Archive | February 2013

A Much-Delayed Letter

My first book, Bronze Dragon Codex, came out in the summer of 2008.  In December of 2009, a 5th-grader decided to do a book project on it, including writing to the author.  In November 2012, I finally received this letter.  My first and, as of yet, only, but hopefully not last, fan mail! 

I debated responding.  After all, a 5th grader in 2009 would now be a freshman in high school.  Would they really care about hearing from an author they liked in elementary school.  I posed this quandary to the Facebook masses.  The answer was a resounding, “Yes, respond!”  And so, after a few more months delay (one nice thing about getting it so late was a couple more months wouldn’t make a difference!), I finally wrote the following letter to the student.  I’ll be mailing it soon with two postcards for Bronze Dragon Codex, a bookmark advertising Young Wizards Handbook, and a BLAD (Book Layout and Design) of Young Wizards Handbook which includes the spread of instructions for making a monster hunting pack, tips on how to trap a zombie, and some really wonderful illustrations.  Hey, it’s my first fan letter, I might as well go all-out, right?  I’m sending it care of the teacher, and told her that if she is unable to find the student, to please use the goodies in her classroom (I thought they might make fun prizes) or give to a fantasy-loving student.

Dear 2009 Fifth-Grader,

Due to the current siege of Palanthas*, the city where the Dragon Codices were written in the land of Krynn, your letter only recently came to my desk.  I apologize sincerely for the delay, but often dragons have a way of delaying things beyond anyone’s control! 

I really liked the flier you made for Bronze Dragon Codex.  I will be hanging it in a special place in my office.  I’m very glad you enjoyed the book, and encourage you to look for the other Dragon Codex books. 

Now to address your questions:

Have you ever traveled and if you have what’s your favorite place that you have traveled too?

I live in Maryland, and have traveled to many of the other states.  My favorite place in the United States is a small wilderness area called Dolly Sods in West Virginia.  It’s a very beautiful mountain area, a place that I think that Simle and Tatelyn would enjoy exploring.  I’ve also traveled to England, Wales, and Scotland and really enjoyed that.  I’m fond of castles, so I especially liked visiting Caerphilly Castle, Cardiff Castle, and Edinburgh.  And, of course, I love visiting Krynn, where Bronze Dragon Codex and other books, such as the Dragonlance series, are set. 

When is your next book coming out?

Since this letter came to me so late, I’m happy to say that my next book is out already!  It is called Young Wizards Handbook: How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire, and Other Hands-On Activities for Monster Hunters.  It is a guide to different monsters and how you can either capture them or avoid them.  It has lots of games and activities that you can easily do at home, such as making a monster-catching net or a tanglefoot potion.  I’ve included a sample from the book for you to enjoy.

There are other Dragon Codex books, too, although they were not written by me.  R.D. Henham is a rather lazy person who hires work out to assistant scribes and then takes all the credit.  🙂

What character do you like best?

It’s interesting that you mention that your favorite character is Simle, because, out of the books I’ve published, she’s my favorite character too!  She was a lot of fun to write and I really liked developing her character from hating humans because they stole her siblings to learning that not all humans are evil and becoming friends with them.

What hobbies do you have?

Reading would be my biggest hobby, although that’s so much a part of my life it seems odd to call it a hobby.  I read a lot of middle-grade and young adult fantasy, but I also like I’m also very much into crafts, particularly crocheting.  I also really enjoy hiking and exploring.

I apologize again for this delayed response.  I hope this letter finds you, and finds you well!

Sincerely,

Amie Rose Rotruck

AKA R.D. Hehman for Bronze Dragon Codex

 

*Originally, there were supposed to be 10 Dragon Codex books, one for each color of dragon in the Dragonlance world.  Alas, they stopped after 7, not doing books for White, Blue, or Copper dragons (figures, I’d sent proposals in for White and Blue!).  The “official” line that my fellow scribes and I came up with was that there was a siege in Palantahs and no further Dragon Codices were able to be written because R.D. Henham and the scribes were too busy fighting dragons.  Visit R.D. Henham’s website for more detail!

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What’s in a name?

I’m currently debating changing the name of a major, albeit non-speaking, character in the manuscript my agent is about to begin marketing.  This is something I’ve been considering for more than a year, so this isn’t last minute scrambling and tweaking (well, it is, but the decision has been floating around my brain for a while now).  It’s a big change because I’m also changing the name of the book.  To the name of this character.  Changing the name of a character is a very weighty decision, but knowing I’m changing this name to the title of the book is huge.  Can this character carry it?  Will this change people’s expectation of the plot once they’re introduced to the character, knowing that is the title of the book.  To be fair, the title also refers to a few other things, not just this character, but it still could have a major ripple effect.  On paper, all it is is changing one two-page scene and doing a search and replace on the old name and new name, but in terms of the spirit of the book and people’s reaction to it, it’s so, so much more.

My #1 addiction

Well, to be honest, this probably comes after chocolate and some tv shows.  Hm, no, it probably does NOT come after tv shows because I usually do this while watching tv.  This addiction is crocheting.

I crochet something for Wyrmling every month.  For her first year, it was hats.  After she got over a dozen hats, which she hated wearing anyway, it seemed prudent to switch to something else.  I’d made a Noah’s Ark and filled it with finger puppets for a good friend’s child, so I thought making one for Wyrmling and adding a finger puppet set a month would be fun.

I don’t want this to become a crochet blog, but I am posting about this because it does come back to my writing.  This month I decided Wyrmling’s Ark needed some unicorns.  There are some legends of unicorns not making it onto the Ark (a legend that I actually work into my book “Tapestry Threads”), so I like the idea of making some that actually did catch the boat.

I made some basic ones from this pattern for my friend’s child’s Ark (there isn’t a unicorn pattern, which is odd because it’s fairy tale puppets, but it’s easy to add a horn).

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My crochet skills have improved since I made these, though, so I decided to mix things up on the new ones, using the same pattern.  I used a basic worsted weight yarn, which I use for most toys, for the two unicorns.  I used different sized hooks, however, to make the male a smidge bigger.  Also, instead of yarn for the horns, I used embroidery floss.  I thought I had some gold, but then I remembered I used it all making a Golden Snitch.  I settled for two different shades of yellow, and then used embroidery floss for the eyes (purple on one, dark blue on the other).  For the male’s mane I used the same yarn as the bodies for both unicorns.  For the female’s, I wanted something different.  I debated unraveling some of the same yarn to give it a wavy look, but I ran out of that yarn.  I then started looking and I found a flower I’d debated putting on a hat for Wyrmling, but wasn’t quite happy with.  It was a white yarn with a pearl thread to it, so I thought that would look nice.  When I started unraveling the flower, I had a happy surprise!  From being crocheted for so long, it now had a permanent kink to it, so it was the EXACT look I wanted for the unicorn (well, I hadn’t counted on how much it looked like a member of an 80s hair metal band.  Dee Snyder and Brett Michaels, perhaps?).   Resemblance to 80s rockers aside, I’m rather pleased with how these turned out!  If Wyrmling doesn’t play with them, I use them for enacting scenes from my book.

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The Great Office Saga

Since I work from home (a rather boring, non-writing job that thankfully pays the bills until I become the next J.K. Rowling) with a toddler, I don’t have a lot of writing news these days.  I was trying to think of something interesting to put here and realized that something that has taken over my brain for the past year is actually a good topic for writers.  And that is the creation of a writing space.

A space to write is very important for a writer.  It can be as simple as going to a coffeeshop regularly to write, or it can be as involved as building a writing cottage.  I hate coffeeshops (the smell makes me sick and I don’t like crowds or having to haul computer and set it up) and we’re a long ways away from being able to do a writing cottage, so I land squarely in the middle: a designated room for writing.  Due to room limitations (we don’t have a mansion, alas!) my writing space has to share a room with my work space and craft space.

When I moved into my husband’s house, I took over his office.  That made sense, since I’m the one who works from home.  I, however, decided to ignore his advice of fixing the room first and opted to move all my junk in immediately.  This resulted in me staring at golf wallpaper for five years (not my husband’s choice, from the previous owners).  This was cramped, because I was basically fitting one full-time job, one part-time job, and multiple crafts into one room, but I made it work.  When Wyrmling started getting mobile, I realized it was nowhere near childproofed and the time had come for a major overhaul.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be chronicling our journey through office renovation (which is, mercifully, drawing to a close).  I should have taken more before pictures, but here are a few.  These were all taken May 14, 2012.  So yes, this project has taken 9 months and counting.  In our defense, we were also doing a couple other outdoor projects that had to be done during good weather, plus this room is directly across the hall from Wyrmling’s room, so work when she’s asleep is completely out.

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This was taken after I started packing, so no, I did NOT work with all that stuff on the floor. The desk is about right, though.

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This is my organizational system, or lack thereof. That white plastic basket? That’s all “to be filed” things that landed there after Wyrmling was born because my file cabinets were crammed full.

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This gives you a slice of my hobbies, including sewing, stained glass (I made the dragon hanging in the window), and even a picture of my husband wearing a Jayne hat that I crocheted for him. Yes, there is a tv and dvd player in there because I LOVE working with the tv on. I’ve had to stop that, though, so Wyrmling doesn’t become a couch potato.

I hope you enjoyed my mess confessional.  Tune in next time for a good look at the previous owner’s decor, and my thoughts on decorating your writing space.

ETA: Found one of me at my workspace with Wyrmling when she was less than a month old!

This picture was taken when Wyrmling was less than a month old!  Aww.  Ahem.  In office news, you can see a large whiteboard on the wall.  A friend rescued it from his work when they were getting rid of it, so I had a HUGE whiteboard in my office, which was SO nice for writing.  I ended up deciding not to put it back in the office (it's now hanging in the basement for Wyrmling to draw on) and will talk more about what I decided to do instead in a future post.

This picture was taken when Wyrmling was less than a month old! Aww! Ahem. In office news, you can see a large whiteboard on the wall. A friend rescued it from his work when they were getting rid of it, so I had a HUGE whiteboard in my office, which was SO nice for writing. I ended up deciding not to put it back in the office (it’s now hanging in the basement for Wyrmling to draw on) and will talk more about what I decided to do instead in a future post.