Monday, February 17, 2020

No Chance Meeting Is Here!


No Chance Meeting is finally here! I beta read this book and I loved it so much! It's a contemporary romance, but not really of the fluffy nothing-really-bad-ever-happens Hallmark variety. No, it deals with suicide, depression, PTSD, and how God is still there through all of it. It's just so good. And yeah, I say that about everything Jaye writes, but that's because it's the truth. Yes, Ilyon is even more special to me (AND I NEED DAICAN'S HEIR), but Alex and Riley have a very special place in my heart as well.

I have a guest post from Jaye below, plus she's got TWO giveaways going, so you won't want to miss that, but first, here's a little bit about the book.


About the Book

Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.

Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.

Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and more!
20% of all February sales will go to the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs.

Top 5 Favorite Writing Books

For this guest post I wanted to offer something for fellow writers, so I decided to list my top five favorite writing books. Each one of these has had a positive impact on my writing, and I highly recommend them.

1.      The Emotion Thesaurus – I love this book so much. All of the books in the series, actually. They are SO helpful for crafting believable emotions and developing characters.
2.      Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View – This little booklet really transformed my writing. Deep POV is something I’m very passionate about and put a lot of effort into when I’m editing. This is the book that first showed me how lacking my writing was at the time and helped me start writing much better fiction.
3.      Deep Point of View (A Busy Writer’s Guide #9) – Another really great book on writing deep POV. It’s longer than the Rivet Your Readers booklet, so it goes more in depth. I have over 150 highlights in this book on my Kindle.
4.      Showing and Telling in Fiction (A Busy Writer’s Guide #4) – Show, don’t tell is something you see constantly when it comes to writing. Sometimes that’s easy, other times, not so much. This book is great at explaining and giving examples to help grasp the concept. I highly recommend all the A Busy Writer’s Guide books, but the two mentioned are my favorites and the ones that have helped me the most.
5.      Write Up a Storm with the Polk Street School – I had to include this one because it was the very first writing book I ever read. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time. I loved it so much, and it really had an impact on me as a budding writer. I gifted this book to my young cousin a few years back, and if my niece or any of my nephews shows interest in writing as they get older, I will certainly gift it to them too.


 About the Author

Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.


Giveaway #1

To celebrate the release of No Chance Meeting, Jaye is giving away a reader bundle that includes a signed copy of NCM, a hand-painted watercolor bookmark, a coffee mug, and a bag of Dove chocolates! Enter using the form below. U.S. entries only. Not open internationally.



Giveaway #2

For her second giveaway, Jaye is offering 3 ebook copies of No Chance Meeting. Open internationally!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Stops

Friday, February 14
·         Tour Intro at Jaye Elliot
·         Spotlight at Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
·         Review & Author Post at Reading Anyone
·         Review at Losing the Busyness

Saturday, February 15
·         Author Interview at Angela R. Watts
·         Review & Author Interview at Resting Life
·         Author Post & Excerpt at Lady Grace: A Quiet and Gentle Spirit

Sunday, February 16
·         Review at Perfectly Quirky in Every Way
·         Spotlight at The Music of a Story

Monday, February 17
·         Author Post at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
·         Review at Write Hard and Pray Harder
·         Author Post & Excerpt at A Day In The Life

Tuesday, February 18
·         Review at Tricia Mingerink
·         Excerpt at Waggin' Tales Inspirational Pet Stories
·         Review and Excerpt at Read Review Rejoice

Wednesday, February 19
·         Review at Green Tea With Books
·         Review & Author Post at Leah's Bookshelf
·         Book Spotlight at The Page Dreamer

Thursday, February 20
·         Review at Stories by Firefly
·         Review & Author Post at God's Peculiar Treasure Rae
·         Author Interview & Post at Read Review Rejoice

Friday, February 21
·         Review at Books, Life, and Christ
·         Author Post at Backing Books
·         Review at Poetree

Saturday, February 22
·         Tour Wrap Up at Jaye Elliot

Monday, February 10, 2020

IllumiNations: Reflections of [Calhortea]

Yeah, I just felt like titling this post after my sister's favorite Disney World night show that no longer exists. Just because. I guess because the song's playing in my head because it's her text tone on my mom's phone. Anywho.

I was thinking some about worldbuilding, how it can be fun and overwhelming and when you're making another world you can literally throw it whatever you want as long as you can make it make sense (and obviously isn't unbiblical or anything like that). And honestly, that's what I did regarding Calhortea.

I've been working on recording Crannig Castle, so I've been spending time with my old characters in my old world and it's interesting to revisit. And think back on how much things changed from my initial concepts of the world.

Initially, it was very definitely a flat world surrounded by "the Cliffs of the End" which were ten giants high. And yes, there were giants who lived in "Ringlet Valley" at the foot of "the Cliffs of the End." As it developed, the giants, "Ringlet Valley," and "the Cliffs of the End" all vanished. I assume it's still a flat world, but I haven't explored beyond the official map published in the book. It could be round like a ball, I guess. I don't actually know.

Calhortz, Briznom, Chalton, and the River Everlong have been there since the earliest version. But...they moved. Chalton moved north (map 1 rotated clockwise) and has stayed there ever since. But Briznom was to the west and Calhortz to the east. Kalica appeared in map #2 at the foot of the Headstone Mountains, but it and Lake Oreb were on the wrong side of the Everlong. And the country of Lupesplee and the Stallion Mountains existed. Lupesplee we created with our more-like-a-cousin aunt and it was the home of Talking Beasts. The Stallion Mountains were based on what we used to play in the sandbox with plastic horses. It was the home of talking horses. I'm assuming they vanished after I tried to make the rabbit in Across the Stars talk and realized I lack the skill to write talking animals that aren't cheesy. C.S. Lewis has my undying respect for making talking animals work.

Somehow, Briznom and Calhortz switched sides of the Everlong, and instead of ocean to the north and east, it grew into a desert. My sister added the Yatachee Islands to the southwest, and there they have remained, going from a random insertion on the map to something integral to the story of Time Captives. And apparently Crannig Castle used to be called Kefinaught??? I didn't even realize it had a previous name until I pulled out the map to do this post. Olithea showed up north of Calhortz at this point, but I don't think it was peopled by elves. That came later.

Even the existing countries changed. Briznom started as a play I was trying to write with our childhood next-door neighbor called "The Kings of Briznom." The younger brother was going to usurp the throne with promises of lower taxes, etc. then break those promises and the people would want the other king back (he wasn't going to die). The good king was King James. Briznom's government has changed immensely since that standard monarchy, but the king is and will always be James.

Calhortz came from a dream. I was in an underground place with my brother (never mind I don't actually have a brother), and he battled a snake. And I was going to write a story based on that dream and it was going to be in Calhortz.

And then I had the idea for Creighton Hill (don't know where it came from), and set it in Calhortz. And threw in plantations and strytes and gladiators and dragons. I dreamed up Espionage and set it in Briznom, totally revamping the government and inventing traditions to make Vannie's life miserable, though still retaining somewhat of a more medievalish feel than what I gave Calhortz. I invented the kalicans and the strytes. I invented otages and crefi, intending them to have a bigger role, but when I changed Toarna from a White Witch-esque witch into a stryte, I dropped their role. (There were also originally going to be fairies. That didn't last.) I added pirates and explored the Yatachee Islands. I added merfolk and transformed The Crossways from a random thing my sisters came up with into something workable for the story.

Calhortea is always changing, expanding. I'm always finding new stories and characters. It's really the first world I ever created, for awhile the only one I was ever going to create, and it's dear to me. And so are its inhabitants, Adriel and Vannie especially.

You can really do whatever you want when you worldbuild. It can be fun. It may change significantly over the course of time, but it's fun to look back. And now I just really want to write the Espionage sequel and the Edmund Herb/Anthea Germainia story (which now has an ending that I wrote on the way back from Disney because Pirates of the Caribbean is an inspirational ride...the story just doesn't have a proper beginning or middle).

Happy worldbuilding!

Map #1

Map #2

Map #Official

Monday, February 3, 2020

Emma Tells Her Story

Last week, I talked about how I should have listened to Emma Edsel. This week, I'm going to share the new beginning of Acktorek now that I am listening to her. I posted the beginning of a previous draft last year while I was editing my NaNo draft. It covers basically the same material, only obviously in Emma's voice and with the added benefit of worldbuilding. So enjoy the snippet, and if you want, compare it to the old version and let me know what you think!

     Fact: He wasn’t like any of the other kids in school.
     He seemed, not exactly older, but…the only way I could describe it was more experienced. Not because he was sure of himself, somehow I was sure he was not, but because he had seen things. Things none of the rest of us had. Except perhaps me. For who, other than my family, in this quiet, peaceful Pacific town, knew anything other than a perfectly happy, ordinary life?
     He sat next to me in math class, his muscular form making me shrink away from his aura. Everyone except Grace knew better than to sit within a yard’s distance of me, and even that was because after twelve years of styling herself my best friend, I had given up trying to instill boundaries with her. I tried to keep my focus on my math assignment, to tune out Mr. Willman’s droning that we all knew was primarily directed at Chloe, to ignore Ella and Hayley’s gossipy giggles, to ignore this young man with a peculiar aura about him I couldn’t quite define. Who was unknowingly invading my personal space.
     I felt his eyes on me, the girl who did all she could to remain invisible. When so many other girls would more than willingly vie for his attention. My body tensed involuntarily, and I hung my head further forward to allow my hair to obscure my face. But still I could feel his eyes. Feel his presence beside me with a strange, prickling sensation.
     Ten minutes of that was all I could take. I whipped my head up, tossing my hair angrily over my shoulder, bitter accusations clawing their way up my throat. My eyes met his, a clear, calm blue that seemed to see deep into my soul, though the idea was beyond ridiculous. It still sent a shiver down my spine, the way his attention fixated on me, the way he wasn’t cowed by the fire I knew I sent his way the way nearly everyone else was.
     He nodded slightly towards the paper on my desk, a lock of blond hair falling over his forehead, though not far enough to obscure that placid blue gaze. “Emma, is it not?” His words were clipped in a peculiar manner, his accent nothing I’d ever heard.
     My jaw clenched and I wrapped my arm protectively around my paper. “None of your business.”
     “My name iss Mitchell Banks. I am new to Gondora Heights and I am staying with my aunt.”
     Something about the way every “s” came out soft and he ignored the existence of contractions made me cringe and draw back from him. Though if I was honest, my reaction was more likely simply because he was a human being other than my sister who insisted on directing attention at me.
     I shook my head in small, but rapid, motions. “We’re in math class. We’re supposed to be doing math.”
     He twirled a pencil through his fingers, his eyes never leaving me. “You appear to already know the concepts.”
     I dropped my gaze back to my math paper, letting my dark hair curtain me once more, shut him out. He wasn’t wrong. Math and science were full of facts. Solid, dependable facts. Unlike the other facts that ruled my life. That was why I already knew them well, because in my life, I needed something to depend on. Something I knew would never change.
     A pencil scratched the paper beside me, and though I was glad Mitchell had stopped speaking to me, I couldn’t help peeking through my curtain to see just what was taking shape on his assignment. It wasn’t the formula Mr. Willman had presented to the class. In fact, it not only wasn’t a formula I recognized, but the characters were strange. Ordinary Arabic numbers punctuated his writing, but in between were symbols and structures I’d never seen, even in my father’s calculus books, or in the strings of code I’d see flash across the computer screen when I used to watch him work. I couldn’t pretend to know everything, but I knew more than the average high school student in these areas, and this wasn’t normal.
     A moment later, he looked back at me, searching through my hair for my face. “I wass wondering if you could introduce me to our classmates.”
     I snorted, parting my curtain with my fingers, but only just. “No.”
     “Why not?” The question seemed genuine, as if he was truly confused as to why the solitary girl everyone ignored was unwilling to introduce him around, and his brow wrinkled to reaffirm his confusion.
     “They don’t talk to me,” I said in a small voice. Though likely it was more accurate to say I didn’t talk to them. Either way, I was not the avenue for him to make friends. And judging by his willingness to speak to me, in the middle of math class, no less, he wouldn’t have any trouble making friends on his own. A much better chance if he didn’t associate with me.
     “I think that is a mistake on their part.”
     I flushed and dropped my hair to hide it. If Ella or Hayley got any whiff of this conversation, I would never hear the end of it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

When You Should Have Listened to Your Character...

Yeah, I think Emma was right. From the start, Emma kept wanting to tell Acktorek in 1st person. She wasn't very assertive about it, and I kept telling her "no." I got the story all ironed out (though there are a few little things I'm planning to change now), but sitting in classes at Realm Makers, I realized I really hadn't figured out the character voice. But...I didn't really make changes to it after RM. When the book was rejected based on the quality of the writing, it hurt. A lot. Mostly because I knew for this book the criticism was 100% fair. The writing was kind of bland.

I'd been working on book 2, figuring out the plot (just finished that, though I wrote up detailed summaries of the last few chapters instead of writing them in full), and Emma still wanted to tell the story in 1st person. So I decided to let her for half a chapter. And I told her I was right to not let her tell the story herself.


I went back to writing 3rd, and it was mostly bland, but I was figuring out the plot (which still needs work, but anyway). I had to figure out why people were vanishing into thin air: where they were going, if they were alive, if it was a natural phenomenon or if someone was causing it, and if someone was causing it, why. And I knew the writing wasn't very good.

Part of it was lack of worldbuilding. So I worldbuilt. Part of it was lack of understanding of my characters, primarily Emma. So I skimmed through books on neglect, abuse, and living with a mentally ill parent. And I kept writing 3rd.

Through research, living life, and rereading The Hunger Games trilogy, I gradually started understanding Emma better. (She and Katniss have a lot of wholly unintentional key similarities, though they still have many differences.) And Emma still wanted to tell her story.

Keep in mind, the only book I've successfully completed in 1st person is Espionage, and that's 1. a pretty straightforward storyline, and 2. narrated by Vannie Cumberland, the character who never shuts up. And Emma is the type of character who tends to shut out everyone, including me, even though she acknowledges she lives inside my head. She likes to tell me I don't understand her, but yet refuses to remedy the fact by letting me in.


But then late one night, I had an idea for a way to start the first book in 1st person. I wanted to try. Took a little while to get my computer to turn on (sooooooo glad I got a new one a few weeks ago...it's beyond amazing to use a computer that doesn't have speeds rivaling that of a sloth), but I got about half a chapter written. In 1st person. And I actually kind of liked it. And so did my sister, who gets more and more critical of books/movies/writing in general the older she gets.

So I acknowledged that Emma was probably right. I needed to understand her. I needed to know where she was going in her life. But I still needed to let Emma tell her story. Because no one understands Emma Edsel like she does herself.

Carla and Mitchell were still a consideration, whether to go back to 3rd for their chapters or try multiple 1st. I'm trying multiple 1st, and so far liking it, but I'm aware it's very difficult to do well so that people don't get confused (though interestingly, I've read two books that utilize multiple 1st in the last month or so). So far, they seem distinct from each other, and everyone has more of a voice than they did before, but we'll see.

At any rate, the lesson I've learned is that my characters do know what they're talking about. And I'm really looking forward to seeing how this draft turns out. And also fixing book 2, and plotting out book 3 where they go to rescue an Acktorek agent from space pirates. =D And it's (finally) going to be awesome.

Because I should have listened to my character.



P.S. Yes, I'm aware I sound like a nut when I talk about my characters this way. Go watch The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Fierce Heart Review


Essie would do anything for her kingdom…even marry an elf prince she just met that morning.

The human kingdom of Escarland and the elven kingdom of Tarenhiel have existed in an uneasy peace after their last wars ended with both kings dead. As tensions rise once again, desperate diplomacy might be the only way to avert war. If only negotiations between elves and humans were that simple.

When a diplomatic meeting goes horribly wrong, Essie, a human princess, finds herself married to the elf prince and warrior Laesornysh. Fitting in to the serene, quiet elf culture might be a little difficult for this talkative princess, but she’s determined to make it work.

With impending war and tenuous alliances, it will be up to Essie to unite her two peoples. And maybe get her hands on elven conditioner while she’s at it.

**************************************************

Oh, goodness, where do I even start? I heard about this one back at Realm Makers (it wasn't out yet), and thought it sounded like it would be interesting and wanted to read it, but boy, I had no idea how much I'd fall in love with this book. To the point where I stayed up until 2 in the morning because I just had to finish it and was rereading bits the next day honestly just wanting to reread the entire thing...but really wanting the next book in the series which isn't fully written yet.

Essie and Farrendel. They could not be more different. She's happy and talkative and oh so determined to do right by the people she loves...and determined to love her brand new elf husband who she just met. Farrendel Laesornysh is quiet and reserved and closed off, battle scarred, emotionally scarred by the things he's been through as well as things about him he has no control over...things Essie doesn't let define him, but he does. And, oh, yeah, she's a human princess and he's an elf prince and they just met, but they're getting married to achieve peace between their nations. Even though both of them have overprotective older siblings who are afraid this situation will only end by hurting their baby brother/sister.

I just love Essie and Farrendel so much. The way their relationship develops as they get to know each other, the way Essie's just so positive and determined, the way Farrendel comes to lean on her...it's just so...I don't know if I want to say beautiful because Farrendel has a lot of pain to deal with, but it's beauty coming out of brokenness.

And it's funny. All the stuff about elven shampoo and conditioner. XD I want some. And just Essie's personality and the way she interacts with elven culture is amusing.

Plus danger and action. Troll attacks and near deadly wounds and elf magic and I really can't wait for book 2.

And I'm trying really hard not to give major plot spoilers, so I don't know what else I can say except go read it. Go read it now. Steampunk fantasy romance. With awesome characters and a great story about how love is a choice, and go read it. You won't regret it.

Note: It's marketed as adult, but it's pretty clean, so I'd be fine handing it to an older teen.

Monday, January 13, 2020

It's All About Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing. It's an important part of telling a story well. If it's well done, you don't necessarily even notice it until the second read/watch, but it makes the story cohesive, and makes the plot twists, well, make sense.

I love it when I get surprised with a plot twist, but only if it actually makes sense. If a plot twist happens and I'm all, "Oh wow, I didn't see that coming, but now, looking back, I see how that works, how this was pointing to that, etc." then foreshadowing was well done, and served its purpose. Even if it could have gone a completely different direction—in fact, for certain kinds of books/movies, I think you should write it so that the story could go multiple directions—there has to be foreshadowing that makes sense. Because if a plot twist happens and there's no foreshadowing, or foreshadowing for something mutually exclusive, I go, "Huh? That doesn't make any sense. It just contradicts this and this and this." And that's not something you want readers/viewers to do.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and having lengthy discussions on the subject with my sisters, because of Star Wars. I loved The Force Awakens, left The Last Jedi disappointed though it's grown on me a bit since then, and I really enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker and think I like it best of the sequels. (I have to keep the Disney Star Wars separate from George Lucas's Star Wars for the most part in my mind—except The Mandalorian—because it's just not the same and I can't figure out where to put the sequels in my ranking of the other six.) But even though I really enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker and there were absolutely things about it that I liked better than The Force Awakens, there's something about the sequel trilogy as a whole that doesn't quite sit right with me, and never will. And it has to do with foreshadowing, and consequently, lack of continuity. (Note: I'm aware that Disney's treatment of Star Wars is super controversial, and people are going to disagree with my assessment. I don't want to devolve into arguing about this. This post is about storytelling and my perception of the strengths and flaws of the sequels from a writer's perspective, with a focus on use of foreshadowing.)

But before we jump into Star Wars, I want to take a quick look at Mockingjay.

MOCKINGJAY SPOILERS


When I first read Mockingjay, Katniss shooting Coin seemed to come out of the blue. It didn't bug me then, because killing Coin made sense. 13 wasn't really any better than the Capitol. It was a different kind of tyranny, but it was still tyranny. And in essence, Coin really isn't that much different from Snow. And then you look at the movie, where the foreshadowing—particularly in the scene with the vote for the symbolic Hunger Games—is so blatant, my dad called the assassination in the movie theater. It wasn't until my fourth official read of the book last month (I've spot read the book much more than that), as I watched the movies while sick, that I put two and two together about the foreshadowing. It actually is in the book, it's just a little more subtle.

It really starts, simply, with the militaristic/fascist control of the population of 13. Coin as an antagonist becomes extremely clear in Boggs's conversation with Katniss after Peeta's arrival in the Capitol.

"Sometime in the near future, this war will be resolved. A new leader will be chosen....you'll throw support to someone. Would it be President Coin? Or someone else?....If your immediate answer isn't Coin, then you're a threat."

And then as Katniss mulls over the double-exploding bombs and Snow's assessment of Coin, she's realizing even more how Coin has played them all, how Coin is just out to get power. And during the vote for the symbolic Hunger Games, it's painfully clear that under Coin, nothing has changed. "Nothing will ever change now. I weigh my options carefully, think everything through." And after she votes, she can feel Haymitch watching her, just as he did in the movie.

It could have gone two ways. Snow has been the villain from the start. Coin has been slowly but surely set up as a villain throughout Mockingjay. And so it's shocking when Katniss chooses instead to shoot Coin, but if you really think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.

END MOCKINGJAY SPOILERS
And honestly, whatever you think of Suzanne Collins's writing style and use of fragments, or the denouement of Mockingjay, which I absolutely agree feels rushed, she absolutely has a handle on foreshadowing and using every element, every character, every arc of a story to make a cohesive whole that thoroughly explores her theme.

MAJOR STAR WARS SEQUEL TRILOGY SPOILERS

Say what you will about the bad acting, awkward dialogue, and plot holes of the first six Star Wars movies, but there are two things George Lucas is good at: worldbuilding and story. The worldbuilding is honestly Tolkien-level, but we're here to talk about foreshadowing.

Each of the original six Star Wars movies has its own plot, but it's part of a whole. That whole is the story of the rise and fall of Darth Vader. George Lucas has said that the whole saga is about Anakin. And it is. It's the story of how he turned to the dark side and how his son brought him back to the light. The sequel trilogy is about... Well, I'm not sure just what the sequel trilogy boils down to, because each movie is so different from the last. They aren't super cohesive. And that really messes up the foreshadowing.


Rey's parentage is the big one. I'm not going to get into all the different theories...in a way I actually think it's very interesting for her to be a Palpatine. Lots of interesting psychology there, with great potential for themes of how it doesn't matter where you come from, it's the choices you make that count. But the problem is that until Rey's use of Force lightning to bring down the ship in ROS, there was no foreshadowing. The only other thing I can think of is the "you went straight to the dark" thing in TLJ, but I feel like I'm really grasping at straws there.

As we watched TFA in preparation for ROS, I realized that Rey's parentage was a big deal for the fans because the movie made a big deal about who she was. She didn't care who they were, she just wanted them to come back. But Kylo throwing a tantrum when he found out about "the girl from Jakku," Han looking away from her looking like he was going to cry when she told him her name, her clear connection with Leia, the way Chewie resists Finn but is immediately okay with her, Maz Kanata's "who's the girl?", even in TLJ Luke's "why you?" when questioning why she was the one they sent after him...those things foreshadow that her identity matters, and not only does it matter to our main cast, they know who she is. Only...they don't. I still think TFA points to her being a Skywalker. Not only does the family have a reaction to her, you've also got her skills as a pilot and mechanic. (Plus the fact that this is the Skywalker saga, so you'd expect the protagonist to be a Skywalker. And anyone that thinks Broom Boy is essential to proving Jedi don't have to have special heritage and Rey Palpatine undermines that doesn't get Star Wars. I mean, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Adi Gallia, Ahsoka Tano, Yaddle, Luminara, Shaak Ti, Aayla Secura, Plo Koon, Kit Fisto...They ain't Skywalkers or Palpatines.)

And now...what do any of those things mean? Why did Han react to her name? Why did Kylo flip out when he heard that BB-8 was helped by a girl from Jakku? Why did they send Rey after Luke? Um...fan theories are all we've got.

Because in TLJ, Kylo clearly didn't know any more about Rey's parents than Rey did herself. He made her say what she thought and then expanded on it, tearing her down and telling her she only mattered to him as a means of manipulating her. (Sorry, Reylo fans, abusive relationships just aren't romantic.) So why did he react to the "girl from Jakku"? No idea. 

Rey being a Palpatine...like I said, I think it's an interesting twist. But it's really not foreshadowed. First off, Palpatine has never been depicted onscreen as having romantic relationships. Searching Wookieepedia, I've found some things in Legends that depict alleged children of Palpatine, but it's ambiguous as to whether they were actually his, and there is one called Triclops who was a result of Palpatine's biological experimentation. In canon, all we've got is exactly what was stated in ROS. He's always been all about power, so I really can only see him having offspring as a way to gain more power. And, well, it's hard to talk about something that doesn't exist. All I've got for Rey Palpatine foreshadowing is the Force lightning incident—though Palpatine was not the only Sith to use that power—and "you went straight to the dark" which could just as well be because of Vader or because of...everyone having the potential for dark and light? I mean, the Rey's a Palpatine theory was floating around, but so was the Reylo Rey travels back in time and gives birth to Anakin and now Kylo is his own great grandfather theory. So...

It's possible that Rey's Force abilities caused her parents to take her to Luke for training and when Palpatine discovered her, they took her to Jakku for her protection and that's why everyone reacts to her, but while they never said she didn't train with Luke as a small child, there's nothing that indicates she did. But with the way, excluding Luke's "why you?" TLJ dropped all reactions to Rey, I don't know what else they could have done.

Then there's Palpatine coming back. I actually really like that. I haven't read any books involving this storyline, but in Legends, Palpatine did create clones of himself and transfer his soul to them. So involving him feels very Expanded Universe, and I love that. (Yes, I'm one of those fans who's annoyed the EU has been relegated to Legends status. I still want to be Darra Thel-Tanis, and I'll never get over her death.) But...where was that foreshadowed? In an interview, J.J. Abrams mentioned that, when you look at all nine episodes, it would be stranger not to have Palpatine be a part of the sequel trilogy. I absolutely agree. Palpatine has been the one pulling the strings since before TPM. But...the first indication we got that he was a factor in the sequel trilogy was the Palpatine laugh in the trailer for ROS. I haven't come up with ideas on how they could have foreshadowed Palpatine's involvement, but it should have been. Because while I absolutely accept Palpatine being behind it all, the way it came out of the blue makes it feel like they just pulled out an old big bad now that Snoke has met a premature end. I have to say, though, I was and still am super excited about Palpatine being in ROS. And he's just as "strike me down" obsessed as ever. XD

Sure, George Lucas changed things partway through. Like how Leia remembers her mother who died in childbirth. And I've heard that Luke's twin was originally supposed to be someone other than Leia (which makes the kiss in ESB less creepy). But I've always taken "There's too much of his father in him." "That's what I'm afraid of." to reference Vader, "there is another" foreshadows Luke's twin, Leia, and you basically know where everything in the prequel trilogy is going, not just because we know the end of the story, but because it builds naturally towards that end...albeit with a heavy dose of cringeworthy dialogue. Anakin murdering the Tusken Raiders, including women and children? Makes it very believable that he would slaughter Jedi younglings. The first six are faaaaaar from perfect, and I'm not even a prequel hater, but they do a better job paying off foreshadowing than the sequels do.

And lest you think I'm hating on the sequels, I love Rey, Finn, and Poe (I'm a FinnRey shipper and I will go down with that ship), "Chewie, we're home," was the line I chose to quote when stepping into the Millennium Falcon for the first time, I played "Rey's Theme" in a piano recital a few years ago, and joining the Resistance on Batuu was one of the highlights of my last Disney vacation. But I'll be looking elsewhere for good examples of foreshadowing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Crossways is Available on Audio!

The Crossways is finally available on audio! It's super exciting to me to have this one done and out in the world. I feel like it took forever, since I had a lot of voice issues where I couldn't record last year, but it's done, and it's available, and I've just got one more Time Captives book to go! Check it out!