Saturday, August 30, 2008

Farworld Blog Tour

By Keith Fisher

We are seated in six ancient, animal skin covered armchairs. The sides of which, level with a sitting man’s biceps, allowing the occupant to completely rest his arms. The walls of the circular room are fashioned from 2000-year old cut stone. The floor is polished marble. Above us, there is a domed lattice ceiling with a stained glass window at the apex. Images depicting the sun, moon and the stars artfully adorn the glass panels.

The chairs form a circle around an 18-inch high crystal table. I look up from the images displayed in the crystal to see five companions. To my left is Gorgan the Magnificent. He is the fifth ruler on the Council of Non-Magical Worlds, and he just celebrated his 136th birthday. To his left is Cedric of Herwon, a bright young wizard credited with discovering the three planes of magical existence. Along with his youth there is a little arrogance. He’s agitated, he wants to finish our business and get out of here.

Cialice Magenta sits on my right. She fought bravely at the Battle of Gilhead, rescuing her teacher and killing his captors. She is also my close friend. On her right is Master Therapass, a powerful wizard from Farworld. Directly across from me is the celebrated novelist, J. Scott Savage. He seems to be worried and confused about why he is here. I wonder if his friend, Master Therapass has explained it to him.

As for me, I’m the faker, the usurper. I’m what J.K. Rowling, a writer from Earth called, a muggle. I have no magical power, but that’s okay. I doubt Mr. Savage does either. By virtue of my non-magical status, I have been chosen to officiate in these proceedings. I clear my throat. "Lady and Gentlemen, we have come . . ." I look around. "Some of you, from great distances, to discuss the fate of the magical world, and to examine the charges against Mr. J. Scott Savage."

Master Therapass clears his throat so I turn to him, but he remains quiet. I turn back to Mr. Savage. "You have been charged with conspiring with the Dark Circle, to wreak havoc on Farworld and on its sister world, a non-magical world called Earth. How do you plead?"

"I’ve brought my wizard attorney, (what’s your name again?) ah, right, Richard Bumblestump, to represent me. Okay, he’s not really a wizard. In fact he can’t even do simple card tricks, or the thing where you pretend your thumb is broken in two. And he’s not really an attorney either. Okay, fine, he’s a homeless guy I picked up on the way to the trial. But he does have a black jacket and white shirt—if you wipe away some of the grime."

"Anyhow, he says I should plead not guilty."

"Further more," I continue, "We received testimony from one Mr. Chet Hawkins. He said you wantonly and willfully wrote this book." I hold up my advanced reading copy of Farworld-Water Keep. "This exposé of the workings of the magical Farworld, and the connection it has with Earth, reveals too many secrets kept from non-magical worlds. How do you answer, Sir?"

I whisper with my attorney, but halfway through our consultation he wanders off toward the restrooms.

"Well it looks like I’m representing myself here. So I just want to say that while I did put the words down on the paper, I was only recording events as I witnessed them. I believe that gives me some sort of 5th amendment protection, doesn’t it?"

I turn back to my notes. "Also, and perhaps the worst crime of all, I have a letter written by a Mr. Bonesplitter. He claimed you have continually and maliciously placed Marcus Kanenes into his hands, and it is all part of your attempt to overthrow the magical world. Is this true, sir?"

"Are you seriously going to believe a man who turns into a snake at the most inopportune times? Not to mention the fact, that he has been known to go by at least one alias. I think he’s just embarrassed about the whole underwear incident and is trying to blame me."

"I’m more concerned with the problem he caused." Gorgon says.

"What problem is that, sir?" Master Therapass asks.

"The magical infection the book will inflict on the non-magical world." He picks up my copy of Farworld. "I’m not sure the non-magicals, especially people on earth, can deal with the truth about magic."

"Not to mention the threat of the Dark Circle." Cialice says. "Where did you get that information, Mr. Savage?"

"Ahh, here lies the crux of the matter. You, Mr. Gorgon, seem to be under the impression that there are such things as non-magical folk. I, on the other hand, posit that there are only people who have discovered their magic and those who have not. I don’t believe Mr. Bumblestump, for example has ever discovered his magic. Or if he did, he has long since forgotten it. Isn’t it our right, no, our duty, to help everyone on Earth and Farworld find their magic? I believe that is the only way to stop the threat posed by the Dark Circle and anyone that would seek to hold the rest of society down."

"Never mind that," Cedrick says. "Mr. Savage, I understand the book will be released for sale within a few weeks. Is that true?

"Guilty as charged."

"Well then, my colleagues, it’s a moot point." He looks from face to face. "Even Merlin, wouldn’t be able to stop it now." I glance at Cialice. Judging by her face, she hates being called colleague by a young man. Cedrick continues. "The thing we must do now is, practice damage control. Do you plan to continue telling the story in other books, Mr. Savage?"

"With my last dying breath."

"Listen," Master Therepass raises his hand in a stopping motion. "I know you are worried about Scott’s book. You think it comes too close to revealing the whole truth about the magical world. However, I think its time for that revelation. Other authors from Earth have been revealing bits and pieces of the truth for years. I would call your attention to the work of J.K. Rowling. She brought our world into the limelight, and the people of Earth are embracing it." He paused and looked from person to person at the table.

Therepass continues. "I say we praise those authors, including J. Scott Savage. I believe it’s time our two worlds combine against the threat of all dark forces everywhere. We can co-exist."

I turn to Gorgon. His face reminds me of a child who has eaten something sour. "It flies in the face of thousands of years of conventional wisdom, but perhaps it is time we work together. Personally, I get tired of practicing the damage control Cedrick suggested."

I poll my colleagues and find agreement. "Well, Mr. Savage, it appears we have decided to grant you freedom to tell the story. Please, try to teach your fellows that magic is not to be feared, and help them be brave and stand against darkness. I glance around the circle for one last vote of consensus. "Do you have anything you wish to say in closing, Mr. Savage?"

"Thank you, Master Therapass. I appreciate your support. People of Earth and those of other worlds, don’t let "reality" stand in the face of what you believe. One day we are going to discover that these other worlds are not as distant as we think. And when that day comes we must have discovered the magic inside all of us."

"Thank you, and now I must go in search of Mr. Bumblestump. I think he may have locked himself in the janitor’s closet. I hate to think of what he might have done in the mop bucket."

"Thank you Mr. Savage. You have given me hope. Perhaps someday I will discover my magic as you say I can. I also wish to apologize for saying you have no magical power. Obviously I was wrong. You most assuredly have the magical powers to make a well written, well told story."

Farworld-Water Keep
writen by J.Scott Savage

Available September 13 2008
you're invited to the lauch party! for more information go to

Learn about the magical world and follow Marcus, Kyja, Mater Therepass, Riph Raph, and others as they jump between Earth and Farworld in an effort to defeat the evil Dark Circle. Begin the journey that will change your life.

First, Find the Water Keep.
Take courage--the magic is inside you"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Going to the Store

By Keith Fisher

It’s been kind of hectic lately. I’ve been trying to finish the edits on my book and my day job is always disruptive. I work graveyard shift, so sleep can be elusive. Anyway, because of an unsettled week, I’ve been pressed for a subject to write about in this blog. So, out of desperation, I thought I’d tell you about my trip to the grocery store.

The guests were invited—the Dutch ovens were ready. I wanted to cook something special, something my guests would enjoy. So I went to the store to decide what it would be.

Walking through the doors, I spied the coolers and made a mental note to pick up a bag of ice on the way out. I stopped and chose a cart. Not that I planned to fill it, just lean on it, as I walked down the aisles.

As I always do, I turned to the right and headed for the produce department. Starting with vegetables is probably left over from my low-fat/no sugar/no salt period when I avoided the rest of the store. It just feels right to start there, and go counter-clockwise through the rest of the store. I checked out the broccoli, then the cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, and fruit. It’s a good thing I got a cart.

Next, I moved past the deli. I paused, thinking, maybe I ought to buy something already prepared, then I could serve it in a Dutch oven and get back to editing. No, I couldn’t take credit for somebody else’s cooking. I turned my head and passed quickly. In the bakery, I picked up a couple of loaves of bread for home, and perused the cookies, cakes and pastries. I must resist.

I remembered my purpose and delayed the trip down the aisles of canned goods to go directly to the meat section. I needed to decide on a main dish. After that, I could make up my mind about side dishes.

With that decision made, I went back and wove in and out of the aisles, looking for different ingredients. I chided myself for picking things up for the house.

I needed only one or two more things when something stirred my memory. I realized I could change my plan and cook the meat with another sauce. But then I’d have to change my side dish from baked beans to potatoes, but the whole meal would be better.

After a short debate, I went back to find more ingredients, keeping the other ones in case I changed my mind again. Finally, I shook my head and proceeded through checkout. I racked up a small fortune on my credit card, but visions of a perfect dinner made it worth the cost.

Writing is very much like this. When plotting a story, we shop for ideas. We want our book to be perfect to excite the reader. So we go shopping for the meat of the plot—the basis of the whole thing. We pick up other, non-essential elements along the way, things that we can use somewhere, even if we don’t use them in our current story.

It must be original, so we avoid copying parts of other books, but like the pastries, we admire what other authors have written and learn from them. At this point we remember our purpose and look for the basic premise, or the meat of the story. Sometimes an idea comes to us without thinking, but other times we are left reading newspapers, looking for ideas. Similar to inspecting different cuts and types of meat.

With our idea in mind, we shop for details, what will our characters be like? How can we put them in certain situations? We search for side trips, and secondary story lines, we look for ingredients that will compliment, not deter the plot. We find nuances that enhance, and make the story interesting.

Sometimes when we’re almost finished writing the first draft, we think of another, better way to write the book. Sometimes a character rises up and explains the holes in our plot or suggests a better way to tell the story. They even suggest new characters. At that point, we go back and make adjustments. We file away the discarded bits, because we might need them in another story—we might put them back into the current one.

When we’re finished making notes and shopping for elements we go to checkout. We have written our first draft, and we’re ready to write the story, confident in our ability to combine the ingredients. We pay the price, an investment of time and talent. We’re secure in the knowledge that our dinner/book will be delicious and wonderful. We smile, because we know the ending and we can’t wait for others to discover our story/dinner.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My New Office

By Keith Fisher

What do you think of my new office? I found this picture on the internet, and I fell in love—I must have it. Of course I’d get different furniture. I’d keep the desk, however, since it’s over 128-years old. I’d restore the hardwood floors, because the new owner had them replaced in 2005 with a contrasting pattern of quarter-sawn oak and walnut, and I don't like the way it looks. (not shown in this picture)

I’d get six overstuffed leather armchairs and arrange them in a circle around a coffee table, then I’d light a fire and invite my critique group. When I get stuck with a plot problem, I could step outside the French doors and pace on the veranda. I could swivel in my desk chair and stare out the window. The secret doors would lead to my library, filled with a million books. The other one would of course lead to the . . .ahem . . . well, you know where.

Seriously I’ve got to have this really cool shaped office. What’s that you say? I won’t have time for writing? I’ll have to do what? And I’ll have to do what for several months? How many babies would I have to kiss? Then commit to how many years? I’d have to do what in Iraq? Are you sure?

Uh . . .never mind.

This is a picture of President Reagan’s Oval Office taken in 1981. I still think it would be a totally cool office, but with all I’d have to do in order to use it, I’d better learn to be happy with what I’ve got.

I’m almost finished with the edits, and I’m ready to start another project. Cross your fingers, and look for the release of My Brother’s Keeper. You’re going to love this book.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I've Only Just Begun

By Keith Fisher

There’s a tradition started years ago, to frame the first dollar made in a new business and hang it on the wall for good luck. Not being one to mess with tradition, I scanned my first royalty check, printed it, and hung it on the wall of my office. As a freelance writer I’m in business for myself and I can use all the luck I can get.

I glance at the check now and then to remind me, writers do get paid for all their hard work. While staring at it the other day, I was reminded of another tradition.

In 1970 Richard Carpenter made an arrangement of a Roger Nichols/Paul Williams song called We’ve Only Just Begun. He gave it to his sister Karen to sing, and it became one of the most popular Carpenters songs in history. The song quickly took on a life of its own. All through the 1970’s and into the eighties it was one of the most popular songs played at weddings.

Indeed, it was written as a wedding song, Richard heard it on a television commercial for a bank. The video showed a couple getting married and starting a life together.

Here’s the lyrics:

We've only just begun to live,
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way.
And yes, We've just begun.

Before the rising sun we fly,
So many roads to choose
We start out walking and learn to run.
And yes, We've just begun.

Sharing horizons that are new to us,
Watching the signs along the way,
Talking it over just the two of us,
Working together day to day

And when the evening comes we smile,
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow,
And yes, We've just begun.

If we, as writers, rearrange the lyrics to fit our needs, we can draw strength from it:

I’ve only just begun to write
A white page with promises
A bright idea and I’m on my way
And yes I’ve only just begun.

We could continue adding things like, talking it over with my critique group. Or something like, so many books to write—I’ll find the words and make them flow.

My little good luck symbol has come to represent more to me. I glance at it with renewed determination. I intend to be a published author of adult fiction. I intend to publish in the LDS, and national markets, books that can change hearts and bring peace to those who read them. I will succeed, and yes, I’ve only just begun.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blog Tour: Surprise Packages.

By Keith Fisher

Written by best-selling LDS authors: Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carroll Morris, Surprise Packages is the third in a series called The Company of Good Women. It’s a must read, and should be added to your list today.

When I met Carroll Morris at the LDStorymakers Writer’s conference in 2007 I was impressed. I wanted to read Almost Sisters just to find out how three authors could write three different characters and knit them into a book without the seam showing.

Nevertheless, when the chance to review this book came up, I doubted I could do it justice. Being a man, I’m not a big fan of women’s fiction, but I found it fulfilling. I love the blend of characters, the way they fit together in the narrative works well.

The concept of three women meeting for the first time at BYU education week and becoming friends for life, is intriguing. With the diversity of the characters, the series provides a peek into the hectic lives of women everywhere. The desire of most women to be connected, and the everlasting friendship through it all, will be satisfied in the pages of these books and Surprise Packages is the icing on the cake.

You can find all three books in the series by visiting here, here, and here. You can read sample pages by clicking here. Visit the Crusty Old Broads website here.

In an interview with the authors, here are some of the questions I had:

Surprise Packages is the last in your trilogy, The Company of Good Women. Tell me what makes your trilogy unique.

It’s the story of three women in three different parts of the country and their quest to become Crusty Old Broads—written by three women from three different parts of the country who are self-professed Crusty Old Broads! Readers praise it for offering a realistic—but hopeful—view of the issues faced by LDS families.

Where are you from?

Lael is from Pasadena, CA; Nancy is from Sandy, UT; and Carroll lives in Green Valley, AZ.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as co-authors?

1. Merging files and making corrections. On the first book, Lael was the manuscript master. For the last two, Carroll took on that job.

2. Literary liposuction. The story of each character—told completely—would have filled its own book. So cutting the text without gutting the story was a challenge.

3. Writing the third book of the series. We knew where we were going in the first two books, but none of us had written ahead in book three. We had only general ideas about where it would go.

4. Making the series add up to something. We wanted our readers to finish the series feeling that they’d been changed by the time spent with Deenie, Juneau and Erin. We hope they will periodically read the series over, like visiting old friends.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That no matter what situation a person is in any moment, the story isn’t over yet. Never, never, never give up—on others or on yourself!

Do you three have a new project in the works?

We have an idea for a book that will have the same format as the series—we’ll each write from the viewpoint of a character. It’s a stand-alone novel set in Powell, Wyoming, during World War II. But it is on the back burner while we’re working individual projects.

Putting the testosterone aside, I am glad to read this book. Good luck in your writing—see you next week.

PS I decided to take my comment out of the comments section and put it here:

Have you noticed the cover art? In the first book we get to see the feet of the ladies from the front. In the other two, we see them going away. Do you think its symbolic?