11-21-2011: Never to be forgotten! Today is the day that Ian Somerhalder responded to me on facebook! Hey, that may not be a big deal for you, but for me.. HUGE. *swoon*
Conversation copied from FB:
ME: Finally! After an hour of searching facebook, I find the REAL you. Hi Ian!
Ian Somerhalder: Thank you.Nice to meet you
ME: My pleasure! Thank you for taking the time to notice. :)
Ian Somerhalder: you're welcome
Ian Somerhalder: I try not to disappoint my fans!
ME: Well, you're doing a wonderful job. :) It's nice (and a bit scary) to talk to someone like you!
ME: lol... (I'm secretly freaking out cuz I got to talk to Ian! *sigh*)
Ian Somerhalder: Thank you Theresa!
ME: lol... you're welcome! Just do me a favor and don't knock when you invade my dreams tonight. The husband probably wouldn't like that. hehe!
Ian Somerhalder: well I will not:)
ME: Perfect! Thanks. LOL
Guest Post: Rebecca Roland, author of Shards of History
by Rebecca Roland
Expected publication: August 21st 2012 by World Weaver Press
Only she knows the truth that can save her people.
Like all Taakwa, Malia fears the fierce winged creatures known as Jeguduns who live in the cliffs surrounding her valley. When the river dries up and Malia is forced to scavenge farther from the village than normal, she discovers a Jegudun, injured and in need of help.
Malia’s existence — her status as clan mother in training, her marriage, her very life in the village — is threatened by her choice to befriend the Jegudun. But she’s the only Taakwa who knows the truth: that the threat to her people is much bigger and much more malicious than the Jeguduns who’ve lived alongside them for decades. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy the Taakwa, and it’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley — a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.
Now Malia is in a race against time. She must warn the Jeguduns that the Taakwa march against them and somehow convince the Taakwa that their real enemy isn’t who they think it is before the Outsiders find a way into the valley and destroy everything she holds dear.
The Guest Post…
I often draw inspiration for my fictional worlds from places where I’ve lived or traveled. I live in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, and the state is brimming with fascinating places, from forests and mountains to desert to White Sands National Monument and Tent Rocks National Monument. Ruins and petroglyphs of ancient people can be found all over. New Mexico might have been a state for only a century, but many parts of it feel ancient. I suppose that’s why I think it makes an excellent setting for fantasy and horror.
The setting for my novel Shards of History was inspired in part by the Valles Caldera, a volcanic caldera in northern New Mexico. I knew I wanted to set my story in a large valley. The caldera is isolated, surrounded by mountain peaks and pine, fir, and aspen with a huge grassy plain in the center. The government took over a private ranch in the caldera about a decade ago. The buildings still stand, and I believe a handful of people still live there to care for the place. When I visited, a few horses were grazing in a pasture near a sprawling ranch house with a view of the valley. It felt like I’d stepped back in time to the old West. In fact, a couple of Westerns were shot in the caldera. Some parts of the old sets are still standing. A large herd of elk call the caldera home, although I didn’t see any while I was there.
Multnomah Falls in Oregon also inspired part of the setting and the story. It was easy to imagine the winged Jeguduns of the novel flying around the falls. Standing at the bottom of the six hundred and twenty-foot falls, I felt tiny and just a little afraid imagining what it would be like way at the top, looking down. I wanted to incorporate that fear and sense of being small in the face of nature into the novel.
Travel not only inspires the stories I happen to be working on, but also inspires entirely new stories, such as the one where I combined a recent trip to Seattle with my experience growing up in a Texas border town. The result was a college student who returns to Seattle as a zombie as a result of having too much fun during Spring Break in Mexico. The cenote just outside Chichen Itza in Mexico inspired another short story in which dark things came out of the water and demanded sacrifices.
Not only can sights and sounds be inspirational when you travel, but getting away from home can also shake things loose if you’re stuck in a rut. If you’re working on a project or a story and you’re at an impasse (I hate saying blocked, as if some external thing is creating the problem), new scenery can be just what you need to solve the problem.
Sometimes other aspects of the story lead to the setting. I participated in a contest last year in which the goal was to write a piece of flash fiction according to one of three prompts. I chose a prompt with a list of random words and picked three, one of which was “drainpipe.” I discarded the first obvious thing that came to mind, which was a story about pipes. A little bit of searching on the Internet taught me that there is such a thing as drainpipe pants, made popular in the 1950′s in England by Teddy Boys, the precursors to the style emulated by punk rockers and in rockabilly. I ended up writing something different from my usual style, in an era before my time, and in a country I’ve never visited. It was exhausting trying to get the details right, but utter fun researching a time and place I’d never considered before.
When I travel, I usually take a travel journal with me and jot down the highlights of each day, the places I visited, what I ate, who I met or saw, and I take plenty of pictures. I also note the impression the place left on me, like the general friendliness I encountered in Philadelphia versus the more guarded feel of Washington, DC. Now, somebody else might feel the exact opposite when visiting those places, but I can bring my impressions and details to life in a story, and chances are that somebody else might have felt that, too.
Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes primarily fantasy and horror. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncle John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical therapist, or eating way too much chocolate.