the Kingdom that she is currently in. Based very roughly on my old home state I have three mountain ranges, Three rivers, a massive forest, A inland sea, a fen, a swamp and various town and cities. I haven’t detailed things like the grasslands and plains between the other places. The fun part is after the research I did on how fast you normally travel via horseback or with a pony cart I can estimate how long travel will take from place to place.

This is important folks. Even when you write fantasy like I do, you need to do your research. Writing stories set in the horse and buggy times travel will take so much longer than you realize. Never mind fun things like what type of horse could carry a Minotaur! (Yes in my fantasy world Minotaurs and intelligent farmers who rider horseback…on those huge draft horses that are practically extinct in our modern world.

Also one of the things I will be working on today is a cover for an erotic fantasy that I will be releasing. Now this is not light on the erotic side. There is a lot of steamy sex before I even introduce the true fantasy elements in this tale. I do plan on doing a bunch of these, not a tale type for the general reader of my work. I have written a lot of erotica that is either sweet or very wild. I have a very small following for those tales and I will be putting them out as I get them edited to completion. If you are looking for something hot and steamy with a touch of fantasy elements, then this will be for you. The title is “It was a Dark and Stormy night”” Yes a cliche but it works in the story.

Another thing I am looking at doing is some free complete stories over on either my website or on Wattpad. I have not seen a lot of attention over there, so I am hoping to get some attention for my work.

Been busy working


Well now that Halloween and the kid’s birthday is over, I have a bit of time to roll into working on my next publications. As I have commented before, I plan on doing a bunch of collections over the next few months. Adding in new material that will not be sold separately and of course massively editing previously published work can and will take a lot of time.

Last night I finished up the final story for the first of the Echoes of Elder Times collection. This book will include all of the previously published tales, which in fact is ten tale. Added to those tales with be a new one titled Winter’s End. Making this collection a total of eleven tales.

While this collection won’t be as large as others the stories are well worth reading IMO. They have the feel of retold faerie tales but with a twist of course.  Some are dark, some are light but they all have my take on the myths and legends of the old world.

echoes-starter-cover This is the working cover I have for the book but I do believe I need to change up the text color and font. The purple just doesn’t stand out after all. So over the next week I plan on updating this. I will probably remove the leaves and make the font both larger and another color. Simple covers can be some of the best. If I can get it the way I want you can expect to see this release just before American Thanksgiving. A nice book for those looking for a read while they are waiting in those lines at the check out on Black Friday.

In those news I am deep in the edits of Mythos of Love. This second collection will not be out till around Valentine’s Day but it need a lot of work IMO.  MOL will only contain six tales but the very first tale in the book is the novella The Knight Protector, giving this book a longer tale. Five of the tales have been published before and I admit they needed some major overhauls but the final and newest tale will by Singer of the Blood Song.  Now if you have no idea why I am using Mythos in the title here is a bit of the blurb I have used on the tales:

 

Mythos – A story or set of stories relevant to or having a significant truth or meaning for a particular culture, religion, society, or other group.

Love stories are common through out all cultures.  These short stories are my take on love and magic for romance can be found in any genre.

 

Fantasy and romance have mixed before but mostly as paranormals. Stories with vampires and werewolves at the heroes are fun to read but they are not the only romance stories out there. With Knight Protector I have just that, a knight. He is human, who an inner power.  An old fashioned tale with a damsel in distress and an evil wizard, it is a good place to start.

Not all of the tales will have the traditional happy ending though. Because we all know that love doesn’t not always have a Happily Ever After. Sometimes the hero is killed or dies and the heroine is left to mourn. So you can expect some twists and turns from that collection.

And that is enough for now. Expect a lot of work over the next six months. I will be slowly removing from individual sale those titles that are all ready part of a collection. I do this mostly so that you, my readers, won’t feel you have to buy all of my titles and find yourself with duplicates. I will only do this on Amazon, as it is the largest seller of my work. If you still want individual copies you can go to places like ITunes, Barnes and Noble or Kobo. Happy reading everyone!

The difference a page makes


As a writer of short stories I am always looking for places to publish my work. Mostly I have wisely published them myself on the ebook retailers out there. With the amount of work I have out there now I have of course decided to combine them together into collections.

But with the growth of sites all over looking for flash fiction I thought I would try a couple of them myself. In most cases they accept your work and put them up for people to read. And of course in most cases I send them things that have not been published before but I have in fact send a couple of my published tales over to the site Quarterreads.com

Now I am very confused about this site. They want poetry and stories under two thousand words, which I can do of course. I have one tale that they have accepted and no one seems to look at (you can see it here)

https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=121

Once I got the first one up I decided to toss over a handful more of my work. Some poems and quickie flash fictions, which are under five hundred words. Every one of them were rejected for being too short! They actually said that the work submitted were unfinished…which is so wrong.

Okay now that confused me. See any of you who have read my poetry collections know that I write short free verse poetry. In most cases the poetry is only eight to twelve lines long and are COMPLETE! Same with the quickie fiction I posted. These are quickie, tales meant to be under 500 words.

Well okay I thought, maybe i need to send them over something longer. I looked over my published tales and decided to send them Partings and Twas the Night. A ghost story that has been edited over and over to the form it is now and a science fiction Christmas tale that again, edited and complete.  Well today I got an email again stating that they need editing and to be COMPLETED! Really? This has made me decide to give this place a skip. If a tale that has nine reviews on Amazon that are four and five stars then I would say they just don’t like my style and wish them a lot of business and luck. The concept of having flash fictions and short short stories up for sale for a quarter a read is a great idea but it looks like I don’t fit their idea of stories.