Category Archives: Journey

About the journey of becoming an Indie writer.

Hobnobbing With the Wonderful Wizards of Words

Lita recently left her castle in the snowy northern realms for a visit to the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest ceremony in the sultry swelter of Miami, Florida.

RF Miami 2014. Lita, Lorrie, Jalpa.
2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Contest, Miami. Left to Right: Lita Burke, Lorrie Farrelly, Jalpa Williby.

Lita met fellow writers of many genres, exchanged spell papers (okay, business cards), and drank magical potions (cocktails).

The night air crackled with breathless talk and the lightening-strike pops of flashbulbs. Women wearing sparkling gowns made of starry fireflies floated past tuxedoed gents. The authors clutched their precious books stuffed with beguiling stories, and held them up for the obliging cameras.

RF Miami 2014. Photo courtesy of Jalpa Williby. Used with permission.
2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Contest, Miami. Left to Right: Lita Burke, Jalpa Williby, Linda Watkins. Photo courtesy of Jalpa Williby. Used with permission.

And then there was that breathless minute: walk to center stage, accept the award, and all but swoon from the applause for your story. Heavenly.

Allow Lita to introduce Gentle Reader to the books that the authors are holding in these pictures. Be sure to check out the award-winning stories that these wonderful wizards of words hobnobbed over at the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest ceremony in Miami.

Terms of Surrender by Lorrie Farrelly is a historical western romance about a former captain in the confederate army, Michael Cantrell, and his search for redemption in the ranch lands of Wyoming.

Terms of Surrender is a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Award Winner in Fiction-Western (2014).

Timelapse by Lorrie Farrelly is a supernatural thriller about Alex, a graduate student, who tragically loses his wife in an accident.

Alex is swept into a time warp where he battles the harsh emotional reality of an alternate universe.

Timelapse is a Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner in Fiction-Paranormal (2014).

Chaysing Dreams by Jalpa Williby is a young adult romance about a teenage girl named Tess and her journey to find the meaning of her disturbing dreams.

Chaysing Dreams is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner in Romance-Suspense (2014).

Chaysing Memories by Jalpa Williby is a young adult romance about a now grown up Tess who has moved on with her life and joined the US Military Special Forces.

Chaysing Memories is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner in Romance-Suspense (2014).

Mateguas Island: A Novel of Terror and Suspense by Linda Watkins is a supernatural thriller about a family down on their luck who inherit a magic-filled malevolent house on an island off the coast of Maine.

Mateguas Island: A Novel of Terror and Suspense is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner in Fiction-Supernatural (2014).

Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke is a fantasy about a retired Enchanter who battles a powerful magician to keep a dangerous spell book from falling into the wrong hands.

Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane is a Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner in Fiction-Short Story (2014).

10,000 Curious Came to See the Show

What a mad, grand day for Lita Burke’s blog. 10,000 views. Smiles from Lita for all of you lovely and curious Gentle Readers who visited.

Many Came to See the Show
Many Came to See the Show

Suppose there was a theater with seats for 10,000 souls who dropped in to see the show.

The main stage featured clever skits about belching dragonsriddling fey, and visiting artisans highlighting their magical yarns.

The theater has many alcoves, wee sideshows, and food hawkers in the wings who serve frightful and delightful treats.

See here is a woman who floats a foot above the floor without a fuss. Waiting nearby is a steampunk gent who tips his hat at you. In this dark props room is a lad who collects broken dolls for the Cirque du Méchant.

Curious Things Hide in the Side Rooms of Lita's Blog
Curious Things Hide in the Side Rooms of Lita’s Blog

The lobby brims with the scents of popcorn and spun sugar treats. Go ahead and have a taste.

Nestled in a lovely display case are books. Step up and sample these oh-so-tasty wonders:

Stop By and See a Sea Dragon Fight
Stop By and See a Sea Dragon Fight

Lita says thank you to all Gentle Readers who have visited her mad and grand blog that is the airship into her fantasy worlds. There are many new tales queuing up for the main stage. Workers are building more side rooms and always expanding the treats selection in the lobby. Stop by anytime to perhaps see sea dragons fighting and indulge in the fun.


2013 Lita Burke Blog in Review

Those Clever Business Simians at Crunched the Numbers
Those Clever Business Simians at Crunched the Numbers

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for the “About the Fantasy Worlds of Lita Burke” blog.

The year 2013 draws to a close, and tonight it will be party time for Lita and many others. Let us first indulge in some sober reflection (apologies for the wicked pun) before we open the champagne.

How well did this marvelous airship of a blog transport Gentle Reader there and back again to Lita Burke’s elsewhere worlds? Which post was the most popular destination in 2013? It talked about how fiction writers go invisible in the real world. Who were the top four lovely people that referred others to the blog? The news thrilled Lita to find two new blog friends on this list of referrers. Here is an excerpt from the Lita Burke Blog Annual Report:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Wear Whatever Mad Outfit Suits Your Mood and Stop by Lita Burke's Blog in 2014 for a Cuppa Fantasy Fun
Wear Whatever Mad Outfit Suits Your Mood and Stop by Lita Burke’s Blog in 2014 for a Cuppa Fantasy Fun

Thank you for visiting in 2013, Gentle Reader. More journeys to Lita Burke’s fantasy worlds await you in 2014.

We shall have so much fun this coming year, hobnobbing with our fellow wizards and sneaking luscious cinnamon-chocolate-peppery spiced magical kisses from the Enchanters.

Be sure to get your seat on the airship for the next Clockpunk Wizard story Glitter Ponies early in 2014. A little later in the year, we will return to the Enchanters of Sye world with Ghost Orchid.

3 Reasons Why Fiction Writers Worry Extroverts

Mister Introverted Writer Person Says "I'm Okay!"
Mister Introverted Writer Person Says “I’m Okay!”

Let’s talk today about how us introverted fiction writers vex our outgoing opposites. At best, extroverts wonder why we’re so silent. At worst, we fade away.

Lita recently read an article describing the differences between introverts and extroverts. The blog suggested fiction writers are introverts. Of course, we are. Let us explore this fantasy world.

Introverts have rich “inner lives,” prefer quiet environments, enjoy conversations about deep topics, and relish time alone to recharge. Do not confuse introverts with shy people; if properly motivated, introverts are outgoing and charming at a party. But after an hour, the effort exhausts the introverts and we are the first people to flee the gale, I mean gala, and seek a quiet place to regain our wits.

Extroverts thrive in interactions with others. They are party hounds, love small talk, and flock to high-energy people-oriented activities. Extroverts tolerate only small doses of “alone time” before they pick up the phone and seek the company of others. They talk about their families, their hobbies, and most anything that pops in to their head without stopping for breath. How they do go on. They produce a deluge of words, and seek affirmation in the dazzling verbal environment of person-to-person interactions. Fiction writer Lita endured a lifetime of extroverts trying to fix her calm and introspective ways. I wasn’t okay, to their point of view. Nonsense.

Orangutan Looking Like People
Orangutan Looking Like People

Reason #1: Invisibility is Real

Talking heads dominate television. Sporting events have non-stop commentators. Radio DJs chatter. Internet videos analyze everything from the latest celebrity drivel to pointless arguments on how orangutan look (or don’t look) like people.

But there are non-talking persons out there–the introverts. It’s like we have no mouthes. But we can talk plenty. More on this in a few minutes.

Talk, talk, and talk. Because introverts are not talking, we can fade from an extrovert’s notice. I’ve had extroverts continue their talking over the top of my sentences as if I wasn’t speaking. I continued to utter words, and they could not hear me. When I stopped giving non-verbal clues to encourage their outpour, they continued. I’ve even walked away in their mid-sentence (yes, even my patience has limits), and they talked to empty air. Who said invisibility isn’t real?

Talk, Talk, and Talk...
Talk, Talk, and Talk…

Reason #2: Inner Worlds are Talking Plenty

Introverts may have rich inner lives, but introverted writers carry entire worlds inside our heads. These inner worlds whisper, show us images, and endlessly present our story characters’ feelings, thoughts, and actions. We write down the images, sensations, and yes, the words.

This process sounds creepy only if you’re an extrovert. Writers are nodding by now because this is where the ideas for our stories come from. Here is the origin of “creativity.”

Of the fellow fiction writers I’ve talked with, each describes a different creative process. Some say they meditate, exercise, or get close to nature to release their inner stories. Some call it a muse who shats on their heads, while others shrug and say they have no idea how the stories come to them. But the stories appear spontaneously, much the same way the brain runs the heart and lungs with no tending by our conscious minds.

I have good news for the introverts. Fiction writing is the only acceptable occupation where it is okay to listen to the voices inside your head, write down their words, and not have the extroverts worry about your sanity.

Come. Let Us Show You the Worlds Inside Our Heads
Come. Let Us Show You the Worlds Inside Our Heads

Reason #3: Welcome to the Other Worlds

People love fiction, fantasy, and make-believe. As children, our play was making up stories and acting them out with toys and playmates. As adults, we struggle with the responsibilities of caring for family, tending careers, and generally seeing to accumulated responsibilities. But many of us love watching a good movie, or yes, reading a good book.

Where exactly are fictional places like Middle Earth, Hogwarts, and Narnia, on a map? For that matter, where does a Klingon, glitter-faced vampire, and Tinkerbell come from? Can you describe The Force? The Matrix? What Frankenstein’s monster looks like?

All of these pretend people, places, and things, first came from worlds inside of writers’ heads. To the extroverts reading this, please do not worry. Those worlds are a delight to explore. Come, take the introverted writer’s hand, and joins us. We will have such fun, then the writer will see you safely home.

Sneak Peek: Forever Boy Cover

Forever Boy by Lita Burke
In Forever Boy, a dog flees his cruel master, befriends a wizard, and discovers his shapeshifting magic.

Here is the just-finished cover for Forever Boy. I wanted to talk about some of the thoughts that went into its design.

I considered, then discarded, several elements. Vitruvian Man? Didn’t work. Hot air balloon? Nope. Curlicue text frames?  Looked like a restaurant’s menu cover. So I settled on these design elements:

  • Create a series theme
  • Must have a boy & dog
  • Imply time or clocks
  • Renaissance influences

Other must-haves applied.  The title must be legible when reduced to thumbnail size. Since Forever Boy is an Ebook, the cover must look good on a computer screen and various eReader devices.

Create a series theme

Forever Boy is the first tale in the Clockpunk Wizard series of novellas. The stories will stand alone, so Gentle Reader can peruse the stories out-of-order, if desired. The series covers need a common theme. What about a volume number? I came close to using one, but cut it at the very end. I decided on “A Clockpunk Wizard Story” somewhere near the title. All covers in the series will display this phrase.

Must have a boy & dog

In an earlier post, I talked about the central character’s cyanthrope nature. His discovery of this magical duality, and taking action about it, is the theme of Forever Boy. For weeks I taxed my GIMP knowledge to create a sophisticated morph of a boy and dog face. Not pretty. The two different pics with moody lighting is much better than any of my amateurish photo morphs. No need to thank me for this decision. Believe me, this result is much better.

Imply time or clocks

Clockwork mechanisms are central to how magic works in the Clockpunk Wizard world. I had to put a clock or time element on the cover. There are many lovely stock photos of old watches, clock faces, and ticktock mechanisms. I picked a full-page parchment picture with the clock faces already sprinkled in the lower left corner. I applied a filter to darken the background to take the emphasis off of the clock faces and instead focus on the boy and dog.

Renaissance influences

The clockpunk genre sets its stories in the latter 15th and early 16th centuries, in the time of the Renaissance and the devices of Leonardo Di Vinci. Actual book covers from this time have ornate, repeating design patterns and simple book titles. Lovely, but not eye-catching according to modern tastes. There are two Renaissance elements in the Forever Boy cover:

The ornate mirror frame is a nod to my discarded curlicues. The frame is a hint of vintage embellishment, not a glut of it. It is a more balanced design, too. Using Garamond font was a sneaky Renaissance ploy. This beautiful classic font is still used in many print books. It is easy to read. And it is correct to the time period of the magic world in Forever Boy.

Lita Talks: Tips for Quality Book Trailers

What goes in the script? What’s a budget-friendly source for high-quality photos? How do movie and book trailers differ?

Talking Trailers

Nic of Bookmark Reviews recently interviewed me, Lita Burke, and I told him the low-down on how I created a high-quality book trailer for under $100 for Tredan’s Bane. I told all about how to create a script, where to get compelling photos and music, and even how to assemble the trailer.

Nic is a reviewer at a fresh, new blog featuring honest critiques of indie books in a variety of genres.  The blog also highlights candid writer interviews. Nic’s well-designed site makes it easy to scan titles and jump into a book’s nitty-gritty review. So, what is the difference between movie and book trailers? Read Nic’s interview to find out.

Nic Interviews Lita Burke

Nic’s Book Review Blog

Tredan’s Bane Book Trailer

Tredan’s Bane on Amazon

Lita Talks: Interview with Tredan’s Bane Author

Why was Lita a geek? Can girls be wizards? Do we have wizards in our world?

Interviewing Lita

Jaq D. Hawkins, an indie filmmaker and author of Dance of the Goblins, posted her recent interview with me, Lita Burke, where I answered those questions and much more.

Jaq’s stories have fresh, original magical worlds and kindly remind us of our human failings. And who would have thought goblins and handsome magicians could be an item?

In Jaq’s interview, I talk about how magic came about for the Sye Enchanters and Tredan’s Bane. Want to know what’s next for Lita? I confess that, too.

Jaq D. Hawkins Interviews Lita Burke

Jaq D. Hawkins Filmmaker Website

Dance of the Goblins by Jaq D. Hawkins on Amazon

Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke on Amazon

Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke on Amazon