Blog Reality Award

Blog Reality Award

Thrilled that my bud blogger Louise Wise nominated me for a blog award. So a shout out with a massive thank you to Louise, and the questions I’m meant to answer here:

Q: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I would change where I live in a heartbeat. While I love some things about my community, and many of the people here, I don’t really like townhouses and think I’m better suited to more private living. So when one of my books gets optioned by Hollywood, find me in a quaint Victorian with LOTS of windows and a big backyard.

Q: If you could repeat any age which would it be?
I’d like to be 32 again. I got engaged and married that year. Hard to beat all the glamor and freedom and fun of that year!

Q: What really scares you?
The thought that anything could happen to my children or husband. It’s a crazy world. Crazy things happen in the world and crazy-evil people scare me to death.

Q: If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
Oh, how I would love to be my husband for a day! What a life that guy has! LOL! Seriously, I have no idea. I think it changes by the day. Though I’m pretty sure I’d never want to be a Kardashian…

Thank you, Louise for all the interesting questions. I really enjoyed participating. Please visit her and read her blog at: http://www.louisewise.com

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Sharing Sunday: Kerry Letheby Guest Post

Sharing Sunday: Kerry Letheby Guest Post

I’m delighted today to be hosting Kerry Letheby, author of Mine to Avenge, who shares her thoughts on the differences between a generational saga and a regular novel.

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Here’s how to connect with Kerry online:

Blog: A Novel Journey
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
AUTHORSdB
Email

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‘The Differences Between a Generational Saga and a Regular Novel’

While writing Mine to Avenge, I was often asked who my main character was, and what he/she was aiming for in the outworking of the story. I realized then that maybe I was writing something other than a conventional novel with one main character, as my story had several characters who could rightly be called ‘the main character’.

Mine to Avenge covers a period of over 70 years, and depending on which decade I was writing about, a different character took the lead. What I was writing fell into the category of family or generational saga.

The word ‘saga’ has Icelandic origins, meaning a story with a sense of history. A saga can be related as a series, but they can also be written as a single book of over 150,000 words. Mine to Avenge has approximately 165,000 words.

Different parts of the history, or saga, will generally have different lead characters, although one character can sometimes have a special focus from birth through to death. This is generally the case with sagas that focus on the history of one family, but Mine to Avenge deals with a vendetta between two families through generations. In this story each family can collectively be regarded as a main ‘character’ – the Galanos family is the protagonist family, and the Anastos family is the antagonist family. To complicate things, one character in particular belongs on both sides – one by birth and one by sympathy.

At this time I have only had one negative review of Mine to Avenge, and this is precisely one of the things the reviewer didn’t understand about my novel. She didn’t like multiple protagonists, whereas there are really only two if we correctly view the story as family against family, rather than character against character.

The generational vendetta or family saga needs an overarching framework to hold the story together, and in Mine to Avenge, it is the impact of the generational feud on one family. The Galanos family has many individual members but they have one common goal as one family – to free themselves from the ongoing effects of that vendetta. The feud lasts for several generations, with different characters taking the lead at different times, giving multiple points of view, from both families. Family sagas can support multiple protagonists if they each fall into a larger group with a common interest.

Multiple characters through several generations can cause confusion for the readers as they try to keep track of ‘who’s who’. This can be managed if you put a family tree in the front of your book for readers to refer to. Initially I planned to put in family trees for both families, but I realized that if I provided the family tree of the antagonist Anastos family that it would reveal some relationships that couldn’t be revealed too soon without spoiling the plot. I wanted these details hidden until further on in the story, so the Anastos family tree was omitted.

Sagas vary in pace too, as opposed to a conventional novel which sets a constant pace towards a climax, or several, of them throughout the story. Of course a generational saga also needs to have such elements of climax and suspense, but it often has variations in pace or flow. The French term for these stories is ‘roman fleuve’ (river novel), to reflect the variations in pace as like a river, from fast to slow and then fast again, with an ebb and flow of drama and suspense.

One of the biggest challenges for the author of a saga is whether to write using a linear chronology.  This isn’t necessarily confined to a saga as many conventional novels have a degree of backstory, sometimes related in flashback. According to the plot demands of Mine to Avenge, relating the story as a linear chronology from 1914 through to 2010 wouldn’t have worked well in terms of building the dramatic tension. Writing in a linear fashion often reveals certain things too early, where the best effect comes by withholding the information until a later time or era. However, it can work if the author makes it clear that certain characters don’t know everything that the readers do. If done well, the reader will be bursting to tell the characters the information they know.

So there are some differences between a saga and a conventional novel, which don’t necessarily appeal to all readers. Some readers like to have the one definitive lead character that they can identify with and cheer on all the way. , But if you enjoy the unfolding of a drama with several main characters and related from multiple viewpoints, a generational saga might be just up your alley as a reader, and an inviting challenge as an author.

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HI RES PREVIEW - MINE TO AVENGE - COVER 2

Mine to Avenge
by Kerry Letheby

When Alcandor is blamed for the tragic death of his friend’s sister in Greece in 1940, little does he know of the repercussions this will have for him and his family for the next seventy years. Unable to forgive himself, and wanting to give his young family a new start, Alcandor leaves Greece and brings his family to settle in the Riverland of South Australia in 1948. Although Greece and his past are far behind him, Alcandor harbours a terrible secret and he remains a fearful man.

Alcandor subdues his fear, and he and his family adapt to an idyllic life of freedom and opportunity. However, eighteen years after leaving Greece, Alcandor learns that his past has caught up with him. His family needs to know the truth, but circumstances tragically intervene before he can warn them.

Years later, Alcandor’s sons show signs of odd behaviour hinting at possible mental instability, before disappearing without a trace. And in the next generation, Alcandor’s grandson exhibits the same strange behaviour not long before he is killed in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. It is not until 2010 that Alcandor’s great- granddaughter, Alethea, discovers that there is far more behind her family’s tragic history than mental illness, and little does she know that the threat against her family is much closer than she realises, and very far from over.
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Excerpt (from chapter 9)

But even Caterina didn’t know the truth of that dreadful last day—the day when a threat was delivered through the hand of a stranger, the threat that meant Alcandor couldn’t hope to stay in Greece at all, the threat that meant he never wanted to return under any circumstances.

He recalled the awful note, word for word. Each time he thought of it, he winced with pain, the words etched in his mind by a cruel finger of fire. He had kept the note all these years, not revealing its existence or contents to anyone. On the one hand, he wanted to share it, as it was a heavy burden to carry alone. On the other hand, he didn’t want to show it to anyone, as it would alarm his family—and there was the threat against his family if he did reveal it.

What might happen if he did talk? Was his family being watched as the note had warned? Who was watching? How could he warn his family of any potential harm? Could he—should he—talk to the police? He tried to push the questions from his mind and pushed himself up from the chair to fetch the cocoa and sugar from the cupboard.

It was only recently that these memories had begun troubling him again. He’d almost lost his mind during the weeks in Athens waiting to leave Greece, and the first few days on board ship were a paranoid blur as he inspected, spied, examined, surveyed and listened to anyone and anything—watching, waiting, alert to any potential threat.

But why were his memories being stirred up again in this new country so far away, and after so many years? Why was it troubling him now? Was it because his son was going to Greece for his honeymoon? Was that the cause of his uneasiness? What if their family’s enemies found out Dymas was there? Could their enemies reach out to harm his son while he was in Greece?

Five For Friday: Gia Peterson, Wholesome Health

Five For Friday: Gia Peterson, Wholesome Health

It gives me great delight to welcome a fantastic woman to the Shed who is not an author. (Well, at least not yet…) 🙂 I’ve known Gia Peterson since we were kids, and I recently discovered that she started a very cool, natural-health focused company called Wholesome Health. As I keep promising myself it’s time to get healthy, I was immediately interested in what she was up to. Not to mention that she has three daughters all under the age of seven (meaning, not in school all day) and I couldn’t imagine how she found the time.

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You’ll learn more about Wholesome Health in Gia’s interview. Here’s how to find out even more about her company and what it offers, and how to follow her on the web:

Facebook

More about Juice Plus+ Supplements

More about Tower Garden

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1. Can you tell us something about your company, Wholesome Health? Your mission and something about the products and services you provide?

I started Wholesome Health to help others learn how to avoid toxins, maintain wellness, and prevent illness using the most natural means possible. As a mother of three girls, I am especially passionate about learning everything I can about natural wellness and avoiding toxins. Women and children are actually at a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes because they tend to have higher levels of toxins and hormone-disrupting substances in their systems than men.

One of the best ways to detoxify is by eating more raw fruits and veggies, which provide the strongest immune support system known to man! For that, Wholesome Health offers whole food supplements made by Juice Plus+ and an aeroponic Tower Garden, also made by Juice Plus+.

The Juice Plus+ supplements are nothing more than juiced, raw vegetables and fruits, dried at very low temperatures to maintain their raw properties, and put into capsules or gummie supplements. (Learn more about Juice Plus+ Supplements.)

The Tower Garden is an amazing aero/hydroponic state-of-the art home gardening system in which anyone can grow beautiful, organic vegetables and fruits on their deck, in their living room, or even on their front porch. (Learn more about Tower Garden)

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2. What other work had you been doing before you decided to take this path? When did you realize this company was your dream?

Before Wholesome Health I was mainly a stay-at-home mom, and before I had children I was in the insurance business. I realized after a few years in insurance that it was definitely not where my heart was. I made a good living, but I was as bored as can be. After I met my husband and we decided it was time to have children, I worked as a preschool teacher, but again, while I enjoyed the work and it was rewarding, it was not where my heart was.

Eventually my husband’s job moved us from Florida to Atlanta. At that point I had three little girls (a 4 month old, a 2 ½ year old and a 4 ½ year old) and I was getting through one day at a time. I realized then that my heart was in the health world and I was kicking myself for not having taken that direction in my career earlier–thinking it was just too late, since I was already my late 30s.

Then I came across the Tower Garden (TG). I was trying to find a way to grow my own vegetables and fruits to support my juicing and smoothie making. As soon as I laid eyes on the TG, I was sold. I knew this was my answer, my future, my path to my passion. Just talking about it right now is getting me all fired up! I’ve always had an entrepreneurial heart and starting my own business didn’t really scare me. I just had to have the right product and service that I felt passionate about. I’m not nearly a good enough sales person to sell something that isn’t backed by 20+ years of clinical research proving that it works–or something that I’m not 150 percent passionate about! 🙂

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3. Have you always been so health-conscious? If not, when did you “turn the corner”–and was it difficult to begin making more healthful changes in your life?

I have been pretty health conscious for a large part of my life. My parents had me later in life–my mom was 41 when I was born and my dad was 48–so as a young teen I saw them beginning to have a lot of health problems. I knew and understood even then that many of their health problems were lifestyle-related. They smoked cigarettes (gasp!) a lot. They drank alcohol and partied a lot. They worked very hard and burned the candle at both ends. They didn’t exercise or watch what they ate. I started becoming healthier by exercising a lot, trying to make better food choices, etc. There wasn’t a real “turn the corner” moment. I was always doing what was being reported in the media as “healthy” for that time. Now I know that much of it was wrong, and the answer always was to get back to nature. You don’t have to walk around in clothing made out of organic hemp cloth to be back to nature, although that’s good too! 🙂

Every step to remove a synthetic item from your life improves your health. Your food choices, cleaning products, clothes, make-up and grooming products–all of these contain potentially carcinogenic substances. While each product alone probably isn’t carcinogenic enough to “cause cancer,” it’s all of these together causing sicknesses, auto-immune diseases, cancers, etc. The only real answer is to remove them, one by one, out of our lives and to live more simply. I am still in the loooong process of purging a lot of things in my life, on a lot of levels. I take it one level at a time.

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4. People may not realize that you started your company and run it all while raising three small kiddos! How did you find the time / energy to get started, and for those who feel like they have dreams but no time to devote to them, how do you keep on top of everything? Any strategies you can share?

Well, that is definitely the (very) hard part! And that is the reason that my company is not nearly as big as it can be–I work on it part-time. The great thing is that the only quotas I have are the ones I put on myself, which takes a lot of pressure off. I already put enough pressure on myself. The last thing I need is an external “force” putting more on me! My girls, who are now 2 ½, 5 & 6 ½ must come first, and I have to occasionally remind myself of that. I tend to be a type-A overachiever (except with housework and cleaning – LOL) and have to remind myself to channel that to them sometimes.

The time to work on my company comes from where I can grab it. There are many days that I have to get up a 5am to get some things done or they won’t get done! In my opinion, do something you’re passionate about and you will find the time and energy. Of course there are things that have to give – some days we order out, some days we have (organic) pb&j’s, and some days we don’t get out of our jammies. I work when I can and have to “put it down” when I can’t. I do thrive on structure and routine and it’s been very hard for me to do it this way, but it’s the only way it works. Besides, there will always be work, but there won’t always be three sweet, precious little ankle biting girls.

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5. What’s your “big vision” for your company? To expand to a huge international company? To change the way people think about health and food?

My “big vision” for my company is still evolving. I have so many ideas that I want to bring to life, newsletters I want to write, outreaches I want to do, vegetable cooking groups I want to start. I want to get more raw fruits and veggies into everyone I come into contact with through both Juice Plus+ whole food supplements and the Tower Garden as well as through education and articles I post on my business page. I truly get excited when I come across information that I feel is really important and presented in an interesting and engaging way–whether I created it or someone else did. I also want to guide people back to nature and help them remove all the processed, unnatural, synthetic things from their lives. I want to be a source of information and inspiration to anyone that is looking for that.

Specifically for the business, I want to keep it large enough that I can be financially secure, but small enough that I can be mom for the next 20 years, because in the end, that’s where my heart will be.

Thanks, Gia!

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Please be sure to check back during my May “Month of Mothers” month-long tribute, featuring interviews and guest posts with tips and tricks from mothers all over the world. GIA PETERSON will be back with a super-healthy, super-yummy recipe. So please come join us again.

And please be sure to keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of exciting things in the works. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!