Authorship, Publishing, Books and More

Tuesday Guest Blogger-Helen Henderson

Meet our guest blogger for today, Helen Henderson

When did you begin writing?

I started writing my own tales almost as far back as I can remember. In those days, there were no computers or word processors. Just a number two pencil and lined paper to capture my imaginary adventures dreamed of while sitting in the shade of a huge weeping willow tree. During the school years, assignments dampened the muse until she could no longer fly. I hated parsing sentences and the outlining process. Which is ironic as I am more plotter not than pantser. At least at the beginning of a project.

Although it is only in recent years that my pen turned toward fiction, I have been a professional writer in one form or another for several decades. The change from software code and user “how-to” manuals to journalism traded technical material for feature stories and articles. Eventually I returned to my first love, fiction.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Each novel presents a different challenge to write. For Dragon Destiny of the Dragshi Chronicles, it was aging Anastasia from a young woman to an adult. Glyn, bodyguard to a dragonlord, helda secret in Hatchling’s Mate. At least one person had to uncover the secret, which led to the ‘who would do it’ and the bigger question of their reactions to what could be considered betrayal of a friend.

Sometimes when a story just doesn’t want to come together, you have to step back. The original concept of Windmaster Golem had a different hero and heroine. However, I couldn’t get the ages to sync, so I went back to the drawing board and reviewed the scene charts and character list for the other books in the series. Selecting two side-characters from the first book in the series provided what was needed. The continuance from Windmaster Legacy was still achieved and the storyline fell into place.

When I started writing, all you had to do was be a good storyteller. Action and swordplay needed to be balanced with emotion. Now there is so much more including having the characters change. For me that is the biggest challenge in every single novel.

Why did you choose your genre?

My first published works were in the dark side, non-fiction. And while I’m proud of the three local histories, I’ve always loved to escape into other worlds. It didn’t matter whether I became a fast-gun in the American West, an interplanetary explorer, or international secret agent. Right now, I’ve settled in romantic fantasy. The genre allows me to create environments where magic lives and heroes rule. Being able to hang out with dragons or horses with a touch of magic in their souls are other reasons why I write fantasies.

Romance crept into the adventure and action that fills my stories when a few years back I encountered Carol McPhee. After being exposed to her work, the romance that lingered through some of my fantasy and science fiction stories blossomed to demand its own emphasis.

What writing tips would you like to share?

While I practice “pass it along” and try to help the next generation of writers as I was helped, I don’t like to give “advice” as such. Writing is just too individual an activity and our readers are just as varied. Instead of giving advice about craft, I’ll focus on something more personal. When you start putting thoughts to paper or sit down at a keyboard, eventually there is a question you have to answer for yourself, because no one else can. Do you write for fun, to make a living, or because you “can’t not write.” The answer can help guide you to the publication method that works best for you.

I will share the following regarding craft. Technology is a tool. Use it wisely. Auto-correct and spellcheck are not always accurate. Text to voice is an invaluable aid during the editing process.

And my favorite tip: Description is about drawing the reader in and making them live the story with you. Too much detail strips the reader of bringing their own experience to the story. Having to stop for a history lesson, even one featuring intriguing characters, can pull readers straight out of the fiction. Sprinkle your details as you would a spice. Not too much, not too little, and blended throughout for a perfect balance.

What are you currently working on?

A twist on a dragon shifter story is fighting for equal time with a historical western of a retired female gunslinger’s return to her old role.

What would you like to promote today?

Today, I want to share Windmaster Golem of the fantasy romance series, The Windmaster Novels.

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